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What IKEA Furniture Can Teach You About Marketing…

Using the Six Secrets

Volume 1 Issue 1 - November 14, 2011

Learning the Six Secrets of Persuasion and other psychological marketing triggers is interesting. But, theory without practical application is not helpful for improving your business. So, today, we will look at the powerful concept of sequencing and how it can transform the theory into something that boosts your bottom line.

You may have also noticed something a little different in this email. The Six Secrets Newsletter is getting a facelift and a more regular publishing schedule (one issue per week - plus occasional updates.) We are also building out a new website to support the newsletter and provide access to back-issues and special subscriber-only content.

The site is a work in progress at the moment, so please forgive the rough edges as things get finished up.

We are also looking for expert authors who are interested in joining our advisory board and contributing articles for future issues of the newsletter. If you are interested (or know someone who might be) please let us know.

Andrew Seltz, Publisher and EditorTo share your thoughts on this issue and our new look visit www.sixsecretsnewsletter.com

To your success,

Andrew Seltz

Publisher & Editor
Six Secrets Newsletter

What IKEA Furniture Can Teach You About Marketing...

By Andrew Seltz

Have you ever assembled a piece of furniture from IKEA? They sell the kind of furniture that is packed flat and assembled with a couple of simple tools. In each box comes a multi-page picture-filled booklet of assembly instructions to turn the sacks of hardware and piles of boards into that awesome television stand  you saw in the store.

That instruction booklet is the key to success and provides an important lesson for online marketers. In essence, it is a sequence for applying some very basic techniques that add up to a very desirable result - cool affordable furniture! Just knowing the techniques involved is not enough, let me explain...

I once did a home improvement project using IKEA kitchen cabinets. Over the years I have assembled many IKEA products, so I have a good understanding of the logic behind their assembly process. When it came time to assemble the kitchen cabinets, I ignored the instructions. Instead, I started putting the parts together my own way. This worked pretty well...

...until it didn't work!

There was one cabinet that was a little different from the rest. It used all the same dowels, glue, posts, and cam-locks as everything else. But, there was one part that could only be installed properly at a specific point in the assembly process. Any later, and it would not fit properly.

Guess when I discovered this critical step in the assembly process?

If you anwsered "too late", give yourself a gold star. After I had glued and nailed together most of the cabinet, I discovered this unusual part. And, when I tried to install it, I learned that I had missed the step where it could be installed. The only way to make it fit was to disassemble most of the work I had already done and start over.

Applying persuasion psychology to you marketing can be present the same kind of challenges.

Reciprocity, authority, and social proof can create powerful sales messages - if you use them in the right sequence.


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Sequencing is basically the creation of a formula for applying sales and persuasion psychology to a specific marketing goal. For instance, you should spend time building value for your product before revealing the price. And, social proof about the effectiveness of your product should come soon after any bold claims you make about it.

Every sales organization has a well defined sequence for their sales force to use. When I did in-home sales for a home improvement company, we had a sequence that went something like this:

  • Sell Yourself
  • Determine Customer Needs/Wants
  • Sell the Company
  • Price Conditioning
  • Product and Installation Demos
  • Pre-Close (Surface Objections)
  • Price Quote
  • Closing the Sale (Resolve Objections)
  • Post Close Warm-Down (Re-enforce the Buying

These sales sequences have been shaped over decades to maximize sales. The secrets of persuasion are baked-in along with a range of other psychological tactics designed to trigger prospects to take action. Anyone who followed the steps would have a decent chance of making a sale. Skip steps or work out of order and you'd be lucky to ever make any money.

Copywriters follow a sequence as well when they write sales messages. This sequence is known by the acronym AIDA. It stands for:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Jeff Walker has created what is arguably the best marketing sequence for Internet-based marketers called Product Launch Formula. Jeff's formula follows the basic AIDA sequence, but expands it into a multi-part sequence of communication that builds the kind of customer anticipation you see whenever Apple launches a new iPhone. His formula has been used to launch products and businesses and heavily involves all of the six secrets of persuasion (and  other psychological tactics) to engage prospects and turn them into customers.

The Product Launch Formula training is some of the most comprehensive available on the topic, but it is also a bit pricey for some small businesses. There are alternative training materials like the Thrifty Marketer's Product Launch that provide an abbreviated approach that still relies on the same psychology and take advantage of the powerful tools available online for conducting launch campaigns.

The bottom line is that you need to define a marketing sequence for your business and incorporate the persuasion techniques you learn into it. You can start with the basic AIDA formula and build your own sequence or you can leverage the experience of people like Jeff Walker.

The Six Secrets Newsletter is devoted to uncovering the latest research in  behavioral economics and social psychology and distilling it into ideas you need to know and practical steps you can take to improve your business.

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