Using Fear to Persuade

The article Web copy motivators notes fear is a powerful influential factor on and off the Web. But, as Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive notes, it can also be counter-productive.

Research has demonstrated that fear-arousing communications usually stimulate the audience to take action to reduce the threat. However, Author Robert Cialdini explained, “When the fear producing message describes danger but the audience is not told a clear, specific, effective means of reducing the danger, they may deal with the fear by ‘blocking out’ the message or denying it applies to them.”

As a result, they may be paralyzed into taking no action at all.

How to avoid this denial? Help people see behavioral means for ridding themselves of fear by including a clear, specific, easy-to-follow plan.

2 responses to “Using Fear to Persuade”

  1. Glen says:

    I wish marketers wouldn’t use fear, but I guess it’s too powerful to ignore.

  2. Grant says:

    I like the fact that marketers are discussing such antics, so consumers become more aware of them. :)

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