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100 motivators to compel action by online visitors

Content marketers seek to engage online visitors and motivate response. They can benefit from what direct marketers learned by years of testing and measuring response rates.

Content marketers seek to engage online visitors and motivate response. They can benefit from what direct marketers learned by years of testing and measuring response rates.

Do you realize that if you are engaged in online marketing, you are a direct marketer?

Some may bristle at the notion of being associated with junk mail, buying prospect lists, telemarketing cold calls and other intrusive negatives linked to the direct marketing industry. But online marketing is the purest direct marketing medium ever created. It differs in its context, moving away from interruption/outbound communications to an inbound communication model.

But online marketing shares a definite kinship with direct marketing in its ability to communicate directly one-to-one with your audience. And it also requires motivating a response in order to be effective. That’s why successful online marketers have learned to incorporate classic direct marketing copywriting techniques into their content.

We are, after all, in the business of generating a response:

  • Clicking a link to more information
  • Clicking on a banner ad
  • Opening an email
  • Sharing and Liking content
  • Getting comments or survey answers
  • Placing, or adding to an order

Content that delivers value

The focus of online marketing has shifted to engaging with people who want to hear from you, rather than interrupting them. With that, it makes no sense to utilize direct marketing techniques to get a response if there is no payoff of value content for your audience. They will view it as a “click trick” and will abandon you with an unfavorable impression.

To succeed, content marketers have to arrive at the right balance of fascination and meaning. People are online to get answers or information that will enhance their life in some way. Your challenge is to find ways to draw them in from a mass of information options and then deliver on the promise of relevant value when they arrive.

RELATED: 7 secrets to sinfully persuasive selling

Content that motivates response

You’ve probably given a lot of thought to the value proposition of your product or service. The other piece of your content marketing is building your message into one that will motivate your audience to respond while supporting your brand promise.

Here is where we can benefit from the direct marketers who came before us.

I have spent many years of my career in the direct marketing world. During that time I studied the best practices learned by the pioneers of the industry. The impressive thing about them is they tested and measured every element of a campaign to maximize response rates and ROI.

One of the first generation direct marketing greats was copywriter Dick Hodgson. He shared tested and tried methods in several books, most of which are no longer in print. Over the course of his career he compiled a comprehensive list of the human motivators that drive response.

While the communication channels have shifted from print media to online, these motivators still resonate with the people we are trying to influence today. I have found this list to be extremely helpful for creating appeals that move the response needle. If you are looking for some idea-starters to inspire your content marketing, this list will help you too.

SOUND OFF: Tell me what you think. Are there some others you’ve used successfully that should be added to the list?

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