One of my favorite books is Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive. If you're an entrepreneur or just interested in selling (whether its a product or even your words) then you need to read this book. Its a fascinating study of human behaviour.
Here is a brief run down of just some (of the 50) concepts applied to an online business.
Create an Impression of Product Scarcity
I've seen many bloggers selling info products do just this. They offer the product at an "introductory" rate or offer bonus items to the first few buyers. Other bloggers setup "exclusive" email lists for the first "1000" people.
TV shopping uses the phrase "if the lines are busy keep trying". This gives the illusion of a product being popular and selling out. In reality they most likely have huge stocks and you'll get straight through to a customer service rep.
Creating the impression of scarcity will increase a products value
Reduce the Number of Options to Sell More
Ebooks that offer 5+ different package options will sell less than an ebook that is offered in 2 different versions. Options are both confusing and overwhelming. Reduce the number of options and sell more.
Of course it may be essential for you to offer more than one product. There is a solution - simply "reccommed" the most desired product to the user:
Without the highlight below, 37Signals would most definitely lose sales. As you can see they draw attention to the Plus plan and tap into another persuasion science concept, herd mentality.
You Should Do This
Dustin Curtis wrote an interesting post about using the word "you". And more specifically he used a personal command to increase conversions.
For example, instead of putting:
"this is my email list"
"you should join my email list".
Use friendly commands to encourage your users to convert. Btw. You should check out my ebook here ;)
Give Away Gifts
Giving away a gift encourages others to reciprocate. See as soon as you give something away, the user will feel a subconscious feeling of debt to you. Its in our human nature to reciprocate.
Give away a free ebook, Wordpress theme, manifesto etc. Ask for nothing in return (not even an email address!).
If you label people in a group such as "lifestyle designers" or "bloggers" you will dramatically increase conversions.
For example if I was to say:
"you're an entrepreneur. You should take a look at my ebook. I've written it for entrepreneurs to be the ultimate guide to blah blah blah".
I've labelled the readers as Entrepreneurs giving them a sense of belonging and also responsibility. Surprisingly, they will feel that being an entrepreneur involves reading ebooks
Photo by - !borghetti