Waiting for your cat to bark?Companies that plan and optimize persuasive momentum usually convert two to four times better than their industry’s average conversion rate. If you are not properly planning the persuasive momentum of your customer’s experience, then you are leaving way too much to chance. I like to keep chance as far away from my business as possible. I hope you might feel the same way.

What Is Persuasive Momentum?

In Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? we defined persuasive momentum as “the progressive decision-making process that aligns the customers’ goals with our own business goals.” Whether intentional or not, your business is operating a persuasive system. In 2002, we defined a persuasive system this way:

Persuasive systems are complex. Their success depends on their ability to address the varying levels of need a user brings to the online experience. To be effective, a website must address these user needs at every point in the process.

This applies to the entire customer experience, which includes social media, traditional media, call centers, signage, product placement, packaging, customer service, sales collateral, direct mail, billboards, PPC, SEM, PR, websites, microsites, video, mobile, demos, sales training, employee training, and of course, one-on-one customer interaction. Each of these components (and some I probably missed) together form your persuasive system. The better you optimize your persuasive system the more efficient you will be at converting and reconverting customers.

Too often, we see marketers that are stuck on the sales/conversion funnel metaphor. Your customers’ journeys are their stories, NOT funnels. They could tell you the stories; just try asking them. And those stories don’t always have happy endings.

Your customers’ stories end happily when they are delighted. And for them that may mean getting what they want from you or from a competitor. It’s simply a matter of perspective.

The most successful companies start with the story from the customer’s perspective. Buyer Legends are the simplest way to build that story from the customer’s perspective. Successful Buyer Legends insure that the story is accountable through analytics. They anticipate what needs to be measured in order for the analysts to understand the actual customers’ experience – did their stories end happily?

It’s Time to Perfect Your Concept of a Funnel

Let’s get real – your customer isn’t truly in a funnel. There’s no gravity compelling them through your experience like there is in a real funnel. There is only the customer’s motivation and your understanding of that motivation to create persuasive momentum.

Your sales/ conversion funnel likely has some elements of persuasive momentum, but are they planned and designed to be optimized? It also has some leaks. Do you know what in your customer experience is working and isn’t working to move (or not move) customer forward toward your set conversion goal?

Micro-Actions vs. Macro-Actions

Because persuasive momentum is about enticing customers to take action, you must understand the two types of actions you want customers to take. Typically your conversion/sales goals are the macro-actions: capturing a lead, closing a sale, becoming a member. These are usually the actions that take up the most time and effort in terms of optimization and planning. Still, it is dangerous, to your bottom line, to ignore the micro-actions.

Micro-actions are all the required smaller actions customers need to take to before they can take a macro-action. Micro-actions can be as simple as clicking a link, watching a video, reading content, clicking an ad, taking a note, and more. Without persuasive momentum, customers do not move forward in their buying journey.

The Three Elements of Persuasive Momentum

No matter if the action is micro or macro, there is a simple formula that will help you identify persuasive momentum or the lack thereof.

  1. Relevance. Are you relevant to my wants/needs/desires/query?
  2. Value. Do I understand why you are the right solution for me? Have you explained your value proposition/offer well to me?
  3. Call to action. Is it obvious what I need to do next? Have you provided me with the confidence to take that required micro or macro action?

Ask these questions at every touch point of your customer’s experience, and you will quickly find if your touch points are missing one, two, or all three of these components. Longtime readers may recognize that this is the concept I teach to my conversion rate optimizations students: The Conversion Trinity.

Conversion Trinity: Relevance, Value & Call to Action


It is only when you sequence all the micro-actions (even the distractions your customer will inevitably run in to) correctly you create the metaphorical gravity that compels customers along your conversion funnel. This takes some work, and it’s why companies that plan and optimize persuasive momentum usually convert two to four times better than their industry’s average conversion rate.

Use Buyer Legends to Create Persuasive Momentum

Start with a pre-mortem, the second step in the Buyer Legend process that helps you to identify anything that can go wrong from your customer’s perspective. Then create a reverse chronology, another step in the Buyer Legend process that allows you to address customer needs and plan persuasive momentum.

When you are planning a customer experience it is always best to start at the end point and work your way backwards to the beginning. This requires you to get very specific about how and why every decision and action needs to be taken in the buying journey.

Persuasive momentum is not an abstract concept; it needs to be planned concretely in order to be implemented effectively and fully optimized. Persuasive momentum lets you align the customers’ goals with your own goals. That is the only way both customer and company get to have the happy endings that you both crave.