All of us live in three worlds. First, is our inner world – what goes on in our hearts, our minds. The second is our physical world – all the things taking place outside of our hearts and minds – and the result of the inner world we craft for ourselves. And the third is our ‘digital’ world – our identities and activities on the internet.
As individuals, we spend a lot of time traveling this digital world (it’s part of what makes a community like MeYouSocial even possible), and we’ve grown fairly sophisticated. And with this experience, we simply expect more. We’re looking to spend time with sites that move us, that causes us to feel good. Sites that deliver some kind of experience, that takes us for a ride.
But the choices are slim (still), yet more and more businesses are finally starting to get it. One person whose helping people and organizations connect with audiences is Nathalie Nahai. Nathalie is this genius warrior-woman who synthesizes and draws insights from the areas of psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics that lead to online success in the digital world.
Recently, Nathalie sent us a copy of her new book: “Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion” and in it, she’s literally crafted a field manual for connecting with and getting inside the minds of your customers. The book is a synthesis of time-tested and science-backed concepts, findings covering a wide gambit of human behavior, analytical persuasion, influences based on cultural affinity and biases, and anchors them gracefully to support her model of success in the digital world:
- Know Who Your Targeting
- Communicate Persuasively
- Sell with Integrity
As anyone who’s wrestled with anything having to do with creating compelling online experiences, designing beautiful user experiences and interfaces, marketing or selling online and incorporating social media into one’s business practice, these three covenants are everything – and the hardest thing – to achieve.
While the book is steeped in well-referenced studies, theories and academia, the author and her publisher have done a great job of chunking the material – leading with a conversational style, anchored to “evidence,” and ending with practical, actionable strategies and tips.
The book is structured into sixteen chapters, organized in three, equal parts (listed above). You can plan to spend about an hour for each section, and you may be tempted to skim Part I – but don’t. Through our digital media agency (LSiMedia) 100% of our clients over the years have struggled one way or another with identifying who they’re targeting, with connecting with their customers.
Doing business on the web leads people to believe they’re targeting everyone – which means you’re connecting with no one.
It’s difficult to achieve, and Nahai does a great job of laying out the rhyme and reasons on how this is especially important given your audiences’ cultural makeup and biases. It’s a complex topic: one that could easily fill a book on its own, but there’s enough here to set the reader up to start the journey.
Part 2 of the book gets at the heart of things: the mechanics, tactics, and strategies for incorporating psychology and analytical persuasion into your websites. In fact, if you’re paying attention – and you have the physical version of Nahai’s book – you’ll realize that the book’s physical design; it’s layout, use of color and paragraph headings – are all designed using the principles she’s discussing. I know many people these days opt for e-book format when buying a book, and this is a book you may want to purchase in physical form – it’s that good.
Part 3 focuses on influence and online persuasion. It’s easy to cross the line between communicating value and manipulating, and the author’s frame of selling with integrity is appreciated here. The content flow mimics that of a good (albeit lengthy) Ted Talk or seminar and maintains a 30/30/30 (idea/references & examples/practical application) ratio throughout.
You could read the book from cover to cover, but you’re more likely to consume it in fits and starts, and that’s due to the practical application material that ends each section. This was obviously a conscious choice, where the author decided to trust that the reader is a true practitioner and not a casual reader. Anyone involved in digital marketing, branding, web design, social media marketing and sales should plan to read the book.