Psychologist Robert Cialdini proved that certain words trigger neurological responses that make us comply. ‘Because’ is one of them – scientifically proven to give your website copywriting more clout.
The use of the word ‘because’ increases the likelihood of receiving an acceptance response. Harvard’s Xerox study demonstrates what is referred to as ‘unthinking compliance.’ A researcher tries to cut to the front of a photocopying queue, making 3 different requests to subjects. These are as follows; the number of subjects that complied is listed alongside as a percentage:
May I use the Xerox machine? 60%
……because I’m in a rush? 94%
……because I have to make some copies? 93%
Interestingly, the third request has the same impact; despite the fact no real reason is given. Not that I am suggesting this is a good idea…I’m sure the title of this post hasn’t compelled you to hire me. What we can take from this is that even giving a weak reason is better than giving no reason at all.
“People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” – Cialdini
This quote is one to remember when you’re writing your web content. It’s similar to Aristotle’s “Logos,” to persuade you must provide a logical argument. If you want people to act, tell them why they should.
There’s an argument amongst copywriters that ‘because’ is in fact more potent than other power words such as new or free.
Because = reasonable argument
Free/new/more = sales language
Written by Heather Griffiths