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How Persuasion Slides Nudge Unconscious Customer Conversion

Customer Motivation Aided by Gravity

Written by Desmond Ekeh|BiQ

What are persuasion slides? The Persuasion Slides concept espoused by Roger Dooley of the CXL Institute highlights four core components of conscious and unconscious cognitive devices designed to stimulate ‘motivation’ and act as triggers for customer conversion. This article underscores Dooley’s framework for enhancing site conversion by reducing friction, increasing non-conscious motivations, and creating triggers or nudges. The framework tows a strategic path to digital marketing which helps a marketer to systematically understand customer motivation and how to deploy gravity, nudge, and angle to effectuate action that aligns accordingly unto conversion.


The idea of gravity, originally from science, is applied here as a marketing concept to describe the customer’s state of mind – that is, his ‘motivation,’ – why he/she visited a site. It explains the customers need, goal, or want. The customer aims to satisfy his/her need, want, or goal, and that is his motivation for visiting the site with the intention to have that motivation attended to by the marketer. How a marketer communicates his products and services now determine if he is able to meet the customer’s needs.

Unfortunately, some marketers do not remember the cognitive bias which talks about the old brain – characterized by selfishness, survival, and pain avoidance. The old brain is always seeking to satisfy its own desires, needs, and goals. To satisfy the intent of the customer should be the ultimate goal of a marketer. As a marketer, when you are asking a site visitor to do something for you – say to fill a form, or download a newsletter, or eBook, you must have to align your request to the gravity which is the customer’s motivation, instead of obstructing it. Some marketers constrain the customer’s motivation through ineffective communication or information. If a marketer’s motivation is to seek how to make extra income that is his motivation for coming to your site.

Here, Dooley cites a good example, “I visited a site that offered copy editing services, and as a writer, I occasionally need editing services. And in this case, their call to action was “Place an order” and online was more information. At this point their message was not compatible with my purpose, my need which is at this point, to learn more about them. And so that was a very ineffective way of presenting their information, that didn’t line up at all.”

In the above instance, it is clear that the marketer did not align his call to action to the customer’s motivation – his needs, goals, or want. That communication effort at conversion failed. Now let’s look at another instance he cited, that of Ramit Sethi’s website. This site is well known and the marketer considered a very successful internet marketer who focuses on teaching people how to be rich with a website that says, People that visit this site are obviously motivated by the intent to be rich, make extra income, or want more money, to attend to increasing life bills. To meet these people’s motivation Ramit’s website says something like this: “I will teach you how to make 10k in 10 minutes, or how to make $1,000k monthly in your spare time with skills that you already have.” Though someone may consider the messages ridiculous, the fact is that the messages are fully well aligned with the motivation – the needs and aspirations of the people who visit that website. The messages are effective. To achieve customer conversion, as a marketer, your messages need to attend to the intent and needs of your site visitors whose presence on your site indicate a motivation. The first stage of persuasion slide is to increase gravity or the inherent motivation in the customer or visitor who engaged your site or buys your product.

Most customers do not know that the unconscious mind controls their purchase decisions. When they buy a luxury car, such as a Mercedes Benz or Lexus, which appeals to the old brain, they justify it with the rationality of the new brain. They say “I want a durable car.” “I want a car that is fuel-efficient.” “I want a reliable car.” Unfortunately, subconsciously they actually want a car to express their desire for social prestige, acceptance, and sexual appeal. Another unconscious reason could be fantasy. In Nigeria, for instance, some people procure a Yacht – which they use occasionally – or aircraft, they fly once in a while. Meanwhile, money is spent to keep the Yacht on the seafront, or the aircraft, on the hanger. What then is the purpose? Just fantasy. However, one mega pastor explained that the aircraft is for evangelism, and or to beat heavy traffic.


The second step to help marketers in customer conversion is Nudge. Nudge is like a slight, forceful, but harmless push down the rail. The moment a customer has a motivation what is required of the marketer is to gain his attention, and a nudge to make a purchase decision. This nudge could be through a phone call, a targeted email message, a visible call to action, CTA, an alarm, or a popup ad, etc. These are all geared to activate the customer’s motivation as the customer is already hanging on gravity to slide him/her to a point of decision. An ineffective way to nudge a customer is when communication is inadequate, inappropriate, or not visible. For instance, a CTA which strains a customer before he/she sees the button, or an envelope too small and difficult to understand the meaning, would be considered ineffective. There are many icons on the website. Visitors may not understand the meaning of some of them. If you must place an icon or symbol ensure it is bold and descriptive.

Chris Brogan, according to Dooley, is one Marketer that is strategic in the use of CTAs. He places them at every tangible position on every visible page on his website – constantly nudging customers to do one thing or the other. For instance, he would place a popup alert that would say, “My best work sent out for free.” He provides benefits that align with the customer’s motivation, and then align with what they have come to do on the site. Remember that if you place a nudge with motivation or gravity that acts on the motivation, and gets the visitor ready to respond to your nudge, the effort would have been useful.


What gets a child on a slide to skid down smoothly to the foot of the slide is the angle of the slide.  This is also the case with digital marketing. If a slide has a sufficient angle it will surely work smoothly. Using conscious and unconscious nudges to activate a motivated visitor using the appropriate angle will guarantee conversion success for the marketer. Without motivation, nudge or a steep angle there will be no free movement and customer conversion will not occur.

Desmond Ekeh, is a PR consultant, digital marketing professional, and researcher in media and communication.

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