CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 1 Review

Last year I joined a high-level copywriting mastermind because I wanted to challenge myself to become the best copywriter in the spiritual space. I love working with healers, lightworkers, and spiritual warriors called to raise humanity’s collective consciousness.

Now when someone asks for a “witchy” or “woo” copywriter, no less than eight people leave my name behind. It is pretty flattering but also eye-opening to see how others support clients in this space.

It isn’t enough to like crystals, read tarot, study reiki, or call yourself a copy goddess (wait, I should grab that URL), but you have to be able to work with clients who spend a lot of their time in their own realm, and whose ideas are often ethereal and not tethered to reality.

So my job is to translate these universal transmissions into Earthly messages that move prospects into action through transformational storytelling.

Even that sounds too woo.

What I do is speak directly to the soul of the buyer, which still needs to be persuaded to take action.

In some cases, writing for this niche is challenging because of how much I have to “make up” to bring the copy down to Earth while still honoring my clients’ energy and spirit.

But when I nail it, when I capture their voice as if their guides are downloading information into my brain, it feels so good.

Most importantly, it works. My clients get results.

Not just from my words; I also help ground them into the present, expand their idea of what is possible, introduce new opportunities, bring in the metrics and the magic of their launch, and celebrate with them.

I don’t need to tell you the world needs healing right now. So we need these spiritual entrepreneurs and soul-driven business owners to lead the way, and they can’t do that if they are struggling to make ends meet or if they don’t know what to say or how to say it.

This year’s goal is to train more spiritual entrepreneurs to find their voice, nail their messaging, and launch their mission to heal the world.

This brings me to this new adventure with CXL Institute.

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I was not going to invest in any more business training. I was instead going to focus on personal growth and healing past traumas keeping me stuck. Then I would invest in coaches and courses that supported my physical transformation to finally complete my trek to Everest Basecamp.

So when a client was struggling to get Facebook Ads to work, and I went searching for the best Facebook Ads training, and I ran across, my promise went out the door.

It was not because of the Facebook Ads training (although it looked amazing, my client decided to hire an agency instead of figuring it out in-house).

But because I found this:

CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Certification Training Program

It is everything I’ve ever wanted in a training course — rockstar teachers (Momoko Price and Talia Wolf — are you kidding me?), fascinating topics (persuasion, behavioral psychology, user experience, cognitive biases, neuromarketing — I’m in heaven), and a chance to gain a cool certification to post on the ole website.

Now, I’m not known for following through on the online courses’ front, so I went into Week 1 pretty sure I would know almost everything. I have been doing this copywriting thing for seven years.

Holy cow. I think I learned more from this one section than most of my other copywriting training. No joke. It was that good.

Below I want to share some of my biggest takeaways and list out a few ways to put what I’ve learned to use with my clients.

Lesson 1: Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Persuasion

Any study of influence and persuasion starts with Robert Cialdini’s seven principles of persuasion:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment/Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity
  7. Unity

Here are some examples of how to incorporate more persuasion into your business.

  • Give people free tools, free downloads, free goodies that they benefit from, and they’ll be way more likely to buy something from you.
  • Show impressive numbers. Tell what other people are doing. Show off testimonials and social media followers.
  • Use your website’s About page to humanize the entire company and increase its likeability, which in turn boosts the conversion rate of site visitors.
  • Create a “shared identity” with your community by using your own specific language, offering exclusivity or a “one of us” feeling, and designing co-creating experiences.

Lesson 2: Fogg Behavior Model

Fogg Behavior Model is the formula:

Behavior = motivation x ability x trigger

Three core motivators, each with two sides.

Motivator #1: Pleasure / Pain
Motivator #2: Hope / Fear

Motivator #3: Social Acceptance / Rejection

But motivation is not enough. Ability is more important because it’s easier to increase conversions by making it easier to do, not by increasing motivation.

I want you to get this. I think this is the most important, game-changing, holy cow statement of the entire Week 1:

The more “work” prospects need to do to understand and/or buy what you offer; the higher motivation is needed. Most people don’t want to be taught and trained. They want single-click and done behaviors. Also — don’t ask people to do something that’s against their routine. If they put their kids to sleep at 8 pm, don’t have your webinar at 8 pm.

How many webinars do I have to sit through at 6 pm while my dogs stare at me with their food bowls? How many course creators insist on closing their carts at midnight on Friday night?

The final piece of the formula is the trigger. Without an appropriate trigger, the action you desire won’t’ happen no matter how motivated and able they are. This is why I spend an obscene amount of time coming up with call-to-action prompts and why it is one of the most important pieces to test — especially on a sales page.

Lesson 3: Lessons from Neuromarketing

Did you know we have three brains? Well, at least three layers. Each layer has its own functions: the “New Brain” thinks, the “Middle Brain” feels, and the “Old Brain” decides.

So which brain do we need to engage during a launch? Yep, all three — but the Old Brain drives the launch copy.

So how can we use what we know about the Old Brain to support our launch?

  1. Focus on your customer. Old Brain is selfish and only cares about self-preservation. Make everything about them.
  2. Provide clear contrasting reasons to buy. Contrast is important.

3. Make your message simple and tangible. Ground your copy into reality.

4. Address the pain, clarify your results, and differentiate your offer from everything else out there.

5. Use visuals and design to create flow and seduction on your sales page and in your emails.

6. Use emotions and novelty to keep the attention and get as many people as possible to read your copy.

Lesson 4: A Big List of Persuasion Techniques

I don’t even know where to begin. Wowza, what a list. Here are some of my favorites:

Focusing effect

What it means: We can only pay attention to a few things.
How to use it: Put the focus on only a few (a max of three) unique selling propositions (USPs).

Self-generation affect effect

What it means: If we figured it out ourselves, we like it better.
How to use it: Ask questions in your content and ask your customer to think of one or two USPs herself.

Belonging & Conformity

What it means: We prefer to behave in approval with our social groups.
How to use it: Create an exclusive, you belong here community to launch your offers to.

Paradox of choice

What it means: We love either 3 or 5 options.
How to use it: Focus on 3 to 5 solid, well-constructed,” benefit-outcome bullet points instead of a long list of half-baked general ideas.

Hyperbolic Discounting

What it means: We show a preference for rewards that arrive sooner rather than later.
How to use it: This could help decide on your bonus strategy and why I love offering fast action bonuses and early bird special pricing.

Lesson 5: Cognitive Biases — We’re All Affected By Them

Another mind-blowing section. Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways. As a copywriter or even course creator, we need to be aware of the kinds of biases that exist and how our target users might be affected by them.

Here are some of the most fascinating cognitive biases covered in this section:

Dunning-Kruger effect
The tendency for unskilled individuals to overestimate their own ability and the tendency for experts to underestimate their own ability. I see this one a lot on Twitter. I also think it is called “mansplaining).

Default effect
When given a choice between several options, the tendency is to favor the default one. This is why you’ll often see opt-in boxes already checked and why, when presented with three offers, the middle one is usually larger and stands out.

False-Consensus Bias
It’s the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them. I see this one a lot when talking to clients about their ideal clients, which often seem to be just like them. Assuming your clients think and behave the same way you do is dangerous. This is why I love to do voice of customer interviews and a lot of research before a launch.

Lesson 6: Emotional and Rational Decision Making

Basically, it is the idea that people make decisions using both emotions and ration. We decide with our heart and justify that decision with our head.

So when launching, remember: Decision-making is not logical. That’s why your copy has to be emotional.

This is also a throw-back to the neuromarketing lesson that our Old Brain makes decisions, so we need to make sure to make the launch experience about the customer (remember, our Old Brain is selfish).

Lesson 7: How People View Websites

Key takeaways:
- The top left corner gets the attention first.
- People read in F-patterns.
- The bottom right terminal area is where you should place your call to action.
- Also, I desperately need a new website.

Lesson 8: E-commerce Product Page Study: Value Perceptions and Image Size

This was a cool chance to put into action what we’ve learned by deciding which image of a shirt would be the most effective on an e-commerce site.

One question. I got it right. Just call me a genius — Ready for my Mensa card.

Lesson 9: Cognitive Fluency

The week’s final lesson was on cognitive fluency, the human tendency to prefer things that are familiar and easy to understand.

See, our brains are lazy, or maybe just too busy doing other things like making us breathe and function, so we need to keep things simple.

For marketers, this means that the easier to understand your offer is, the more likely people are to buy it.

So, for goodness sake, make your offer and pricing as easy to understand as possible.

That goes for launch offers and funnels, too.

Why do we make things so hard on ourselves?

Make your website easy to navigate.
Make your opt-in page easy to give an email address.
Make your sales page easy to read and make a decision.
Make your checkout page easy to complete.
Make your onboarding process easy to go through.
Make your launch easy to execute.

So, that’s some of what I learned this week. It’s a lot, right? But now I get to put this new-found knowledge to use.

Here are a few ways I am going to implement these suggestions into my own business and that of my clients:

My own website (did I mention I need to redo the whole thing?:

  • Redo my offers to make it much simpler
  • Add more emotion and community connection
  • Add visual cues and better images
  • Rewrite my About Me page
  • Position myself against other launch copywriters who aren’t launch strategists and who can’t ground them in their purpose throughout the launch
  • Update and promote my free offer
  • Add more social proof to my site and social media profiles
  • Create a plan to become an authority (podcasts?)
  • Weave more hope into all my copy
  • Create a small intro offer (green dot behavior)

My clients:

  • Look at triggers for all client landing pages and funnels
  • I think contrast can be improved in my copy overall.
  • Simply all USPs for upcoming launches
  • Add heat maps to A’s two program pages
  • What about adding Proof or Prove Source popup when someone signs up for the blueprint?
  • Create more of a family, more exclusivity, more of our own language for As community.
  • Pitch case studies to A and C.
  • Add sales team to A’s website and mentors to program pages.
  • Position A against rest of industry (started doing this in the last launch)

That’s all I got. I’d love to know what you learned or what questions you’ve got. Leave me a comment below.

Next week I’ll cover Attention Basics.

Until then,




Launch strategist and copywriter for spiritual entrepreneurs on a mission to heal the world.

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Kristina Shands

Kristina Shands

Launch strategist and copywriter for spiritual entrepreneurs on a mission to heal the world.

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