CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 6 Review

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

This week, I cheated a bit. I just attended a copywriting conference where I got to hear Momoko Price speak and couldn’t resist sneaking ahead to her course on Product Messaging. Let me tell you, it is as good as it gets. Not only does she get super nerdy with metrics and spreadsheets, she explains things so clearly and shares real-world examples. Her sales page teardown checklist is amazing, so much so that I am going to pitch it to a prospect on our sales call this week.

Momoko’s lessons — and I’ve only been through about a third of her course, have given me so much confidence. Not only because she provides the templates that I can use with my own clients, but because I wasn’t doing things as badly as I thought. After four years as a copywriter, and nine years as a freelancer, I’ve picked up a few things. With what I am learning in this digital psychology minidegree, I feel like I am going to be unstoppable. I already feel a difference in what I know I am capable of and how I see myself positioned in my niche.

I didn’t really take notes from Momoko’s lessons, so the rest of this review will be on Roger Dooley’s Cognitive Biases course. I got through most of it, but still have 22 biases to go over. Yikes, I didn’t realize I was that far behind.

Before we dive into some of my biggest takeaways from this week, I want to remind you that you can read my previous reviews by clicking the links below.

CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 1 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 2 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 3 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 4 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 5 Review

And if you are interested in checking out this training program for yourself (I highly recommend it), then visit the CXL Institute.

In today’s society, we’re continually challenged by information and choice overload. As a way to sift through this chaos more easily, our brains create and store systematic mental patterns through which observable behaviors are performed and to some degree, can be predicted. This system of decision-making can be irrational at times, however (probably due to the sheer number of choices we face on a regular basis).

Ok, so you can learn about biases from Wikipedia; there is a massive list of them. Roger shared this graphic. Cognitive biases are broken into four quadrants of memory, meaning, quantity of information, and urgency.

I’m not going to go through each lesson but offer a collective list of takeaways since we’ve touched on a lot of these in previous lessons.

  • Statistics don’t change minds. But you can confirm biases.
  • Use vivid stories and personal examples, not probabilities, to persuade.
  • The easier it is to remember something, the more important that something is.
  • A great example is that amusement park rides that had harder-to-say names were considered more dangerous than easier-to-say names. Same goes for people’s names.
  • The first fact that comes to mind is what we consider most important. It’s why we might think that flying is so dangerous because when we think of airplanes, we recall the latest crash, which is actually pretty rare.
  • Set high but realistic expectations to improve customer experience.
  • People tend to be socially correct rather than truthful.
  • Don’t confuse feedback from a person with their opinion of a company or product. We want researchers to think we are nice so we tend to hold back what we might perceive as ugly truths.
  • This is a big one…The fear of a loss is often more motivating than desiring a gain.
  • Our brains don’t always work as rational logical computers. We make decisions that don’t always make complete sense.

Can you guess which frame is more effective and persuasive?

GAIN Frame: Save $1000 in energy costs every year!
LOSS Frame: Don’t lose $1000 in energy costs every year!

Yep, for most of us, loss aversion is much more of a motivator than saving money.

Did you know that Ben Franklin is the father of influencer outreach? He employed his knowledge of consistency and cognitive dissonance to get the attention of someone initially beyond his reach.

He did this by making a logical request. The person who was ignoring his outreach efforts owned a rare book that Franklin asked to borrow. This led to a bias called Reverse Reciprocity, where you ask for a favor now to get one later. It would have created cognitive dissonance if the man let Franklin borrow his book but he refused to consider his request to meet. It’s how Franklin finally got the chance to meet with him face-to-face, all because he borrowed a book.

Framing Bias is one of my favorites to use. Here are some tips for using it in your marketing:

  • Write copy to emphasize loss, risk, and uncertainty
  • Test different frames
  • Don’t be too overly negative

Adjectives that work:

  • Vivid
  • Sensory
  • Emotional/nostalgic — i.e. Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies
  • Specific — i.e. fresh-caught Alaskan salmon
  • Branded

Authority opinion trusted more, even when not relevant.

When considering the authority bias, it’s more relevant to place less emphasis on what was said and more on who said it. This bias can add tremendous persuasive power when implemented cleverly.

Use language (and visual cues) that prime customers for your offer.

Build credibility and liking first.

There is so much to unpack here. First of all, do we even think for ourselves? Second, I can see how easy it is to manipulate large swaths of the country based on a few of these biases already covered, namely confirmation bias.

It looks like this (and used on both sides).

Nobody I know voted for Biden so he couldn’t possibly have won. Fox News reports what I already know to be true so it must be the truth.

I’m going to add more notes to this article as I complete the course so hang tight. More cognitive biases are on the way.




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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