CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 9 Review

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This is the week where the wheels begin to fall off the trailer. Notes to self: Anything longer than eight weeks is too long.

I don’t have any idea the metrics for this course but I would bet that this is the point where the progress stops — or at least slows down. Maybe it’s the materials or maybe it’s because we’ve learned so much so far that I am ready to implement, implement, implement.

But also this material is heavier. It feels more like a college lecture than the others and impossible to move through quickly or even take notes.

Don’t get me wrong. It is GREAT stuff. But I am tired of learning and not doing and haven’t had enough opportunities to put what I’ve learned into action — and that is frustrating.

I feel like I am behind and struggling to “catch up” even after spending around 4 hours a week watching videos and taking notes. This minidegree isn’t for the faint of heart, and I’m glad about that. I want to be that person that does what others won’t and this is it. So I keep going…

Before we dive into some of my biggest takeaways, 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
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 6 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 7 Review
CXL Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree — Week 8 Review

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


This week I completed the Influence and Interactive Design course and began the Digital Psychology & Behavioral Design Training (which includes a certificate at the end — how exciting!).

Both courses are taught by Dr. Brian Cugelman. The goal of the first course is to create concrete tactical design strategies to keep customers repeatedly engaging with your product or service. We do this by identifing desired outcomes and achieve each one with a unique design strategy.

We learn (via design) to:

  • Direct Attention
  • Educate your Customers
  • Evoke Emotion
  • Remove Friction in Decision Making
  • Build Trust & Credibility

Concentrating: They have to know we exist and they have to see what we are offering them. Those benefits and outcomes must be communicated if we want to get into their conscious awareness.

Trust is not a motivator. It is distrust we are worried about. If they don’t trust our infrastructure or question if we can deliver, then they won’t make a decision or take action.

Abandonment: At some point, people stop taking action so we must implement a re-engagement campaign from the beginning.

Direct attention — Key information that they need to make a decision must be focused and visible.

Advocate ideas/solutions — Target audience must be educated on your product or service. Don’t assume they know how you work or understand your frameworks.

Evoke emotions that motivate target audience — Design motivating value propositions and offers by using strategic messaging techniques.

Support decision making — Eliminate friction in the audience’s mind to encourage decision-making.

Assure outcomes — Assure your audience that your company is dependable and safe.

Facilitate action — How do we make it easy for people who want to do business with us, to do business with us? B

Provide a clear path for action — Don’t make them figure out how to enroll or wonder how to pay or anything that could stop them in their tracks when they have their credit card in hand.

Trigger responses — Familiarize customers with your processes so that they know when and how to act.

Support progress — Be nice, helpful, and supportive to customers.

Re-engage — How do we bring back potential customers who have dropped off?

Evoking Emotion

Evoking emotion is normally the first thing you want to go for. And you can do it through a value proposition.

Value proposition: A promise that says: “If you do X you will get Y.”

What motivates people? So many models/formulas but this course is focused on evolutionary psychology and the neurochemistry of motivation.

Left side: Motivate through loss aversion

Right side: Motivate through incentives or what we desire

Level 1: Immediate physiological — Cortisol level (stress response) — avoiding threats. Marketing at this level can be a little bit negative in terms of avoiding risks.

Level 2: Self-protection — Feeling safe and secure and not threatened mostly at the social level but maybe also at the environmental level.

Level 3: Affiliation — Oxytocin and the human desire to connect with other people. We can trigger oxytocin simply by interacting with people, which also builds trust.

Level 4: Status — People are motivated by status, social comparison. We do have a hierarchy in our society. Elite brands use status for the basis of messaging

There are dangers to marketing around status or self-esteem.

People can be left feeling inadequate like they lack power and control over their life.

Level 5: Mate acquisition — Desire for love and sex and parenting …

Time to decide

At this point, we want to do everything we can to help them make a decision.

Avoid analysis paralysis. Don’t give them too many or not enough options.

How to block user decisiveness:

  • Only offer one option
  • Overwhelm them with too many options
  • Place features your users want into different packages so they have no reasonably priced option
  • Ensure the costs outweigh the benefits
  • Any other strategies…

Two schools of thought:

The old adage of appealing to hearts and minds is still relative today. We have to deal with not just those rational motivations, but also, people will be pushed by rules of thumb.

Persuasion is only about 20–30% of the decision-making process.

The value prop — core offering — drives a lot.

We have to spell things out for them.

Trust and credibility

Made up their mind and ready to take action but one thing that might stop them in their tracks is trust.

We tend to make our trust/distrust judgments very quickly.

Credibility is one of the keys to getting trust.

Two main dimensions to credibility:

1. Expertise — We know what we’re talking about, we’re domain experts, we spend time in the field. And if people do business with us, they can be reasonably assured we’re going to get the outcomes because we know how to.

2. Honesty- We have integrity and ethics, and that we do what we say we’re going to do. When we make a promise to someone, we do our best to deliver on that promise.

Now, people who are credible, companies that are credible, and brands that are credible are extremely influential.

A trashed reputation is basically many people having bad experiences and talking about it. And so other people think, if I go with that company or brand, I’m going to get the bad outcome.

Re-engaging customers

Most companies struggle to hold on to users so we need to put in re-engagement strategies right from the onset.

Examples of abandonment:

  • Seduced by your competitors
  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • Unmotivated/disinterested
  • Program non-compliance
  • Lacking self-confidence
  • Distrusting/skeptical
  • Unable/unskilled
  • Unsubscribing
  • Too busy

Want to qualify why someone has dropped and do whatever it takes to re-engage them

Remind them some of the original reasons they liked us at the first.

There is also a point where we give up.


Next week I will have completed the entire Digital Psychology & Behavioral Design training and will include my notes in that blog post.




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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