The Simplest Way To Increase Your Online Sales

As marketers, we have ultimate control over the outcomes of our marketing.

  • We decide what to sell;
  • We decide how to sell it;
  • We decide the steps someone needs to undertake to buy it;
  • And we provide them with the reasons for buying.

Motivation and Simplicity

BJ Fogg is the founder of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab – as well as being the father of of Captology, the study of technology as a tool for persuasion.

And he has this great model for persuasive design, which lives in my Moleskine notebook:

Imagine the target behaviour is the “sale” or “signup” or behaviour you want visitors to your website to complete.

The higher someone’s motivation is towards that behaviour, and the easier it is for them to reach that goal, the higher the likelihood is that they’ll perform that target behaviour.

But the more complicated the target behaviour is to complete, or the less motivated someone is to complete it, the more likely they are to fail to complete it.

In short – the higher you set the bar, the higher you’re asking people to leap.

Our Tools of Influence

If we want to convince someone to do something, it means there are only two tools at our disposal:

  1. We can make things simpler;
  2. Or we can convince people more effectively.

Most marketing work focuses on the latter – convincing people more effectively. We use better promotion tactics, a better offer, more reasons to buy, less risk, more “checkmoves” and promos/ads/emails/phone calls, etc…

But if the target behaviour is still difficult (low simplicity), you’re still going to miss out on signups and sales from people who would otherwise WANT to buy.

So it’s worth asking how you can simplify the behaviour you want people to complete.

  • Can you remove steps in the process?
  • Can you request less information from the customer in the early stages?
  • Can you reduce clicks?
  • Can you reduce the “mental effort” required for making a decision?
  • Can you reduce distractions on the page?

The simplest way to increase online sales is to find the simplest way someone can buy from you.


If you’re interested in increasing your influence (as a leader, marketer, or salesperson) using quality, make sure you’re subscribed to receive the next part of this series:

-Brent Hodgson