Telling people the reason why you are doing something is one of the most powerful influencers of human behavior.
Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. in his book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" talks about an experiment by Harvard social psychologist, Ellen Langer, that concluded people like to have a reason for what they do.
Her experiment consisted of people waiting in line to use a library copy machine and then having experimenters ask to get ahead in line.
The first excuse used was "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?" This request coupled with a reason was successful 94% of the time. However when the experimenter made a request only: "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?" this request was only granted 60% of the time. A significant drop.
Okay now for the shocker…
It may seem like the difference between those two requests was the additional information of "because I'm in a rush", but that's just not the case. Because in a third experiment, the experimenter asks "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?" There's no reason mentioned or new information presented, just the added word, "because".
This time a full 93% of the people said yes simply due to the word 'BECAUSE'! And it didn't even matter that there was no reason given. Just adding the word “because” triggered a magic response.
Using this psychological “Hot Button” can massively increase your sales online (and offline).
Here's an example: John E. Powers, one of the top copywriters in the 1900's, wrote this ad for a Pittsburgh department store in severe financial trouble:
"We are bankrupt. We owe $125,000 more than we can pay, and this announcement will bring our creditors down on our necks. But if you come and *buy* tomorrow, we shall have the money to meet them. If not, we shall go to the wall."
Instead of yelling 'SALE' like so many other stores would, there's a legitimate reason given why people should spend their money at this store. And this ad was said to beresponsible for saving the store.
Max Sackheim, famous for the long-running ad "Do You Make These Mistakes In English" and originator of the book-of-the-month concept, says this: "Whenever you make a claim or special offer in youradvertising, come up with an honest reason why, and then state it sincerely. You'll sell many more products this way."
And this powerful strategy works just as well today.