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The Seven Deadly Sins and Advertising: Techniques to Draw New Customers

Alright, this is fascinating to me. Over at Smashing Magazine, a group of designers and writers known as ZURB, submitted an article about utilizing the legendary Seven Deadly Sins to turn site visitors into customers. This is a clever article about legitimate marketing techniques, and it's a fun and easy way to really think about how you want to sell your product. Not only can this be applied to banner and sign design, but in any other media of advertising that you're leaning towards.

I'll summarize the gist of the article below, but if you'd like to read the whole enchilada, cruise on over HERE.

Pride

Pretty simple. By showcasing the pride you have in your products, especially with sales numbers, etc.  a customer can fall in love with the legitimacy. Another way is to showcase brand names and well-known companies associated with your business or who have used your product. Big names like FaceBook, Costco, or AT&T...you get the picture. Their names will hold up yours on a higher pedestal above your competitors, and for some customers, success like that is attractive.

Gluttony

Everyone is thrifty: we like it cheap, we like it packaged, we like it instant. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This technique is all about putting your best offers up front: sign up and get "this", here's a new 2-for-1 package, etc. Giving visitors an instant opportunity to catch a good deal can guarantee returning customers down the road. Don't be ashamed to exploit that new deal you've got going. Make it loud, make it awesome, make it once-in-a-lifetime and we will come flocking.

Sloth

This one is kind of difficult, but it's more to the effect of the opposite of laziness: constantly updating blogs, Twitter and RSS feeds, a solid stream of updates, anything to make you look like you're constantly on the move and updating new things.  You appear cultured, in tune with news of the day, and knowledgable with what you're trying to sell. A technique like this is especially great for websites.

Envy

Over in the original article, ZURB used FourSquare as an example of making others envious of your status. When checking-in, players can earn points and eventually become "mayor" or a real location. As mayor, you can get special offers and considerations. Other businesses create response sections that showcase customers' appreciation: "I love my new [blank], and I lost 35 lbs!", "Can't get enough of this!", or "Thanks to [insert name] for being an awesome customer! You've just won [blank]". Sentences like these can make visitors eager to try and win or gain that appreciation that others have been showered with.

Lust

Usually though of as something sexual, it can actually stand for something extremely attractive (like shiny or sexy), but is only attainable at a high cost. You see it on ads and websites all the time: glamor shots of that brand new iPad, new car models, or a fancy perfume or watch. So shiny....

Greed

This more aimed at services that require collecting something. For FourSquare, it's points, for Twitter it's followers, for Pinterest, it's that urge to pin as much as possible (of which I am guilty). It's a seemingly simple marketing technique that makes the customer come back for more and more of whatever is the goal, even if it's free. No play, no gain.

Wrath

Mostly used by review sites like Amazon or Best Buy, customers can rank their reviews on products and what hurts is that businesses can't delete these comments. Sometimes, "flamers" will pit two products against each other: "[blank company] makes a MUCH better tablet than [blank company]", "[blank] has terrible service, try [blank] instead". Vengeful and a little back-stabby, this less kind technique is to be used with caution. Bashing on other companies that you share competition with is not recommended (unless it's subtle...)

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