What is the Rule of Consistency?
People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done. Consistency is activated by looking for and asking for small initial commitments that can be made. In other words, once we have publically committed to something or someone, we are much more likely to go through with the plan.
What do the Studies Say?
Example 1: In one set of studies researchers found that people would be unwilling to put up a wooden board in their front lawn that said “Drive Safely!” for a neighborhood safety initiative.
However, in a similar neighborhood there was a study that was 4 times likely to place a sign on their lawn that said “Drive Safely”.
Why would one neighborhood be more likely to do this rather than another?
This is because 10 days previously, they were asked to place a small postcard in their front window that signaled their support for a drive safely campaign.
That small postcard was the initial commitments that lead to a 400% increase in a much bigger, but consistent change.
What We Can Learn From the Consistency Principle
When you are looking to bring about larger changes, instead of trying to just ask someone for a huge favor or to commit to something in one shot the best way is to find Voluntary, Active, and Public Commitments. Ideally, these people get the commitments in writing.
Example 2: One hospital reduced the missed appointments by 18% by sampling asking the patients to write down appointment details, rather than the staff, on the future appointment card.
How Does the Principle of Consistency Work in Content Marketing?
The hardest thing to do is get someone to your website, who is truly interested in what you have to say, but you really need to start to own your traffic. What do I mean by owning your traffic? You have to get someone to commit to returning to your website. How do you use the rule of consistency to get visitors to return?
Marketers just need to have the site visitor commit to something relatively small, which can actually and eventually lead to bigger results. Like the doctors example, you need the visitor to take a physical action to commit to your website.
Most people start with something that is completely free, make sure that it is truly FREE, like an eBook in exchange for an email address. In the case of software, you can have them create something like a free account.
If you can use “signup with your Gmail, Facebook or twitter” buttons make a huge play. They are easy to use and it’s only one click.
With the signup, you are likely to increase the loyalty of the site visitor overall. Think of it this way, they had to take a physical action in order and committed to something that you were offering.
Once you have users say, “Yes” the first time, it slowly and surely opens up the gates to eventually get another yes from them. This is the first part in starting your content marketing funnel strategy. So, if you’re going to sell an eCourse or anything larger in the future, this is the very first step.
Get your visitors to “Like, Share, etc” on your social media networks. It is a small commitment, but if you have a creative way to do this, then when you do offer a free eBook, you could easily get many more signups.
In order to use the consistency principle, make sure you always have the person have some form of physical commitment first. Once they physically commit to something, it will eventually open the doorway for you to sell them larger products. One tip I can say is, don’t just offer something free and the next second say, “here’s a $500 product!”, your unsubscribe list will be huge. You will need to build someone up to larger commitments, but we will talk about that in the funnel strategy.
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Take care and best of luck to you in your content marketing efforts.