Motivating Your Visitors: Carrots, Sticks, and X-Wings

You know the story of Luke Skywalker?

The main protagonist in Star Wars who goes from humble beginnings to become the greatest jedi knight the galaxy has ever known?

Okay. Good.

Here’s the thing about Luke Skywalker: he never would’ve started his journey if he didn’t have the proper motivation.

He was bored to tears living with his aunt and uncle on his home planet, Tatooine. But he was just like every other farm boy who was too big for his britches – his thoughts of escape were limited to daydreams and fantasy.

It took the arrival of two precocious droids and his aunt and uncle’s deaths to get him to hop on the Millennium Falcon and start his quest.

In other words, it took some serious motivation to get Luke out of his rut and into action.

The people you want to become your customers are a lot like this.

They have real problems – problems your business can help them solve – causing them pain. But it’s oh so comfortable to linger in a state of non-action. It’ll probably take some motivation to get them to pull the trigger.

The type of motivation that’ll work best for you depends on your audience and what you’re selling.

There’s “carrot” motivation and there’s “stick” motivation.

We chase carrots.

And we run away from sticks.

In Star Wars, Luke had both. Stormtroopers murdered his family and were looking for him. So it made sense to get away – fast.

But there was also an intriguing message from Princess Leia, along with a natural curiosity to explore the world, propelling him forward.

Stick and carrot.

There’s a generalization going around that “people’s desire to avoid pain trumps their desire to gain pleasure.”

But that generalization doesn’t hold up with certain audiences. Aspiring entrepreneurs have a completely different risk tolerance than, say, postal workers.

You can use the carrot, the stick, or both. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

Are you confident you’re motivating your target customers in the most effective way?

The only way to know for sure is to experiment, track, and refine.

It’s one of the most important elements of successful web copy. Way too many business owners aren’t giving it enough time or attention.

But you can. Play around with this, and you’ll get more prospects off Tatooine and into your sales pipeline.