Must. Press. This. Button. (3 secrets to an irresistible appeal)

You know that feeling you get when you just have to click that button? Because it just feels too important not to? Or, it’s something that is just too good to pass up? We’ve all been there. It can almost feel futile to resist.

But wait a minute. We get hit with thousands of messages a day. What is it about these special few that make them so irresistible?

Organizations relentlessly vie for our attention, our business, our donations, and more. The ones that grab us (and our wallets) know that there are 3 secrets that make their appeals irresistible.


1. It's personal

These organizations understand how to relate their story in a way that makes it feel personal to us. They don’t speak in generalities. They don’t address us as part of some large undefined group. They make it feel like it’s just us. It’s about what each of us has to gain (or lose!) And they make us feel like it’s up to each of us to make things turn out like they should.

2. It’s emotional

They don’t try to rationalize us into caring. They understand that our decision-making mechanism is rooted in the emotional side of our brains. They connect with powerful feelings. If there are rational facts and figures, they always connect to a larger emotional idea. But most of all, they help us aspire to what we could be and do.

3. It’s urgent

They don’t allow us to think, “Oh, that’s a nice idea. I’ll have to think about that sometime.” They make the need immediate. Like we need to stop what we’re doing and make a decision. We feel like there is something at stake that is too great to put aside for another time. If they have done a good job making it personal and emotional, it becomes even easier to impart this sense of urgency.

You can’t fake the appeal.

This can’t be said enough. You can’t manufacture an appeal. It has to be genuine. If we don’t understand what is important to those we’re hoping to serve, it will come off as manipulative. If we rely purely on sensationalism to tug at their emotions, they will see right through us. And if we try to scare or threaten them into action, we’ll not only lose their attention, we may alienate them from any future appeal.

The great thing about these 3 secrets is that we can hold any of our efforts up to them. It is amazing how they reveal the weaknesses of an idea we may be too close to. Or, better yet, show us the path to strengthen something to the point where it just feels irresistible.

ProcessDan Salva