“Did you know that 78% of business leaders found this article useful?”
Ok, we made that stat up. But if it were true, it could encourage you to read the whole article. Why? It’s simple social proof: other people found it useful, so there’s a good chance you will too.
Techniques like this are known as ‘nudges’, using behavioral economics to help encourage certain actions1.
How to design your own ‘nudge’
While behavioral economics is an academic discipline, it’s not a science: human emotions cannot be described by an equation. People can’t explain why they do things, making observed actions so much more meaningful than reported intentions.
This means testing is essential if a nudge is to be a success. Work up a theory and A/B test it. Try variations. Experiment. But always remember that success is unlikely on your first attempt.