Marketers are always cooking up schemes to get people to take some action: watch a video, read a blog post, join a mailing list, buy a product...

You've seen their limited-time offers, special introductory prices, social proof, iron-clad guarantees, stacks of bonuses, and a billion other tricks they use to try to motivate you to act.

How often do you take the bait?

Not very often, right?

More importantly (for you), how often do the people you're trying to spur into action take the bait?

Not nearly often enough!

You've applied every trick exactly the way you were taught, but nobody's buying. What's the problem?

Motivation.

"But," you say, "isn't that what all those techniques are supposed to do -- motivate people to act?"

Well, yeah. Sort of. But if people aren't acting, obviously, something's missing.

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Similarly, the incentives you use to try to motivate yourself, affiliates and JV partners may fall flat. In fact, today, Yaro Starak wrote about how incentives and rewards can hurt your business:

So, how can getting financial rewards or material incentives for working harder, smarter, faster and better possibly be detrimental to our business? Dan Pink says there are seven fatal flaws in this way of working. Material rewards and incentives can:

  • extinguish intrinsic motivation
  • diminish performance
  • crush creativity
  • crowd out good behavior
  • encourage cheating
  • become addictive
  • foster short term thinking

...

Reader Comment:
Nikole Fairview said:
Motivation is a very interesting thing. This is something that all marketers are aiming to use in their appeals and offers, yet very few actually achieve. This is the major reason why so few people actually take action. Whether we want them to watch ...
(join the conversation below)

The reason we are the ghosts in the machine is that our three greatest motivators are autonomy, mastery and purpose. These are motivational forces from within, and they don't go away.

Let me tell you a story that speaks to a few of the flaws Yaro listed.

I've got a storage room in my basement that has swallowed up quite a few of my kids' toys. One way that they can get toys out of storage is to try new foods.

Anybody who has finicky kids won't be surprised to hear that it's next to impossible to get ours to try anything new (even to get a toy).

But what proves Yaro's point is that sometimes, they'll resist eating something they know they'll like because we won't give them a toy for it!

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