How To Get Customers To Say Yes Using Marketing Psychology: The Fogg Behavior Model

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Below is a transcript of the Chatbot Marketing Training Course by and Isaac Rudansky, of Adventure Media. Get the full course here and become a messenger marketing master. Everything you learn here can be designed using the free chatbot builder in

Howdy chat bot fans, and welcome back to this exciting lecture we’re going to talk about the Fogg behavioral model.

For those of you who have seen my landing page design course, you’ll be very familiar with this because we spoke about it then, but it bears repeating and it bears reviewing, and it’s certainly worth learning for the first time because this is a model of human behavior that permeates every single design project that I have ever done since I learnt it, landing pages, writing ads, designing emails, and most certainly an especially designing Facebook chat bots.

So, first who was Fogg? BJ Fogg is a behavioral scientist currently teaching at Stanford University. He’s a pioneer of a type of study called behavior design, which is in his words helping technology successfully and positively impact human behavior.

BJ Fogg ran the first ever series of experiments to discover how computers can change people’s attitudes and behaviors as a doctoral student at Stanford in the 1990s.

He’s most famous for the Fogg behavioral model, which he coined and invented in 2007 at Stanford University.

You could check him out at, he gives workshops, he gives his classes all around the country, he has lots of different interesting students who have lots of video content, it’s really cool stuff, you can check him out online. But, for now let’s jump over to the whiteboard, and actually talk about what the Fogg behavioral model is.

The Fogg behavioral model is a very simple way to understand all of human behaviors, and you could break down really any action you think of, any behavior in this way. So, the behavioral model says as follows “B = M A T” okay?

So B stands for behavior. A behavior occurs when you have three things; when you have motivation, ability, you need to be motivated to perform the behavior, you need to have the ability to perform the behavior, and you need a trigger.

And sometimes you’ll see the Fogg behavior model written as M A P, map, which is a prompt, but the same thing, right? You need a trigger, ability, and motivation.

Any behavior could be trace down to these three things, so for example, I’m here shooting this course on a Sunday afternoon, I’m tired, it’s pouring rain, why am I doing it? We could break it down.

Well, I’m motivated to do it because I’m hoping that it will grow my business, and it will help generate more revenue for my company, and it will help make people better marketers which brings me joy.

I have the ability to do it, I have a camera, I have a camera crew, I have a laptop, I have a whiteboard, okay? I have the ability, I have the knowledge and the expertise, and the intelligence to teach the course.

And I have a trigger, Larry Kim called me and said “Isaac, get your ass in gear and make a course,” right?

So, that was basically the breakdown of the Fogg behavior model for my behavior. You could break this down for any inactivity, if you’re sitting at home at night, and the doorbell rings, and you don’t get up to get the doorbell, right?

so you were either lacking in motivation to get the doorbell, maybe you knew who it was and you didn’t want to do it, you could have been lacking an ability to get the doorbell where you might not have heard it, you were in the shower, or whatever it may have been.

Or you were lacking the trigger, that’s that the door Bell didn’t ring, right? in our case that doorbell is the actual trigger.

So, if you take a moment to think about this, any behavior, any action, could be broken down into three these three components, and you need all three of these components, you need a trigger, ability, and motivation for any behavior to occur.

And it’s really incredible when you realize how simple it is, but also how elegant of a formula it is at the exact same time.
Now, what does this mean for us in marketing?

Well, we are trying to trigger— whatever we do with Facebook chat bots or any other type of advertising we do, we’re trying to trigger a certain behavior, right?

we want to get people to sign up for our newsletter, to read a case study, to attend a webinar, to register for an event, to buy a product to fill out a sales from, to make a phone call, to click a link, whatever it Is, we’re trying to trigger people to do behaviors.

And if we understand why those behaviors are not occurring, we’ll be able to understand how to trigger the behavior to occur.

So, here’s a look at what the plot of the Fogg behavioral model looks like. The y-axis, and you have an x-axis, and over here we’re going to say this axis is going to be called motivation, so I’ll just write it down with this, “motivation”, and up here we’ll have “high motivation” at the top, down here you have “low motivation”, okay?

Now, over here you have an ability scale, or perceived ability, or perceived difficulty, there’s different ways to call it.

Ability is, let’s say, easy, this is an easy task, I’m sorry we’re going to put— over here you have it’s a difficult task, or complex, and on this scale, you have easy, simple. And in the fog behavior model you have an action line, and that action line looks something like this, okay?

Now, on this part of the action line, in this space behaviors are failing, the triggers are unsuccessful to get a behavior to occur, and we’ll explain why that is in a minute. On this part of the action line behaviors are occurring and triggers are successful.

Now, let’s just see very simply what’s happening here.

So, say you have a task that you want your visitors to take, or you have a behavior you want your visitors to take, and it seems to be hard and complex, the perception of the ability, or the perceived ability is that this is very difficult and my motivation is very low, right?

so I’m going to fall right around over here, that’s not going to happen. And even if it’s if it’s extremely hard and my motivation is even a little bit high, the behavior might not happen, and of course this is not a perfect line, and it’s different in different cases, but this is your basic idea.

As perceived ability gets easier, and this task seems simpler, and as motivation increases, you’re going up into this territory, and you’re going to get that behavior to occur, because people will perform behaviors when they’re highly motivated to do so, and their perceived ability is very high, they feel that they have the ability to do so as well.

So, take an example, say you’re a personal injury attorney and you’re trying to get somebody to submit paperwork on your site, I would say that that’s a good example of the motivation being very high, because a personal injury attorney could get me a very large settlement of money, so my motivation is very high.

But, I would also say it’s perceived to be very hard and complex, like “well, I’m not sure if I have all the information to fill out this paperwork, I don’t know if my accident even qualifies me for any sort of settlements” like, there’s a lot of complexity around that.

So, the perceived ability to do this successfully is very low, very low perceived ability, because this seems very hard and complex, so I might fall out somewhere over here, I’m really motivated.

So, the job of a marketer is not to motivate the person in that case, this is the beauty of the Fogg behavioral model as it relates to marketers.

Your job is not to talk in a way that tells people how much money they can get, they’re already motivated, they typically know that.

Your job is to say— the trigger in the case of the personal injury attorney needs to increase the perceived ability, needs to make this task look simpler, because what that does is takes you right over this behavioral action line.

And now, if you say “listen, fill out this paperwork, it’ll take you five minutes, and a personal injure attorney will call you within five minutes to hold your hand and walk you step-by-step through the way, and 95% of our settlements are paid out within seven days, and it’s a very simple process and you don’t need to spend your time” that’s what’s going to get that person who’s already highly motivated into that action line of perceived ability.

Sometimes you don’t need to move them that much, sometimes you need to move them just a little bit.

Now, let’s say you’re trying to get people to sign up for a webinar. Here’s a good example, Mobile Monkey runs webinars, to get people to sign up, right?

It’s very easy, so you have abilities up here, everybody knows that mobile monkey is a really— I’m sorry, everyone knows that signing up for a webinar is an easy process, I need to put my name and email, I’m going to get a link, I’ve done this before, it’s really straightforward, right?

My perceived ability to sign up for a webinar is very high. However, I don’t know if there’s so much in it for me, do I need to go sit here and hear another webinar? I’ve heard a million webinars, my perceived ability is very high, I know how to sign up for a webinar, I’m confident in my ability to do it, but I don’t think I’m so motivated.

So, I’m down here, again, below the action line, and the behavior is not going to happen.

But, our job as marketers is to increase motivation, increase value, explain to you what you’re going to get out of joining this webinar, after watching for 30 minutes you’re going to be able to wield the chat blaster like a Jedi Master, you’re going to be able to send effective chat blasts to thousands of people and none of your competitors are doing this, get them excited.

So, if you increase motivation then you take somebody who already has an increased ability, and you push them over that behavioral action line, and you get that behavior, you get that webinar signup.

If your content and your chat bots talk about “all you got to do is put your email in this box, and then put your name in this box, and you’re going to get an email in five minutes with a link that goes right to webinar, it’s the coolest technology, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home” you’re going to fail, because you’re trying to send triggers to people where they don’t need to be triggered, you’re trying to motivate people where they don’t need to be motivated, they already have a high perceived ability, you’re talking to them in the wrong way.

I love this chapter together with the principles of persuasion, because all of these lectures are teaching you how to think about how you talk in chat bots, right?

So you have the different principles of persuasion that will help you form your content, but this will help you form your motivational calls to action, okay? that’s the big difference between the Fogg behavioral model and the other principles of persuasion, this is teaching you how to form your actual CTAs, your calls to action.

So, in the Fogg behavioral model you have two primary forms, you have spark triggers and signal triggers, okay? so the spark trigger is sort of lights a fire, it’s meant to increase motivation when perceived ability is already high.

So, the second example we just gave of Mobile Monkeys webinar signups would need to use spark triggers to help motivate, “Teach me what this is all about, what are the benefits, what promises, what will my experience be, what will I come away with after coming to the webinar”, right? T

hat will help increase motivation because that is what I’m struggling with.

A signal trigger is what I’m saying with the personal injury attorney example, “I’m already highly motivated, you don’t need to motivate me, I want to have a successful personal injury attorney on my side right now, I want that very badly.

But, I just think it’s so overly complex and I’m nervous I don’t know what to do.” So, then you need signal triggers to increase perceived ability. Or a signal trigger to decrease complexity, or increase simplicity, all the same thing, you get the idea.

So, your chat bot campaigns are going to live and die on the Fogg behavioral model hill, okay?

Because if you’re motivating people with the wrong type of trigger, if you’re motivating the personal injury attorney with all this content about how great it is to have a personal injury attorney, you’re going to fail, they know that, right?

As a trigger, you need to increase your marketing content and collateral, it has to increase perceived ability. If you’re trying to get people to sign up for a webinar on GoToMeeting, and you’re using a trigger that talks to them about how simple the process of signing up for webinar is, or how easy, or how non-complex it is, you’re going to fail because they know that already. What they need is to be motivated, that there’s value in this.

When you think about building your chat bots, every single one of your chat bot funnels has to be broken down with what is the ultimate goal.

You’ve learnt all the principles of persuasion that are important, so you now know how to talk, you now know what types of things to say throughout the conversation of a chatbot.

But now you need to think about what is the goal? what is the ultimate goal of this chatbot? is it to generate a sale? is it to generate a webinar signup? is it to generate an email subscriber? is it to generate a website visit? is it to generate a info request? or is a sales form submission? what is the goal of my chat bot?

And now, once I understand the goal of my chat bot, I need to think of “okay, where are my customers most likely to fail? are they most likely low on motivation? or are they most likely low on perceived ability? or are they low on both?”

And once you understand that, and you use the principle that we just spoke about, once you understand that you’ll understand exactly how to really powerfully write your calls to action, and write your content to either increase motivation by increasing perceived value, or decreasing complexity, increasing perceived ability, increasing simplicity, to get people who were already motivated to actually go ahead and perform that task.

So, that’s the Fogg behavioral model, I find it incredibly insightful, it’s been incredibly helpful in increasing the performance of our clients campaigns here at Adventure Media, and I have no doubt in the world that if you understand this, and you use this, and you use these principles in the way that I’ve laid out, the way that BJ Fogg has laid out, you’re going to see immediate lifts in conversion rates from your chat bot campaigns.

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