Yesterday when i was browsing one of the coupon/discount sites I subscribed, something caught my eyes:

“FREE 3-Month Sub of Microsoft Office 365 University + 20GB SkyDrive”. Well, I am sorry, but who can resist the word “free”!!!!. So I clicked and it led me to the below Microsoft’ website.


It just happened that I am in desperate need for a new version of Microsoft Office. Yes, some of us are still using Office 2001 on their own laptop in the year of 2013. Don’t judge…

To get three month trial is very easy, the only qualification is that you have to be a student, but technically that is not even a must as long as you have a qualifying “edu” email to receive the offer.  So I happily entered my edu email, and then something even better showed up. It asked me to share the offer on Facebook and I could get additional three months for free. I did not hesitate for a second to hit “share”. So within five minutes, I had the most current Office Suite (Office 365) on my laptop, ready to run!

So at the end of the day, I was happy because I had the newest Office Suite for free !!!!  oh and 20 GB sky drive and 60 minutes free skype call (Say goodbye to 2001 and hello civilization !!! ) And Microsoft was happy too, because they now have all my personal information and possibly another customer. If I am satisfied with the free trial, I probably end up spending $200-$300 to actually buy the product in six months.

It only takes Microsoft five minutes to convert me into a user of Office 365. Pretty amazing, right? But how did Microsoft do this?

In the marketing world, we call it “Persuasion Marketing” , which means marketers use their understanding of user motivations and psychology to develop a marketing campaign that will persuade the target consumers to effectively response to a “call to action”.

yes1In the book “Yes-50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive” written by famous psychologies Robert Ciadni, Ciadni describes six key principles of persuasion: Reciprocity, Likeness, Social Proof, Authority, Commitment and Scarcity

In the case of Microsoft Office 365 promotion, it actually uses all six principles!!!! So now, let me explain.

Reciprocity- give something away

Free trial for six months?! That is a pretty generous giveaway.

Likeness-word of mouth

Word of Mouth is powerful. People are likely to buy a product that is recommended by their acquaintances.  I share the link of free trial on my facebook page, not only because I want the extra three month offer, but also because I want my friends who may be interested in this offer to see it!!! Why? Because it is a great offer and I want to tell everyone!

Social Proof- social network

Did I just mention I share the offer on facebook?

Authority -testimonials

After all, it’s a Microsoft product we are talking about here. Who doesn’t use Microsoft office?

Commitment-stay with the brand

Like i said earlier, if I am happy with the trial, I am most likely to end up buying the product.

Can I Imagine myself switch Microsoft 365 to an alternative product or go back to Microsoft 2001 after using it for six months? Not really. Too much hassle!  The switching cost is too high!!!!

Scarcity- Get it now!

The offer does expire on May 12 and you have to own an “edu” email to use it.

By using the art of persuasion properly, a product can gain a new customer without even trying so hard. So follow the six steps of persuasion and start acquiring customers like me!


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