Since inbound marketers are constantly trying to create content that attracts consumers to their brand, they should consider the power of lists. A list is one of the most effective ways to attract readers because people simply love lists. These lists can also drive Web traffic, which is why they appear so often on the Internet. Lists are also more likely to be shared, linked, tweeted, and liked. Our love of lists goes much deeper than personal preference and is actually rooted in psychology. Humans are just hard-wired to be drawn to lists for various reasons, so Hubspot.com spoke to psychologists and found the following eight reasons why people love lists.
1. They Control Chaos – “When we create lists, we are creating order out of chaos, and the structure helps to alleviate our anxiety,” said Doug Foresta, a licensed clinical social worker and clinician. There’s no denying that the world can often seem chaotic, so we tend to create these lists to fulfill our need to make sense of things.
2. They’ve Been Used Throughout History – Lists have been around for a long time and have played a role in our evolution and history. From Moses coming down with the 10 Commandments to the Bill of Rights with its 10 Amendments, lists have shaped our principles and perspectives and have proven their worth time and time again.
3. They Save Brainpower – “We want facts delivered rapidly with information packaged in tiny, quick bites…It takes away our need to slow down and think critically or analytically about things,” said Marcy De Veaux, a depth psychologist and assistant professor at California State University, Northridge. Basically, lists package facts into easily consumed increments and save us the time and trouble of having to process information on our own.
4. They Create a Feeling of Mastery – According to psychologist Jaroslava Toutonghi, a list organizes thoughts and offers an overall feeling of understanding about a complex topic. Simply put, a list makes us feel like we’ve mastered a topic by giving us a better understanding of it.
5. They Help Us Remember – We have a lot on our minds today, so we make lists to help us remember it all and to free our minds to focus on other things. Whether it’s a grocery list or a bucket list, it’s one less thing to dwell on since it’s already written down.
6. They Suit Our Tendency to Scan – The sad truth today is that people don’t read anymore. They scan. Research shows that almost 40 percent of readers move past an article before reading the first sentence and most fail to read even half of it. As a result, lists are so popular because they summarize extensive information into easily scanned bullet points.
7. They Highlight What We Need to Know – Speaking of bullet points, our exposure to PowerPoint presentations has trained our brains to better process information when it’s listed in bullet points. Our minds seem to prefer these brief bundles of data and lists simply follow that format.
8. They Have a Definite End – People get a psychological thrill when they approach their destination and lists offer this same sense of personal fulfillment. Reaching the end of something gives us a feeling of accomplishment, whether it’s the end of a long project or the conclusion of a book. Lists make us feel like we achieved each task and reached the goal of completion.
Lists can have an enormous impact and influence on consumers. They are ideal for inbound marketing since readers find them simply irresistible and highly sharable. Consider using lists to draw in readers and then convert them into customers.
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Written by Michael Del Gigante