Ethos,Pathos,Logos in CPA Marketing2

Hitting the Mark in Your CPA Marketing Efforts. Using Ethos, Pathos, Logos and Kairos in your CPA Marketing campaigns.

Ethos,Pathos,Logos in CPA MarketingEthos,Pathos,Logos in CPA Marketing2

Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.


And so begins Aristotle’s breakdown of the 3 modes of persuasion from Book I of Rhetoric.  It’s hard to believe that these words were penned by Aristotle more than 2300 years ago.


In the time of the “The Philosopher,” as he became known (circa 384-322 BCE), the most advanced technologies of the day were the astrolabe, the odometer, and the water wheel.  Most would consider it an unbelievably primitive time when contrasted with today’s computers, cell phones, and our modern age of digital marketing.  And yet, these ideas that Aristotle first formulated about rhetoric and persuasion have borne out as fundamental truths, that stand the test of time.

The 3 Modes of Persuasion

  • Ethos“Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided.”
  • Pathos“Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile.”
  • Logos“Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question.”


There is a fourth important element in this process of persuading others.  The element of Kairos, which generally means the timing of the message.  The right message delivered at the wrong time is no more effective than the wrong message delivered at the right time.

So we have four elements to examine when we are looking to persuade someone (either to get them to think about an issue a certain way or to be moved to take a certain action).  These four elements are at the heart of any marketing strategy, whether you are an affiliate for Amazon using niche sites, or a CPA marketer trying to persuade someone to click through and complete an email signup.

When I was in direct sales years ago, I remember being told that “people buy based on emotion, but justify their purchase through logic or reason.”  Let’s think of emotional and logical appeals then, as two sides of the same purchasing coin.  We need both to move a person through the buying decision (or purchasing/product funnel).  In some instances, we don’t necessarily need

The best strategy is a proper mix of the 3 modes, tailored to your customer avatar group and delivered at the right time.  For some groups your efforts will lean This requires thinking through a few issues, so let’s dive in.

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Tailoring your marketing to your audience’s dominant mode of persuasion


Let’s begin with the idea that you will be most effective in your marketing efforts if you tailor your message to the dominant mode of your audience.  So, what does that mean?

For example, we wouldn’t be as effective at reaching an audience that was highly analytical and data centered through pathos, or appeals to emotion.  In this case, we would want to focus on logos or appeals to reason through language.

As stated before, a good strategy uses a mix of the three modes, but it needs to focus on a dominant mode that suits your target audience.

Let’s take a look at some different types of marketing and see what type of audience they are most likely targeting.
Note: Most examples come from MaxBounty CPA offers.

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Logos in Marketing


If you marketing strategy is going to be logos-centric, it should use:

  • Factual data and statistics
  • Expert or authoritative citations
  • Definitions
  • Literal analogies
  • Quotations

This is especially useful in areas where someone is comparing features for one type of product/offer to another.


In the two examples below, we see appeals to reason and logic.

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Appeals to Logic in CPA Marketing. Logos in marketing efforts.

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Appeals to Logic in CPA Marketing. Logos in Marketing.

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Your marketing message should lean on Logos you are working in/with:

  • Financial markets and financial market products
  • Legal offers
  • Loan offers
  • Gaming system offers
  • Product comparison sites

And/or when your target demographic tend to be very analytical people.  Below, see a good example of a page that relies heavily on Logos marketing.

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Logos in CPA Marketing. Appeals to Logic in CPA

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Logos can be effective with certain groups of people.  However, without pathos, or emotional appeal, people may be convinced of the value from a logical standpoint, but they won’t be moved to take action.

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Pathos in Marketing


On the other side of the coin, opposite logos, is pathos.   Pathos is an appeal to emotion.   Pathos marketing will typically be more reliant on images with less text (we process visuals 60,000x faster than text and images can so quickly move and convey emotion).

If your marketing strategy is going to be pathos-centric, is should use:

  • Emotionally charged language
  • Descriptions of a vivid nature
  • Emotional narrative (story)
  • Connotative meanings (the emotions and associations that words carry, i.e. positive, negative, etc.)

Emotional appeals move us to action and we see them used with great effectiveness when they appeal to what I will refer to as the big 3: desire, sympathy, fear.

In the offer below we see a clear appeal to desire (notice the adjective meant to heighten the emotional appeal in the first ad)

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Pathos in CPA Marketing. Appeals to Emotion in CPA

And here again, we see appeals to desire.  If you use this product, you’ll go from Ho-Hum to Hottie and notice the women in the back, both smiling, with one looking down and the other looking across at the object of the desire.

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Pathos in CPA Marketing. Appeals to Emotions. in CPA.

As we have discussed, the best strategy is to incorporate both logos and pathos in some combination, depending on your audience.  One of the most effective ways to integrate both is to use powerful images and combine them with a story.  Stories have the unique ability to connect an audience at a deep level (where they sympathize/empathize with the character of the story).

Marketing that is pathos-centric is better suited to:

  • Dating offers
  • Diet offers
  • Cooking/cookbook type offers
  • Parents/parenting offers
  • Medical related offers

The trick is to find the right balance of pathos and logos.  Split test with your audience and these two concepts in mind.

At this point, you probably have a well-designed ad/landing page that strikes the right balance between logical and emotional appeals, but in the online arena, without some measure of ethos and kairos, you’ll probably still have campaigns that are well short of their full potential.

Ethos is the glue in a sense that makes the whole thing stick together.

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Ethos is Marketing


If someone walks into a brick and mortar business, they can see the upkeep (or lack thereof) of the business, they can visit with the clerk and in general, get a feel for the credibility of the business.  However, in the online realm, this is not possible.

Trust is the necessary element for the completion of the sales process.  This in terms of my post is Ethos.  It is fundamental to virtually any online transaction.

Ethos is credibility and authenticity in the eyes of your audience.  To have the element of ethos, you can:

  • Be an authority in your space
  • Borrow authority from someone in the space you are trying to work in

Being an authority in your space is great, and if you are, make sure to lace that throughout your sales/landing pages. This can be done with seals, certifications, titles and the like.  But what do you do if you are not seen as an authority (remember, it is not how you see yourself, but how others see you that determines credibility as an authority)?

In the image below is Yaro Starak.  Most consider him to be an absolute authority in the blogging space.

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Ethos in CPA Marketing with Yaro Starak.


You can borrow authority, by citing the blog post and quotes from others who are known authorities.  You could also interview the person for your podcast or personal blog, and others will see you as having some measure of credibility in the niche just by the association.

Another one of the most common ways to borrow authority is to use celebrities and known personalities to market a product.  Look at the ad below.  Here we see a celebrity marketing a weight loss solution.  Most people know that she has struggled with weight during her lifetime and so they think of her as having credibility when it comes to products in this category.


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Ethos in CPA Marketing


Authority is the socially acceptable and legitimate use of power.  We know there are lots of fake seals and false titles floating around the Internet, but this is not really authority.  Why?  Because it lacks the element of legitimacy.  It is deceptive in its nature.  Of course, there are tons of examples in CPA of where affiliates trample over the line of legitimacy.  It’s not that it can’t be done.  But only in churn and burn type circumstances.

This means there is one prerequisite when it comes to authority.  You must know and understand your customer. You must know the vocabulary of and be able to speak the language associated with the niche.  And you must be familiar with the problems your customer’s face and the solutions to those problems.

How do you do that?

One of the best ways is by completing a thorough customer avatar, where you will have the answers to these questions that provide us with the tools necessary to have authority.

Here I have compiled a customer avatar worksheet, that you are free to download and share.

A final note on ethos, before we introduce the final element of kairos.  Remember that trust is fickle.  Trust is usually gained slowly but lost quickly.  Once lost, you will never have the same level of credibility again.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t push the envelope.  Just remember that trust, authority, and credibility are necessary for a connection with an audience.   That connection with your audience is the foundation of your long-term online asset.

Now we have the three elements of effective persuasion in place.  We have used logos, pathos and ethos effectively in our marketing and we wait for the sales to come rolling in….

Well, let me tell you a personal story about this element called kairos.

About 15 years ago, I decided I was going to try my hand at starting a kiosk business in the local mall.  I researched for months, looking at trends and products and finally settled on a product that I felt had opportunity in my local market.

The product I settled upon was the link style gold Italian charm bracelets.  I spent about $12,000 buying the initial inventory, cases, and other materials and started selling on weekends at a kiosk in the mall.  I did ok, but never as good as I had planned.

I felt Christmas would change everything.  I mean everyone makes a killing at Christmas right?  Well, without belaboring the point, I lost my shorts.  In the end, I liquidated almost 25k in charm bracelets and display cases and such for about 4 grand on Ebay.

I had missed one important piece of the puzzle.  Kairos.  I didn’t realize that the Italian charm bracelet craze was well on it’s back and the demand that had once been red hot across the country was now a pittance of what it was just two years before. Rather than being right at the peak or just in front of it, I realized after I was up to my eyeballs in it that I was well behind the demand curve.

I learned many hard lessons from that venture, but the most important lesson was that of timing.  You’ve got to get it right or your ideas will never reach their full potential.

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Kairos in Marketing


As I stated above, kairos in it’s most simplistic definition is timing.  But kairos is not just timing, it is the most opportune moment for something.

I will discuss two ways where we can make use of the element of kairos in our marketing strategy.

  • Timing from the standpoint of trends (you don’t want to do what I did and be behind a trend)
  • The element of the timing of ads in our marketing funnel (time different types of ads for where your prospect is in your marketing funnel).

The Timing of Trends

Even the best idea at the wrong time will fall flat and underperform at best.  So how can we best determine where an idea is when it comes to trends.

There are several tools which will allow you to track and monitor trending topics and ideas in your niche.

The most well known, of course, is Google Trends.  Don’t forget that you have the ability to search trending videos from YouTube as well.  See Image below.

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Using Google Trends in Your CPA Marketing Tools

Two other free tools that can help you look at what is trending are Reddit list and Tumblr Trending.  There are several ways to use these to find trending information and material, but I’ll cover that in detail in another post.

To identify trends with these tools is work, but if you do your homework, you can have an opportunity to catch a wave of popularity that can provide virality to your marketing efforts.

Timing of Ads in the Marketing Funnel

If we want to maximize our marketing efforts, it is important to understand that different types of ads work best at different points in the sales/marketing funnel.  For example, if you are direct linking your Bing ads to your CPA offers (Bing does allow direct linking, where Google Adwords does not), we should go after high intent keywords with search traffic, as that type of traffic has shown high intent.

If we are going to use banner traffic, or social media post as a traffic source, we will probably want to use a landing page to pre-sell, because the traffic has not taken action or shown the same intent to purchase as when they have typed something into the search bar on Google.

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Timing of CPA Marketing Efforts in the Sales Funnel

So, when we are crafting our strategy, we need to be mindful of where the prospect is in the sales funnel and adjust our ad types to the timing of the process.

For most of the work we do as CPA marketers, we are focused primarily on the bottom of the funnel (BOFU).  We are using paid ads to drive traffic.  If, however, we are doing CPM media buys, we might be working a little furthe up the funnel.

Or we can use a landing page as a tool to capture leads and then remarket across similar interest through email campaigns, where we are placing them at the beginning of another funnel.

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When crafting our marketing strategy, we can make use of the right mix of Aristotle’s elements of effective persuasion; ethos, pathos, logos.

Different audiences will respond better to different elements.  A customer avatar worksheet can help us in our research to make sure that we are best able to reach our target audience (get one here).

Research will help us in the element of kairos, or most opportune timing, to make sure that we get our well-crafted marketing in front of our leads/prospects at just the right time.

Are you consistently using these elements in your marketing efforts?