Do you want to double your sales?
In order to dominate your industry, not only do you need to have a killer marketing campaign, website and product idea but you also need to understand the psychology behind your customers.
If you don’t understand who your customers are and what their needs, wants and desires truly are, then you are going to have a very hard time marketing to them effectively.
As a marketer, sales rep or business owner, studying psychology is one of the most valuable things you can do to stand out from the crowd and get your business growing.
Even though psychology and marketing may seem like two opposite ends of the spectrum, really they are not all that different.
When you understand how your customer thinks and what gets them motivated (ie. their psychology), you can then better craft your sales and marketing tactics.
To get you started with understanding how psychology can help you market your brand more effectively, we have shortlisted eight of the best (and sneakiest) psychological techniques that you can use to double your sales.
1. The Law of Least Resistance
Do your customers really care about your products? Do they get excited when they see your beautiful landing page or how much effort you have taken to craft a really awesome blog post?
Research tells us- not really.
It is pretty common to feel that your customers will get as excited as you when they see your awesome product, service or e-commerce store design and be so thrilled with you that they simply must buy.
While this is not unheard of, more often than not the biggest motivator for consumers is “the law of least resistance.”
This means that customers are less motivated by your flashy sales page and are more motivated by taking the easiest option.
The law of least resistance means that customers are more likely to take an action when it is the easiest and most simple option to take.
As this law states, if your product, page, product description or website is complicated or difficult to use, your conversion rate and sales will suffer.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to dumb down your entire website, but thinking about ways to make the sales process easy, flawless and the path of least resistance for your consumers can definitely help.
This same technique applies to your blog. Blogging is a great way to provide your customers and potential customers with value and information, but if it is too difficult to source or even understand that information, chances are they are going to look elsewhere.
Especially as so many transactions are moving towards a mobile platform, having a website that is easy to navigate, easy to source and find information and easy to make a purchase is paramount if you want to grow and increase your sales.
To put this trick into practice, think about your landing pages and website and ask yourself- what is the hardest part to navigate?
When you brutally assess your page and look at all the trouble spots (spots where customers have to put in a little more effort than normal) you may start to see ways to ease the impact or make things easier.
Don’t forget to pay attention to –
- Shipping or Packing: is it hard to get the product shipped?
- Mixed Product Reviews: this gets your customers debating and debating leads to procrastination which leads to abandonment
- Search results: can they find what they are looking for easily and without scrolling through hundreds of pages?
- Payment options: do you offer a range of easy payment options such as Paypal?
- Sign Up Forms: do they ask for complex or detailed information, or are they easy and simple to complete?
- Steps from Landing Page to Purchase: does your sales funnel have too many steps that cause customers to lose interest?
When you start sifting through your website and looking at everything with the “path of least resistance” in mind, it will help you to discover where your brand may be losing sales and what you can do to fix it.
Here are some example solutions that may be helpful:
Path of Least Resistance Trouble Spot #1: You discover that customers can’t find the product that they are looking for easily.
Solution: Improve filtering options, remove or cull certain products or add the most popular products to an easy to find list.
Path of Least Resistance Trouble Spot #2: You discover that customers are abandoning the checkout page during the payment options.
Solution: Integrate options that don’t require your customers to take the effort of finding their credit card and inputting their details such as Paypal or using their Amazon account.
Path of Least Resistance Trouble Spot #3: You discover that customers are hesitant to buy as they don’t understand the product.
Solution: Create a video, tutorial or even infographic on how to use the product, update the product description, include user reviews and testimonials or FAQ.
These examples will hopefully get you started with your own website and where you can update things to ensure that your website and buying process if positively fool proof and simple. So simple in fact that even your grandma could use it.
2. Analysis Paralysis
We have all been at a crossroads in our lives- should we turn left or right?
Face it, even though the crossroads can pave the way to bigger and better things, no one likes being stuck at the fork in the road.
This is why psychologists have found that when you offer too many choices, customers get confused and abandon their idea altogether.
This theory was proven by Professor Sheena Iyengar using jam.
In her famous study, she set up a stall selling a different selection of jams. At one stall she offered 24 different jam flavours, at another stall she offered only 6.
The stall that had 24 jams available had more customers sampling but only 3 percent purchased. The stall that had 6 jams had less customers sampling but 30 percent purchased.
3 percent vs. 30 percent is a huge difference in conversions and Prof. Iyengar believes that it was due to the overwhelming amount of choice at the table with 24 options that made all the difference.
When you reduce the choices that your customers have to purchase, you take out the need for indecision and help them to make a more effective and faster choice.
Further research has shown that offering 3-5 options is usually optimal, especially if you run a service based business that may cater to a variety of people.
This technique is also often used with pricing packages and can often influence customers to pay more than they normally would.
For example, say your brand offered two different types of packages:
- Package A for $100
- Package B for $150
Package A may be your best seller, but introducing another package deal that was perhaps “Package A and B Combo for $120” may help to boost your sales and generate more profits, as customers only have to pay a small amount extra to get two packages.
Of course, this is just a rough example of how offering a few options when it comes to pricing can be more effective to getting your customers to pay more.
3. Stick to the Clichés
When it comes to marketing and copywriting, originality can sometimes stab you in the back.
Various studies found that when companies experimented with different shopping cart buttons, conversion rates suffered as consumers were not used to seeing original variations in the text like “+Cart” or even a cool shopping cart icon.
Big e-commerce sites like Amazon use “Add to Cart” in order to get customers to make a purchase and it seems that this is what consumers have come to know and trust.
In another study, a company that changed their call to action to “Add to Cart” from a shopping cart icon ended up increasing their conversion rate by a whopping 15 percent and increasing clicks by 49 percent.
While this doesn’t mean that you can’t be innovative, it does show that traditions and cliched terms tend to pay off when it comes to making purchases online.
Psychologically, seeing something familiar not only makes customers feel more trusting of what they are going to purchase but it also increases the chance of making an impulse buy.
Especially if you are a small e-commerce site, keeping your call to actions and page layouts similar to a big brand may help to build your credibility and trust in the eyes of the consumer.
If you are going to test something original on your site that you feel may work for your brand, it is important to split test and integrate the changes slowly so you can be sure they are not scaring away your potential customers.
4. Social Proof
Making a decision is easy when you know exactly what you want, but when you are unsure or on the fence about your decision you tend to go searching for other people’s opinions.
This is where social proof can help your customers to make a decision about purchasing your product that they feel good about.
Studies have also found that by offering social proof like reviews, relieves anxiety around purchasing the product and can help increase sales.
A good example of social proof in action is on Amazon.
They offer some of the most trusted and respected reviews in the industry on almost every product they sell. Their reviews are some of the most read and can have a huge influence on whether or not the customer chooses to purchase or walk away.
There are instances however, where social proof may not work in your favour. This is of course true if the reviews are negative or if the reviews distract the consumer from actually making the purchase.
This can often be seen when companies use social media sites like Instagram or Facebook, as customers can be easily distracted.
If you do choose to use social media sites as your form of social proof, it can be highly effective, but it must be done in a way that keeps consumers on track and doesn’t lead them away from your page.
If you are curious to test out social proof but you are nervous it is going to lead your customers astray, a simple way around this is to quote how many subscribers or customers you have.
For example, the brand Basecamp states in one of their headlines-
“Industry defining, always innovating, 100,000+ customers strong”
From this headline the brand instantly proves that it has a large customer base, making potential customers feel more at ease about purchasing.
Another way to subtly communicate social proof is by adding a social bar to the side of your page that provides a tally of your followers and likes. Especially if this number is in the tens of thousands or more, it can instantly communicate to your readers that you are a credible business.
If you have found however, that your site would truly benefit from more social proof examples, including reviews and in-depth case studies may be the way to go.
5. Answer the Impossible ‘Why?’
No matter what industry you are in, customers are always going to have “Why” based questions.
Whether it is “Why do I need this product?” or “Why is this product better than all the rest?” your copy needs to address the most popular questions that your consumers seem to have.
Psychologically, when a brand is able to clearly and effectively answer their questions, not only do customers feel more comfortable to purchase, they also feel connected and aligned with the brand in the long term.
Having a detailed blog that answers a lot of “why” questions in great detail is a great place to start, but when it comes to writing your headlines and product descriptions, weaving in “why” questions can sometimes help push consumers deeper into the sales funnel.
For example, the brand Stone Temple Consulting has this on their landing page-
“Why is SEO so Hard?- Here’s Why with Mark and Eric: In this 5 minute video, our CEO Eric Enge explains why SEO is so hard to get but also provides some tips…”
This headline instantly addresses a “Why” question and appeals to all of those who have perhaps struggled with SEO or want to learn more about how it works.
They then offered a video which addressed the question and provided people with enough information that they would be curious to discover more.
In order to find your company’s ‘Why’ questions, you need to discover what answers your readers are looking for when they come to your site.
You may receive some clues from Google Analytics, but if you really want to dig deep try investigating popular question sites like Quora or Yahoo Questions to see what main questions are being asked in your industry.
Choose a good handful and start tailoring your content and headlines to these main questions to see if it can help win over more customers and more business. Just make sure you don’t forget to answer the questions as well!
6. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Psychologists tell us that when someone receives a gift or freebie, they will try to return the favour.
In a business sense, when consumers receive free value from a company they feel more loyal and indebted to that company and therefore, are more likely to purchase from them in the long run.
One study conducted in 2002, found that waiters could make more money through tips if they used this principle to their advantage.
For the study, one group of waiters were instructed to offer guests an after dinner mint and the other group were instructed to give the customers nothing.
It was found that the customers who received the free after dinner mint tipped an average of 3% more than the customers who didn’t receive the free mint.
Then another group of waiters were instructed to tell the customer that the mint was just for them and they found tips went up by a whopping 20 percent.
This study proves that when you go out of your way for a customer or client, they are more likely to return the favour back to you. Even if all the customers were getting was a small mint, they still felt compelled to give back and tip more generously.
Now this doesn’t mean that your business needs to go broke offering customers freebies and after dinner mints, but it does show that when you put in effort to make the experience that little bit better for your customers, they appreciate it and respond in turn.
To implement this effectively for your brand you may try-
- Connecting with your followers on social media and responding to their comments
- Sending personalised emails or follow up notes to clients
- Tagging, mentioning or sharing your followers posts and content on social media
- Offering a free sample in their shipping orders
- Offering exclusive discount or coupon codes
- Crafting free, detailed content in a blog, video, e-course or ebook
- Offering a free trial
There are many ways that you can offer your customers and potential customers value and generosity, so consider experimenting with a few options to see if they can help increase your sales.
7. Location, Location, Location
Research has shown that where your call to action buttons are on your landing page play a huge role in whether or not customers will click on them or ignore them altogether.
In psychology world it is called Fitts’ Law, which basically states that when it is easy to take an action, like clicking on a button, people are more likely to do it.
For example, a heat map may show you that majority of your readers hover their cursor over the top left hand side of your page. This means that your call to action should be in this area in order to minimise the distance that they have to travel to click on it. The button also needs to be large enough and stand out in order for them to notice it.
The two principles that you need to consider when it comes to using this psychological technique is:
- How much time it is going to take your readers to click on your most desired call to action- do they need to read huge amounts of text or watch a video or move their cursor all the way down the page?
- How big is the target? ie. How big is the button and is it easy to recognise and click? Does it stand out?
The bottom line is this- when your call to actions are easy to complete consumers are more likely to carry through with them.
8. Left Brain Vs. Right Brain
Psychologists tell us there are two ways of thinking in this world:
- Deliberate or conscious thinking
- Automatic or unconscious thinking
Both of these methods of thinking help to influence a consumer on whether or not to make a sale, however they work in completely different ways.
Deliberate or conscious thinking allows customers to make rational and well-thought out decisions. For example, if they have run out of toilet paper and your company is selling toilet paper, there decision to purchase may be purely out of necessity and need.
Automatic or unconscious thinking however, may give them a ‘gut feeling’ about your product or brand, which motivates them to purchase simply out of curiosity or fascination.
If you can determine which category majority of your customers may fall into when it comes to your product, you may be able to manipulate your marketing to help drive sales.
If you have a product that may appeal to conscious thinkers you may want to consider including lots of relevant facts, showcasing that the product is good value for money, offering detailed product information and answers to ‘why’ questions and making the user experience as fast as possible.
If you have a product that may appeal to unconscious thinkers you may want to consider including images to feed emotions, keeping your facts/descriptions simple and focusing on the benefits more than the details and making the user experience as simple as possible.
When it comes to increasing your sales it is always valuable to take a look at some psychological techniques in order to help you finesse your marketing tactics.
Even if you do offer the best product in the world, there is always a psychological element to making a sale and if you can appeal to these, then chances are you will also increase your sales and profits, especially in the long run.
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