Businesses these days are spending an awful lot of time generating leads. While most marketers have learned the ropes and are generating a lot of leads through their efforts, the conversion rates illustrate a different picture. A survey conducted in 2016 revealed that only 22% of marketers are satisfied with their conversion rates.
These numbers are far from surprising as most small businesses are on a limited amount of budget, resources, and time. However, it is imperative that businesses realize that marketing done by spending a lot of money and dedicating numerous resources is not the only effective way of marketing. More efficient ways of marketing can be devised if marketers spend more time understanding the psychology of their customers.
All humans have certain mental triggers that drive our actions. Once a business understands what these triggers are, and how they can be used to influence the customers, converting leads becomes much easier. The best part is, using these triggers to drive sales is as easy as it’s effective. Without wasting any more time, let’s jump right into what these triggers are, and how they can be used by marketers to their advantage:
The twin-effectiveness of pain and pleasure
The primary driving force of all human behavior is to avoid pain and gain pleasure. In fact, even when we are doing something that might be painful in that very moment, the ultimate goal is to attain pleasure out of the situation.
A great example of this would be the gym. Most people dread going to the gym, lifting tens of pounds, running without reaching anywhere but they still get up every morning, drag themselves to the gym, and complete their daily workout. The reason is simple, they want to look better, feel better, and be better. The sense of accomplishment that is associated with every workout is the driving force that not only brings them to the gym but makes them pay for memberships as well.
This principle can be applied in your business as well. If in your marketing communications, you illustrate to your customers how you understand their pains, and how your product/service would alleviate this pain, they would come flocking to you with their money.
Keep in mind that out of the two, pain avoidance is much more effective. In fact, something called “negativity bias” in psychology explains perfectly how negativity is the strongest driving factor when it comes to the human brain.
This twin effectiveness of pain and pleasure has given birth to something called the A to Z marketing technique. The technique is simple, it states that your potential customers are all at point A, from which, their aim is to get to point Z. Now, this approach can be taken in two ways:
- The first way is to let your customers reach point Y for free. Let them experience some of the pleasure that comes with working with your business, and THEN ask them to pay. This was done beautifully by Dropbox when they started providing a free 2GB of space to all new customers. Their customer base jumped from 50 million to beyond 300 million because of this move and translated into 1.18 billion dollars in yearly revenue.
- While the first approach dealt with ‘pleasure’, this approach does the job by making the customers realize the pain associated with getting from point A to Z, and educating them how your product or service is the perfect way to alleviate this pain. An example of this can be seen on Admito’s landing page.
The rule of reciprocity
The rule of reciprocity says that if you receive, you are more likely to give. Dr. Robert Cialdini has explained this with a beautiful example in his book called ‘Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion’. The example is of a waiter that experienced a 3% hike in the tip when he left his guests with a mint along with the bill. Tips increased by 14% when the waiter left two mints, and by 23%, when he left the guests with one mint, and quickly returned to give them a second one.
However, for this principle to work it is important to deliver real value to your customers. A great example of this is giving out free trials if you are offering a service. Rankwatch, the online marketing software offers a free 14 day trial right on their landing page. Once their customers have experienced the advantages of their service, they are not hesitant to pay for them at the end of the trial. Similarly, Amazon offers free samples for all their ebooks available on Kindle. Customers can download these samples and read through 10% of the book before making a purchase. The sample stays with the customers for as long as they would like.
Learn more about how you can effectively use the principle of reciprocity for your brand here.
The fascination of “new”
Humans are naturally attracted to new things or novelty. Psychologists have found that the region of our brain that deals with motivation and reward-processing responds better to novelty that to something that is familiar. This system is also responsible for the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate emotional responses, identify rewards, and motivate us to move closer to these rewards.
Novelty or the fascination of new things is what drives many people. In fact, stagnancy and monotony are some of the most feared things among people. This undying attraction towards the new is what motivates car manufacturers to introduce new models every single year, even if the features remain almost the same. However, when generating fresh ideas about how to induce novelty in your offerings or marketing, keep in mind what drives your potential customers and what they like, otherwise your communication might get lost among the clutter of ads and other marketing collaterals that one comes across every day.
Social proof, in definition, is the influence that other’s actions or words have on our own behavior. The idea is simple, people feel the need to buy something or do something because others are doing it. Social proof has been an integral part of marketing strategies since before the birth of the internet. Used in form of celebrity endorsements, social proof today has taken many forms. Whether it is a mention of your services on an authority blog, or the good old testimonials, social proof works wonders when it comes to marketing.
For example, the Rankwatch website features a number of different forms of social proof. Check these out:
The website features a list of logos of other authority websites where Rankwatch has been featured. Such a list would help add a sense of credibility to your business, especially if the places you have been featured are iconic websites that would be easily recognized by your target audience.
Genuine testimonials or reviews work great as they provide proof of positive experiences of others that have used the product/service in the past.
Apart from these, there are many other forms of social proofs you can employ to drive conversions:
- Subscriber counts- If you are trying to get people to subscribe, let them know how many already have. This will positively reinforce the idea of subscribing in their head.
- Ratings and reviews- Don’t you personally like to read the reviews of an application on the App Store before downloading or purchasing it? When you think like your potential customer, you will realize the importance of reviews. Think about which websites your customers visit for reviews, and ask existing customers to review your business on those websites.
- Social connections- Social sharing buttons that display the number of likes or followers you already have also make a desirable impact on every visitor.
One of the most commonly used triggers in marketing, the effectiveness of scarcity has been proven numerous times throughout the history of advertising. One such instance was this experiment that saw people willing to pay 50% more for the same set of watches when they were labeled as “limited edition”.
The more difficult it is to get your hands on something, that is, the more scarce some is, the more we want it. Humans are programmed to feel anxious when they are deprived of something, which then interferes with our motivation, which causes us to become more open to suggestions and temptations towards getting the scarce object.
In marketing, scarcity can be utilized by creating “limited time only” offers, or countdown timers, early bird registrations to drive your audience to act. Great examples are Amazon’s deal of the day, or Groupon’s ‘limited time only’ offers that are featured along with a countdown timer under every “buy” button. Another more recent example would be the boost in gun sales in the USA right after there was a call for more restrictive gun laws around the country.
Keep in mind to not trick the customers and that might compromise with the perceived value of your product or service. On the contrary, real scarcity, of any form, will have customers become much more receptive and reactive to your communications.
Foot-in-the-door (FTID) technique
The foot-in-the-door technique dictates that it is easier to make someone agree to something (buying your product or service) once you have already made them agree to something smaller (downloading your free infographic, for instance).
FTID works because after agreeing to an initial request, the person feels a certain way about themselves. This feeling encourages them to make future decisions that are consistent with the decision made at the beginning.
The effectiveness of FTID was first proven by Stanford’s Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser in a series of experiments called “compliance without pressure”. In the first experiment, 156 housewives were divided into four groups. Three groups were given a call enquiring which household products they used before a second call, which was given three days later, to all four groups. This call was used to request the subjects to let a researcher come into their home and catalog the household products in their homes. This meant letting a stranger into their homes and explore parts of it that contain these household products. However, to no surprise, out of the three groups that were initially given a call about the same subject, 52.8% agreed to the visit against the 22.2% of the group which was being contacted for the first time. Similar results were seen in the second experiment and several others that followed in the coming years.
Answer the “why”
The world-famous Xerox experiment by psychologist Ellen Langer demonstrated that people are more likely to agree to your proposal if it is accompanied by a reason, even if the reason is arbitrary. For instance, in the experiment, more people let Ellen cut the line when provided with a reason, as compared to when she plainly requested to let her go first.
The human mind is extremely complex and responsive, but psychology in the recent years has helped shed some light on how it works. Using these triggers of the human mind, you will definitely see visible changes in your conversions. The key to real success, however, is to think of combinations, while knowing when you are overdoing it.
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
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