Sometimes I think I could really use ESP, or “Extra Search Perception”, to read the mind of Google! I always have to remind myself no matter how often search algo’s change, human nature is fairly constant, and learning to leverage marketing psychology can give us an edge on the competition.
When it comes to the Internet, the ins and outs of marketing often change year after year. From the rules that search engines use to rank content, to the numerous emerging social media sites, it’s difficult to find anything that stays the same in the ever-changing landscape of Internet marketing. That’s why it’s so valuable to have a basic grasp of the psychology of sales, because no matter what social media platforms are popular next year, or what new SEO updates are released, human psychology will undoubtedly remain the same. Below we’ll look at six ways you can use that psychology to amplify the effectiveness of your content and improve your marketing online.
Before we get started, I want to recommend two books, that I wholeheartedly endorse. These books were really influential in really shaping my understanding of the impact human behavior has on consumers.
People like new things. How many thousands of individuals stand in line year after year to get their hands on the next new iPhone? Technologically speaking, the next iteration of that device is usually only an incremental improvement over its predecessor, but that doesn’t stop crowds of excited consumers from showing up every year to get their new toy. Many industries are almost entirely dependent on this phenomenon, including the automotive industry. Does Toyota and Ford really need to produce a brand-new model every single year? Of course not — but novelty can be a very potent force when harnessed correctly.
Don’t Hold Back
How many times have you downloaded or bookmarked something with the intent of reading it later, only to find out that later never came? People are easily caught up in their day-to-day lives, and it’s easy to forget to follow through with something you intended to read. Suppose you were offering your readers free white papers through download on your website. One way you can reduce the risk at your whitepapers will end up forgotten at the bottom of a digital folder is to frontload your content by placing some of your best material in your preview. Even if your reader forgets to finish reading at a later time, he still managed to demonstrate that the material you have is valuable, which will increase the likelihood that they’ll go on to read the rest of the document later on.
The paradox of choice is something that has only recently been studied at any length by psychologists, and it’s of incredible use just about every type of business. Anytime you’re selecting between two or three different products, like selecting a pair of sunglasses, it’s a cinch to form strong opinions and used the process of elimination to make a choice. But if you’re forced to choose between 30 or 40 different sunglasses, you are prone to experience what’s called action paralysis. That is, having too many choices can actually be a bad thing because it makes your final decision far more difficult and emotionally taxing.
Solving this paradox can be done by helping customers break down their choices. Present products to them individually, and try to restrict the total number of choices to six or less. If you have to present more than six, it’s a good idea to create a decision tree or another means of helping the consumer organize all the relevant information.
Consumers can generally be broken into a handful of categories that describe how willing they are to spend money. Some consumers will spare no expense, seeking premium luxury goods, where others are far thriftier. If you want to give a real edge to your sales pitch, it’s important to figure out what kind of buyers are dealing with. If you’re presenting products to someone who’s thrifty, you need to focus more on demonstrating added value in savings rather than quality. On the other hand, if you’re preparing a sales pitch for someone looking for premium goods, like an expensive watch or designer purse, you should emphasize qualities like authenticity.
People place a premium on social information. From a recommendation your friend gave you to some hype you’ve heard around the office, the things we hear from our peers often mean more than any advertisement ever could. In psychology, this is sometimes called the bandwagon effect, and it’s the reason why it’s so important to build a broad base of customer reviews, testimonials, product ratings, and social shares. Cumulatively, these elements add up to social proofing, which helps potential customers to develop a trusting relationship with your brand.
Whenever we discover that there is a gap in our knowledge, we have a desire to fill it. Simply put, we become curious, and curiosity is one of the most powerful motivators in the human psyche. It’s particularly potent when we think that we should know the thing that we don’t know, because it appeals to our desire for self-improvement. You can use curiosity to help encourage your readers to open your next newsletter, ask questions on your Twitter page, or take just about any other step you can imagine. All you have to do is show your readers that there’s a gap in the information that they have, and then suggest that it would be valuable to fill it.