The following post comes to us from Keith Coppersmith, an experienced business consultant who serves small businesses and startups. Learn more about Keith in his bio following this article.
If selling a product or service was as simple as meeting a need, businesses wouldn’t have to compete with better-designed websites, authentic brand identities, stronger SEO, and continuous customer research. That indicates that selling is a much more complex process than it seems. There’s a reason why you’ll reach for the same oatmeal brand next to a dozen similar products on the shelf or invest in a service that has similar counterparts available one search away. This loyalty and the urge to make a purchase from a specific business boils down to the basics of human psychology.
As a marketer, you need to recognize the emotional and psychological driving forces of customer decision making. You need to leverage those simple urges and preferences to get them from merely visiting your site to actually going through with the purchase. Here are a few essential psychology ideas to incorporate into your marketing strategy that will boost your sales and your brand’s presence online.
Embrace the FOMO trend
The fear of missing out, or FOMO, is a powerful psychological concept that drives sales with ease no matter your industry. As the term suggests, it appeals to that basic human need to belong, to feel accepted and to share a common experience. If all of your friends rave about Starbucks, chances are that you’ll cave and try their pumpkin latte at some point.
Online, FOMO can manifest in different ways, but you can try the simplest by indicating a time limit for a certain product collection. If a celebrity or an influencer supports your brand, you can add their quote to your product, and people will instantly be more interested.
Establish social proof
For most brands, it’s not the price or the quality that sells the product or the service – it’s the reputation of the brand that seals the deal. Building that reputation takes time and effort, but in order to boost sales, you can leverage your reputation in creative and enticing ways all over your selling platforms, be it on your website or your social media profiles. On your website, for example, integrating a social proof tool can help you boost your conversion rates by leveraging existing customer interest when a new visitor arrives at your shop.
What it does is generate a short and effective notification each time someone buys a product in your store. It establishes social proof, or existing interest among your website visitors to someone who’s not sure whether to trust your brand. This little piece of information will help them feel more comfortable buying from you. Add recommendations, star ratings next to your products, and reviews, and you’ll strengthen your social proof even more.
Guide them with CTAs
Calls to action, or CTAs for short, have been used since the dawn of marketing to invite people to make a decision more quickly. Refining your CTAs can have a tremendous impact on your sales potential, because placing a simple “buy now” phrase can help drive more customers to the checkout than merely letting them mull it over page after page. These CTAs are your “triggers” to give your customers a gentle nudge in the right direction. They can be simple and short, or they can be quirky and brand specific. As long as you know how to use them, you’ll be able to boost your sales.
Implement the Goldilocks effect
Goldilocks came across an entire set of multiple-choice options, from choosing the perfectly comfortable bed, to enjoying the most delicious porridge. This simple psychological effect enables companies to present customers with a few carefully created choices, all the while subtly hinting towards the most appropriate one with the design solution, product description, and the product name.
You’ve probably already noticed how service-based brands offer three layers of services: the most basic, often free kind, the middle-ground, and the premium version for their most high-end customers. The middle option is typically the most profitable one, as the vast majority of customers often come from that very niche, so they will design the layout to emphasize the middle option intentionally. This allows you to “lead” your customers towards the option they’ll find the most useful, but that will also bring you the most profit.
Appeal to your customers’ emotions
When survival is no longer the key issue, we can assume that all the purchases we make depend on more than pure necessity. We buy coffee not because we need it, but because it’s a source of pleasure. Some might say that it’s simple for such pleasure-oriented brands to utilize emotion to sell, while certain practical products can be incredibly difficult to inspire an emotional reaction. Can you imagine toilet paper evoking emotions? It sure can.
The fuzzy teddy-bear family used for the Charmin brand achieves just that: they make you feel all warm and cuddly, despite selling a mundane product that we can basically choose just based on the price. Follow their lead and be sure to evoke emotions through your storytelling, product descriptions, and all of your content – it will definitely skyrocket your sales.
While there’s no bulletproof strategy to ensure higher sales for every business, some golden rules have the needed flexibility and can be applied across all industries. These psychological notions are precisely that: simple, but effective, and can be used to help you enhance your online sales. Embed them in your strategy and keep track of how they impact your sales, so that you can adapt in the future and use them more effectively in your future campaigns.
About the Author: Keith Coppersmith is an Adelaide based business consultant with a degree in Media Management. With experience in numerous small businesses and startups, he enjoys giving advice on all things marketing.