In many ways, marketing has progressed light years from the Mad Men era when consumers were viewed like sheep that merely needed to be herded in the direction of your product. Technology has created a more educated and independent class of consumer that no longer allows marketing messages to be forced onto them. This change has caused marketing departments to be more honest, less manipulative, and provide more value.
However, no matter how technology and consumers evolve, there will always be a human element to marketing that allows you to play on psychological principles to make your offers and promotions more appealing. Before we cover a few of these basic principles, it is important to clarify that you should not be using these techniques to trick or manipulate your audience. Being honest and over-delivering will always yield much better results than trickery.
As humans, we are very social creatures. We are driven to find communities and social groups where we belong and feel accepted. The instinct to assimilate with the rest of the group helps us accomplish this. This is the same as the “well, everybody’s doing it,” attitude of teenagers and functions in a very similar way in a business context.
There are a few easy ways to give social validity to your marketing:
List of Clients: On many sites, you’ll see companies display a list of their most prominent clients.
Testimonials: People put more stock in positive feedback about your company than any marketing message you could ever create.
Statistics: There is strength in numbers. Don’t be afraid to display figures such as user base, registrants, or customers.
The Power of Free
We are a species of hunters and gatherers. When we obtain a new resource, our body gives us a positive neurological response. Conversely, we receive a negative response when we lose resources. This makes the purchasing process a fascinating balancing act of brain chemistry, which can easily be tipped by throwing a free resource into the mix.
Getting customers to convert can be hard. There is a certain amount of “Paying Pain” involved in even a small act like completing a web form.
Webinars: Offering free ebooks and whitepapers with your webinars increases their perceived value.
Demos: Sending a value guide or case study as a free addition to a demo can keep prospects moving through the funnel.
Sales Calls: Adding in free options for a sale is one of the oldest tactics around because it works!
In the same way it affects our love of free offers, our instincts also cause us to assign more value to the resources we perceive as scarce. Although this no longer presents itself in the form of food and resources for survival, the drive is still there. Who isn’t at least a little interested in a limited time offer?
Scarcity can be presented in a number of ways:
Time: This is the standard “Limited Time Offer” that makes a purchase seem more important and valuable.
Quantity: Limiting the number of products, promotions, etc. causes customers to want to claim theirs while they can.
Space: Opening up an opportunity, whether it be for free consulting or a webinar, to a limited number of people will be sure to create demand.
Although the days when marketers could shamelessly manipulate consumers are well behind us, marketers can still use basic psychology to give themselves a competitive edge. Even in B2B industries, marketing is an interaction between people and capitalizing on the human element can give your marketing a serious boost.
Let us know what you think of the principles above or if you have any suggestions of your own!