You Don't Have to be Freud to Use Psychology
Understanding a few aspects of psychology and sociology can make a significant difference to the success of your marketing strategies, which translates into more sales.We're not saying you need to analyse every aspect of your customers' behaviour, or become an expert in psychological responses, but there are a few good tricks we can learn from psychologists about how to influence people.
One of the most powerful psychological tricks we can use is people's innate aversion to inequity.Simply put, humans don't like unfairness and will avoid supporting businesses or certain people who they deem to be unfair, or unjust. The Ultimatum Game demonstrates this in action.Two people are given a sum of money, one must divide it, and the other either accepts their offer, and they both get the money on offer, or they decline the offer but then neither party gets any money. This experiment consistently shows that offers of a 50-50 or 60-40 split are accepted, but when the balance tips towards 70-30 splits the offer is rejected.This may seem strange at first; after all, it's free money so why wouldn't you take it?The reason people reject this unbalanced offers is because they represent inequity, so they would rather not support that concept and forego the money than accept it and support inequality.
How can we use this as a marketing ploy? You can tailor a message towards an imbalance which is either real or perceived within your industry. An example might be a company that offers on-site cleaning of fleet vehicles; offering a discount to smaller businesses with the aim of levelling the playing field and removing disparity between large contracts which may invite a discount and small contracts which typically don't qualify for money off. Smaller businesses will feel they are getting value for money and that they are just as important as the larger firms; so this appeals to their sense of fairness, and also their ego (which should never be overlooked when dealing with people!).
Another interesting aspect of psychology and perception is input bias.This is what we call it when something appears to be much better quality, and worth the money if a lot of time has gone into it. Anything which can be done too quickly is perceived as lower value because there isn't the same investment of time. Two colleagues may be able to produce the same report, but the one who takes longer will be seen as better value because all that time must have yielded a better report, right? While we know that objectively, both reports are probably of the same standard, the one which took longer seems to be better as this plays on our desire for quality. When playing up aspects of your product or service, references to the amount of time spent developing and researching, or the number of people involved (especially when presented as person-hours) will instantly make your offering appear to be high quality.
Finally, autonomy bias can be a great hook to use when making your call to action. Autonomy bias describes our desire to be on control of our lives and our choices; if we feel the choice has been taken from us we are likely to respond negatively. If, however, we are given the choice of how we respond, sign up, or purchase whatever is being offered we're more likely to take that positive action. This is because we feel we're being offered a choice and that we're in control. Instead of using phrases like “call now” or “reply to this email”, give your audience a choice: “call us today, drop us an email or visit our website to chat to a representative”. This gives the illusion of choice, but really you're playing on people's desire for autonomy by making them feel that of course, they're going to get in touch, but using the method that they prefer.
With a few simple psychological tricks you can nudge people into purchasing, subscribing or becoming a fan of the brand in a way which makes them feel it is on their own terms, that it is a quality offering and that it is fair to all parties.
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