Archive for the ‘Psychology’ tag
When you’re creating any sort of communication aimed at a potential buyer, you want them to do what?
When I ask this question, I typically hear a range of answers like:
• Know more about our business
• Understand how we’re better than our competitors
• Wonder if we’re the right fit for them
And of course….
• Buy what we sell!
All of that is probably true. But it’s too complicated. No matter how or where we’re communicating with a prospect, what we should want them to do is… take the next step.
Your job is simply moving your prospect to the next step.
That next step might be downloading an ebook, filling out the bounce back postcard to get a no obligation quote, emailing us with questions, signing up for a workshop, clicking on the buy now button or picking up the phone to schedule a meeting.
The answer is…we want them to take the next step in the sales cycle, whatever that may be. You want the reader (or listener or viewer) to do something to escalate the conversation. At that moment – you are talking to them. You want them to talk back somehow. And your copy should tell them exactly what to do.
I can hear you now… “I don’t have to tell them to call me. They’re not stupid. They know it’s an ad.” Very true. They’re not stupid. But they are incredibly busy, fragmented and they’re probably doing three other things while they flip through that magazine that houses your ad or click to the page on your website that has your workshops on it.
A call to action isn’t a remedy for stupid; it’s a remedy for their attention deficit. Its purpose is to get them to step out of a passive role and take a more active one. Because you have about 2 seconds before they change the channel, turn the page or click on the clapping monkey animated GIF that will take them away from your offer.
How do you write copy that captures their attention for that millisecond so they’ll take action?
Be very specific and direct: You need to spell it out for them and it needs to be simple. Click here to sign up or call XXX-XXXX to schedule an appointment. This isn’t the place to be cute or vague. You don’t even have to be polite and add a “please: or “thank you.” Just give them simple instructions that leave no room for doubt.
Focus on the benefit: Remember, you are trying to stop a moving train. They’re halfway to that next click or page turn. To get them to stop that momentum and move in a different direction will take something pretty compelling. Remember that we’re all motivated by the “what’s in it for me” equation so don’t be shy about telling them how they will benefit.
Keep it simple: If what you ask them to do is complicated, requires multiple steps, has complex directions or asks for too much information, — they will just move on. How many times have you started to fill out a form and then looked at how many questions it asked and said, “forget it” as you stopped?
Make it immediate: Sometimes this isn’t possible but whenever you can, make the call to action something they can complete right now in the moment. Remember, they might discover your ad or marketing piece at 2 am or while they’re standing in line at an airport.
For most organizations, a sale is a multi-step, complicated process. So keep that in mind as you create your calls to action. You’ll have a lot more success getting people to take one baby step at a time. Just give them the steps.
While it’s popular among women, Pinterest is causing stress among moms, who see all of the photos of other women’s food, home and craft triumphs as evidence of their own failure, a TODAY show survey of 7,000 mothers found.
The survey found that 42 percent of women experienced such “Pinterest stress.” Mothers rated their overall average stress level at an 8.5 out of 10.
TODAY quoted Jenna Andersen, the 28-year-old Palo Alto mother behind the blog Pinterest Fail, which documents failed attempts to replicate projects found on Pinterest.
“We have a hard time enjoying our own experiences because we feel it’s not worthy of this invisible judge. It’s so easy to get depressed. You start to feel like your entire life has to be like a magazine all the time,” Andersen told TODAY.
Pinterest wants to be a source of inspiration, but Andersen describes it as “a site of unrealized dreams.”
Pinterest didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.
SocialTimes checked in with a few moms who use Pinterest to see if it made them feel inadequate. Most said no.
“I really only use it for tracking books and music I am interested in. No crafty stuff for me,” said Ellen Hobbs of San Francisco.
“I use it as a resource. I don’t have the time for the big crazy stuff some people post,” said Traci Amberbride of Luck, Wisconsin.
But Kimberly Mitchell, of Gainesville, Florida, seemed to fall victim to “Pinterest stress.”
“It’s like competing with Martha Stewart at times. Perhaps if I had any help or never needed to sleep I, too, could make my toddler’s food into Disney characters with fairy dust and look like a super model while doing so,” she said.
Mary C. Long, a mom and the co-editor of MediaBistro’s All Twitter blog, said, “I filter my photos on Instagram just like everyone else. I guess I just know all anyone shares is that perfect shot. It’s ALL fake.”
So cheer up, Kim. You nailed it.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
We are creatures of evolution. No matter how hard we try to deny it.
Marketing is about understanding the human condition. And, while we have changed so dramatically as people, there are certain evolutionary things that stick with us. When trying to figure out why we do things, there are few people as interesting as Adam Alter. Alter is an assistant professor of marketing and psychology at NYU‘s Stern School of Business and psychology department. His research focuses on the intersection of behavioral economics, marketing, and the psychology of judgment and decision-making. His first book, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors, is a fantastic read. We recently recorded an episode of Six Pixels of Separation, but until it gets published (which should be in the next few weeks), you should watch his recently published talk at Google.
Watch Adam Alter and learn about the types of strange and fascinating decisions that humans make…
(like why we pedal a bike faster when other people are watching us).
That’s the age-old question, isn’t it?
When you think about everything we’ve experienced in the last decade and a half – from the Y2K scare to 9/11, Iraq and then the recession – no wonder that a certain level of insecurity about the future has become a permanent part of our psyche as we ease into 2013.
What today’s consumers want most today is security and contentment. No doubt these wants are being shared by people’s economic outlook and circumstance, which most categorized as uneasy.
Interestingly, here are some other key needs that our consumers expect brands to help them fulfill. If you can help make one or more of these needs a reality – you will earn their business and their loyalty.
Security: Food, shelter, keep my house, increase my savings, bolster my retirement plan, a corporate job, being part of a movement but not a sole anarchist
Control: Frugality, effective money management, black and white answers that come from scientific pursuits, own business/entrepreneurship, self reliance (especially younger Millennials)
Consistency: Stable employment, stay at college, complete college
Proving self-worth: Value through charity work, striving to get promoted, finding a way to leave a legacy (Baby Boomers), training/learning something new rather than leisure time, constant resume buffering (especially Millennials), aggressive pursuit of success (older Millennial males in the US)
Honoring my needs first: Protecting my health, making healthier friendship and relationship choices, spending more time with people who have my genuine interests at heart, valuing private information more (Millennials)
Respect for others (but only if they show respect for me first): Rejection of greed and self-serving society as demonstrated by governments and corporations, helping others through volunteer pursuits
Liberty: Personal independence, time for me (Baby Boomers), take control of my investments (Baby Boomers), not oppressed/restricted by others schedules or technology
Progress: Pursuit of scientific invention and learning, further education, choice of foundations, supportive of organizations who take society forward in some way
Both Millennials and Baby Boomers believe leadership brands that are sincere and transparent have the ability to encourage them to bring out the best of themselves and progress society. In the absence of strong government and other institutional leaders, people anticipate, and may even demand, that brands step in and play the role of cultural reformers.
Here’s my take on this. Our marketplace is asking us to be much more than a seller of stuff. They’re expecting us to step up and inspire our internal team and our customers to work together to take charge of the problems facing our world. Think of it as corporate social responsibility – but on steroids. It’s not enough to write a check anymore – we have to also be willing to give our ideas, our passion and our sweat equity.
Think about how this might change the way you communicate about your company and the work you do. Think about how you could build a community of raving fans who don’t just talk about what you sell but more important – talk about what you believe.
Interesting times ahead.
Regular readers of Conversation Agent enjoy discovering and engaging with fresh thinking and practical research and applications. Which is why I regularly write up recommended books.
I selected three for the spring edition based upon familiarity with the topics and the authors’ body of work.
How to make better choices
At a time of increased uncertainty due to the accelerated pace of change and the complexity of the environment in which we work, plus often incomplete information, learning to make better decisions is critical.
Chip Heath and Dan Heath are back with a book about being Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.
Every day we need to make dozens of decisions, and yet we know so little about how to go about doing it effectively. This often produces either an analysis-paralysis loop, or a shooting from the hip effect. It doesn’t have to be that way.
The Heath brothers offer solid, research-based ideas to help you break that impasse and cycle and adopt a more objective way of weighing your options. You’ll be surprised what a shift in attention, or a pause can do to your ability to process and more forward.
Nice people do finish first
Peter Shankman says they do. In his new book, Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management is Over and Collaboration is In Shankman brings to life the Golden Rule with many examples to help us focus on doing more of what works.
At a time when businesses are trying to figure out how to use social networks to generate leads through reviews and likes and get referrals from recommendations and links, one of the most overlooked steps is creating a good experience around their product and service by actually delivering on their promises.
You may be familiar with the companies and leaders Shankman researched — Jet Blue’s Dave Needleman, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Steve Jobs of Apple, Ken Chenault of Amex, Indra Nooyi of Pepsi, and the team behind Patagonia.
However, do let an experienced and skilled communicator outline how these businesses and teams harness optimism, humility, a reverence for customer service, and other traits to build productive, open, and happy workplaces for the benefit of their employees, themselves, and the bottom line.
Hidden in plain sight
I do have a deeper affiliation with the topic of my third choice for spring reading. In Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers, Jan Chipchase explores how we think and behave.
The ordinary actions we take every day affect the choices we make. Keen observation through deep immersion leads to uncovering clues to help identify unmet needs.
FastCoDesign published an excerpt of the book recently. The chapter describes one of the best ways to explore and really get to know a city when you’re traveling — be present, wake up early, cruise the streets when the shops open and the town starts humming with activity.
The book’s official release date was yesterday.
Being decisive, nice, and blending with the fabric of a place to see through experience are my spring reading picks. I like to select books and materials that help push my thinking further.
Despite the increase in volume and similarity of titles, especially on business and marketing, I find there is still so much more to figure out, learn, and teach/share. The topics where I am often left wanting sharper thinking, research, and pragmatic advice are still fairly rare to come upon.
How about you?
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.
In the 1950s, consumer behaviorist Ernest Dichter determined that most people
perceive at least five dimensions of downside risk every time they
engage in a purchase experience:
- Economic – will this waste my money?
- Functional — will this work reliably well?
- Social – will others think less of me?
- Physical — will this be painful in any way?
- Mental — will I think poorly of myself?
Most business owners wonder — how can I make what I offer stand out to gain more customers? The answer — and opportunity — is based upon closing the gap between the promises you make with your product and service and those you keep.
Let’s pick on each of the questions with some thought starters.
(1.) Will this waste my money?
value is subjective, the quality of your product and service is
something you can address. If you’re building your reputation with a new
service or product, consistency can shore up the lack of proof on
In the absence of a relationship that can give us information about
reliability and experience, your product or service will be compared to
that of others. How do you stack up based on price? How about quality?
Do you address the
perceptual difference with customers reviews and recommendations? Do you offer money back guarantees and free trials?
(2.) Will this work reliably well?
an experience around your product and service. In both cases,
functionality depends on what individuals choose to do with it. Do they
use it often? Do they rely on your service for things that are critical
to their success?
Integrating social media and networks into the purchasing and service experience supports adding third party product use cases and testimonials that can help new customers get oriented by people like them.
Appreciating the functionality of a product or service is
easier with the aid of a community.
(3.) Will others think less of me?
proofing is very important. This is another place where design of
experience can help. On one side you have the aesthetics of the product
itself — while these are subjective, there are some universal
principles that govern beauty.
For example, we may not know we respond
to it, an oval face is considered by and large more attractive.
respond to it instinctively. The fashion industry is built upon our
need to be accepted and liked. Many brands appeal to social conventions.
You sense of self-identity is engaged here as well. Would you rather be
seen driving a Ferrari or a Honda hybrid? Who are you trying to
(4.) Will this be painful in any way?
and consistency help us feel safe physically as well.
We have a need to
feel safe, it’s the lower regions of the brain that dictate that.
Painful is a difficult customer service transaction, for example. If you
operate in an industry that has a very poor track record, standing out
for superb customer service could be a major differentiating point for your brand.
Are you asking for customer collaboration for crowd-sourcing and then making them jump through hoops?
(5.) Will I think poorly of myself?
three main reasons why people buy are fear, love, and hope. We have
internal barometers and follow our own instinct on each of these. When
we buy out of fear, we tend to despise the brand a little, or treat it
as commodity — can we get that same thing at a cheaper price?
can you do to be in the hope and love categories? Delivering on your promises is critical. It allows you to make better promises in the future. Creating a
smashing experience with a service or a product will help
you stand out and make your offer irresistible.
Your customers have many options and rely on embedded psychological cues in the absence of recommendations from friends, still the number one source of referrals, and/or direct past experience with your product and service.
Keep your promises and you help address the five dimensions of risk your customers face.
[updated from archives]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.
There’s a Walgreens a few blocks from my house. It’s a convenient place to get just about everything, so I’m there a few times a week. It seems like every week they are collecting money for some charity.
They have the cause of the week prominently displayed. I can buy a paper boot, heart, ribbon or balloon. And when I go to check out, there’s a jug there — inviting cash donations. When I run my credit card through — as I approve the charge, I am given the opportunity to donate.
So — I have ample opportunity to give. But then, if all those efforts have failed to get me to donate — the clerk asks me — do you want to make a donation to XYZ?
Now I’m feeling cornered. The people in the line are listening. The clerk is looking at me like I’m a cheap jerk and while I should not care about what these strangers think — I sort of do.
That’s not a comfortable position and we shouldn’t be putting that sort of squeeze on our prospects or clients.
There’s a fine line in marketing and sales. We’ve talked about it before. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. If someone is not ready to part with their money, you can’t force or humiliate them into doing so. And if you keep pushing — all you do is alienate them.
Sometimes this over the line behavior is overt, like my Walgreens friends. Other times, it’s more subtle – like the passive aggressive voice mail messages or constant up selling or incessant follow up even when you’ve been told no.
Subtle or not — it’s not effective. It makes us question your motives (I am pretty sure Walgreens has some sort of contest among their stores…to see who can raise the most money) and it feels a little desperate.
I know this flies into the face of the sales motto — always be closing. But the hard sell doesn’t work anymore (Did it ever?).
Instead — you have to find a way to know who your real audience is, capture their attention, market consistently and have something of value to share/teach often enough that you stay on their radar screen until they’re ready to buy.
If it was easy — everyone could do it. Do you have the stamina to sell?
Photo courtesy of www.BigStockPhotos.com
Two of the best Superbowl commercials from yesterday were by Budweiser (no shock) and Jeep (a little more surprising). Lots of tweets and FB updates mentioned “tearing up” as they watched them. I reacted the same way.
The Budweiser spot:
The Jeep spot:
Both spots were really well done and very heart tugging. I will admit, I got a little teary-eyed during both of them too. But neither spot had me reaching for my wallet. I really, really do not like Bud beer. I love their brand, their Clydesdales and their lore. But nothing they do could get me to become a regular Bud drinker.
I don’t have those same kind of feelings about a Jeep. I like them and I’ve even test driven them in the past. But, I’m not in the market for a new truck, so Jeep’s spot didn’t have me changing my shopping plans either.
The spot made me appreciate that they invested that kind of money to honor our country’s troops but even if I was in the market, that wouldn’t be the tipping point.
Both spots are a good reminder that playing the emotion card alone usually isn’t enough to earn a new customer. We buy based on emotion, that is true. But we also need something more. Features, facts and need.
Brand building ads like Bud’s and Jeep’s earn brand respect and affinity. The spots probably had more of an effect on their current customers (who now have their buying decision reinforced) than prospects. But for some people who might not be in the market today — these spots certainly didn’t discourage interest.
For those of us who can’t afford a Super Bowl commercial the lesson is even more important. On a more finite budget — we need to be sure we find a balance between emotion and facts. Either alone just won’t get the job done.
Everybody makes mistakes, but thanks to an unforgiving culture and the public nature of the internet, it’s not as easy to live down our mistakes as it once was. While messing up can be tougher to live down, it’s still an important learning experience you shouldn’t avoid. Knowing how to handle your errors can help you take important risks and fail gracefully, so gather your courage and let’s talk about screwing up. More »