Our last post seemed to have generated a lot of interest if emails are anything to go by. That post focused on various customer psychology hacks that businesses can use to have more of an impact on their potential customers. In simple words, that post contained tricks that businesses can use to persuade potential customers better towards the chosen objective. A lot of our readers have categorically asked us for even more hacks. We can only buckle against such wishes and write this post on consumer psychology hacks.
The previous post on was more strategic in nature, which means that it revolved around overarching decisions. This post on consumer psychology, however, is more tactical. This means that here we will try to talk about micromanagement while previously we were focusing on the macro view.
Consumer Psychology Hack #1: Decision Paralysis
What is decision paralysis? It is exactly what it sounds like – paralysis in making a decision. Decision paralysis is one of the most challenging aspects of marketing since it was discovered. In fact, businesses and marketers didn’t even know what decision paralysis was up until a study conducted by Sheena Iyengar. Through her study, she found that when given significantly fewer options to choose from, people are ten times more likely to make a purchasing decision.
Her study revolved around offering random people the chance to taste ice cream flavours and then make purchasing decisions. To this end, she set up an experiment near a grocery store where people were offered the chance to taste ice creams. During one time period, people were offered tastes from six flavours. In the second time period, people were offered 24 tastings. The latter time period drew more tasters (60%) but fewer buyers (3%) while the former group drew fewer tasters (40%) but more buyers (30%).
It was a simple study that proved one thing. People are more likely to make a purchasing decision if they’re given fewer choices. You can implement this in your business by simply reducing the number of your offerings.
Consumer Psychology Hack #2: Principle of Least Effort
Decision paralysis is based on the fundamentals of effort and what they mean for human beings. The Principle of Least Effort is a simple theory that pertains to everything possible including evolution, behavioural sciences, ecology, physics, and chemistry, and even decision making. The Principle states that everything and everyone will follow the path of least resistance towards an objective.
This means that the river will flow on the route where the obstacles are the lowest and the gravity the highest. Evolution will take that direction which poses the least challenges. And, people will make the decision that involves the least amount of effort on their part.
In business and marketing, this means that the more choices or options you give to a potential customer, the less inclined he will be to make a decision and, hence, a purchase. In practice, this also means making the desired actions obvious to the viewer. Therefore, if a button is to be pressed for conversion, then the button needs to be made visible in absolute terms. Similarly, if signing up is the objective, then keeping the process simple and straightforward is recommended.
Consumer Psychology Hack #3: Social Proof
Social proof is the commonly used phrase for ‘informational social influence’ which is a term in sociology and psychology. In the simplest of terms, the phenomenon of social proof occurs when individuals assume actions that they perceive the majority of people doing in the illusion that they’re the right actions. Social proof is based on the premise that if a lot of people are doing something then it must be the right thing to do. In marketing, if you can convince a potential buyer that everyone and his neighbour have bought your product, then he will buy your product too.
The phenomenon of peer pressure is the extension of social proof too. Peer pressure is nothing the pressure an individual feels to assume the action that he feels his peers are already doing. A marketing trick that is based on both these phenomena is labelling. Labelling is the act of putting your potential customers in a category so as to make them feel like they belong. Labelling can also be used to make potential customers feel special.
Consumer Psychology Hack #4: Persuasion Architecture
Persuasion architecture is one of the foundations of conversion. Persuasion architecture is closely related intent based search (that Google has adopted recently) and intent based marketing (that Google has forced marketers to adopt recently).
Intent based search is a process where Google provides search results based on what the searcher “wants” to find out as opposed to the search results just being a string of web pages that have the “asked for” keyword. Intent based marketing, as is obvious, is catering to this recent change so that the marketing message and marketing strategy used in a campaign is designed to meet the individuals’ requirements.
Persuasion architecture is, essentially, a component of intent based marketing. In persuasion architecture, the business designs its marketing collateral in a way that answers the users’ queries. This design primarily focuses on the architecture of the marketing collateral. Take a web page for example.
Imagine that the intention of this web page is lead generation. Now, this means that the page either draws visitors from organic search results or social referrals. In both cases, the user would arrive at the said page through a keyword or a phrase. More importantly, he would arrive at the page with a specific intention. If this web page was designed on the principles of persuasion architecture, two things will happen.
1. The web page’s layout will be structured to gently nudge the visitor to perform an action. This means that lines and angles on the web page will point to a specific button or form. It also means that images on the page will be facing the same objective.
2. The second thing that will happen is that the outbound online real estate from this web page will be designed to keep the visitor hooked. This means that if someone came to the web page looking for plumbing services, the page will explain the services being offered and the guarantees being given before taking the visitor to a page containing recommendations, testimonials, and reviews. The next page on this rail would then be built around “enquiry”, “estimate”, or “quotation”.
Consumer Psychology Hack #5: Anchoring
In the previous post (linked above), we mentioned something known as thin-slicing. Anchoring is a technique that takes into account the principle of thin-slicing. Anchoring pertains to the value and perceived value of a service or product. Because of our tendency towards thin-slicing, we tend to make up our minds very quickly about the value of an object or a service.
The value we perceive, in most cases, is arbitrary and based on superficial things. For example, imagine seeing two loafs of bread on the same counter. Five different loaves of bread in fancy packaging will be priced at $15 each while one can be had for $8 and is wrapped in basic paper. This pricing is such that you’ll think that both these loaves are premium quality. However, in order to try one, you’ll find yourself going for the $8 bread. In fact, you’ll probably think it’s a steal.
The reason why this happens is that the $15 price becomes the anchor from which you operate. Consider negotiations. Even if they expect only $100 for an item, negotiators will start with $200 simply because they want to use anchoring. The higher the anchor they manage to set, the higher the perceived price in the eyes of the buyer.
Anchoring can be done on the bottom side as well. Consider two boxes of chocolates. If you’re offered both but one has a bow on top while the other doesn’t, which one will you choose? Most people would choose the one with the bow because they’ll see it to be more valuable. It would be completely irrelevant that both boxes have the same chocolates. People will just think that the one with the bow has something special.
You can employ the first consumer psychology hack in the case of services and the second in the case of products.