3 Month Digital Marketing Internship Program from DigitalDeepak: Week 3

Week 2 was all about being a marketer than a digital marketer.

This week I am coming on the camera for Week 3 for Deepak Kanakaraju.

1. Reciprocity

Reciprocity is powerful and deeply ingrained psychological trigger. Actually, it’s inescapable.

The principle is simple: when you receive, you’re more likely to give.

To be clear: this isn’t just fanciful karma. As Cialdini explains, “One of the most widespread and basic norms of human culture is embodied in the rule for reciprocation. The rule requires that one person try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided.”

Brick-and-mortar retailers have been relying on reciprocity for hundreds of years. In fact, we’ve all experienced this trigger first hand … especially if you’ve ever been to Costco. As The Atlantic pointed out, offering “beer samples at many national retailers on average boosted sales by 71 percent.”

So how do you trigger reciprocity online?

The most obvious way is through what are often called “lead magnets” or “carrot content offers.” By offering your audience a free but genuinely valuable email series, online course, webinar, whitepaper, checklist, or special report they are far more likely to take the next step in the sales process when it’s presented.

2. Scarcity

The harder it is to get something — that is, the scarcer a resource appears or the more urgent its appeal — the more we want it. In a nutshell, that’s scarcity.

In academic terms, scarcity is, “the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs.”

What drives scarcity is fear. More to the point, as humans we’re far more motivated by the fear of losing than we are by the desire of gaining. With at least 56% of us experiencing active FOMO, this trigger drives consumer behavior and is even responsible for our borderline addictive love for social media.

The best example of just how powerful scarcity truly is the deeply ironic relationship between gun control and gun sales in the US. As USA Today reported in early September of this year, “Renewed calls for more restrictive gun laws, following a succession of fatal shootings in the United States, immediately appear to be generating a boost for the gun industry.”

3. Consistency and Commitment

Consistency and commitment operates on two levels.

First, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. People, for both interpersonal-social reasons and personal-subconscious reasons, will go to great lengths to appear consistent with their previous thoughts and actions. This is exactly why making major changes in lifestyle, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, are far more successful once the goal has been publicly announced.

Second, small yeses always precede big yesses. Put another way, as anyone who’s been in face-to-face sales knows: the first “yes” is hard; the second, easy.

4. Authority

Authority is one of the scarier psychological triggers.

Where social proof, which is covered below, relies on the power of crowds — i.e., people “just like me” — authority takes the principle a step further to utilize the power of specific individuals.

Celebrities are often used for the same purpose. Trendyol, a rapidly growing e-commerce company in Turkey, “started launching campaigns with celebrity endorsements, and saw a traffic increase as well as a 30% increase in sales.”

However, what do you do if you can’t afford to hire Britney Spears, David Beckham, or Catherine Zeta Jones?

The answer is … logos.

5. Liking

Liking is another obvious trigger … but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

However much we pretend our decisions are logical and data-driven, in reality, “people prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like.” In other words, if they like you, they’ll buy from you.

Face-to-face this means devoting yourself to what can feel like shallow tools:

  • physical attractiveness
  • shared interests and similarities
  • being complimentary
  • developing familiarity and rapport

Airbnb took this idea to the bank by revamping their referrals program with the principle of liking. Their outcome? An over 300% boost in the program’s user signups and bookings … per day!

This is the reason “About Pages” — one of the most overlooked opportunities for influencing conversions — need to be about story and personality. The aim isn’t to sell, but to build a bridge between you and your audience through shared experiences, shared passions, or even shared geography. Creating an enviable following is much easier when you’ve showcased your humble beginnings. Loyal customers also like to see the faces behind the product or service they’re signing up for.

6. Clustering

This trigger doesn’t appear in any of Cialdini’s writing. Nonetheless, it too is a powerful psychological heuristic that is essential to moving visitors into buyers.

Clustering is what the human brain does naturally to better retain information.

Like the name implies, it involves grouping similar things together in order to take advantage of our limited short-term memory. Because people only remember about seven pieces of information at a time, crafting content with clustering in mind will help keep your product or service front and center either when they recall it or encounter something similar later on.

Think about it. If you make a grocery list of random items, you’re going to have a hard time remembering the list. What do you most often do? You likely organize it by department or food type — such as “dairy”, “produce”, “meat”, and “non-food items.” This approach helps you remember more about the actual list contents.

Online this translates into grouping your copy with similar topics together. Use headings, bulleted and numbered lists, indentations, and background changes to make your content easy to scan. This approach increases retention and recall.

7. Social Proof

Whether we like to admit it or not, crowds are powerful forces. Humans are inescapably social and the simple truth is we love to act in packs.

That’s why we’re ending with what Cialdini calls “social proof.” Social proof is exactly what it sounds like, leveraging the testimonials, endorsements, and ratings that come from real people instead of you.

For example, research by Harvard Business School concluded that “a one-star increase leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue for independent restaurants.” As Jeremy Page emphasized in a recent CrazyEgg article on this topic, “The study demonstrates that users are constantly evaluating what others are saying when it comes to making their purchasing decisions.”

In other words, the first psychological trigger to increase your conversions and sales shouldn’t come from you. It should come from the people who are already using your product or service.

Testimonials are a great starting point. Email provider GetResponse, for example, exemplifies two social-proof cornerstones on their homepage: the power of numbers and the power of specific individuals.

Please let me know what all improvements are required.

Thanks in advance.

Stay tuned for Week 4.

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