They say that the key to more sales is understanding what your target market wants from your business. However, 'target market' is just a collective noun describing many people and more types of personalities.
How could you really know and appeal to each?
Convincing your consumers to take action is one of the most crucial parts in advertising your business, especially through copywriting. The other, is doing it with subtlety.
This is where psychology becomes useful.
Here are some studies to help you understand how to influence your consumers' behaviour:
1. Suggest A Minimal Action
This is what Dr. Robert Cialdini, a professor of Psychology at the Arizona State University, found in his experiment. During a donation request, he compared how people would react to the following question:
- Would you be willing to help by giving a donation?
- Would you be willing to help by giving a donation? Every penny will help.
As a result, more people took action when asked the second question. By suggesting that the smallest amount could help, more people felt that they could make a change even if they weren’t able to give much.
Some hesitated to take action when they thought that they couldn’t contribute a lot. This is "action paralysis."
Lesson: When making a request or a suggestion, clearly identify a minimum parameter to help people break through action paralysis.
2. Label Your Customers
...and no, labelling isn't always bad.
A study that sought the voting patterns of 133 people, asked each person about their regular voting pattern.
Group A: Half of the participants were told that they were much more likely to vote since they were "more politically active".
This wasn't exactly true-- they were chosen randomly.
Group B: The other half weren't given a label; they were simply asked about their voting pattern.
When the results came out, the turnout of Group A was 15% higher than Group B.
This same psychology is seen in other everyday activities, like those who have "gold" and "platinum" status credit cards. People, even unconsciously, seek consistency. Being part of a group makes this achievable and so, we can accept these messages as long as we like what they are saying.
Lesson: Don't be afraid to label your customers. People actually like being part of a group because it provides a sense of status or privilege.
3. Create A Sense of Urgency
This classic study by Howard Leventhal is an experiment that uses two sets of pamphlets. Both pamphlets tell, in detail, the effects of tetanus disease and the benefits of tetanus shot. The only difference was that the second set contained instructions on how and where to get a tetanus shot.
As it turned out, the take-action of the second set of pamphlets was 25% higher than the first set.
People who received the first pamphlet had it in their mind that it couldn’t happen to them, while people who received the second set had a reason to feel an urgency while they read the instructions, which easily persuaded them to do as they were told.
Lesson: A sense of urgency is useless if you don't give customers follow-up instructions. Our brains are able to block urgency if we don't know how to get to the solution.
Give your consumers clear instructions and, if you must, drive them to do specific actions.
Tell Us About It
As we dive deeper into this industry, marketers should be aware of the psychological behaviours of the consumer. Without this knowledge you wouldn’t be able to understand why your sales are increasing or decreasing, and how even the smallest changes to copy can actually impact their buying decision.
Have you ever thought about content psychology when making your marketing plan and what cool findings did you discover? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this article!
About the Author: Raffy Marabut is a dedicated and passionate freelance copywriter/blogger. He is driven with passion and has an eye for creativity. Additionally, he loves writing about business, technology, and how-to articles. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines (The Prestigious, Royal, and Catholic University) and has a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter: @choreograffy | www.copybyraffy.com