In an age of digital distraction, is there a greater cliche than, “You only get one chance to make a first impression?” Digital Marketing today is so much more than just a pretty website.
Consumers are more demanding and impatient than ever before. They expect digitisation to deliver them an almost instantaneous ability to connect people and devices, anywhere and anytime.
They receive almost 400 marketing messages a day and spend 3 hours on social media. Their feeds are peppered with advertising messages urging them to “Learn More,” “Sign Up” and “Download Now.”
If your website doesn’t identify their problem, provide simple navigation to a solution and allow them to filter their search, then don’t expect them to return…ever!
Infinite consumer options mean you have about 8 seconds to capture their dwindling attention span.
In that short space of time, they form impressions about your branding, your proposition, social proof, guarantees, and testimonials.
There’s an 82% chance they’ve Googled your reviews before coming to your physical location. They’ve researched their need and are well advanced in the purchase decision.
Getting the most and paying the least for it, is a top priority for them.
With so much information available to digital consumers, SMART companies leverage psychological persuasion as part of the engagement and conversion strategy.
Neuromarketing describes the mix of traditional and modern methods used to exploit the irrational decisions we all make when purchasing. It leverages colour perception, the human desire to fit in, snag a bargain and avoid loss.
Consider implementing the following tactics to get the most from your digital marketing spend, today.
Think about the last time someone did something kind for you. You thought immediately about returning the favour – that’s reciprocity.
In his book, “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion,” Robert Cialdini describes reciprocity as a deep-seeded human trait.
It began when Caveman A fashioned the tools that allowed Caveman B to hunt Dilongs. Cavewoman C maintained the fire that allowed them to cook the meat. Cavewoman D knew which berries made a palatable, non-poisonous accompaniment.
The first experts and co-operative societies were created!
How to Implement Reciprocity
Reciprocity is known to be a powerful sales motivator. Last time you received a free sample of food, it was accompanied by directions as to where you could purchase the full product.
The free sample gesture was an attempt to begin the reciprocity cycle where you return the favour with a purchase.
Free and trial versions of software are made available hoping to achieve a sale in the future.
Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful referral engines. Delivering exceptional service triggers referrals naturally, but don’t be shy about asking existing your customers for new leads.
You can incentivise the referral with a future discount or cash back for the referer. This increases the lifetime value of the existing customer and continues the reciprocity cycle.
2. “Visual Importance”
There’s a reason many alerts and calls to action appear in red – think Facebook and Messenger notifications.
Red, in particular, amasses feelings of excitement.
Visual importance triggers our perceptions that some items stand out when compared to others. Orange and yellow take action buttons are also used to grab attention.
Orange instills feelings of confidence and cheerfulness, while yellow is associated with clarity and warmth.
Blue is the most popular colour online – think Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and LinkedIn. Tech companies like Dell, HP, and Vimeo use it as well.
When it comes to technology, uptake is determined by its ease of use. Blue evokes feelings of trust, strength, and dependability – just what you want from your new tech purchase.
Blue makes us feel calm – important when we’re adopting new hardware and software. Blue is everywhere in our environment, so it feels familiar as well.
How to Implement Visual Importance
Depending on your product or service, the calls to action on your website can utilise the urgency perception associated with colours such as red, orange and yellow.
If you hoping to instill trust in prospective clients and make them feel calm about their purchase, consider using blue in your branding.
3. “Use Power Words”
The words you choose can make or break your marketing message. No need to swallow a thesaurus though, when developing your direct response copy.
Simple conversational tone works best in blog articles. Avoid jargon and technical terms.
Modern marketers like Donald Miller advocate clarity above all else. The text on your website should immediately address the problem and the solution.
David Bailey also suggests selling the problem, before the solution. Pay particular attention to his section on writing a compelling need narrative.
The father of advertising, David Ogilvy, stated, “What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.”
Certain motivating words have been used in marketing for decades now – the simple reason is they work!
Some like “Exclusive Offer” and “Limited Availability” appeal to our FOMO. Cialdini called this kind of persuasion, The Scarcity Principle. People place greater value on objects when they are framed around exclusivity and scarcity.
“Free Trial Period,” “Guaranteed” and “No Obligation” help allay consumer fears of being ripped off.
How to Implement Power Words
Your business needs to develop and articulate its unique selling proposition. A Digital Business Consultant can help with this and the power words to use in your marketing copy.
- Consider running limited time offers.
- Use countdown timers to add urgency to discounts or special offers.
- Offer a free, no-obligation trial period and present the offering as a gift to invoke reciprocity.
4. “Avoid Choice Overload”
I never look at any of the 182 different types of breakfast cereal at the local market. While there may be ones that taste better or are better for me, I simply can’t be bothered burning the calories trying to figure this out. That would definitely take longer than 8 seconds!
Such is the apathy that occurs when we offer our clients too many choices. When it comes to offering choices, the sweet spot seems to be 3 to 6.
Those yellow discounted price tags in the same
aisle are an exception. They immediately appeal
to my visual importance with their percentage-off
Avoiding choice overload is beneficial to the business as well. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, your Digital Business Consultant will help you develop your ideal buyer personas. These are the fictional representations of the group of customers you should aggressively target.
Rationalising products or services will narrow your focus and avoid wasted marketing efforts on people who will never purchase from you. You also become an expert when you own the niche!
How to Avoid Choice Overload
In the discovery phase of the buyer’s journey, avoid complicated pricing and feature offerings.
Use pricing tables to present features in an interesting manner. Position a particular offering that will serve your customers needs the best and maximise the return to your business.
Concentrate marketing efforts around portraying yourself as an expert. This informative kind of marketing is received better than a hard sell. Ogilvy also said, “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”
5. “Stay Relevant”
Bad web design can be a business killer.
Get help to ensure your business presents a contemporary presence. Deliver design consistency across your website and social media profiles. People hate confusion and mixed messaging. Failing to deliver on brand consistency will make you look disorganised and unreliable.
Consumers are also increasingly moving to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google for voice searches on their mobile devices. A Digital Business Consultant can devise or revise your SEO strategy in line with the explosion of voice search.
How to Stay Relevant
Keep your website design fresh and on trend with new content in a blog format. Google loves new material.
Develop a long-lasting relationship with your Digital Business Consultant. Take them up on digital maintenance plans. They’ll be more willing to do minor FOC modifications and offer future discounts to clients with whom they have a long-term relationship.
Conduct regular audits of your social reach strategies. Be prepared to ditch poorly performing platforms and be open to emerging ones and new integrations. Just don’t put all your efforts into the one digital channel. Your competitors may swoop into that space and steal the search rankings you’ve worked hard to achieve.
Your consultant will also help you target the keywords people use during voice search for the services you offer.
6. “Use Social Proof”
Acting in a way in which the majority of others behave, is a protective mechanism. It establishes social norms and helps us fit-in.
80% of people believe testimonials they read on a website. Social proof in the form of testimonials protects us from loss.
If you deliver consistent, exceptional service, a constant supply of positive reviews will be your greatest asset. Keep updating these reviews to reflect innovation or diversification in your business – that’s an expert thing as well.
Monitor and respond to positive and negative reviews on your Google+ page. Keep the reciprocity cycle turning with a message of thanks for positive reviews. A throwback to an earlier time would be to send a handwritten message in the mail. This is much more personal than a DM!
How to Use Social Proof
You don’t have to dedicate 10 web pages to testimonials. Choice overload suggests 2 to 6 testimonials will suffice.
We’re all attracted to shiny objects. If you’re a member of a professional society, eg CPA or Master Builder, make sure to display these affiliations on your site.
Maybe you’ve won “Best in Class” industry awards – show them off.
“Money Back Guarantee” banners also work well.
Scroll below the fold on this website to see an example.
7. “Personalise Your Marketing”
Personalisation is about delivering relevant and timely marketing messaging to your customers. It can aid their understanding, make it easier for them to do something or provide value.
The cloud computing power of Customer Relationship Management software like Salesforce and Pipedrive, make omnichannel customer engagement a breeze. Automation features deliver appropriate messaging based on where the customer sits in your sales funnel.
Customers expect an engagement strategy with real-time responses right from the outset. LiveChat integrations such as Tawk.to and Tidio cater to this demand.
Apple first launched Beacon Technology in 2013.
A customer downloads the retailer’s mobile app and opts in. The business then knows a customer’s location at any given time. Push notifications are sent to that customer promoting products when they are within a certain range or instore.
Digital loyalty cards, personalized offers, and speedy checkouts are just a few of the other offerings available with this technology. Financial barriers to entry are tumbling so this is a viable option for smaller business now as well.
ECommerce personalises visitors experience by displaying suggestions based on purchase history.
Youtube and Netflix use your history to make suggestions.
How to Implement Personalisation
As part of a total digital solution, your Digital Business Consultant can data mine important insights about your customers’ behaviour. Your existing CRM, pixel tracking, and analytics plugins are just some of the tools they’ll use.
Consider investing in an email campaign and drip feed ongoing, relevant knowledge to those who opt-in. You maintain brand awareness when they hear from you regularly as well.
8. “Use Video”
Consumption of video content is exploding. The stats speak for themselves.
- People watch 5.97 billion hours of YouTube videos each day…almost 1 hour a day for every man, woman, and child on the planet!
- 95% of people will watch an explainer video to learn more about you if you provide one.
- 81% of people will be convinced to buy from you after watching that video.
How to Use Video:
- Write a script
- Create a Youtube channel
- Grab your phone
- A 30-second introduction video to your business is better than no video at all!
- Google owns Youtube and gives it preference in search engine rankings
- Make video an ongoing part of your digital strategy
9. “Use The Reject-Then-Retreat Method”
A sales rep recently gave me a quote of $17,000 for a Tesla Powerwall. While I admire Elon Musk for his innovation and entrepreneurship, I don’t admire him that much!
He immediately retreated to a less featured, $8500 solution when I told him $17,000 was not an option.
The same principle is employed by a new car salesman. When viewed in the context of a $30,000 new car purchase, additions like $2000 leather interior, $1200 paint protection and $800 driver assist technology, seem small in comparison to the actual vehicle cost.
Interestingly, salespeople never start by trying to sell you these features. Once you’re emotionally invested in the purchase, then the upsell comes!
In a lesson for all business and services, both examples led with the most expensive option first.
When a customer sees the willingness to come down in price from a high starting level it’s viewed more favourably than the other way around. Think traditional upsells – I always resist them!
How to Use The Reject-Then-Retreat Method
Used wisely, this can be a very effective conversion technique. Just make sure the initial offering is reasonable.
In “Secrets of Power Negotiating For Salespeople” – Roger Dawson called the starting point the Maximum Plausible Position. It’s the most that you would conceivably ask for. The buyer must see this as a reasonable starting point.
If you run an E-commerce store, customers should be shown cheaper items to compliment or accessorise their purchase as they’re about to check out.
10. “Tell A Story”
Stories have been part of human evolution. We started telling stories before we learned how to write.
Scientists have studied the brains of people invested in a story. Oxytocin, the same hormone that helps mother and newborn form a bond, is released. It makes us more caring!
When you’re engrossed in a (good) movie, oxytocin is again at work helping you form a connection with the characters. It’s also the reason going to the movies is good for your relationship. You’re building a connection with your partner based on the similar experience of the plight of the characters.
How to Implement StoryTelling
Any reputable Digital Business Consultancy will factor in a discovery phase of your operations.
You don’t have the budgets of multi-billion dollar companies like Nike and Coca-Cola, so they’ll help craft a narrative that tells your business’s unique story.
This is the kicker though – the business motivation, what your brand stands for and the market need you address is about the customer, not you.
If you can craft a great story, oxytocin will be surging in your business prospects.
There is the question as to whether employing these tactics is ethical given their persuasive success?
The consumer today is well-educated. They are empowered like never before because of digitisation. New levels of opportunity, customer experience, and connectedness, are the result of digitisation and these will only continue to expand.
Businesses have to make digital strategy a priority or they will not survive.
Bias is part of our DNA. Civilisations and technology have flourished despite our flawed predilections. When all parties receive a benefit, I believe the end, can justify the means.
We’re all reaping the benefits of digitisation. It was the Cavepeople who did all the really hard work.