Imagine nobody’s interacting with your website, even after you poured effort into it.
Prospects aren’t signing up for your newsletter or opting into forms.
The worst part is no one’s taking you up on your offer.
What gives? You’ve spent so much time crafting your website, and it’s a work of art. Shouldn’t more site visitors be purchasing what you’re selling?
Unfortunately, getting people to buy from you is more complicated than that. Even if prospects are looking to buy something, they still might not add anything to their carts.
Why is that?
The short answer is, it’s human nature.
Remember the last time you had to finish homework, complete chores, or run errands? If you had it your way, you might want to stay on the couch streaming shows all day. So how did you finish those tasks?
There might be many different reasons, but the short answer is psychological triggers. You, or someone else, had to trigger a response within your brain to make you start doing something.
Everyone responds to triggers, and you can use them to influence customer behavior. In other words, you can make their psychology work for you and nudge them to buy your product or service.
That’s why this article covers 5 powerful psychological triggers you can use for your business. If you want to learn what they are and start getting more conversions, keep reading.
Table of Contents
Admittedly, the words “psychological triggers” can sound manipulative or sinister. I’ll also admit that many companies abuse the very tips I’m about to give you. What’s different about how I teach psychological triggers is that I don’t tolerate any of that nonsense.
Businesses should provide products and services that benefit customers’ lives. Profiting from misleading claims and fear-mongering on purpose is cheap, dishonest, and unethical. If that’s what you’re interested in, you can go ahead and click off right now.
Using psychological triggers isn’t about tricking consumers into giving up their money. Instead, these tactics help people make decisions that'll improve their lives.
Often, customers get too caught up in deciding what to buy or whether to buy something. That happens even when the product could help them reach their goals or solve their problems. By deliberating so much, people may get decision fatigue and end up not buying anything at all.
Decision fatigue doesn’t only happen to customers-- everyone goes through it. When was the last time you tried to find something to watch, only to spend an hour scrolling? You could’ve finished an episode or two of a show or even half a movie.
In this case, you ended up not making a decision. Do you remember how you felt afterward? Frustrated? Like you wasted time? You might have even turned off your TV or switched activities out of anger.
That’s what you need to help customers avoid. Your job is to make sure customers don’t reach decision fatigue and instead make the right choice. You can use the psychological triggers from this article to make this happen. But before we go over them in more detail, let’s get into why psychological triggers work.
We like to think of ourselves as rational and logical people, but we’re not. Humans don’t make decisions based on what makes the most sense. Instead, we tend to make choices driven by our feelings and emotions.
Given a choice between a bag of salty, oily, crispy chips over a fresh banana smoothie, which would you choose? You know that the banana smoothie is the better option. It’s healthier, more nutritious, and more satiating. It won’t even take that long to make, but you still end up inhaling the bag of chips instead.
It’s because we as humans prefer taking the easy option. We want to enjoy the convenience of an already packaged snack. We want immediate gratification from the high levels of salt, oil, and fat. In short, we want pleasure. Now.
As much as I love bananas, I’m guilty of this, but it’s not because we’re weak-willed. It’s the way we’ve evolved.
Humans seek out comfort and avoid discomfort. It’s a natural part of our survival instinct. Comfort means safety (food, shelter, and peace). Discomfort means danger (instability, uncertainty, and fear).
This love of comfort is also why humans are so reluctant to change. Sabertooth tigers aren’t lurking around us anymore, but purchases can feel like life or death.
That may sound dramatic, but it’s true. Think about it this way: we want to protect the resources that give us a higher chance of survival. In this case, it’s money.
If we have to part ways with our money to get another resource, the exchange better be worth it. In other words, what we get in return should improve our lives, i.e., bring us more comfort, safety, and security.
The thing is, there’s a risk that it won’t. In that case, we’ll have lots more of our precious resources in exchange for something useless to our lives. Something that won’t help us survive or thrive. It’s no wonder why we get so upset when we face these situations ourselves.
Think back to the last time you got disappointed by something you bought. How did you feel the moment you realized it wasn’t worth your money? Anger? Confusion? Frustration? Humiliation? Betrayal? I bet it was all of the above.
With this ingrained cost-benefit analysis, you might wonder how to get people to buy. That’s where psychological triggers come in handy.
Psychological triggers will prompt an emotional response within your customer to take action. You can use these triggers to compel customers to buy something that’ll improve their lives.
Your customers are real people. Their thoughts, feelings, and emotions influence their decisions. Using the psychological triggers down below will appeal to their decision-making forces.
Now let’s get into the 6 psychological triggers that will move customers to act.
Everyone loves free stuff.
Think about how excited you get for free samples in grocery stores or free swag at conventions. These gestures aren’t only one-sided, though. They’re based on the hope and expectation of reciprocity.
What does this mean? In the case of free samples, grocery stores offer a taste of a product to encourage more people to buy it. It’s an effort to introduce customers to what you sell. Otherwise, they might pass it up without realizing it.
Providing something for free is also a great way to build a relationship with the customer. It’s often the first point of contact between your brand and your customer.
Remember how buying something can sometimes feel like life or death? Offering part of your product or service for free can seem like an olive branch or a sign of goodwill to customers. It minimizes their sense of risk since they can check out your business before buying.
Try offering your customers some free stuff. Some examples are:
Again, offering something for free is about reciprocity. You’re giving something for free, so make sure your customers provide something as well.
For example, if you’re setting up a free sample stand, try to get their attention. Strike up a conversation with prospects. Share more information about the product that would make them want to buy it. Talk about how easy it is to make. Mention other popular products from the brand. Customers will be more likely to listen when they’re enjoying your food.
With online businesses, have customers exchange their email addresses to download lead magnets. Email addresses are less of a commitment than actual money. You can also use contact information to send newsletters and keep prospects up-to-date. As long as your emails arrive in their inbox, your brand can stay at the forefront of their minds.
Providing free resources is a great way to create a relationship with your customer. Once you start nurturing customer relationships, they’ll be more inclined to buy from you.
You’ve established contact with potential customers. Now, get customers to stay engaged with your business. A great way to do this is by getting them to like you. That’s because liking is a tremendous motivational force.
For example, if your best friend asks you for a favor, you’d help them. Right away. No questions asked. Why? Because you have a close, positive relationship with them.
Now imagine your mortal enemy asks you for a favor. Chances are you’d instead give them a piece of your mind for having the nerve to ask you.
If customers have an affinity for your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you than your competitors. Making this happen may seem like a strange goal, but it doesn’t have to be.
Think about the people you like in your life. Why do you like them? They might share similar interests, life experiences, or humor as you. These are things you can convey in your brand’s copy, tone, and personality.
To help you figure these things out, create an ideal customer profile. Refer to it whenever you’re not sure how to address them.
Setting the right tone for your brand will make customers more attached to your company. If you can get them to think, “I like this brand. It gets me,” they’ll be more inclined to buy from you.
Here's how you can build thought leadership and trust with your dream customers.
It’s excellent if customers like your brand’s tone and message. That doesn’t mean much if they don’t believe your offer will help. This is why it’s important to provide social proof for your business.
Social proof is a great way to establish trust, credibility, and authority. Show prospects real-life examples of how you’ve improved customers’ lives. They’ll start believing that your brand can help them achieve the same outcomes.
It’s hard for people to make decisions by themselves. That’s why people seek out other people’s experiences. That will give them a more accurate idea of how their own experiences will look.
For example, imagine you’re moving to a new state. You’d want to ask someone who has lived there before what it’s like, right? That’s because you want to see if it’s the right fit for you based on what they tell you. Plus, if that person has similar preferences and values as you, it’ll encourage you to make the same choice. The social proof on your website should do that.
Examples of social proof include:
These examples of social proof help you convince customers that you’re worth their money. Think about it: you’re more likely to spend money at a 5-star restaurant instead of a 1-star place.
That’s why it’s so essential to build trust with your audience. Show them how you’ve helped people like them. That way, they’ll be more likely to buy from your brand over others.
Learn how to effectively use social proof in your copy here.
The more your brand aligns with your audience, the more likely they’ll become customers. Another strategy to motivate their purchasing decision is by appealing to their identity.
Go back to the ideal customer profile you created up above. What are some ways your customers identify? Create categories for them:
You could group your ideal clients into many more categories. The point isn’t to encourage divisiveness between your audience and everyone else. Instead, align your brand with their identity. Your customers will feel like your product or service is perfect for them.
Imagine you’re trying to sell banana-flavored probiotic drinks to working parents. They’re too busy to make a healthy snack for their children from scratch. Grabbing our ready probiotic drink is a handy option for them and their kids.
Imagine a commercial for your product. You could appeal to parents by showing a busy couple juggling work and chores with an upset child. Then show the parent giving their child the drink and watch them calm down. The commercial ends with the parent enjoying the drink as well, satisfied with their day.
This is a great way to appeal to your target audience because it’s relatable to most parents. These visuals show customers how you can help them achieve the same results.
People like to feel like they’re a part of a bigger community. For example, car lover, gamer, Californian, banana-lover — you name it. Appeal to these identifiers, and customers will believe that you fit their lifestyle.
Learn how to spark buying behavior with your target market to improve conversions in this article.
Scarcity is another significant factor that motivates human behavior. It implies not having enough resources to live in comfort. Scarcity ranges from money to shelter to anything else essential for survival.
At the same time, scarcity means missing out on things that do provide comfort, security, and peace. It translates to FOMO or the fear of missing out.
When there’s scarcity, we often feel scared, anxious, and uncertain. That’s why you have to be careful using this trigger.
Again, don’t create a sense of scarcity to scare customers to buy something that they don’t need right away. Instead, use scarcity in a way that pushes them to make a good decision for themselves.
An example of this could be to take 10% off the price if they buy now. That will encourage prospects to buy from you right then and there. It’ll also decrease their chances of decision fatigue, where they don’t choose at all.
You can also entice prospects to buy from you by promoting a limited offer or deal. Show them that they have a short window of opportunity for a decreased price. Make sure the limit is legitimate, though. If your customer finds out you extended your limited-time offer, they’ll feel like you lied to them. This could hurt their trust in your brand, as well as your business’ reputation.
Finally, try creating limited edition products. For example, when a Marvel movie comes out, companies make Marvel-themed goods. Gummy snacks come in the shape of superheroes, and plastic bags feature them as well.
These are real limited-time offers you could introduce in your products. If customers know that they have a short window to enjoy these goods, they’ll be more likely to buy them right away.
With these triggers, you can get prospects to click the “add to cart” button more often.
The key to getting people to do this is convincing them of a need and compelling them to take action. In other words, you need to persuade them that your product or service will benefit their lives. These triggers help you get inside readers’ heads and evoke an emotional response.
Remember, though, you shouldn’t use psychological triggers to mislead anyone. The point of these strategies isn’t to scam people out of their money. Instead, it’s to communicate your unique offer and its positive outcomes.
By dedicating so much time, effort, and consideration to making a decision, people end up not making one at all. Customers are especially susceptible to doing this. Psychological triggers will push them to make a decision — the best decision for them.
The more people’s emotions you can appeal to, the more conversions you’ll make. Which means you’ll help more people make choices that make a positive impact on their lives. It’s a win for not only your business but for your customers as well.
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