by Drew Klebine, lead writer and co-owner of uxax.org
We live in an age of information. When applying this idea to how consumers shop online, it’s safe to assume that they already know everything about you and your company. Even if they don’t know everything, they can do their research to figure out whatever they want, and they will.
Remember the olden days when consumers chose to simply trust whatever marketers and salesmen were saying, even the shady stuff? There was no Google to look everything up, so the number one concern for marketers was establishing trust. While trust is still important today, the trust is grounded more on facts, quality content, and consistency, rather than intuition and the likeability of a salesman.
Everyone’s Googling Everything.
In today’s world, just about every shopper does his research ahead of time, depending on the seriousness of the purchase. There are countless websites, review articles, and blog posts describing every detail of what they are about to purchase. This filters out all of the BS that marketers throw at people, since shoppers are getting smarter and better at identifying good deals from scams. And since 70% of all time spent on digital media is on mobile devices, people are looking up everything about everything all the time, no matter where they are.
Most people are overloaded and overwhelmed with too much information on the internet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for what they want and need. People utilize their own mental filtering systems. For example, when someone scans Google, he or she glances at headlines and thinks “is this what I’m looking for?” almost instantaneously. There are also automatic filtering systems that you are not even aware of, like search engine optimization (SEO) ranking in Google, spam folders, and the “Promotions” tab in GMail.
If You Can’t Beat Em’, Join Em’.
Whether you like it or not, this is the way that consumers are acting. You can sit back and be nostalgic about the good ole’ days when people were selling door to door, but that’s not going to help you maximize sales. There’s no doubt that older marketing methods still work, but if you want to maximize your potential and be at the leading edge, you have to constantly pay attention to where the consumer’s attention is located.
People today would much rather research and solve their problems themselves than sit on a customer service phone line waiting for you to help them. One practical way to meet this preference is by offering a support page with FAQs, customer forums, and “how-to” blog posts.
But, simply adding content to your site for your customers isn’t enough. There’s too much information and competition out there. When people have a question, they want to get it answered immediately, and they usually don’t care where the information comes from, assuming the source is reliable. This is why SEO is crucial for every modern day business, whether you’re brick and mortar or completely online.
The key to creating truly valuable content is understanding your audience. Check out your analytics, visitor session recording, and heatmaps to see how your audience interacts with your website. Interact with your audience on social media and forums to see what they’re talking about. Talk to your sales and customer service representatives to fully grasp what your audience needs. Ask for feedback from your customers on your website. You can learn as much as you want about general consumer psychology, but the best way to get results for your business is to know who your audience is and how they act, think, and feel.
What Motivates Consumers?
In this context, I’m defining a consumer as someone who uses the internet for personal use, whether it’s for shopping, messaging, social media, studying, gaming, or just killing time. The consumer in this context does not know as much about marketing or the internet as you do. It’s important to keep this in mind when understanding consumer motivations.
The Word “You”
“You” is one of the most powerful words in the world of marketing. Everyone online has a purpose or a goal, even if the goal is to kill time. Knowing this means that every person is browsing the internet with a “what’s in it for me” attitude. The word “you” makes it feel personal, like you’re helping just them and nobody else.
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The difference is very subtle, and it’s almost impossible to notice it consciously. But when someone’s browsing online, there’s just something about the word “you” that really gets their attention.
This one sounds obvious, but it is still important to note. People will only buy if they can clearly see a compelling benefit for them. With all of the options available for the consumer that are made easy to find because of the internet, people are a lot more skeptical these days and take a lot of time to review all of their options before deciding on a purchase.
Do whatever it takes to stand out among your competition. Use clear and captivating headlines that directly showcase the value your customers will get. If people cannot see the benefit for them within the first minute of browsing your website, they will bounce.
The best way to display your value clearly and with one specific call-to-action is with a landing page. These are different from your website because they are pages designed to inform targeted traffic about one product or offer and to get them to take some type of action right on the page, like giving you their email or subscribing to your YouTube channel.
It’s a lot easier for people to make decisions based on the recommendations of their colleagues, friends, and family because the trust is already there.
One of the first things people do when seeking the trust of a brand is checking out their website and social media. They’re looking to see how many people like or follow the brand, especially which friends of theirs are following. If the company’s social media page or blog doesn’t have a lot of activity, both frequent posting from the company and active engagement with the consumers, then people will leave and never look back. Hootsuite is a great tool to manage all of your social media posts in one place, and you can schedule posts ahead of time.
People love staying comfortable, and what’s familiar is what’s comfortable. Even if we’re learning or discovering something new, we rely on our beliefs formed from past experiences to make judgements about the novelty. People are more likely to purchase if they are familiar with a brand, if they’ve seen ads repeatedly, and if their past experience with your brand is positive.
A great way to implement this concept practically is with remarketing. Make your ads on Facebook show products that people have seen on your website but haven’t bought yet. Keep reminding them of your brand, but do it wisely so that you’re not annoying people who aren’t interested.
Trust and Safety
As a result of thousands of years of evolution, human brains are wired to remain safe at all times. It was a trait that our ancestors had to have to survive, so now we all have it. As a result of this, people assume that if they haven’t heard of the company or seen the website before, then it is automatically a sketchy website until proven otherwise. People are skeptical because they want to stay safe. In this context, they want to be safe from scams or making a bad purchase.
The best ways to assure safety on your website are with trustworthy testimonials, reviews, and security guarantees (especially if they are purchasing online).
You Can Only Go So Far With Theory.
While understanding the theory of consumer psychology is vital, you won’t start seeing results until you apply what you learned to your specific scenario.
Once you’ve made some tweaks to your website thanks to these tips, you can actually see exactly how your visitors are responding with heatmaps and session recording. So don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself how much these changes are improving your user’s experience.
Drew Klebine is a Content Marketer, Tech Writer, Philosopher, and Musician from Pittsburgh, PA. His writings focus on modern marketing practices, software reviews, upcoming technologies, brand and product promotion, health, self-actualization, religion, and existential philosophy. Lead writer and co-owner of uxax.org, writer and marketer for Inspectlet, InMotion, and HER Realtors.