5 Psychology Lessons to Get more Online Sales

If there is one subject marketers must study, other than Marketing, of course, it has to be psychology (or social psychology to be more precise).

Marketing is all about understanding consumers’ psychology – how they make their purchase decisions, how you can influence it, and how to get their attention. Psychology can explain why a particular marketing tactic worked out or fell short. It allows you to predict the outcome of a proposed marketing ploy by giving you a window into the minds of consumers.

Once you start studying social psychology and the science of human behavior, you will see that there’s a lot that you can use in marketing and content creation. Here are our 5 favorite psychology lessons you can use to get more sales.

#1 Foot in the Door (FITD)

You can make people do bigger things for you, by getting them to do smaller things. Click To Tweet

Sounds a little vague, but it’s the same phenomenon that businesses use all the time in “loss leader” technique, in which a business sells a product at a heavy discount in a bid to get new customers, and make a lot more sales later on.

You can get a similar effect by offering free trials. The idea is to make them say yes to something small while increasing chances that they will go on to make bigger purchases.

#2 Increasing your Perceived Expertise

One of my personal favorites:

Increase your perceived expertise by establishing yourself as an expert. Click To Tweet

By sharing valuable advice and tips related to your niche, your customers will start acknowledging you as an expert. That is why it’s so important for online businesses to have a blog and a strong social media presence.

Customers will be more comfortable buying from a seller they trust and perceive as a credible expert.

#3 Showing them what they want

It’s not really a lesson or technique derived from psychology books but comes from Steve Jobs.

Often people don’t know what they want until you show it to them – Steve Jobs Click To Tweet

There are people who will agree with this school of thought, and there are some who won’t. But the argument certainly carries a lot of weight. People know their needs and problems, but they are hardly ever sure about the best possible solution, or the most suitable products.

As a business, it’s your job to not only think and come up with the best possible solution but to guide potential customers towards the most suitable choice for them, while keeping their needs in mind.

#4 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow’s theory suggests that

There’s 1 of 5 different types of needs that drive every decision of consumers – Maslow Click To Tweet

These needs are divided into five different levels.

  1. First, we have physiological needs, which are the most basic ones like food, air, water, clothing, and shelter.
  2. Then we have safety needs, including health and well being, financial security, safety from different diseases, or accidents.
  3. Next is love and belonging, where we look for friendship, love, and family.
  4. Then there’s self-esteem and self-respect,
  5. and in the end, there’s self-actualization.

You don’t have to think too much about the order, but you must keep these needs in mind while working on your marketing strategy. Almost all businesses and products are actually meant to fulfill one of these needs.

Identifying the need that drives your potential customer will help you to tailor your marketing accordingly.

#5 The Paradox of Choice

In his book “The Paradox of Choice – Why More is less”, psychologist Barry Schwartz argues against giving too many choices to customers.

Having too many choices complicates the decision-making process – Barry Schwartz Click To Tweet

This is something you might have experienced yourself while shopping or ordering food in a restaurant. For online sellers, it doesn’t mean keeping your inventory to bare minimum products.

The key lies in making it easy to choose the right product, despite a large assortment.

Have a look at how smartfurniture.com mitigates the effects of the paradox of choice.

They ask easy and personal questions about taste and likes to understand the shopper and cut down the most suitable options. It’s fun to walk through the steps in the hopes of receiving a great product recommendation. Noticed how they combine the advisor it with setting up a user profile after the last question? Very smart marketing move!

Psychology is not an exact science because human behavior cannot be predicted, but it’ll certainly help you understand your customers. And understanding your customers is half the battle.

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