Why are some brands more popular than others? Why is it that the businesses at the very pinnacle of the field are there?
Everything customers do, choose, prefer, is driven by various psychological factors. The simple act of selecting a brand, buying from it, and staying loyal is a psychological and emotional process that takes into account several factors which most consumers are sub-consciously weighing.
So, if you want to understand how to be the brand that customers choose and stay loyal to, here are some psychological tips you might want to incorporate:
- Words Make All the Difference
Have you realized that the words you use in your advertisement or online can make all the difference between someone that buys a product and someone that just browses without buying?
In a Carnegie Mellon University study, researchers attempted to find out just how small of a difference could change conversion rates. To do this, they changed the language informing customers of an overnight shipping charge for a free DVD trial.
One group saw that it would be ‘a $5 Fee’ while another group was told ‘a small $5 Fee’.
Which do you think would perform better? Perhaps the second one. But not only did it get more conversions, it got significantly more conversions. Up to 20% more!
So look at the details, be careful how you use words, and learn to phrase things to your advantage to nudge customers towards making a purchase. The smallest word might make the biggest difference.
- Us vs. Them
When you’re looking to inspire loyalty and encourage customers to choose you, the best way is to ensure that they don’t choose the other option.
This works brilliantly with brands looking to inspire a cult following.
In a study conducted by Tajifel, he tried to see how easy it was to create social groups and how far it impacted the group members’ behavior with their rival group.
The study showed that groups created without much basis still led group members to show significant loyalty and support towards their ‘in group’ while discriminating against those from the ‘out-group’.
Even though the study itself was controversial, this principle has been used in marketing over and over again. By standing against a belief of a brand in a way that resonates with your customers, businesses can significantly inspire loyalty in the long term.
For example, Apple stands against the ‘boring’ PC users and their ‘uncool’ style.
You can also look at the legendary marketing rivalries for inspiration – McDonalds vs. Burger King; Coca Cola vs. Pepsi (just to name a few).
- The Rule of Reciprocity
Have you ever had someone greet you in passing and noticed that you immediately greet them back?
Reciprocity is an innate part of human nature that’s existed since the stone-age. We feel the need to reciprocate kind gestures or greetings, otherwise it just feels uncomfortable.
Don’t believe me?
The next time someone greets you, just don’t greet them back. You’ll feel the itch.
So how does this apply to customer experience?
It’s actually quite interesting. By going out of your way and doing something nice for your customers, they feel the need to reciprocate. This could be with a glowing review or even word-of-mouth brand advocacy.
Essentially, by invoking the principle of reciprocity, your brand will see a significant boost in recall value and loyalty. So go ahead and make the first move – surprise your customers with a positive experience.
- Instant Gratification
Instant gratification can be addictive.
In fact, ‘instant’ might just be the next key word in marketing after ‘free’ and ‘new’.
Depending on what you can give customers, it can be the tipping point customers on the verge of making a decision need.
So just when customers are adding things to the cart, give them a little bonus in the form of free shipping, free samples, or – if you’re dealing with electronic goods – instant additional features or advantages.
That addition of a little extra instantly or quickly is often just what customers need to click buy.
- Bestow Labels
We spoke earlier about creating an ‘Us’ vs. ‘Them’ strategy to create a cult following for your brand, now here’s another variation of the same.
Instead of creating a brand identity alone, help customers become a part of an inner-circle within the brand.
This is the psychology behind loyalty programs.
In fact, customers that are ‘internally labeled’ as being more loyal and therefore belonging to a ‘superior’ class of customers are more likely to act in ways to embody the label.
To understand the effect of labels, a study surveyed 133 participants. They were questioned about their voting habits. Half of them were told that they were more likely to vote because they were more politically active. The other half weren’t told anything.
Guess who tried to live up to the label of being ‘politically active’?
That’s right – the first group saw a higher voting rate.
Same goes for your business. By giving customers internal labels such as belonging to the ‘Gold’ or ‘Platinum’ group, they will act to ensure that they live up to the status (so long as it’s something that fits their beliefs – so make sure your brand resonates with them in the first place).
- Create a Path or Remove the Distractions
Your website design can significantly affect consumer behavior.
In fact, your design can act as a guide directing customers to their next step, or leave them confused. That’s why it needs to be thought through carefully.
If a consumer is on the home page, you want them to explore the various products you have to offer, so having several banners to attract attention works.
However, when they’ve reached their cart, continuing to display several other products might not work in your best interests.
It would often serve to distract customers, leading them to stall on buying the products already in their cart.
Instead, at this point it’s more important to nudge customers towards making the purchase and moving on to the next step – entering their payment details.
So based on the actions you want to elicit from your customers, either create a path that allows them to explore your store, or remove distractions.
- Get Personal
This is perhaps the most important part of customer experience – and the most emphasized on.
People tend to feel more connected when they know an experience is created just for them. In fact, people in a massage chair enjoy a massage more when they know another person has designed the massage for them as opposed to one determined automatically.
Similarly, customers that know something is done for them are more likely to enjoy the experience as opposed to knowing that it’s a cookie-cutter experience offered to every customer.
So, start emails with customer names, ask customers for feedback at every stage, and offer personalized discounts (such as a birthday discount) to engage your customers and create a bond.
The more personal you can make an experience; the higher your brand’s recall value will be in the eyes of your customer.
Customer Experience is set to be the key differentiator amongst brands of today, surpassing product price. How your customers feel about you is what will determine their loyalty towards you.
So when you’re setting out to create your customer experience journeys, always remember to put consumer psychology at the heart of it. Try to understand your customers, personalize each experience, offer them something more, and make every purchase and interaction with your brand memorable. The difference will show.
Author Name: Krause Leia
Bio: Krause is a passionate content marketer and a market researcher who is on the spree to capture multiple facets of industry through creativity and innovation. Krause is a content geek who writes for market research, digital marketing, and startup niches.