Have you ever noticed that some emails do exactly what you wanted them to do? Like, make people click on a link or even buy a product?
And some emails simply do not convert at all?
Have you wondered why that is so? Why do some stories sell like hell and others die a quick death?
The answer is mental triggers.
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The human brain and the actions it induces are sparked by feelings and emotions. These feelings or emotions can be invoked by certain triggers that can be used for exactly that purpose.
For instance, for me, coffee, a cookie, and my couch trigger a feeling of relaxation and well-being. So if on a weekend, I explicitly want to make myself feel good and relax, most of the time there is coffee, cake or cookie and lounging on the couch involved. That makes coffee a trigger for me feeling relaxed – and results in me drinking by far too much coffee.
You can (and should) use mental triggers in your online business and blogging ventures. Because these little psychological suckers are behind every sale and many business decisions. Knowing these triggers will help you to craft better emails – but also help you to optimize your offers and landing pages and make more money.
Here are the most important mental triggers:
People like to follow people that other people are already following. It is a form of passing the responsibility of making a decision on to other people. “If everybody is following, maybe I should be following, too.”
You may have noticed in social media that it is by far easier to gain a new follower when already thousands are following you than when you are starting out and have zero followers. That is because the number of followers represents a kind of authority.
- You can mention a high-profile customer
- You can mention that you have held a talk at some famous conference, that you already taught thousands of others.
- But you can also establish authority through the content or knowledge that you provide. That is simply part of your blogging journey.
People love new stuff. Even though we often cling to the old things, novelty promises to get something we have not had before – and that we often cannot get anywhere else.
That makes novelty very powerful as a trigger.
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Novelty is what makes people instantly want a new iPhone the day it is released – even if they already have a perfectly functioning iPhone. Apple very expertly plays the novelty trigger every time they release a new product.
The idea of reciprocity is the idea of paying back a good deed.
With my friends, there is a habit of trying to be helpful to each other. I have one friend who really excels at doing something for others. Which results in me and some other friends always being really happy when we find something we can do for her. – Because we like to reciprocate!
There are many cases in your personal life where you like to reciprocate: If you always get a big birthday present from one of your friends, you will probably feel the need to find a special gift for their next birthday, too.
Image Source Kapost
In sales and marketing, you can use the reciprocity trigger by giving stuff for free. That can be advice that you give, answers to emails from leads, tips you provide and free ebooks you offer. One day, some of the people from your audience will have the feeling, “I have gotten so much from them for free, I can pay for this one product now.”
Trust is one of the most powerful triggers when it comes to selling. If people do not trust you they will not buy from you. It is that simple.
Again, you can actively build trust by always providing good content and sound advice. Trust takes time to build – but beware it can be destroyed in a whim.
Image Source: MCA Group
Your email list and your newsletter are an awesome chance for you to build trust. A one-time contact usually has a hard time to earn trust, but a long-term relationship can build trust over time.
Maybe trust is not the highest converting mental trigger – but the lack of it will certainly make you lose a ton of money.
People like to fit in. In a society where everybody wears white, most people also want to wear white. If all your neighbors have a tidy front yard, do you want to be the only one with an overgrown and wild front view?
In sales, this mental trigger is often played by the “thousands of people have already found their better future through our product” card. But you can also build a real community and profit from it. For instance, many marketers use Facebook groups or even the comments on their blog posts to build community.
One of the most powerful ways to grow your influence (and follower numbers) on Instagram is to be part of communities and take part in conversations.
In the past couple of weeks, I have seen many Facebook ads that were trying to sell me some marketing tactics by bashing common knowledge marketing tactics. That sounds like this:
- “Don’t fall for content marketing it is not what you need…”
- “Don’t listen to marketers they are lying…”
- “You do not need marketing, just buy my book…”
And while I would not trust these people, because I have never heard of them and their marketing is obviously non-existing apart from paying for Facebook ads, some of them did inspire my curiosity and made me click. I clicked just to find out what their “game-changing” “new” marketing concept was (which I still do not know). So I did not buy, but they got me to click – which is more than most Facebook advertisers achieve. And the trigger was curiosity.
Curiosity is a powerful tool. If you can use it to make people click or even sign up for a free trial, you have them one step closer to buying from you.
Because Apple manages to build anticipation for their new products. People cannot wait for the new products one more day. Everybody wants to have the new product right now – even if they are expensive!
The same happened with the later seasons of the show Game of Thrones. People were hooked to the series so much that they craved every bit of information they could find – until finally, the next season came to the screen.
If you manage to build anticipation for your new product so that people get the feeling that they have been waiting for exactly your solution and need it as soon as possible, your launch is already halfway booked.
8. Social Proof
Social proof comes in many forms. In a way, it works in a similar way as authority does: if other people trust you and buy your products, they cannot be so bad. If these people also give a statement of how the product helped them solve the problems, more people will even more easily believe that this product could solve their problem, too.
That’s why you need customer reviews.
But there are more subtle forms of social proof. You may know the little popups on websites that state that “Michael from San Francisco, bought product X” – they are provided by an app called proof. And they are a form of social proof.
You may also have been in a webinar where a product was presented at the end. And while the speaker is busy answering questions in the Q&A session, his assistant is busy typing messages like “Welcome Mike and Anne to our product X.” That is also a form of social proof.
And these mechanisms work. Social Proof can easily multiply your conversions!
9. Peer pressure
You may still remember your school days. When everybody wore a pair of Nikes, you had to push your mom into buying you a pair of Nikes just to be a part of the group of fashionable kids wearing Nikes.
This pressure, especially in school kids, can be immense.
In sales, this trigger can be powerful. If everybody is already using product x you simply HAVE to use product x, too.
For instance, if you would see those little proof popups I mentioned in #8, you as a blogger from the community may feel the peer pressure to also use proof.
If you ever got a salesy email, you will have experienced some form of scarcity. There are many ways to induce a feeling of scarcity, here are some ideas:
- the low price will only be available for a couple of days and go up after that
- the product will only be available for a couple of days after that you will not be able to purchase it
- you get a special offer that includes some (high-priced) bonuses that you really do not need but if you want to buy anyway would just take as an add-on. The bonuses go away after a couple of days
- only a restricted number of the product is available (for instance, limited seats in a class or course)
Scarcity has tremendous power to make people buy NOW instead of postponing their buying decision and ending up forgetting all about you. When there is a limited number of products or a limited time frame when we can buy, we are lured into buying for fear of missing out on an opportunity.
Controversy is a powerful trigger but you may want to think twice about using it.
The best content that gets the most shares and attention is often content that takes a controversial standpoint. Not everybody will agree. Some will hate your opinion but everybody is talking about it and passionate about it.
Controversy may turn away potential buyers but it can also lure some buyers in. It is a ride on the edge of the knife to use controversy as a trigger.
Make yourself likable and people will like doing business with you. We much rather like spending money on people we like – and hate having to write a check for people we dislike. We also rather turn to people we like if we need help.
One way to make yourself likable is to show who you are. You are not a faceless business, you are a person. Sometimes even a friendly image can make you more likable and help you increase conversions.
Consistency works on more than one level.
If you have been delivering expertise in cooking and recipes, you may have a hard time selling a guide to gardening.
And that has multiple reasons.
You have to stay consistent in what you build your expertise and perception in. And with your consistent delivery of value on a certain topic, you will build an audience that is interested in exactly this topic.
Suddenly trying to turn this audience into an audience that is interested in something else will usually not give you the best results.
Being consistent will build up some of the other triggers as well: trust, anticipation, authority…
Changing your topic or suddenly presenting a different face to your audience will rather work against these triggers.
Did you know that too much choice can work against conversions?
I have experienced this myself: If I have so many factors I can choose from, I will postpone my buying decision until I have time to consider all factors. And in the end, I often do not buy at all because I do not have the feeling that I can make all the choices that I am given.
That is why in many cases, the seller makes the choice for you: They build cluster to make your choice easier.
You have probably seen it: An app where you can choose between just 3 different versions and your decision is easy because you only fit into one category.
Screenshot from Buffer.
Clustering is a means of taking the hardship of choice from your customers and providing them with the feeling that they get the best product specification – where too much choice leaves them with a ton of uncertainties.
People are looking for simple solutions. A complex and complicated solution can turn them off.
In marketing, we sometimes tend to make things sound complex to give people the feeling that they are getting something for their money. That could be a mistake.
Do not try to sell your product off as complex to make yourself sound more like the expert that you are and the product is worth more money.
Instead, the promise of an easy 5 step solution to a problem your audience has been struggling with could prove all that it takes to make people buy.
We are willing to pay a ton of money for a simple solution. Especially if everybody else makes the problem sound complex.
Final words on mental triggers
If you are a subscriber to some newsletters read the next sales offer with mental triggers in mind. You could be surprised by how many triggers are probably used in every single of the sales emails that you get.
And that is what you should also do. You could easily multiply your conversion rates and revenues by tweaking your sales emails just a little and incorporating a couple of the mental triggers.