We often consider measurable things like price, quality, and additional features as factors for customers to buy products or services. While they present a large chunk in buyers' motivation, we must also consider the emotional side of marketing strategy. We are selling to humans, after all.
This is where branding experts come to mind. While you put your efforts into further improving your products and services, branding experts touch on the balance between highlighting such improvements and considering the human psyche in the buyer's journey.
This approach is always challenging, which is why successful companies like BIC delegate their marketing campaigns to agencies like Evolv to market their lighters that go beyond telling people it's better.
Do you want to know how we do it? This guide will tell you all you need to know about how we use our knowledge of buyer psychology in our successful marketing campaigns, for you to use.
Let's get started!
What is Buyer Psychology?
It is an area of study from behavioral economics which studies the human factors in the purchasing decisions which are considered in marketing campaigns, like consumer behavior. The marketing process goes beyond advertising the product's value, price, and quality - it touches on emotional and physiological factors that influence the purchase decisions of potential customers.
Why is there a need to understand Buyer Psychology?
Here are the following benefits of understanding buyer psychology for marketing strategy:
1. Helps with target audience research - Most businesses that seek a smaller and more focused audience gather psychological data for their ideal customer profile, like shared interests, motivations, paint points, etc.
2. Helps with finding your value proposition - you can improve the quality of your products as much as you like, but you have to consider that your competitors are doing the same. Competing through objective factors like quality and price will be challenging and requires tremendous effort. But, if your value proposition relies on your understanding of the buyer psychology, you can get an edge in competitive marketing without having to one-up the market consistently.
3. Saves money - doing a lot of guesswork in your marketing campaigns to see which one would stick will cost you. Strategizing your marketing approach first and putting a human side in your tactics allows you to hone your marketing campaigns to be more impactful to your target audience.
4. Increase sales - Trustworthy, approachable, relatable - the sought-after perception for your brand isn't driven by your product's quality and price alone. Your target audience will likely be going to research their prospects first. If your marketing efforts align with your brand values, mission, and purpose - it is not surprising that these emotional factors alone can convert leads to sales.
Psychological Factors that Affect Purchasing Decision
Benefits: Long-Term and Short-Term
This factor is more apparent when your customer is researching for the product or services that they want to purchase. B2C (Business-to-Consumer) considers the short-term benefits as selling products directly to consumers is usually a shorter transaction. The interaction between the brand and the consumers centered on the products themselves. However, long-term relationships are still essential in B2C, significantly when marketing strategies like social proof successfully drive sales further. Naturally, B2B (business-to-business) seeks longer connections with customers, so their marketing approach has a greater emphasis on the customer experience. Consider these factors in your marketing strategy and decide which fits your brand value.
Human Basic Needs
Your product serves as a solution to a problem that fulfills the three basic human needs according to psychology: wealth, health, and relationship. Consider these needs in building your brand value proposition, and try to fulfill all three of them as much as possible. Moreover, you can also use the three primary human needs as a basis to find your niche to have a place in the competitive market. You can look deeper into the basic human need for wealth and determine how and what aspect of wealth you can fulfill. For example, B2B companies are usually hired to make a particular work process more efficient and cost-effective, thus driving wealth.
Learning Process: Knowledge, Application, and Experience
It’s a concept of how customers interact with the product for their learning experience. Knowledge refers to learning about the product through videos, reviews, etc. Application refers to the learning process in which a customer thinks of how the product benefits them. Finally, experience is the hands-on interaction, and the expectations are tested. Consider these factors in your marketing strategy, especially in understanding the buyer's journey for your brand.
Know Your Customer: Points of Interest
Here are a few principles to consider in understanding buyer psychology:
Product features like price, and quality will always matter, but understanding buyer psychology also factors in human emotions. For example, emotions play a part in customers' research on the cost of the product or service and their willingness to pay higher or lower. Here are some emotional dynamics that came from interacting with a product that directly dictates the purchasing decision of a customer:
1. Love - positive feelings about the product or positive results gives you flexibility in your pricing options. Moreover, this also allows you to introduce new products more efficiently.
2. Loyalty - repeat customers come from loyalty to the brand out of exceptional product, experience, and customer service.
3. Satisfaction - further interactions like repeat purchases can happen if the previous interaction with the brand satisfies all of the needs and concerns of the customer without violating any agreements.
4. Appreciation - Customers like it when they feel they matter to the brand.
When a small business struggles to meet the product quality expected from a well-established company(or the quality of a product has already peaked in every business size), the practical strategy often moves the brand’s value proposition to a niche or presents a story that touches on human emotions. Stories have an advantage in connecting with the customer as the relatability of having a human face tells the audience points like:
1. "You're not the only one struggling."
2. "We know that low price matters to you."
3. "We support this advocacy."
The significant rise of AI tech, compels many brands to set their sights on integrating them into their products and services. Technology, especially discoveries to substantial progress of existing ones, always has a sense of novelty attached. Humans are naturally drawn to new things. But novelty can also come from innovation, which doesn't necessarily have to go from the product itself. Marketing efforts can introduce innovation or 'newness' to your brand.
The purchasing process of business goes as simple as (1) the customer paying money for the product, (2) the customer getting the product, and (3) the customer using the product. Humans are naturally afraid of losses. If a marketing campaign goes poorly, it incurs a lack of confidence in the product's quality and guarantee of satisfaction, therefore losing the customer's willingness to purchase the product. Therefore, marketers will always highlight the products' best features or at least put a return policy system, gaining the customers' trust.
Resolving the frustrations and concerns of customers doesn't just start and end with the product as a solution. It also takes part in the purchasing process - the buyer's journey. For example, If a home appliance is presented with precise specifications and instructions to use correctly, it would solve the customers' frustration, especially if it is their first time using such a home appliance. Moreover, having clearer options on a specific type of product (e.g., smartphone camera features, size of a t-shirt, etc.) empowers customers with sufficient knowledge of the product they are about to purchase before they actually have them.
People will say, as loud as they can, that their choice is their own and outside factors don't affect them in any way - but the truth is always contrary. The extent to which people follow the crowd varies, and reasons can get close to infinite. One of the reasons why humans have the natural tendency to follow the crowd is to verify the validity of a product's promised features. Marketers acknowledge this human nature as one of the factors to consider in marketing outreach strategy. For example, you might see that websites are more than willing to put the words from their past clients front and center and tell their customers, 'Don't take our word for it. Listen to what other people have to say about us!'
Strategies to Influence Buyer Decision-Making
Remember that these strategies may tap into the deeper level of the human psyche; they shouldn't be considered exploits, manipulation, or shortcuts. Your marketing strategy must value honest messaging and consistency to your brand values. Consider these steps as guidelines for creating a more human approach to your marketing strategy.
Before looking at the strategy, you should first learn the concept of the Marketing Funnel:
It illustrates how customers interact with the brand, from their interest to purchasing a product or service. Marketer's primary goal is to lead the audience from the top of the funnel to the bottom stage. The first and biggest scope is the Awareness Stage, in which the audience first sees your brand. The awareness stage could start from your content marketing strategy - blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. which your main goal is NOT to sell a product but to educate and inform your audience first. The second stage is Consideration, in which your audience is willing to interact with you and subscribe to your engagement content like free tools, newsletters, guides, templates, etc. The Consideration stage convinces the audience that your knowledge about your industry extends beyond just your product. And the third stage, the smallest one, is Conversion, where you offer informational guides, offers, and free trials of your product to make a sale.
Understand The Buyer’s Journey
As discussed earlier, the buyer's journey entails challenges in the process. It is the marketer's job to ensure that the conversion from lead to sales must be smooth and gives a lasting positive experience for the customers. You can earn your customer's commitment if the content you provide throughout the marketing funnels is high-quality, context-aware, and valuable to the customers. For example, you write blogs about shoelaces and ask your readers for their emails to learn more, then you send them free guides about DIY shoelace styles and then promote your product. Humans naturally tend to be consistent with our past behaviors, so the process must be gradual and expected.
Create Digestible Content
You want to avoid turning off your readers by overwhelming them with content from your content blogs. Like understanding the buyer's journey, you must gradually introduce them to new content at every step. Making your content digestible to make the visitor’s entry more accessible. You can count on customers' consistency bias by introducing first the main intent of why readers clicked on a content article in the first place. Then you gradually introduce information until you have said what needs o be told.
Show Price Markdowns
Humans tend to use the first information they get for further decisions - it is a psychological principle called the anchoring bias. You can use this to your advantage by promoting your products through discounts. You have to show the initial product price and the discounted price in tandem. This gives the impression that the customers are offered to pay for something for a product that has an initial higher value.
Highlight Cost Savings
Anchoring bias can also be used in pricing strategy for services that require monthly subscriptions. Often, their yearly plan has a cheaper month-to-month subscription cost than monthly or 3-month plans. Highlight how much your customer could've saved if they chose the annual plan instead of the monthly one.
Maintain a Minimum Product Variety
The paradox of choice is an observation of human behavior in which many options, instead of getting a positive reaction from getting what they want precisely, actually incur problems and stress in their buying decision. Even though we think we have made the right choice, the existence of other choices makes us doubt ourselves by constantly thinking about 'What if I got that one instead?'. Maintaining the right amount of options in your product or services not only saves you the trouble of having issues with marketing campaigns (after all, you may have to promote ALL your choices), but it saves money and time as the production cost goes lower.
Only One CTA per landing page
Websites shouldn't be filled with CTA pages; that's not what the visitors came for. Having at least one on every landing page ensures that the visitors get the information they need and have the agency in their decision to answer the CTA page or not.
Put Testimonials on the Site, Liberally
What you can put as much as possible, however, are your testimonials. Social proof is our tendency to follow others in a new situation in hopes that our actions are accepted and we did the right thing. Besides the dedicated case study page, the homepage, landing pages, and services page should also have space for your testimonials. This way, you want to present that in your marketing efforts, you value other people's word about your brand, showcase your credibility in the industry, and how you value your clients in your business.
Highlight Popular Clients
Client testimonials from popular clients should have a dedicated space to earn your visitors' trust in your brand. However, remember that while you can dedicate a special space for famous clients, you must show value to your other clients to prevent a sense of bias or favoritism.
Offer One-of-a-kind Exceptional Customer Service
Reciprocity principles are the tendency of human beings to return the favor that is given to them. Marketing campaigns aren't just a transactional process; building a brand involves a closer connection between the audience and the customer, which is done through excellent customer service. A positive experience with the brand gives a lasting impression in your customer's minds and compels them to give something in return.
Offer Free Tools or Services
Alongside consistency bias, giving free tools and services to customers also compels them to reciprocate the act of goodwill through purchase.
Buyer psychology is a powerful concept for marketing efforts to influence purchase decisions. This area of study is beneficial for small businesses looking to find a place in a competitive market without competing with the quality or features established brands have.
At Evolv, we always consider the human side in building a brand. We would like to hear from you on how we can utilize our understanding of buyer psychology for your marketing strategy. We are a dedicated team of experts who have worked with successful brands like Deep Structure to build their brands through bespoke and powerful strategies that leave a lasting impression on their clients and build loyal customers. You can check our blog to learn more about how we make your brand successful.
Contact us and let us know how Evolv can help you!