Sometime ago, Richard Thaler won the nobel prize for his contributions to behavioral economics. His book ‘Nudge’ talks about why people do what they do when spending money.
It’s not often that we can implement research by a Nobel Prize winner in our marketing strategy, but this one was too good to let go.
Research on behavioral science opens a window into a consumer’s mind, making us witness the thought process that made us buy those pair of skis, which we didn’t need in the first place (because it’s July and, do you even ski)?
Typically, we think we know what our consumer wants and we approach our marketing strategy accordingly. But do we really know what they’re thinking before they buy our product? If we did, we could even successfully sell a pair of skis to a non-skier consumer, during summer!
Here are 5 behavioral science principles that could help bring in more prospects.
#1. Less is More.
Research says that the amount of information a person can hold in working memory is four to five elements at a time.
Research also shows that people rely on unconscious processing and first impressions. To add to that, the first impressions are usually based on aesthetics.
This means, you can afford to cut back on information by limiting it to four or five words or sentences. (PS: that doesn’t mean you cut back on impact). This process is called Chunking.
Chunking: An approach for making more efficient use of short-term memory by grouping information.
Here’s a one line-story that made use of effective chunking, yet retaining impact.
Advertising in the digital media can be tough because people aren’t looking for ads, let alone your ad. But if you did manage to get their attention, make sure your content isn’t bloated with too much information. Further details on your product can be linked with a post.
#2. Don’t Confuse them with choices.
Research says that the presence of too many choices leads to either unhappiness, decision fatigue, going with the default option or deferral – which is the customer walking away from it altogether.
May it be an emailer, or social media post containing products you’re selling, just a few of the best products, or the ones that are trending, can be displayed. If these are appealing enough, your consumer can visit your main product page for more.
E-commerce giant Amazon is a good example for this strategy. It makes use of a clean display that avoids cluttering, confusion and too many choices.
#3. Create an impulsive shopper.
“The combination of loss aversion with mindless choosing implies that if an option is designated as the ‘default,’ it will attract a large market share. Default options thus act as powerful nudges.”
-Richard Thaler, author of ‘Nudge’
On the idea that we humans hate to miss out on things, it is pretty easy to make the consumer believe he wants something. By flashing time sensitive deals and using phrases like ‘while stocks last’, ‘sale ends at 5PM’ or ‘24 hours flash sale’, consumers will have very little time to rationalise.
Also by showcasing products that only have ‘few pieces left’ brings a sense of urgency, leading to impulsive buying.
#4. Make content disfluent.
Making content or matter that is disfluent, makes the person spend a bit more time trying to understand the matter, making it last longer in their memory.
We may think the age old idea of keeping matter easier for the audience to understand might get their attention. But the thing is, you already got their attention, and they might have understood your ‘easy’ content, but would they remember it?
The trick is to challenge them. Or better, let them challenge themselves.
When people see a word or point of matter they can’t comprehend easily, they tend to ponder around it, which is basic human instinct. Our mind tends to wander towards new or unfamiliar elements merely out of curiosity.
Disfluency causes people to process information at a deeper level, making the information more ‘memorable’.
#5. Personalisation rules hearts.
Behavioral science research shows that, in a world awash with generic content, personalisation makes us pay more attention to advertising messages that change behavior. The brain is also drawn to any information that triggers an emotion, be it negative or positive.
Also, the Jivox Benchmark report from 2016 shows that interaction increases significantly by adding geographic and time cues.
Relatability in content and marketing is quite hard because you have to put out a strategy that would hit everyone and still be relatable.
A marketing strategy which is interactive with the audience you’re attracting is the first and easiest way to their heart, and that can be achieved by relatability.
With personalisation, you will be targeting a smaller audience, but you will have undivided attention of the majority from that zone. It’s the kind of personal approach consumers would get drawn into.
Personalisation in content and marketing can also mean quizzes and tests, where the audience can take a quiz to know how much they’re updated on a particular affair, trend or field.
It may seem like behavioral science and digital marketing are worlds apart. They might be, but with the few tips mentioned here, you might just be able to get a bit closer to your buyers’ thought patterns, so as to let you plan your digital strategy more effectively.
In 2019, it is estimated that more than 2.77 Billion social media users will be active on the Internet. However, only 36% of respondents to a B2B content marketing study say they are very committed to building a strong social media presence.
There might be instances where you feel your company has missed out on key elements of the social media bandwagon, but fret not. Here are 6 tips to help you skyrocket likes and reputation of your business, in the digital sphere.
1. Start with defining your personality
a. How will your brand engage with clients online? Does your content style necessitate a serious and formal approach or would a slightly casual tone make you stand out?
b. Linguistic style: Does your industry demand frequent usage of acronyms and jargons, or would you engage better with a simplistic style?
c. End goal of being on social media: Are you online to educate? To rake in likes or to entertain and influence?
2. Be more human
In the case of Social Media, conversing like a human, can prove more effective in getting digital traction. Although the general notion might still be to go with a formal corporate approach, responding to comments or enquiries with first names of clients, or blending in elements of humor and wit does help steer your social media growth.
ProTip: Build engaging stories, flaunt recent case studies, or even a good CSR post.
3. Understand what shakes your reader
Many readers are predictable. They tend to favor a certain piece of content, over and over again. While some are inspired by motivational quotes, others might prefer how-to posts. Observe and listen to the voices of your reader, then filter high-grade content accordingly.
4. Stay close to current trends
By gauging moods and trends, it is possible to steer your digital trajectory, upwards. For ex. if you were to write about “tips to keep your data secure” at the peak of the Ransomware malware attack, instead of during peak festivities, chances are you’ll get a lot of reader attention.
5. Tease to please
Any accomplished writer or journalist will swear by the importance of an awesome headline. While the body of your post might have content that can potentially turn around fortunes, it can easily be missed, owing to your boring headline. Keep them short, mysterious and unique, while maintaining a certain degree of suspense and interest for later.
6. Get employee buy-in
76% of respondents in a survey said, they trust content shared by other individuals, as compared to those shared by company pages. Additionally, messages shared by employees reached 561% further as compared to messages shared through official handles. It is imperative to create an employee culture that takes pride in the accomplishments of the company, and where in turn, the employees can engage in the most reliable and effective marketing method known to man i.e. word of mouth.
In the end, while it might seem that great social media footprint depends on great content, it is of equal prominence to take into consideration the timing, research and marketing – to ensure maximum impact.
So you’re ready with a startup idea and are raring to take the next step forward. Pat yourself on your back for being courageous enough to give wings to your dreams and deviating from the sheltered path adopted by 95% of your contemporaries!
It is no mean feat — especially when the stakes are stacked against you.
Anyway, back to what we’re discussing.
What should be your next step after coming up with a potentially great startup idea?
Well, it could be anything depending on what your priorities are and how serious you are about your new venture.
Yes, there’s the need to validate your idea further by taking feedback from business consultants or better still — fellow entrepreneurs (as they’ve been in the same boat already and know what’s it like to make it to the other end) — perfecting your pitches, focusing on funding strategies, eyeing a beta launch etc.
Now, don’t get us wrong. All these are perfectly helpful and necessary steps.
But at the core of your startup idea should be a decision to keep things as simple as possible amid all the clutter, chaos and confusion.
For starters, focus on enhancing the quality of your product and make it so awesome that its awesomeness becomes the differentiator. Your potential customers should find your product so damn good that they keep coming back to you and spread the word around.
Difference between a listed product and a product that sells is the same as that between a Copywriter and Marketer.
If you’re a product company, follow the rule of 5 W’s – to create seductive and informative copy that will motivate your customers to click “buy”.
This should be the starting point of your next step, really.
But let’s face it. Any product or service, no matter how brilliant it sounds on paper, needs to reach people who’re going to benefit from it. Only then will it give your business the oxygen it needs to survive and grow.
In other words, you need a starting point to get to that starting point — to convince your audience about why they should care about your idea in the first place.
Will it make a real difference in their lives? More importantly, how do they know that it will?
Pay attention to the second question as it holds the key to your business’s potentially limitless expansion. It also gives you a cue on what your next move should be — spreading the word through the wonderful vehicle of marketing.
Not just any marketing, but content marketing. And not because it prefixes ‘content’ before ‘marketing.’
After all, it’s not without a reason that it has captivated the imagination of almost all leading brands worldwide. According to research, 75% of marketers are increasing their spend on content marketing and 70% of the audience would rather hear about a company via articles and not advertisements.
The fact is this: content marketing almost always works, when done right. It is also way cheaper than traditional marketing (by as much as 62% according to Neil Patel), and generates about 3X as many leads with a much lower CAC.
This means more leads at lesser costs! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of free inexpensive channels by which you can create and share content to a broader audience.
In fact, content marketing is the only approach that allows you to expand your business using zero spend. This makes it a godsend opportunity for startups that neither have the resources nor the experience to create and market the sheer volume of content that their larger counterparts do.
All you need is:
An internet connection
The ability and willingness to feel the pain points of your potential customers as your own and meet them right where they are.
An unending conviction in your business idea.
Beyond that, content marketing can be easily inter-weaved into practically any online strategy to amplify its results.
Keen to get more people to sign up to your email-list? It is content that impels them to act on the CTA.
Hit a deadlock on your next social media post? Sharing your recent blog post could be one simple yet mighty effective strategy. Again, content rules the roost.
Need to hone your SEO tactics? Relevant, timely and actionable content helps drive traffic and fortifies your SEO reach.
Seeking new ways to onboard your SaaS sign-ups and give critical pointers for expansion? Do it in style with content!
Want to connect with influencers? Speaking about them in/through your content gives you another happy reason to reach out to viewers on social media!
In a nutshell, content can and should become the foundation of your other strategies, including driving traffic to your website. It is an effective way of cementing your brand in the mind space of your audience by developing an authoritative voice. It informs your audience that you’re a desirable business to follow because you care about the reputation of not just your own brand, but also about your consumers (through their association with you).
In addition, it helps you maximize existing established audiences. As a case in point, the first 1,200 clients of Design Pickle were sealed through content — more specifically blog posts.
But you can’t just write a blog and expect a miracle, in the form of reach and virality. You have to wear a bunch of hats – content writer, editor, marketer, SEO specialist, customer service manager, among others.
Here are 5 things to do for your blog, before and after you hit “publish” – to get maximum reach:
According to founder Russ Perry, a large part of this phenomenal growth was owed to influential blogs. He points out that this idea gave him the impetus to keep generating content as he was answerable to his guest posters.
The best way for your startup to maximize this compelling strategy is selecting blogs which have a large audience and more importantly, are part of your (identified) target audience. Thankfully, you don’t need to base your plans on some of the biggest ones out there; there are many who may not be as big, but have a good, established audience base that you can look at.
Finally, as a startup, you have a great opportunity to show the way and lead the pack.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, the number of startups who’re happy with their content or with the effectiveness of their strategy are steadily increasing.
If you think about it calmly, you’ll agree that you do have room to lead the way or at least, be a forerunner. Look at the small size of your business as your biggest strength. Think about this: As a tiny player, you can be agile enough to devise strategy and take decisions on the fly.
Furthermore, you stand a better chance of building long-term relationships with your audience outside of ‘big business’ anonymity.
Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute agrees, “It’s so simple, yet so hard for even mid-sized companies to do this. With financial expectations on a quarterly basis at best, few larger companies have the patience to build a loyal relationship with an audience. In addition, budgets are set up as time-based campaigns, where short-term objectives take priority. That means the business tries to monetize the content program before the audience is ready (a big mistake)”.
There you go. As a startup, content marketing could be your single most effective growth channel. There is more than enough evidence to suggest that it is one of the best ways (if not the best) to help startups lead the high-stake pack.
More and more brands are realizing that content marketing affects every digital strategy they’re leveraging. But more than anything, it rekindles your audience’s faith in the source of information they value most — you.
Do you integrate content marketing in your growth strategy? Will you use it more proactively?