26.11.2018 — 6 min read

    Four tips on how to use psychology at different points in the customer path

    We all know that knowing your target demographic is a prerequisite for efficient marketing. We also know that each of our potential customers will have to complete their individual purchase path in order to purchase the product or service they are looking for. But can we use marketing psychology to our advantage at the various points in this path? This text provides some examples on how apply psychology for marketing purposes.

    Phase 1: Customer acquisition

    Maslow’s widely known Hierarchy of Needs, previously referred to as a motivational theory, defines and categorises the human needs that must be fulfilled for us to lead a happy, healthy and full life.

    The key to marketing our products or services and the basis of their existence is knowing what purpose they serve.  What problem does your product solve? Tap into the emotions and motivating factors that relate to these basic needs in your marketing.

    For example, vocational training offers consumers the potential to become better at their jobs, thereby both increasing their value in the job market and raising their self-esteem. Training is targeted at our need to feel important. Add a “satisfied or get your money back” guarantee to the training package, and you have an irresistible concept.

    Phase 2: Purchase decision

    According to the Foot-in-the-door Technique, your target audience is more likely to keep saying “yes” after you get one positive response.

    If you can manage to get a person to listen to you for a minute, to accept a free consultation, free product trial or an e-book, it is very likely that they will become your customer later on. Remember always to give something before asking for something.

    You can also offer a free and commitment-free trial period of a product. The fact that a trial is commitment-free appeals to our need for security: we are not committing ourselves to anything, so there is no fear of anything changing irrevocably.

    Phase 3: Purchase

    For the purchase phase of the purchase path, attention should be paid to usability and easy purchase by guiding the customer through the steps of the purchase process as smoothly as possible. There should be no glitches in the user interface, including pages that take forever to load, products disappearing from the shopping basket or delivery charges that change at the last minute before an order is placed. 

    In fact, making a purchase should be made as easy as possible: e-mail your customers with a message that they can click to easily renew their subscription, for instance. A shout-out to Lensway: I have been your customer for years now.

    We all have a strong need to be a part of something. This need can be tapped into during the purchase phase with testimonials and communities relating to the service or product, which then become a part of the user experience.

    Phase 4: Retaining customers

    When trying out a service or a product has been made as easy as possible and it has become a part of its user’s daily life, it will be very difficult to give up. This relates to the psychological phenomenon of loss aversion. When you have something, you don’t want to give it up. The phenomenon is very strong, and psychological studies have shown that people will be reluctant to give up five euros, even if it would result in them gaining another five. This is how strong the regret of having to give something up is.

    Cloud services have been benefiting from this phenomenon for some time already. At first, Dropbox would give its users plenty of storage space for free, but when the use of storage space exceeded a certain limit, users were charged for the service.

    The power of experience and communities can also be used to maintain customer relationships. For example, interactions can be gamified through the addition of a point system and the sharing of experiences within communities. Nordet Shareville is an example of this. Shareville is a communal service by a fund management company where investors can observe each others’ investments and their success as well as ask questions and share information about investing with each other. This system allows its users to learn about investing and makes its users’ success visible.

    Summary

    Your business activities will not be maximally efficient if you don’t know what affects people and their purchase decisions. Psychology has a lot to offer in support of marketing operations. When these lessons area applied wisely and ethically, consumer behaviour can be influenced and sales are likely to increase.

    I will continue to write about the application of psychology to marketing in the future, so stay tuned to our channels.

    Digital marketing, Marketing and customer experience, customers, Marketing psychology

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