42 Sure Shot Psychology Tactics to Boost Your Online Business

42 Psychology Tactics to Boost Your Online Business

online business customer psychologyDo you live in a cave? Unless you are literally in a cave or have been hiking in the Himalayas, you’ve probably noticed that almost every product or service today is going online. Businesses are going online to sell or be found. Social media and digital content like videos, pictures and written content like this help businesses get found. In short, every business is an online business today (and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future).

But customers are invisible.

It’s great that people are able to browse and shop from the press of a button. It’s just made your life difficult as a business owner or a creator of products or services.

Who are you creating them for?

People who you don’t get to see are buying or consuming your stuff. They wade through the internet ocean to find stuff they need. Hopefully it’s your stuff.

The online world has turned into a fish market.

There is so much of content and products that customers are always making increasingly complex choices and decisions. As entrepreneurs and creators of services or products, it’s our job to help customers.

Transcoding customer psychology to help them make decisions easily will be key for any online business.

In this article I will teach you 42 such tactics that will boost your online business today.

A little warning though.

You can use these tactics to do bad or good for your customers. You can exploit them or help them. I urge you to do the latter. Be good, do good. Thanks for the understanding and I appreciate you for being good samaritans.

In this series of articles, I’d like to show you how understanding a little behavioral psychology can help your online business be successful in the digital world.

We are Obsessed to Create.

As entrepreneurs and creators of products and services, a lot of us focus on building and creating stuff.

What is the next big idea? What are people complaining about? Build something (psst…MVP). Test it to see if people like it, and measure the outcome to learn something and get back to improvising that product or service.

Sounds familiar?

Yes, I’ve been there and I know you’ve been too.

Do we Care Enough about What Our Customers Think?

While building stuff is important, understanding your users and customers is even more important. More so in a digital world that’s increasingly seeing the usage of bots and the adoption of machine learning.

So what are we going to learn today?

Being the first article in this series, I want to help you get started. We’ll do 2 things in this article –

  1. Understand how your customers’ brain works.
  2. Introduce you to common human (customer) behaviors.
  3. Give you 42 (yes, forty two!) actionable tactics and tips you can use to boost your online business.

Are you ready for this?

This article is going to be a long one, so get yourself a cuppa coffee (or whatever drink you like) and let’s begin.

Let’s Dissect Your Customers’ Brain

 

For a long time I’ve joked about the power of knowing how deep customers’ pockets are (or how fat their wallets are). It’s only after learning to get deeper into empathy and customer discovery, that I started to look at how customers think.

What makes them tick?

It turns out that for more than 100 years, neuroscientists and neuropsychologists have been studying the human brain. They tried to understand how it works and why we do what we do. Let me share an interesting thing I learnt about the human (customer!) brain’s anatomy.

The human brain is broadly divided into three parts –

  1. New Brain
  2. The Middle Brain
  3. and, the Old Brain

Funny names, aren’t they?

It turns out that these parts came into place as we evolved as a species from the ape to what we are known as today – homo sapiens.

Hey It’s a Supercomputer Inside!

The primitives had what we call as the Old Brain. Some refer to it as the reptilian brain or the lizard brain and this is the part of the brain that caters to our instinctual needs. Also called the instinctual brain, the Old Brain is the one that makes us humans feel hungry, scared, angry and horny.

It happens at McDonalds.

Oh yes, that’s the one that gets triggered when you think of munching on a burger at Mc Donalds!

Your Lizard Brain wants the Big Mac and your Rational Brain wants to lose 500 calories. The bots are never gonna take over us! #humansvsrots #makelearnchange Click To Tweet

The Middle Brain is the seat of emotions and the New Brain is what developed in the last stage of evolution (at least so far!). The New Brain is what a lot of us are trained to use at schools and colleges – do rational thinking. This part of the brain is what gets triggered when someone says “…but logically speaking..”

11 Million Per Second!

That’s the number of pieces of information we consume ever single second according to neuroscientists. What’s more interesting is that our brain processes only 40 of them. Just Forty!

I’ll let you digest that for a few seconds.

.

.

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The brain is indeed a supercomputer! So, how does it work? Specifically how do customers think?

How do customers think?

How does all of this knowledge about the human brain help you build a strong online business? Simply put, people are the center of any businesses – yours too. A little bit of understanding of your customers or your buyers can go a long way in helping you create, package and deliver your services and products such that they keep coming back for more.

online business customer psychology

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” - Steve Jobs #makelearnchange Click To Tweet

Steve Jobs might’ve sounded cocky in saying that, but it just tells us how strongly he understood the human psychology and how customers think.

A closer look will tell you that he uses the word want and not need carefully. It’s not just different English words. The conscious mind (or the New Brain) tells what it wants, but its the unconscious mind (the Mid and Old Brain) that exhibits the needs.

We don’t know what we need.

If you ask people what they want, they will tell you what they think (Rational Brain alert!!). If you look closer, you can understand why they want it.

Talking about what people think, you might wonder what exactly are these human behaviors. Are we humans really so vulnerable?

Let me quickly walk you through some of these behavioral triggers.

These Are the Triggers that Make Your Customers’ Tick

There are several human behaviors that we could potentially talk about. In this article however, we’ll focus on 9 of them.

Let me quickly enumerate them for you in this section. In the next section I will walk you through each of them, and outline tactics and tips you can use to maximize success of your online business based on these behavioral triggers.

The 9 behavioral psychology triggers I’d like to discuss are –

  1. Social Validation
  2. Reciprocity
  3. Scarcity
  4. Making decisions
  5. The power of You
  6. Laddering commitments
  7. Need to relate
  8. Avoiding loss
  9. Thinking in pictures

You must be guessing what each of these mean, and I’m sure you’ve got most of them right. Instead of delving into what they mean and how you can apply in isolation, I’ll do both of them in tandem in the following sections.

While we are at it, here is a very detailed and interesting infographic on how shoppers think, both online and offline. The infographic goes into the decision making process inside of the human brain with facts and figures.

Alright. Let’s get back to our topic – the Tactics!

In the rest of this article, I’ll be grouping a set of tactics for each of the 9 behavioral psychology triggers I mentioned. You should download a copy of these tactics and triggers for future reference if you like. I highly recommend you signup for DYT Insider and get a copy of the sketchnote for this article.

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42 Tactics to Boost Your Online Business

Let’s start off with the tactics and techniques.

6 Social Validation Techniques for your Product or Service

Did you know that we humans experience social validation every time we meet someone new?

Social validation is the mind’s inherent way to conform to be liked and accepted by people whose influence its under.

In social psychology this is termed as normative social influence. If you have found yourself doing something despite your liking but because of the social setting you are in, you’ve experienced a form of social validation.

Now let’s see how you can leverage this trigger in your product or service or online business.

How Social Validation Can Help Your Online Business?

Product Testimonials

People are more likely to use your product or service if it has a good social validation.

Biggest examples of this are testimonials and advertisements with celebrities. People connect with your product or service instantly because the celebrity was perhaps someone they respect, admire and trust.

Trade Shows & Conferences

People are more likely to consider opening your product’s brochure or webpage if it has social validation.

Sponsoring big trade shows and conferences is a good example of how entrepreneurs and online business owners leverage the power of social validation. People remember your product or brand because they associate with a conference they loved networking at.

Brand Customizability

Being able to customize your product to a company’s theme or use cases is another way of helping customers socially validate. Looking at their use cases and familiar color schemes and logo instantly lends itself into making a favorable decision towards your product.

Product Partner Ecosystem

Having big name partners that integrate with your product is going to help customers likely interested is another example of social validation. Customers here validate your product because brands that they are familiar with have considered integrating with your product.

Product Packaging

While we are focusing on online businesses in this article, I have worked with clients who are brick-and-bortar businesses that have forayed into the world of online business. So, if you are one such, this one is for you.

If you are making a physical product, the packaging of your product is a great social validation of the brand you are. A good example of this is the way many companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and others have started to focus on packaging their iPhones, Nexus phones and Xbox consoles.

Finally, Your Body Language

As solopreneurs, product managers and online business owners, we are leaders without a team. Being able to establish good relationships with engineers, cross-functional teams, partners, collaborators and customers starts with our body language.

How you interact with these groups of people has a remarkable effect on their perception of you. If they notice your charisma and demeanor conducive, you’ve already gotten yourself socially validated as a charismatic person.

5 Ways to Build On Reciprocity

 

Thanksgiving comes every year, and so do gifts. The theory behind gift-giving is an interesting one, and largely looms around this theory and social psychology principle called Reciprocity. The theory is pretty darn simple. Whenever we receive something without strings attached (aka gifts), we feel indebted and just cannot wait to return the favor or gift.

The sense of obligation is wired inside the human brain, and has been exhibited from the stone age. You can read Stone Age Economics by Marshall Sahlins – I’ll have the links to all books at the end of this article.

How to leverage the Power of Reciprocity?

Giveaways At Conferences

This is one of the most commonly used techniques. As entrepreneurs and product (or service) creators we are interested in conferences for multiple reasons. Validating new ideas, introducing new products, connecting with customers, creating brand awareness and much more.

Giving away gifts or giveaways at such events can enhance the effectiveness of our goals. You can engage with people at conferences by exchanging gifts when attendees –

  • Share their email addresses
  • Fill out surveys for you
  • Try your products
  • Offer constructive feedback
Content Upgrades

This is a new trend in email marketing to grow email lists by offering free bonus content for people in exchange for their email addresses.

Why should I give you my email address?

Simply because you gave me really good content that was useful on the first place.

This matters most if you have a digital product, but can still be applied for practically any product. Amy Porterfield is known to be someone who does this a lot regularly, and Bryan Harris of Videofruit has done a lot of experiments on this.

Negotiate Better

This may sound a little different than most cases of reciprocity. Let’s play out a scenario. Consider a case when you need to negotiate a profit-sharing agreement with a partner, and you want to get the agreement to a 70:30 agreement between you and the partner.

You go to the negotiation table with an offer of 80:20, and explain that its been the standard practice your company has had with any partner.

The partner isn’t happy with the deal..

..and puts it back on the negotiation table.

You, after much thinking and pretending to send emails and talking with your management on phone, extend an offer of 70:30. You tell the partner that though the company doesn’t do such deals, this one was specially done for you.

The chances that the partner accepts the deal is high, and that happens to be your expected deal too. What you just did is called concession, and sometimes also referred to as rejection then retreat.

Free Shipping – The Zappos Way

Zappos sells footwear, and they are one of the most unique companies in the space because of their outstanding customer service. One of the unique things they offer is free shipping of footwear. They don’t just ship the footwear you buy for free, but also allow you to ship returns for free.

The fact that Zappos offers you a free shipping lends itself to the development of a feeling of reciprocity, and you place an order.

Express Support For a Cause

Expressing support to a cause, is another way where a for-profit company can give a donation to a non-profit organization and hence create a feeling of indebtedness in you. It’s like the company telling you that they have a pre-packaged gift for you, even if thats for someone else. This is also a case of social validation as people identify you as someone who cares.

You can use this technique by putting together a landing page where you say “For every person supporting this cause, we give a day of free use of our software for lesser fortunate kids around the world”.

Say you have a learning management software, this will be a good lead generation exercise if you put a Facebook (or Twitter) login for users to sign the form. People can share the information in their Facebook walls or to their Twitter contacts, whereby making it viral too.

4 Ways To Build On Scarcity

Limited Edition cars and watches, “Two-day Preview Sale”, Flash Friday Night Discounts, Invite-only sale….sounds familiar?

Just once last piece!

These are some techniques used by businesses around the world, and the technique is built on the basis of scarcity. If something seems unavailable or limited in numbers, people seem to want it all the more. It seems, as some things become scarce, we perceive them to be of a higher value.

The Scarcity Principle

That’s essentially the theory behind scarcity principle, an economic principle in which a limited supply of a good, coupled with a high demand for that good, results in a mismatch between the desired supply and demand equilibrium. This is one of the driving factors behind big sales like Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales in the United States.

How to Leverage the Power of Scarcity?

Scarcity is a very useful human psychology trigger that is worthwhile when used for your online business, product, yourself and your teams.

Time-bound Offers & Programs

Rolling out marketing campaigns and programs based on limited time availability of your product or service is a great way of increasing footfall on your product or store. With the right techniques to convert these leads, you can leverage this technique to improve your product sales.

Garage sales, discount coupons, invite-only preview sales are some ways in which companies leverage this approach.

Number-bound Offers & Programs

Campaigns and programs that are centered around the limited number of available stock is another great way of leveraging on scarcity. This technique is good for high-priced and expensive products where margins are high.

For example, if you are selling real estate, you can promote by offering a discount for the first 10 homes. This technique can also be used to drive user adoption for software products – consider models like free to use up to 10 users.

Premium Pricing of Products & Services

More expensive it is, more valuable its perceived to be. That’s a twist to the classical theory of scarcity as represented in the earlier two cases.

The perception of scarcity here comes from the belief that expensive products are of superior quality and that such superior quality products are scarce. Using premium pricing is a very good approach if the products are of real good quality. If the quality isn’t good, the subsequent behavior will be to avoid the product and its brand.

Personal Productivity Hack – Time Management

Scarcity works really well in the context of personal time management. As entrepreneurs, product managers and designers our days are pretty well planned to begin with, and gets really busy as we go into the day.

Blocking your calendar for planned activities is good way of managing time as it leaves only a few time-slots open for any unplanned meetings and other random commitments. The scarcity of time available helps other articulate the agenda and hence help you decide better to or not to attend a meeting.

Try this today..

Are you finding it tough answering obligatory calls from random from people? A good way of forcing people to get to the point is by saying “Hey there, how can I help you?” and getting to the point. If the caller asks “Is this a good time to speak?”, you can choose to pretend to be busy “I’m in the middle of something. But please tell me if its something quick.”

Scarce Resources to Improve Communication

Scarcity in resources leads to sharing of resources, and hence improves communication between people. This works great in settings where we need people to improve interaction and communication in smaller groups.

A good way to create communities in a place where people lived apart, is to create a community center with shared resources like telephone, play area, community kitchen, etc that help foster interaction and communication. The scarcity of the number of play area toys and common area is the key.

Hey before we jumped over to the next set of tactics, I would like you to bookmark this article How To Sell A Product When There’s No Scarcity Factor where Sean D’Souza talks about going beyond scarcity when it comes to selling your products. I think you will dig it!

Alright, let’s hop over.

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4 Ways to Help People Decide

 

I once wanted to buy a vacuum cleaner. I ended up browsing Amazon, visiting various stores, but never being able to make a choice. Wonder why? I was confused as I was just unable to decide on the right one. CNET had a bunch of reviews and I thought I was a little clear, only until I bumped into a other expert review websites and other customer reviews on Amazon.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation sometime?

If so, you just experienced the decision making problem, or the power of too many choices. But knowing the way the brain works can perhaps help us help people decide, and make a favorable one.

Case Study 1: Which Jam Tastes Better?

The interesting things about choices is that while we think we want a lot of them, we don’t realize that they only make the decision making process even more difficult. Research validates this too.

The famous Iyengar and Lepper study report published in 2000 just proves this.

Grocery Store in Menlo Park.

For half the time in a grocery store in Menlo Park, California, they kept 6 jars of jams on a table and let people taste and buy them. For the other half of the time, they kept 24 jars of jam on the table and let people taste and make a purchase.

The results were astonishing:

  • Only 40 percent of people stopped by to taste the jam when the table had 6 jars; 30 percent of these people made a purchase
  • 60 percent of people stopped by to taste the jam when the table had 24 jars; people tasted just one or two varieties of the jam out of the 24; only 3 percent made a purchase

Lesser the options, easier the choice. Less is definitely more.

Case Study 2: Whose Marriage Lasts Longer?

Wilson and Kraft did an experiment in 1993 where they asked couples to analyze their relationships and write down why they liked the person they were involved with. The experiment also had another group of couples who weren’t asked to do any analysis. Curious of what happened?

The couples that analyzed their relationships ended their relationships sooner than the couples who weren’t asked to analyze. In other words, the analysis led to too many details and hence confusion that in turn led to ruining relationships.

Analyzing options leads to poorer choices. Further, the research done by Dijksterhuis and van Olden in 2005 further led to a conclusion that we stick to the unconscious choices we make, but end up with an unsettled mind when we have to make conscious choices.

Reap the Benefits Now or Later?

If you had to decide whether you buy a motorcycle now or save money to buy a sports car after 5 years, the New Brain and the Mid brain get into duel. While the New Brain would tell you to wait for 5 years to buy a sports car, the Mid Brain is more inclined with buying the motorcycle now.

The First One Matters

The human mind mind also tends to gravitate towards the first. Be it an eCommerce website or a mall, the first one we see on the rack or the section is what your mind pins its attention on, and probably decide on too.

How to Help People Decide and Make it work for you?

As product managers, we deal with both the product and its stakeholders. Below are a few ways to use these neuro design techniques as product managers.

Product User Experience

Keeping the product clutter-free greatly enhances the user experience of the product, and hence leads to more happy customers.

Offering Model

Your product’s offering model is key to its go to market success. Keeping a simple enough offering model is key to helping customers make a choice.

If its a tiered model that you are considering, try to talk to the old brain if you are trying someone to consider a higher tier than what they are perhaps deciding on. The up-sell is one of contrasting one offer from the other, and the old brain understands it well.

Negotiation

If you are looking at negotiating a certain contract at a certain price, leveraging techniques of urgency will be effective. “If we can close this deal by tomorrow, I’m ready to do it at this price” can prove effective.

In addition, its also about making the deal juicy enough by making the alternatives look lesser attractive. Consider having least number of alternatives – to a max of three.

Marketing Copy

Marketing copies need to drive your prospects to the call to action (CTA). Using techniques like “do this an see results immediately”, “buy this and get it on your hand in the next 24 hours” speak well to the midbrain. This also rides on the power of scarcity and can drive prospects to take action.

4 Ways to Focus on the word YOU, the User


Focus on the word you, because you is everything your brain (Old Brain) cares about. No, I’m serious. Think about it.

Remember the Old Brain? I cares about your safety, your survival, your ability to procreate. To put in simple terms, your Old Brain lights up when it sees or hears Danger, Food and Sex.

This is the key to many companies using pictures of food or sex, even when their products have nothing to do with them. This is the secret to why companies use dangerous videos and narratives to convey something. Road safety videos resort to the last kind. Essentially, focus on You.

Focusing on You has great effects on your product and your business. To give a simple example from the smartphone world, below are advertisements of Nokia and Apple. Look and them see it to yourself. What happened later is history.

Ads without YOU

“One model, three stunning outfits” – Nokia 500 Ad

“Flyweight contender, meet the heavyweight champion” – Nokia Lumia 920

Ads with You

“All you have to do is find something beautiful and tap the shutter button for the best, most awe-inspiring photos you’ve ever taken.” – Apple iPhone 6S

“You can bring those moments to life anytime simply by pressing anywhere on the photo. You can even set your favorite Live Photo as your Lock screen wallpaper, so you can relive a moment anytime you take your iPhone 6s out of your pocket. And you can view Live Photos on your other Apple devices, too.” – Apple iPhone 6S

“And when you use 3D Touch, your iPhone responds with subtle taps. So not only will you see what a press can do — you’ll feel it.” – Apple iPhone 6S

How can Focusing on YOU help Your Online Business??

As creators, especially product managers and designers, we deal with a lot of people (stakeholders). Here are some ways you can focus on you to make things work for you.

Product Backlog

The product backlog is something that has a bunch of features, defects and other kinds of items.

It works well when the focus is on a user-centric backlog than just a bunch of features or defects. I find the Jobs-To-Be-Done framework pretty nicely addressing this need. To distill it down to a formula, you simply write every piece of requirement in the following way –

When <situation> I want to <motivation> So I can <expected outcome>

You are essentially made to think of why someone is trying to do something, when they are doing that and what they expect to happen when they do it. While we’re on this, I want you to bookmark this article I wrote on Getting to Why for a tea-time read!

Product’s Story

I’ve described this in detail in the article Product Roadmap is a Story. Essentially the idea here is to use techniques of storytelling to tell a story about your product to each of your product’s stakeholders such that they feel involved.

Marketing Campaigns & Copy-writes

Use the power of you to create focused marketing campaigns. Advertisements of Nokia and Apple above are good examples of how the focusing on you can make a difference in the way your product is perceived.

Marketing campaigns for every feature or every competitor should focus on how your product can help your users by focusing on you. Use this in your marketing copies effectively.

User Communities

User communities drive product adoption and sustenance in many online businesses.

If your product business also leverages the power of user communities, focus on you to get most out of the user communities. Elicit feedback about your product or its features by asking how does this impact you.

The key here is not the direct feedback, but to read between the lines and observe the users’ emotions – how is this a threat to the user(s)? Use the lessons learnt and the feedback itself in your promotions and campaigns. While this may not work great for all products, its definitely something worth considering.

5 Ways to Make Small Commitments Work

 

If you make someone make small commitments first, it will be easier to get a larger commitment from them at some later point in time.

This is another human psychology that is tapped into by everyone – from your kid to some of the world’s largest businesses. It seems like we humans have multiple personas inside of each of us (don’t mistake this to multiple personalities) and when any of these personas get activated, we exhibit a certain action and a certain behavior.

Commitments best work when made in writing, and when made in public. And, going through a difficult situation makes our commitment even stronger.

How Making Small Commitments Can Help Your Online Business?

Buying Experience

No matter how good your product is, if your customers cannot experience the product in the next few minutes, its tough to get them to a commitment. Focus on giving your customers a very good first experience.

Signup for Beta

If you are launching a new product, or expanding it to a new market, consider signing up your prospects for a beta.

Exciting beta programs are a good way to get prospects to a commitment. Combining this with social validation techniques like featuring them on your product homepage with a testimonial or a video, can help make long lasting commitments.

Freemium Pricing

In line with the buying experience, offering your products for free with limitation on the number of users or accounts is a great way of creating strong commitments from customers.

While paid products can lead to discontinuation of commitments when customers don’t renew subscription or licenses, freemium just helps customers make stronger commitments.

Marketing Copy

Creating a good marketing copy is key to making strong commits as they can help customers quickly relate your product offering to their persona.

When marketing copies can focus on the problem, aggravate it by describing the terrible experience of having to deal with the problem and then introduce the product as the solution to the problem, it helps make small commitments.

Quick Wins

Good marketing copies, good products are one thing. Instant results are a whole different thing.

Focus on creating a quick how-to tutorial on how your customers can use your product to get a quick win – something that they get to see the results in the next 30 minutes. Customers get committed to products that can be validated quickly.

4 Ways to Use the Need To Relate


My colleague recommended this store for shopping trendy office wear, and I think I’ll find my stuff there as she and I have similar tastes.

I ended up buying that expensive bottle of wine at the boutique store today…the bottle was too attractive that I could see it greatly enhancing my wine collection.

Do these sound familiar?

One of the characteristic behaviors of the human brain is its ability to latch onto similarities, associations and attractiveness – or, the need to relate.

We love to find something in common!

The Old Brain is the one that we share with the primates – it is crude and primitive. It lights up when it sees or hears Danger, Food and Sex. The old brain is constantly scanning the world around us, and looking for similarities, associations and attractiveness to unconsciously decide whether to flee, eat or have sex.

How Your Online Business can Leverage the Need to Relate?

Entrepreneurs and creators of products or services are always in the act of conversing, listening or doing something with people – the stakeholders. It’s important that these stakeholders are able to relate to us and the product – it’s your job to ensure this is happening at all times.

Captivating Presentations

Make presentations relevant to the crowd you are using it for. The presentation you make to the board of directors would be very different from that to a customer or an engineering team. What the investors would find attractive ($$$) is very different from what engineers would find attractive ( 💡 ). Using pictures, videos and narratives is a good start.

Body Language

One of the most underrated and less talked about aspects of entrepreneurship or product management or design is body language.

As creators and owners of online businesses we have to exert influence on people who we sometimes don’t manage. Good body language can help get the attention of a large audience of engineers or customers or a board of directors. You should check the Science Of People, where Vanessa Van Edwards has a lot of useful tips on body language.

Product Story

The core of any successful product business is the story. It’s the problem your product is trying to solve and how it brings about a change in the lives of people using it.

The narrative is key to how your audience would be able to relate to your product. Using good storytelling techniques is key to how you get your customers attracted to your product. A good start is by being able to project your product roadmap as a story.

Market Research

Using market research to understand the changing trends in the market, positioning changes by competitors, changing market demand, users’ emotions is key.

Revisiting your product’s or online business’ strengths and weaknesses, course-correcting your product’s near-term priorities, enhancing marketing outreach are some activities that you can consider doing. Conversations with customers and users is key, and sometimes sharing your observation of the market helps them associate themselves stronger and find it more attractive 😎 .

3 Ways to Leverage Loss Aversion

 

Loss aversion is a human survival instinct. In both life and play, the human mind is always looking to cut losses. The cry to help avoid loss is that of the old brain, trying to react to protect us.

“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” – A Proverb

The human brain is constantly scanning the world around to try and relate itself. The moment it senses something and perceives it as dangerous, the immediate reaction is to minimize losses and then flee. In fact, the brain exhibits a similar behavior even when it is subjected to scenarios that make you feel like its a loss.

If you are looking to buy a new car and booked for a test drive, have you observed that the dealership sends you the highest variant of the model that you are interested in?

Ever wondered why?

It’s simply to play with your old brain…

After having driven the high-end model, you would stretch yourself to buy that high-end model even if you were earlier planning on a lower-end version – to avoid the loss of those nice top-end features.

How You can Leverage Loss Aversion?

As entrepreneurs and online business owners we are constantly looking to focus on the users and customers, and how the product is helping them do something better. Doing a good design research is a good way to identify the fears of your customers and users.

Below are some ways you can leverage the human psychology of the fear of losing in growing your product.

Try Platinum for 3-Months

If you have a product that ha a tiered offering model, you should consider offering the top tier for free for every new signup.

Offering the top-of-the-line product for free for free for a limited period introduces the fear of loss into your customers’ minds, thereby leading to them swiping their cards for continued use of the top-end offering.

Price Lock-in

Consider offering a lower discounted price for your customers if they were to buy subscription for a longer term.

This again triggers the fear of loss in your customers’ minds – in this case the loss of money. This works well if your business model requires you to lock-in customers for a longer periods of time.

Product Story

The story is a key component of a good product. Companies that make world-class products adopt great storytelling techniques to help customers relate to their products. Once customers are able to relate themselves to your product and are able to see themselves as a part of the story, it makes it all the more tough for them to not have your product.

5 Ways to Use Stories and Pictures

Click play and watch the above advertisement. This is one of the several great advertisements (this one by Dollar Shave Club) that effectively use pictures and stories to convey an idea.

This isn’t something new to us – we tell stories every day and at all ages, to the extent that we are programmed to think in stories and pictures. We are so programmed to think in stories and pictures that even the word “story” will grab our attention – and you just experienced it a minute back.

You are not going to remember this article!

Research reveals that humans remember pictures better than words. So combining the two (stories and pictures) in a winning combination to grab peoples’ attention, hold their attention and leave a lasting impression in their memories. (Do download the action bundle at the end of this article)

How can You Use Stories and Pictures?

Product Story

The product’s story is important for entrepreneurs, product managers, management, customers and other key stakeholders to know and take a look at at meaningful intervals of time. Why the product exists helps stakeholders understand the product better and get on the same page whenever there are differences in thinking.

Product Roadmap

Products (or services), like human beings, have a lifecycle and are driven by a purpose. Products are built to carry out a mission that is aligned to a company’s vision.

The product roadmap is a story, and you would be better-off focusing on the story of your product than the feature roadmap. I’ve written specifically on this topic in the post title Product Roadmap as a Story.

Design Research

A story is not just a means of conveying information, but also allows us to feel the characters’s feelings as they narrate the story. This is evident from Tania Singer’s research on empathy.

Design research is a very interesting phase where we are both the audience and a character in the stories we hear from people. Online business owners, product managers and designers can pay special attention to the feelings of the users, and help them express those feelings by asking the right questions.

Presentations

Presentations are my favorite. I love making presentations as stories with less text and more pictures.

In fact, going a step further and using sounds is a great way of telling stories to your audience. For example, let’s say you are pitching an idea for a new technology that helps dentists carry out root canal procedures painlessly.

There are three ways of doing this presentation:

  1. A data-filled presentation that talks about the needs, desires, market, etc.
  2. A presentation that uses a lot of pictures and very less words
  3. A presentation that uses pictures combined with audio – Imagine talking about the problems and playing this sound in the background

While the second presentation is a good way to tell a story, the third one just hits it out of the park – the very sound of the dentists’ drilling tool helps your audience feel the pain and problem that your new technology is going to solve!

Product Homepage

The product homepage is the most important page that you will need to consider first when it comes to the product story.

Using videos, pictures to demonstrate the product is key. Smart use of testimonials and case studies to highlight unique value propositions of your product will take your homepage a long way. Good use of stories and pictures can help convert your product homepage to an effective external trigger for prospects to take action.

That’s pretty much it!

Wrap Up and Download

 

Whoo! It’s time to wrap up and download the goodies. This article was a might long one (6000+ words!)…

Where’s the bundle?

I really want to help you take action though. So, I’ve bundled two things up for you in an action bundle

  1. Action Checklist
  2. Sketchnote

I really want you to go back and try these out. You many not try all of them out at once, but at least a few. I really hope this has been helpful 🙂

These are some lessons I learnt from my experience working for companies and helping clients. That said, this just just a finite list. I know you have some experiences that I could learn from too.

➡ Here are 3 things I’d love for you to do –

  1. ➡ Leave your comment right below or shoot me an email. I will mention you and your experience in this article when we update next.
  2. ➡ Don’t miss downloading the sketchnote + action checklist (action bundle)  right below and pin it on your desk.
  3. Share this article on social media, with your colleagues and friends. That will motivate me to write more on this series 🙂

I also have some book recommendations, just incase you like to read more.

Until we meet next…Keep Making, Always be Learning and Be the Change you want to see. I appreciate you, my friend!

Book Recommendations

Before we got there, I want to give a quick shout out to a couple of books on this topic that you may be interested in.

  1. The first is Neuro Web Design by Susan Weinschenk, which I highly recommend if you are a web designer or a solopreneur who is looking to get more out of their website business.
  2. The second is The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar. You should read this book if you are an entrepreneur, product manager or a designer.
  3. Third book you should consider reading is Stone Age Economics by Marshall Sahlins. Chapter 4 titled The Spirit Of The Gift is an interested read on this human psychology of Reciprocity.
  4. Daniel Kahneman‘s Think, Fast and Slow is an excellent read if you are someone who’s interested to dig deeper.

Special Thanks

My articles, podcasts and videos are all work in progress. I truly appreciate people who support me. You can do that by sharing, commenting, recommending great content and people and anything that can help me continue serving you.

I’ll make it a point to respond to you, or pen a line of appreciation in this section. No matter what, I appreciate you.

A special thank you to Steve Portigal for promptly pointing out that “Psycho” is not “Psychology” in the first few hours of me sharing this article. I just updated that image 🙂

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