Psychological Triggers That Influence Consumer Behavior

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 4, 2015 8:30:00 AM / by DIA Team

DIA Team

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Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. This field seeks to understand better why we think and behave the way we do. Understanding key principles of human behavior can transform your marketing efforts. The following looks at psychological triggers to build into your site to attract more customers.

1. Reciprocity

Have you ever found yourself more willing to help someone after that person did something for you? This is the main idea of reciprocity. People feel more compelled to give something back in return after getting something. The concept was introduced in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s exceptional book on human behavior, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Because someone is helping us, we feel an obligation to repay them in some way.

How Can You Make This Principle Work for You?

Online retailers can give away a free gift with a purchase such as a branded shirt or sample of another product. You don’t even need to advertise the gift in advance to benefit from reciprocity as it still creates the feeling of having received something. Exclusive content in the form of an ebook or video is another way to provide value. Potential customers are more than likely to repay the favor whether by making a recommendation or purchase.

2. Anchoring

Anchoring is another powerful marketing concept all business owners should utilize. People naturally compare prices and base their decision on what they see. For example, you may be ecstatic to find a pair of jeans on sale for $25 when it usually retails for $75. Consumers are anchored to the initial price but are even more attracted to the sale price. When running a sale, display the original price and the sale price next to it.

Another example of anchoring is with two similar products that differ in features and price. A $600 flat screen TV looks like a bargain when compared to a $1,000 or $1,800 TV. This thought process is precisely what retailers want as it increases sales for the lower priced item.

You can use this tactic to drive sales by offering higher priced goods or displaying the initial price when a product goes on sale.

3. Decoy Effect

You see the following pricing for your favorite magazine:

  • Online subscription: $59
  • Print subscription: $125

You may feel more inclined to choose the cheaper option. But what happens when you add a third option that offers both options at the same higher price?

In his TED talk, Are we in control of our own decisions?”, Professor Dan Ariely describes this exact ad from The Economist with three pricing options. After not being able to get any answers, he tested the following ad with students from MIT:

  • Web subscription: $59
  • Print subscription: $125
  • Web and print subscription: $125

The results were surprising. 16 students chose the cheaper subscription while 84 students chose the more expensive option. None of the students chose the second option. But when the second option was removed, a majority of the students chose the cheaper subscription. The decoy effect can be used to increase conversions by testing a third option.

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About Digital Impact Agency

Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.

Topics: branding, marketing strategy, brand positioning

DIA Team

Written by DIA Team