Trigger Happy

In previous posts I’ve talked about consumer behaviour, psychology and marketing models such as the Fogg Behaviour Model. Why? Because I’m always reading and learning, as knowledge is power and one of the key fundamentals for any marketer should be rationale. Any good modern marketer should not only be knowledgeable but also have the rationale for any marketing methods or techniques they are implementing and this post is no different.

One of the most common requests I get from clients is “Sud, increase my conversation rate or get me more leads”. So I rub my magic lamp and grant them their wish right?

On a serious note, what's the answer? The key to success in any business is an understanding of psychology. We all have brains (well most of us), which have mental triggers that drive actions. So in order to understand your audience, you need to know what those mental triggers are and how to implement them correctly in your marketing messages.

Our brains fundamentally decide what we buy, so if you know how your audience's minds function, you can influence the decisions they make.

So which triggers should you use?

I could be cheeky and say “Google it”, but I’m not that cruel. Below I’ve listed a few triggers for you to consider, but before we do that take a moment to consider motivation behind the triggers. All human behaviour at some point in time is driven by the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. Often we do something that appears to be painful, but we do it because we associate pleasure with the action. For example I like to run half marathons for charity. The pain would be the running distance and the pleasure is the satisfaction of finishing and raising money for charity. This is the basic fundamentals of triggers and to use this in your marketing messages you need to understand what your audience associates with pleasure and pain.

A-Z Trigger
Your audience will want to get from A to Z as quickly and as easy as possible, and your marketing message needs to reflect this. So take them from point A to as close as you can to point Z before you ask them to purchase. The closer they are to point Z the more likely they are to buy from you. By doing this, your audience's mind starts to  associate your business with the pleasure  they get from the results produced as they arrive at the milestones between A and Z.

Example: GoToMeeting




This landing page and supporting copy have taken the target audience directly to point Y with all the above on offer for a free trial, happy days!

If your audience want to get to point Z and enjoy the full service experience permanently they will need to pay, and they will be more likely to after they have already experienced the software for free. In contrast, you could use “pain” as a motivator and show the audience all the dangers in the milestones  from A to Z and how your offering is the solution to avoid these dangers.

Key Note:The negativity bias”. Psychologists claim we do more to avoid pain than we do to gain pleasure. This works on a neurological level as well, as it’s been demonstrated that the brain lights up more from a negative stimuli than a positive one.

Build Anticipation
We’ve all seen it or been a part of it. From the release of books, games to the latest Apple products and even sporting events, we’ve all experienced anticipation. So why does anticipation work? Author Gretchen Rubin, says that anticipation is a key stage in happiness. So by having something to look forward to, you bring happiness into your life before the event actually takes place.

The best way to create anticipation around your offering is to create publicity for your products before they are released to get people excited about them. This will trigger pleasurable emotions that they will associate with your product and eventually buy them when your product/service is released.

Example: Apple




Apple are masters of creating anticipation around their products and services. They create various publicity pieces and distribute through the correct channels. You will often see Apple show snippets of their new hand sets and release information about new features which often prompts online reviews. As a result the anticipation starts, influencers start to promote the new release, the audience gets exposed to more information and eventually they will be prompted to sign up for more information around product.

Explain Why
Just take a moment and digest the following sentence please…

I will create a marketing plan for you for free that will increase your profits by 50% and if it fails I will give you £1,000.

Ok so what went through your mind when you read that sentence? You wanted to know why I would do that right? You thought that because our brains are always searching for answers.  

Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, a psychology professor at the University of California, found that our rational mind is always searching for meanings, even when there is no inherent meaning. Essentially, we seek out explanations to understand everything we experience in life.

Example: Startup Weekend




Startup Weekend are promoting their event on the above landing page. As you can see they don’t just invite you to attend their event, they tell you exactly why you should attend and what you will get out of it if you do.

This can only be done if your supporting marketing copy is strong and it explains why and what you are offering. By taking this approach your audience will be far more motivated to sign up.

This is just a small snippet of the triggers you can use within your marketing to help you convert more and generate more sales. Would you like more trigger examples?

What other psychological triggers have you used in your business to generate sales?

If you are struggling with implementing any of the above triggers or have any questions about how to do so, post them in the comments below or contact me.

Ref: KissMetrics

This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn


Topics: Marketing Psychology