Before you continue reading, I need to say one thing.
These psychological triggers must NOT be used to trick people into buying crappy ebooks and courses that won’t help them. I know you’re a good person and I’m sure this goes without saying, but being ethical and honest is important – especially online.
There are a lot of scam artists taking advantage of people now-a-days, so all I ask is that you market your business as honestly and transparently as possible. Just the other day I was looking for a product on Amazon and found a cheaper alternative with 236 reviews.
230 of them were 5 star. 6 of them were 1 star. None of the 230 reviews were from verified purchasers and they all seemed fishy to me. Of the 1 star, 4 were verified and they too felt the other reviews were faked because the product did not work as advertised. I was really close to buying, but I didn’t because it just seemed fishy to me.
We’ll talk more about this mental trigger later on, but for now just remember these triggers are powerful and should only be used for good.
Let’s get started..
We’re addicted to new – by we, I mean us humans. Neuroimaging research has reported spikes in reward-circuit dopamine activity while shopping. That’s why most of us love spending money on brand new stuff.
This doesn’t make us addictive shoppers, it can actually be therapeutic. But this is an important trigger to consider when launching a new course. The great news is that if your course is being released for the first time, it actually is brand new.
Your job is to make sure your potential customers know it’s new. State it in your marketing, in your emails and in your sales letter. If you’re relaunching an old product, then making tweaks to it and updating it somehow can help make it a ‘new version’. For example, I’ve been thinking about relaunching Ebook Blueprint this year.
It’s either going to be titled Ebook Blueprint version 2.0 or I’ll just re-brand the product and call it Zero to Ebook. I’m not sure what direction I’m taking that yet. I’ll keep you updated.
Fear of Loss
Check out this interesting finding about loss aversion.
“loss aversion refers to the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains. Some studies suggest that losses are as much as twice as psychologically powerful as gains (source)”
In other words, we put more effort and take action when we’re trying to avoid pain than when we have something to gain. It explains why we hold on to things we don’t need longer than we should. (come to think about it… why do I still have those jeans that don’t fit?) Personal items, like jeans, have sentimental value and it can be hard to let them go.
This same thing can happen when someone buys your ebook or course. Money has value, we all know this, but it’s more than just a dollar amount. People work hard for their money and they’re not just about to give it away so easily.
This human psychological trigger can be used in your marketing in a very subtle way. Instead of telling people their going to save money during the launch sale, tell them that if they don’t buy now they’ll miss out on the discount. In theory, “Save Money” won’t get people to act as much as “Don’t Miss Out” because one is a benefit, while the other hints at a potential loss.
Why do I have 3 sign up forms to join the Waiting list for 3 upcoming courses? Simple! Because anticipation works. Check out this fun fact:
Amit Kumar, a social psychology doctoral student at Cornell University, suggests that we can take certain practical steps to maximize our enjoyment of experiences. “It might make sense for consumers to delay their consumption of some experiential purchases to take advantage of the relatively more exciting anticipatory period that comes with experiential consumption” (source)
The experience of consuming your product, in our case it would be reading an ebook, or going through an online course, might be more enjoyable if the customer waits for its release.
This a super important trigger that you cannot leave out when launching anything online.
People that anticipate the release of your courses will be more likely to take action the day it’s available and will find it much more exciting to consume your premium content. Keep that in mind, use it and check out my courses – they’re coming soon to a computer near you.
Story #1: Us vs. Them
iPhone or Galaxy?
Whether you’ve used both phones or not, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already picked a side. I’m an iPhone guy and absolutely hate the Android operating system. (nothing against Droid users..lol)
But here’s the business tip we can all learn from Samsung. They knew people had to choose between these two smartphones. They knew it was either their Galaxies or the iPhone, everything else was irrelevant. So they capitalized on that split. They solidified this idea that we already had in our heads, and made it real. Their commercials and advertising made it clear that your were either part of the Droid team or you weren’t.
This type of polarization is extremely useful and effective when it’s done right. You can use it during your launch as your launch story. Ask yourself, what does your product, course or service help people do? What does it protect them against?
An easy example would be a guide on Juice Detox. The “enemy” is this case would be the doctors that don’t believe or recommend juice cleanses. (believe it or not, there are doctors that roll their eyes when they hear things like ‘juicing or juice detox’ – I’ve seen it first hand). Anyway, that could be part of the launch story that grabs people’s attention and moves them into your core offer.
Story #2: Rags to Riches
This is another launch story that we see a lot. It’s so ancient and overused that you would think it’d stop working on us, but it still does. Here’s how it goes:
“I remember when I was fat/poor/unemployed. I would wake up feeling like crap every day because I didn’t like the way I looked/couldn’t buy what I wanted. Now that I’m healthy and fit, I feel good – or now that I landed my dream job, I don’t have to worry about money anymore.”
This story is still being used in movies to this day. The underdog rises to the top. Remember Kung Fu Panda? Yep, that’s the rags to riches story. How about Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness? Yea, same deal.
If you’ve accomplished something that other people want to do, tell them your story. It will captivate your audience and hook them all the way to your offer. If it works for Hollywood, it’ll work for us.
Curiosity is a powerful mental trigger, but should used sparingly – you don’t want to come across as a jerk by waving the carrot stick in front of your potential customers for too long.
Mystery goes hand in hand with creating anticipation. Give people hints as to what’s coming up, but purposely leave things out so that they’ll want to learn more. For example, in my landing page for my next product, I added one line that sparks curiosity. I say,
“…plus, you’ll get an inside look at the premium content I’ll be putting together for this training course”
On the following page I give people a list of topics I’m going to cover inside a course, written on my notebook, in my own handwriting – nothing fancy here, but very effective. People are more likely to sign up just to see what the course will include.
Another way you can create mystery is by creating open loops in emails. After giving people good content (you know.. the type of stuff that’s actually useful and non-salesy), you can tell them about the next email you’re going to send, and why they should look out for it.
These email open loops, when done right, can increase open rates dramatically. Try ’em out.
When you’re launching an ebook or course, you have to weed some people out. It’s not an option, you HAVE to weed people out. This is how you get the serious folks to raise their hands and say “yes, I’m in”.
One simple way you can do that is by creating an insiders club, like a launch list. Ask people to take action before being able to buy your product. Like, they’ll only hear about your product if they join the waiting list… or you’ll only give the launch price to those on your launch list.
You can get creative with this, but creating an insiders club and then talking about it in your blog content will get outsiders to want in. They want to get that special price, they want to get that exclusive content, they’ll want to be the first to buy and get those extra bonuses you offer.
By the way… if you’re still an outsider, click here. Lol
I was real close to buying that cheaper alternative product on Amazon because of this mental trigger. That seller knew that the more positive reviews he has, the more sales would come in. It’s just how we’re programmed. We rely on other people’s experiences to make decisions – not always, but most of the time.
Social proof plays on our urge to conform with the group, majority or social pressure.
This is why infomercials are 75% testimonials, 20% about the product, and then spend 5% of the time on how to order. Testimonials are proof that your course, ebook, product or service does what you say it does. It delivers on your promises and people like it. But what if you’re just starting out and you don’t have any testimonials?
Great question… the simple answer is to go out and get some. Do some pro-bono work, help people for free. Create content that provides people with actionable steps and immediate results. Then use the feedback and comments as your testimonials. There’s no rule that says you can use blog comments as social proof that your stuff works. Ask them for permission to publish it and add it to your sales page (but don’t make it seem that they went through the course, simply say that these are some people you have helped in the past).
Hope that helps..
Authority is a big deal. I recently read a blog post by Regina (that’s her actual blog name, which I honestly think is genius), where she lists 20 steps you can take to NOT look like an amateur blogger. That post is awesome for two reasons:
1. It was definitely needed – I went through the list and the only thing I haven’t done is get a professional photo.
2. It’s not about tricking your audience into thinking you’re something you’re not – it’s about looking the part, just like you would for any job interview.
Authority is what’s going to get your visitors to pay a bit more attention to what you’re saying. If you’re still blogging on a free platform, using a free generic theme, and talking about your cat, then take 15 minutes right now and read that post. Twice!
Your launches will run a lot smoother if you don’t have to worry about re-introducing yourself. Once you’re an authority in people’s eyes, it’s all about the content, and the value your course can provide. (…and you’ll also notice that I started using large, high-quality, Pinterest-friendly images, that’s also thanks to Regina.. thanks girl!)
Reciprocity. It’s one of Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influence, and can be found in his book, Influence. If you haven’t picked up a copy, and want to learn how to effectively influence people, go get it.
Here’s how MindTools.com describes it:
“As humans, we generally aim to return favors, pay back debts, and treat others as they treat us. According to the idea of reciprocity, this can lead us to feel obliged to offer concessions or discounts to others if they have offered them to us. This is because we’re uncomfortable with feeling indebted to them.”
We are UNCOMFORTABLE with feeling indebted to others. That’s why we hate being in debt. That’s why we look for ways to pay people back when they do favors for us. Reciprocity is also a great way to get people to buy your product during launch. Give lots of value upfront. Create epic blog posts. Give them videos and worksheets. Do the things you know will help them move a few steps toward their goals.
Answer their questions like Marie Forleo does every Tuesday. Show up every week like Sean Wes does with his podcast and newsletter. Create enormous amounts of goodwill, and then when your course or ebook is available, people will not hesitate to pay you back.
Create an Event
Product launches are considered events by their very nature. They happen once, for a given period of time and they have an end date – which is when the price increases or the course is no longer available. But there are other ways to make the launch feel more like an event. Here are some ideas:
1. Hold a live Question & Answer session on Google Hangout the day you go live. This will give people something to do, as opposed to just waiting for the shopping cart to open up.
2. Hold a Twitter Chat. This is sorta like a live webinar, but on Twitter, using 140 characters. Simply create a #hashtag that people should use when submitting their questions, and set a time and date. Then chat away.
3. Release a recorded webinar. The event doesn’t have to be live, although it works best if it is, but you can ask people to submit questions about the course topic and then release a video answering all of them.
The idea is to get people to wait for something other than your sales page on launch day. After delivering value to them, you can move right into your offer and start getting sales.
If you Google offer stacking you’ll read a bunch of articles about combining deals, marketing funnels and coupons. That’s not what I’ll be talking about. Offer Stacking is a phrase I learned in the online marketing community and it refers to adding more value to your initial offer in the middle of your launch.
This strategy works great if you had time to create bonuses that compliment your course well. The idea is to open up the shopping cart for people to buy and then ‘Stack On’ the bonuses before the cart closes or the price increases. People that were on the fence about buying will not want to miss out on the extra bonuses and will start taking action.
This is used in infomercials right after the offer is introduced. They say, ‘but wait, that’s not all, we’ll also send you this awesome free gift for free if you order in the next 10 minutes“. Use it, just sound like that, it’s salesy and repels people from buying.