Valley News online sales advice

The pioneering psychologist Sigmund Freud noted human beings are driven by one of two factors; the desire to experience pleasure and the need to avoid pain.

When using fear to motivate conversions you need to help shoppers believe they will experience some sort of pain as a result of not taking the desired action.

In other words, when you can show them how buying from you will make their lives safer, easier, or give them the feeling they are superior in some way, you’ll have a very good shot at converting them from shopper to buyer.

Fear of Missing Out

One of the most commonly employed methods of doing this is triggering the concern something valuable will elude them if they don’t act. Limited time offers are a perfect example of this.

“Be one of the first ten callers and you’ll receive a valuable gift along with your purchase—absolutely free.”

If they value your product and believe buying it right away will get them more than they bargained for, they’ll be more likely to make the purchase immediately.

Limited edition offers, flash sales, last chance offers—each of these taps into the fear of missing out (FOMO). Phrases such as;  “sale ends tomorrow”, “today only”, “last day”, “only 10 items left”; are all capable of triggering FOMO as well.

To this end, a number of sites employ counters to show how many units of an item are left. As the number gets lower, sales typically increase—particularly when it’s a great offer.  Auction sites like eBay pit buyers against one another to “win” an item by offering to pay more for it than an unseen group of people who are all trying to wrest the product from the grasp of another bidder.

Offer Reassurances

Dollar Shave Club’s tagline “Shave time. Shave money.” implies other shaving products are more expensive than they need to be. This triggers the fear of overpaying. However, rather than playing directly into the fear, it offers an assurance. Buy from us and you’ll save money.

The United States Marine Corps slogan; “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” works in a similar fashion. Imagine you’re an insecure 18-year old trying to to belong. Afraid of being perceived as not fitting in, the idea of joining an elite group such as the Marine Corps is very compelling. This is particularly true when that tagline is paired that snappy Marine dress blue uniform.

“Be one of us, nobody will ever threaten you again.”

Be Truthful

While it’s quite easy to fabricate fear where none should exist, the ethics of doing so are highly questionable—at best.

People aren’t stupid.

If you’re selling ebooks using a platform like Shopify and you run a “Going Out of Business Sale” banner on your site to boost sales, you’d better be going out of business. When the banner is still there a year later, people will be flaming you on social media for your lack of veracity and your credibility will suffer.

Trust is a must. Further, credibility and trust must be paired to create authority. When your authority is found to be lacking—even if you successfully elicit fear—customers will look for another source of relief because they won’t trust you.

Fear Doesn’t Have to Equal Scared

By the way, you don’t need to literally frighten people when using fear to motivate conversions. In fact, using fear works best when you can frame it in a positive fashion. What you’re really doing here is highlighting the potential negative consequences of continuing to function in a certain fashion. You then provide a solution to help them avoid those concerns.




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