What do you mean when you talk about the psychology of decision making?
Often, we talk about decisions like they’re binary. We either decide to do something, or decide not to do something. However, this is a huge oversimplification. In practice, decision making is a process with an eventual outcome. As marketers, our goal is to make that process easy and natural – gently leading customers to the conclusion that our product or service is right for them.
The reason we talk about the psychology of decision making is that this process largely transcends culture and stands independent of what’s being considered. Whether you’re buying a car or a candy bar while waiting in line at the grocery store, the process follows a predictable, and logical sequence.
As a marketer, we can help encourage the process by presenting our prospects with content that aligns with their current position in the decision making process.
Marketing psychology sounds complicated. Is it really that important?
Developing a marketing campaign without paying attention to human psychology is like formulating a bird seed mix without paying attention to what sort of birds you want to attract.
Sure, if you throw enough seeds into the mix you’ll probably get the results you want, but at what cost? The same goes for marketing – with enough money to throw at advertising you’ll find customers – but the cost of new customer acquisition will be considerable.
Instead of just copying your rival’s strategies or taking the kitchen sink approach, using the psychology of decision making to guide your marketing plan will result in a higher conversion rate while spending less on advertising.
So, while marketing psychology is certainly a little bit complicated, the benefits are tremendous and should not be overlooked.
The 8 Micro-Yesses
When your customer says “Yes, I want to buy your product” they have actually answered ‘Yes’ to 7 other questions.
These questions are sequential, and if your customer says ‘No’ at any point along this journey, then they will be falling out of your sales funnel.
The classic business school model of sales falling into the sales funnel is simply wrong – customers only fall out!
- Will you pay attention [to my website/sales pitch/etc]?
- Will you engage deeper?
- Do you understand [my product or service]?
- Do you believe my claims?
- Do you want this product or service now?
- Do you want this from me?
- Do you want to buy this?
- Will you give me your payment information?
MY1: Yes, I will pay attention
The Micro Yes process all begins with asking a customer to give you their attention. If a person arrives on your website and then immediately leaves, you’ve already had a customer fall out of your funnel!
Studies have shown that most customers will decide whether or not to remain on a site in the first 10 seconds of their arrival. In those first few seconds they’ll read the headline, look at the subheading, and scan the top 4 inches of your website.
That means getting your first impression right is essential – you don’t get a second chance. Once your customer hits the back button you’ve lost an opportunity to make a sale AND Google will take note of that bounce and possibly even use that information to list your website lower on the search results page in the future!
Your headlines and subheadings must give your prospects reasons to answer “Yes, I will pay attention.” Be catchy, be quick, be direct, and explain what product or service you’re offering and you will be rewarded by customers staying on your page and seeing what you have to say.
MY2: Yes, I will engage deeper
The next step in the decision making process is getting the prospect to engage with your content. They’ve decided that your headline is interesting and it seems that what you’re selling aligns with what they’re looking to buy… but now you have to keep their attention.
Don’t waste time and don’t bury your lead – your prospect is still highly likely to leave your site within the first 30 seconds if they feel that you’re not going to give them what they’re looking for.
What answering this question looks like will vary depending on what you’re selling, but generally you’ll want to quickly encapsulate your value proposition. Bulleted or numbered lists, a conversational tone, and complete thoughts are all good ways to convince your prospect that they want to engage more deeply with your content.
MY3: Yes, I understand
You know why your product or service is better than your competitors, but your prospects don’t or else they’d already be your customer! So, once you’ve secured their attention you need to help them understand the benefits of your product.
When it comes to helping your customers understand, Flint McLaughlin loves to say “explain, don’t proclaim.” Instead of saying “We’re the industry leader” say “Our product is 33% faster than competitors.” Your prospects should be able to clearly see the value of your claims.
MY4: Yes, I believe
Once upon a time it was easier to make grand claims about your business or product and customers would (often) take them at face value. Over the years though, customers have become more savvy, often after getting burned by false promises.
This is why it isn’t enough to tell your customers why your product is good, you need to convince them that your claims are true.
The best way to do this will vary depending on what you’re selling. Certain products will be better sold with statistics: like “20% lighter than the competitor” or “8-hour battery life.” Other products, like outsourced marketing, require proof in the form of case studies and portfolios of past work. Often a combination of these two approaches is best.
One common method of helping convince prospects is through reviews… but be aware that the explosive growth of fake reviews in the past years has undermined this method’s efficacy. Most people will take any reviews posted on your site with a grain of salt, so this needs to be used as a supplement to other authority building tactics rather than on its own.
MY5: Yes, I want this now
Once your customer has decided that they’re interested in your product, the next step is convincing them to act today. If they leave your site without completing the sale, there is a very good chance they will not be returning!
There are several strategies to encourage customers to move forward including sales, special offers, or simply by showing them that the advantages your product or service offers are too great to continue missing out on!
MY6: Yes, I want this from you
Ok, so your customer has decided they want the product that you sell… but be careful stopping here! The vast majority of the time, you have a competitor who is offering a very similar product at a very similar price! The question that your customer is wondering is: why should I buy this product from you?
To answer this question, emphasize appeal and exclusivity. Remind your prospect of your value propositions and drive home what makes your offer special. Remember, clarity trumps persuasion – tell your customers why your product is better instead of simply that it is better.
MY7: Yes, I will trade
By the time you’ve made it to the penultimate micro-yes you’ve nearly completed the sale! This is where your call to action comes into play. For e-commerce this will be getting your customer to put the item into their cart, while service industries will be directing customers to contact forms.
The ‘trick’ here is to not lose your prospects when you’re so close to the end. Gravity works against the sales funnel – if your prospects experience too much resistance, even at this late stage in the process, they will leave your site!
To that end, your call to action needs to convey value and appear effortless. Emphasize what your customer stands to gain (a free roof inspection, perhaps?) and avoid words which imply that finishing the sale will be laborious or time consuming.
MY8: Yes, I will finish
The last step in the 8 Micro Yesses is convincing your prospect to open their wallet, sign up for your newsletter, or give you their phone number for you to call them.
By the time you’ve reached this point they understand your product’s benefits, believe your claims about your product, want the benefits you’ve touted (and want it today, and want it from you!), and are ready to trade.
All that needs to happen now is you need to make it easy for them to finish! Your checkout experience should be as frictionless as possible. Every unnecessarily long form, mandatory account creation process, or lengthy survey is another opportunity for your customer to realize that they need to pick up the kids from soccer practice or it’s time to watch the newest episode of House of Dragons.
By collecting just the information you need to complete the sale you will boost your conversion rate and close more sales.
This sounds like my content is going to get much longer. I thought shorter content was better?
If you’re measuring the effectiveness of your content by word count, then you’re doing it wrong! Ultimately your copy has one goal: to make more sales.
When comparing content that fails to accomplish the 8 Micro Yesses, you may find that shorter copy is more effective… but more effective is not the same as MAXIMALLY effective.
The 8MY process has been empirically shown to generate more leads when compared to traditional marketing strategies. The length of your website’s copy is not in itself a deciding factor in generating sales, but instead the copy on your website needs to convincingly demonstrate sufficient value.
Get More Conversions & More Sales, More Easily
The beauty of the 8 Micro Yesses is how widely applicable they are. From nootropic pharmaceuticals to electrical repair, people universally employ the same decision making heuristics. By better understanding the decision making process, business owners and marketers are more able to communicate and sell to their customers.
If you’re ready to upgrade your business’s approach to marketing, MECLABS’ free marketing course provides a deep dive into the 8 Micro Yesses.
Interested in reaping the benefits of this new approach to marketing without needing to spend hours studying coursework? Well, that’s where we can help! We provide outsourced marketing for small businesses, specializing in service industries, and offer website design and hosting, search engine optimization, customer review management, and more!