How the Paradox of Choice Affects Marketing | Guide Your Customers Through Their FOMO

The paradox of choice, marketing. consumer marketing, product marketing

At first, it may seem like a benefit to be able to offer a whole lot of choices to your customers. Whether its choice of products, product bundles, colors, sizes, or pricing options, more is better, right? You offer so many choices, it sets you apart from your competitors. Your customers can pick exactly what they want because you offer so many. That’s how the thinking goes, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way at all — a fact which we often forget in our “more is better” world.

Here’s why. There’s a concept called the “paradox of choice”, which was identified and studied by lots of psychologists in recent years. What they’ve found is that having too much to choose from actually creates high levels of stress and anxiety, especially if the choices represent high-value purchases or outcomes. It turns out there’s a point at which too much choice causes paralysis (and hence indecision) at the thought that we might choose poorly. You may have heard this described as FOMO (fear of missing out). We’ve all been there, right?

Americans make 70 different choices every day. Talk about overload! Is it any wonder we can be indecisive?

Therefore, when you’re creating marketing messages for your products and services, think about the fact that someone’s purchase decision around your product might be #68 for that day. You can see why, at that point, they just want you to tell them what to buy!

So, guide them. Curate the information for maximum relevance.

  • Think hard about whether or not your marketing message should lead with the fact that your product comes in 50+ variations. Maybe that’s not actually a good thing.
  • If your product can be easily customized to reduce choices by say, asking a few questions; or it comes with a “default” setting; or additional choices can come at different stages of the purchase, then promote that in your messaging. Consumers will feel relieved that you’re helping them make a choice.
  • (And if your product doesn’t come with the above, consider changing it so that it does).
  • When offering pricing packages, for example on online subscription services, default to the medium option, rather than the highest or lowest priced.
  • And finally (my own pet peeve), cut down on your CTAs! Whether it’s an email, blog post, or web page, don’t cram it full of multiple calls to action. Pick one primary and make it prominent. If you need to have secondary CTAs, make them less prominent so that there’s a clear hierarchy of choice.


>> Trying to find the balance between too much and too little in your marketing messages? I can help you negotiate that fine line. Give me a shout.

~~~

Interested in reading the scholarly evidence behind the paradox of choice? (I’ll admit, it’s a fascinating view into human behavior!) Start here:

Continue Reading

The Secret to Better Conversions: Answer These 3 Fundamental Product Questions To Get People to Buy!

questions

When writing about your products or services, especially with more complex b2b products, it’s important to answer the three fundamental questions listed below. Answers to these questions clearly set expectations and communicate your product’s benefits. Not knowing the answers can be an obstacle to purchase.

  1. Why do I need (Product A) ?
    1. What problems does my business have?
    2. Which of those problems can be solved by Product A?
    3. Why should I pick your Product A over XYZ Company’s Product A?
  2. Ok, so what exactly will Product A do for me? What can I expect will happen when I hand over my money to you?
    1. What results can I expect?
    2. Have other customers seen results? What exactly?
  3. How does Product A work? 
    1. When does it start working?
    2. How easy is it to implement?
    3. Do I need to purchase anything else to be able to use it?
    4. How long before I get results?
    5. How will I know I’m getting results?

These are  questions that buyers ask when considering any purchase – but especially a purchase that is either an “unknown quantity”, or more complex, or involves a larger outlay of money. 

Conversions happen when you tell prospects who have made their way to your front door, exactly what your product will do for them, followed by how it will do it.

And you have to tell them in a way that is clear, concise, compelling, succinct, and quickly scannable (that means they won’t read everything, so say it a few different ways). My favorite professor in business school used to say, in customer communication, “subtleties don’t push the ball forward.”  

There. There’s your marketing secret to better conversions. Answer the Big Three questions about your product, and do it in a very clear, jargon-free way.

Need help answering the big three for your products? I can help. Contact me and let’s see what we can do.

Continue Reading

I’m busy. I’m stressed. I have 8.25 seconds. WTFSIC? | Marketing for Our Short Attention Spans

Copywriting, marketing

WTFSIC? aka Why the F**k Should I Care?

The average attention span of a consumer today is 8.25 seconds. That’s down from 12 seconds in 2000. That’s also less than the attention span of a goldfish (9 seconds), although I have no idea how they go about measuring that.

Put yourself in your overwhelmed, frazzled, impatient customers’ shoes, and for their sake, ask yourself WTFSIC? every time you create / write / develop / post a marketing message / tagline / tweet / headline / blog / email / or ad.

That’s right. Every time.

If you follow this advice, it should keep you from falling into the trap that businesses so easily fall into –

  • talking about your products from your company perspective instead of the customers’.
  • describing the product’s features, but not the benefits.
  • thinking that a prospect will make the leap of logic that you’ve made in your clever ad, and understand why your product is so great, without you spelling it out.
  • assuming that prospects will take the time to click around your website to learn about your product.
  • believing that the only thing you have to do to get prospects to give you their email address or request a sales call, is to display a “Learn More” button on your website.

“Learn more”? Seriously. Why would the average adult consumer, who has 360 messages firing at them every day via TV, radio, web, and print media (source: Media Dynamics), take the time to click a “Learn more” button? Even prospects who are actually in the market for your product don’t have that kind of patience.

What they do want is for you to describe your product’s benefits (not features) in a very brief, concise message, using simple, non-buzzword language, in a way that tells them immediately how it will make their life better, starting tomorrow. This goes for the B2B and B2C space (after all, all purchase decisions are made by the same frazzled humans).

Oh, and maybe give them a value-added resource too (like a white paper, an infographic, a how-to guide). Note: I did not say “give them a brochure about your company”. Because that requires thinking. A purely value-added piece will be useful to them and will make it abundantly clear what your product will do for them, right away.

Don’t make them think. Don’t make them click. Don’t make them hunt for where to click. Put the WTFSIC right on your homepage. In fact on every page of your site. Or at the top of your email (or better yet, the subject line). Or at the top of your ads. Make every single word in your marketing messages be meaningful to your audience. Spell out for them exactly why they should consider your product.

So, what do I want you to do now?

Every time you craft a marketing message, stop after every sentence and ask “WTFSIC?” It will force you to think from your customers’ perspective (after a while, this becomes embedded in your thinking process) and craft marketing messages that get them to take action. And ultimately sell more of your product. Because that’s why you’re in business, right?

~~~

If you need help crafting concise, meaningful, compelling marketing messages, websites, blogs, or graphics, give me a shout. This is what I do best. But be prepared to hear WTFSIC a lot.

 

Continue Reading

How to Write the Perfect Blog Post | Follow this Guide to Maximize Your Post’s Visibility

After writing hundreds of blog posts for different audiences, industries, and organizations, you definitely learn what works and what doesn’t. This infographic reflects best practices I’ve used to achieve post visibility, social reach and shares, and conversions on the calls-to-action. Enjoy!

A Guide to the Perfect Blog Post

Want a copy of this infographic for yourself? Why not hang it in your cube for quick reference, or just for cube decorating purposes. Contact me for a printable, hi-res PDF.

Continue Reading

Secrets from the Field: 10 Questions to Ask on Facebook to Boost Social Engagement

conversation

Facebook is still king of social media. With 1.35 billion monthly active users, its just too big to ignore. Two-thirds of online US adults are Facebook users and the average user spends 21 minutes per day on Facebook.

To make the most of your time investment in your Facebook page, you’ve got to grow your followers and generate lots of engagement (comments, shares, clicks to your website) amongst them. And there are ways to accomplish this that are guaranteed to boost your numbers. I know, because I’ve done it.

Just like in a social situation, you are much more likely to be the center of attention if you engage in a two-way conversation, i.e., ask interesting questions of those around you, rather than talking about yourself ad nauseam. Right? The same thing holds true on Facebook.

So, if most of your organization’s posts are all about your business (for example, using Facebook only for sale announcements), you won’t gain a large following, and those followers won’t become engaged evangelizers of your brand because they won’t feel emotionally engaged with your brand.

Therefore, mixed in with the sale announcements, try a few truly conversational posts where you pose interesting questions of your followers. (When you start out, you may have to “plant” a few answers to get people responding – sometimes no one likes to be the first one to speak up).

Here are ten of the questions/conversation starters I’ve used with success on Facebook (you’ll want to customize them for your own business). Note, they are in random order.

  1. If you had your own personal theme song, what would it be?
  2. If you had an hour for yourself, what’s the one thing you would do?
  3. What book inspired you the most? And why?
  4. What’s your word for the day?
  5. If you had your own tagline, what would it be?
  6. What are your 3 top goals for this year?
  7. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
  8. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to ______ ?
  9. What was a turning point in your life?
  10. If you could run a workshop for a day, what would you teach?

And don’t, don’t, don’t forget to post your question with an image or photo! If you haven’t heard the news by now, Facebook posts that include imagery garner 3 to 5 times the amount of engagement as posts without an image. That can add up to a lot of shares and clicks to your website.

If you are too busy actually running your business to think about social media, 3to5 Marketing can help. Contact me today for advice, implementation, post-writing, social media graphic design, or all of the above!

Continue Reading