How to Enable Growth: Influencing Behaviours

Written by Martin Lucas

You can spend ages on planning and executing all the technicalities of a business, but there’s still one unpredictable factor: humans.

How people think and feel can strongly influence the way they interact with your business. However, if you dive into their psyche, you can turn the tables in your favour.

We have compiled 10 behaviour-based tactics to work into your growth plans. In part one, you can discover the first 5.

1. Become a mind reader

Never assume you know what your audience wants. That’s you thinking from your perspective and let’s be honest, you couldn’t be further removed from the mindset of your customer! Just imagine if you knew the questions people are asking and their feelings as they interact with your offering. You would be able to understand their thoughts, needs and desires and adapt to provide all the right answers.

Listening to customers enables you to be seen as more empathetic and trusting. Plus you can gain more control over the consequences of their decisions and generate higher conversion rates. Without this insight, you’re flying blind.

Give me an example!

Dominos Pizza went from obscurity to become a market leader by listening to customers. They found a number of customers didn’t like receiving cold, soggy pizza that had taken ages to deliver. Once Dominos understood that, they instated a guarantee that you get it within 30 minutes or it’s free. The rest is history.

What can I try?

Ask directly

Direct customer surveys can be invaluable to gauge their experience and missing needs. How you do it is up to you; whether via an online form, in the mail or over the phone. What matters is to keep it personal, upbeat and genuine. It’s useful to send a questionnaire straight after an interaction when their thoughts are fresh.

Sometimes negative feedback can provide new opportunities. If you know why some customers wouldn’t use you again, you can make amends and entice them back with an irresistible offer.

Automate analysis 

Even when you don’t know who the customer is, you can use feedback widgets on your website to enquire about their experience and uncover the needs & limitations you’re not aware of.

Why not put a custom search box on your site? That way you can see what people are really looking for and put the most sought after items front and centre.

Observe interactions

There are plenty of tools to understand how people are interacting with your website. From Google behaviour flow analytics to actual recordings of individual’s sessions on your site.

When you know what’s preventing people from taking your intended decisions, you can engineer the process so it works best for them and dramatically improves the conversion rate.

2. Some like it hot

The more people are familiar with you, the more likely they are to buy from you. Increase the touchpoints and your communications will have a much greater cumulative impact.

Furthermore, when people are actively engaged in a process, they will be more likely to perform your desired action. That means you can lead a horse to water and stand a much better chance of making it drink!

Give me an example!

Instagram made adding friends and following others part of their onboarding process. This builds confidence that they are in good company and creates the impetus to follow people at the right moment.

They also made it possible to post to other networks at the same time, which people are more likely to do in the moment, rather than bothering to switch between back and forth between sites.

What can I try?

Strike while hot

Once a customer is taking part in an action, they are in an active, receptive state and are more likely to perform other desired actions.

When someone signs up, prompt them to add emails of friends. When someone completes a transaction, ask for their testimonial. People in active states are your advocates.

Game on 

Consider gamification that rewards people for sharing. Many online games do this brilliantly and get you hooked by giving you extra credits/levels when you share your game status. The same principles can be applied across all types of business.

Remain top of mind

You may be aware of retargeting. When someone has previously visited your website or has read your email, you can display ads to them on other sites across the internet. Because they are already familiar with you, popping up with an offer whilst they browse elsewhere can generate healthy conversions.

Pre-target your list 

Let’s say you are about to send out an email to a list of addresses. Some may not know you or may need reminding of your existence, which means they are more likely to ignore your email.

Pre-targeting is a little trick whereby you can upload your list of emails to Twitter and/or Facebook and display a promoted post specifically to those people. That way, when they receive your email, familiarity kicks in and they may even feel the universe is guiding them towards you!

3. Be an attention seeker

People are more likely to select the option they pay the most attention to. And what they pay the most attention to is the thing that disrupts their typical view. Therefore being different is not just for the sake of it. It really does pay to be unique. It’s logical when you think about it.

Give me an example!

In the UK, there’s a drain unblocking service called Dynorod. When you ask most people to think of a drain cleaning company, this one somehow springs to mind, even though drains may not be at the top of their list of favourite subjects. This is because Dynorod made a point of catching people’s attention. Their hot pink vans (sadly they are now a more boring orange) were unmistakable driving up and down Britain’s roads, whereas any other drain cleaners passed by unnoticed.

What can I try?

Own your personality

Make your style and tone your own. Taking too many cues from competitors ensures you end up getting compared functionally, not emotionally.

Emotions heavily tip the scales in the buying process. If you can make people feel good, they will attach more value to the function you provide. This is especially true when people are in the evaluation stage and have no fixed preferences. You are able to steal away their attention from the competition.

Make default desirable

Put your desired outcome as the default option. It will be the one that gets

considered the most. People assume it’s the most appropriate and requires no extra thought on their part.

Also make your default option in the mid-range. People tend to avoid extreme options and go for the comfortable and more obvious middle option. This really boosts conversions on landing pages where you have options to select.

Finally, call attention to the desired outcome. Label it as best value, or most popular. People will thank you for pointing that out, so they don’t have to think any more than necessary.

The future is now

We are in an unprecedented time where virtual technologies can make the mundane marvellous. Augmented reality and 360 degree video are readily available to roll out, with virtual reality on the cusp of becoming mainstream.

As soon as you create new interactions, you increase the playability of your brand and strengthen the buy in. Just ask a Pokemon Go player!

Just imagine instead of that static pdf, people could see products come to life before their eyes. Ikea now have a virtual reality showroom to provide customers a new way of exploring the possibilities for their home.

4. Dangle a carrot

Tapping into people’s needs, motivations and desires ensures they become more motivated to take action. If you offer knowledge or a resource that assists with a specific challenge then people will be willing to give out some of their information in return.

Most people cannot resist an opportunity to fill the knowledge gaps or find ways of doing something better. In that sense, it’s the fear of missing out on ‘what could be’ that creates real desire.

Give me an example!

Robin-King has won an award for the best estate agent in the UK for two years in a row. One very successful tactic is their ebook, ‘The Case Against Estate Agents’. This is an expose on the essential questions to ask and the common pitfalls to avoid. It’s invaluable information for people that are ready to buy or sell and currently have negative preconceptions. Naturally, they manage to make themselves look squeaky clean in the process, leading to conversations and a great source of new business.

What can I try?

Irresistible information

Offer a valuable resource that triggers a desire to act. It could be a course, an ebook, a webinar or any other resource that people would be willing to exchange their contact details for. The draw is often the fact that you have packaged the information up nicely in one place, making it much easier to consume.

Ask people to share

A simple but often overlooked tactic is to place social sharing buttons in the resource itself. This allows people to share a link that directs people back to your landing page to download their own copy.

Meet specific meets 

Be specific as possible to the audience you are trying to attract. Find an angle that makes yours different and cries out to be investigated. Create a specific landing page to offer your resource that speaks specifically to the people you are trying to attract. But put some effort into it. Lacklustre writing and design could actually have a negative impact on your brand.

Understand what converts

Don’t rely on guesswork to assume what makes people act. A/B split testing gives you the insight into the effectiveness of different elements on the page, allowing you to make continuous improvements.

Every sentence and image should be crafted to raise expectations and build confidence towards clicking your seductive call-to-action.

A captivating headline 

If the headline isn’t powerful enough, people are unlikely to ever see your information. One technique that works is to frame the benefits of your offer in the present, as this is more appealing than something that might occur in the future. For example, ‘how you could grow your business by 30% every month’ could be re-expressed as, ‘get 30% more customers every month’.

The flip side is also psychologically powerful, as it triggers immediate loss aversion. In this example it might be, ‘stop losing 30% of your prospects each month’.

Stay relevant

What happens once people receive your resource? You can sit back and wait for the sales to come. But you may be disappointed. Following up and nurturing interest is essential otherwise most of your effort will go to waste. The aim should be to continue the conversation and build relationships. Once you have drip fed several more nuggets of useful information via email, a tempting offer has a far greater chance of being taken up. This is not the case of simply whacking people onto your standard newsletter. Your job is to stay useful and interesting, which requires specific messaging for different products and awareness stages. So start getting smart with your email list segmentation.

5. Finger on the trigger

Increased emotional involvement and self-identification trigger warmer & more active responses. As soon as someone interacts on a personal level, they invest emotionally and are more likely to impart more of their loyalty.

Give me an example!

Buzzfeed became famous for their quizzes such as, ‘Which city should you live in?’, ‘Which Disney princess are you?’ and ‘Are you actually a Hipster?’. You can’t help but be a little intrigued and they play very much on human curiosity and surprise. We also love to compare ourselves against friends and that’s why these things go viral through Facebook.

On the other end of the scale, there’s Tom’s shoes who, give a pair of shoes away to a good cause for every pair sold. This strong human story has the feel good factor that encourages people to buy from them.

What can I try?

Make it feel real

People care more when there are real faces and names instead of a dry facts and features. One way to do this is to think about some of the typical scenarios where people would benefit from your offering. They will then be far more able to imagine how it will be of use to them.

The usual approach is to tell them the features and benefits but leave them to connect the dots for themselves on the practical application. e.g. New apps allow you to get food any time you want. Great but I don’t want food just anytime. What if I could get it when I’m on my way home from work and the thought of cooking fills me with dread? That’s a scenario that gets my imagination cooking!

Relate to personas 

Help people attach their own identity to your story. Imagine you are offering a product to a family. If you only give the dad’s point of view then the mum may feel alienated. then what about the kids? Messaging and content should be agile around the different identities you’re trying to attract.

Recruit your audience

User generated content (UGC) is a sure-fire way to spread your message without actually doing much work. UGC gives a sense of ownership that makes people more likely to commit and follow through. For example, Starbucks’ mug design competition was so successful due to the opportunity for people to get their creativity noticed.

Creative search optimisation 

SEO is becoming more and more tied into the quality of content and the way people interact with it. If you just produce sales-related content, the pool of people that will want to share it will be very limited. But if you find a creative angle related to your offering, you can tap into the emotions that activate people to share.

For example, when Podio wanted to highlight the concept of work productivity, they created an infographic around the daily working routines of famous creative people. This intriguing and interesting research had no direct sales angle but acted to raise Podio’s profile and encourage people to share the insight. Google became happier with them!

That is part 1 of this guide to behaviour-based growth. Subscribe to get alerted as soon as part 2 is ready.