How to Enable Growth: Influencing Behaviours II

Written by Martin Lucas

Last time, we looked at the behaviour-based tactics that can be implemented for business growth. Now we continue where we left off…

6. Path of least resistance

People will avoid as much risk as possible. Losing money, feeling foolish and wasting time are all to be avoided. Your job is to eliminate as much risk as possible in order to make taking your product or service a no brainer.

Give me an example!

In Tim Ferris’ best-selling book, ‘The 4 Hour Working Week’, he explains how he successfully grew a business by offering a 110% money back guarantee. The extra 10% created a much higher conversion as it makes such a strong statement about the confidence in the product.

What can I try?

Take away the risk

Figure out all the potential bottlenecks in your decision making process. Then see what you can do to reduce or completely remove the risk. If people are worried about committing, why not give a free consultation or a free trial to let them get a feel?

If you are confident in your business, offer customers a money back guarantee so they can be sure their decision can be reversed. There are many ways of removing risk and the business you attract as a result will make any loss insignificant.

Speed up decisions

Make it clear what will happen next- don’t leave people guessing what the experience will be. People tend to avoid ambiguous and uncertain outcomes. If there are certain steps, make sure they are laid out. If there’s a waiting period, ensure people know when they will get the goods.

Don’t overload people

When people are faced with too many options, they suffer from decision fatigue. In a classic experiment with jam, the group that were given a choice of just six flavours bought significantly more than those offered three times as many flavours. Similarly, many decisions in a row can cause willpower fatigue and cause abandonment.

People quit if too much hassle. Do you really need a lengthy form when you can get them onboard with an API integration of services they already use, such as Facebook or Twitter?

Open the gate first

If you can create interaction before the need to signup then people are more likely to commit. If you have a tool, how about letting people use it before requiring signup. Perhaps think about restricting features or usage. Once they get a proper taste, they will be ready to take the next step and hand over some money.

7. Play detective

Your audience is complex with many different interests. You can never assume you know what they will like or how and where they will respond. You may have your carrot ready to dangle (see previous point 4, Dangle a Carrot) but is it juicy enough and whets a real appetite?

You need to gather intelligence to understand where they can be found and what causes them to act. The right message in the right place can have a far greater impact than the right message lost in a sea of noise (and indeed the wrong message in the wrong place!).

Give me an example!

Mumsnet is now the UK’s biggest social network for mums (and dads). Their growth technique is simple but powerful. The founders got together with friends and wrote about the specific things they have to deal with as mums. More articles, meant more of a community grew around the need to solve family challenges. Now many brands are teaming up with Mumsnet to tap into this niche audience.

What can I try?

Seek out new niches

Don’t just rely on attracting people from the crowded mainstream. Re-purpose your messages to hunt in relevant niche platforms. Identify the mindset of people on different platforms. What are they looking to achieve? What will provoke their individual thoughts? What specific references can help them to identify with what you are offering?

If this seems like hard work, content syndication platforms enable you to automate putting your message in front of a relevant audience with specific interests.

Make new friends

Find out who already has links to your target audience. Create win-win offers via partnerships with these influencers. Focus on what’s in it for them and craft content and offers that they will regard as valuable enough to share with their loyal audience.

Do you know what is your best performing content and why? You could be sitting on a gold mine if you haven’t expanded and iterated the things that people take the most interest in.

Piggyback interests

What other products and services are out there to help your audience achieve related benefits? Let’s say you sell a cloud app that helps people work more effectively. What other productivity apps can you round up and review? by weaving your own offering into the mix, it’s a less shameless and more altruistic way of getting exposure. Now that’s some secret sharing sauce!

Embrace the longtail 

Don’t just rely on the obvious phrases people search for. They are by far the most competitive. Instead, brainstorm all the connotations people would search. The more discoverable you are around these possibilities, the much greater potential there is for your audience to accumulate.

Borrow brilliance 

Jump start your creative ideas by borrowing insight from other fields. Research what makes their content viral and understand how you can apply these insights to your topic. Why does that Buzzfeed quiz work so well? What can you learn/steal?!

8. A bit on the side

Side projects enable you to show your skills, grow your profile and eventually sell to people that become fans of your work. This is invaluable for getting new leads, as you effectively open the flood gates to let people explore what you have to offer. Soon enough, you’ll be in a trusted position to sell something related.

Give me an example!

If you’ve used Unsplash, you’ll know this site is famed for completely free, high quality digital images. Trust us, they didn’t suddenly embark on an altruistic mission to save designers from cliché stock photography. Look again and you’ll see a prominent link to get help from Crew. Crew is the company behind Unsplash, offering design and development services. Guess where most of their web traffic now comes from?!

What can I try?

Build a resource bank

You might already have enough materials to create a resource library that acts as a destination for people. Hubspot became very popular as they created a brilliantly useful library of ‘how to’ guides. It’s possible to generate far more traffic than trying to drive people straight to a service.

It will also perhaps free up the enjoyment in content creation, as you can focus on talking about the speciality you enjoy, rather than hammering home a sales message.

Provide a useful taster

Moz repurposed a part of their SEO product to be used as a free browser extension called ‘Open Site Explorer’. Once people get into the habit of using this, they are primed to go on to use the Moz subscription service.

Rely on a community

Can you make use of user generated content (UGC) so you don’t even need to do the work of creating the product? Visual.ly did this extremely well by allowing people to upload their visual work and share it with the community. This resulted in a captive audience to promote their own visual content service.

Recycle unused work 

This is how Unsplash started. They put unused photos to work, then just grew the library from there. If you’re a designer, you could create a library of your unused designs. If you’re an accountant, how about offering some free templates to help people compile their taxes? Even if you’re a grocer, you could have a section of your hilariously misshapen vegetables. Just a small effort can increase your chances of getting new visitors.

9. VIP treatment

People will feel more compelled to return the favour and take action when they consider they have received preferential treatment. Happy customers will keep coming back and are more likely to tell their friends. It’s worth going the extra mile, as unhappy customers will also tell lots of people!

Give me an example!

MasterCard expanded its ‘priceless’ campaign to start connecting with customers on social media then give out spontaneous gifts and prizes. They then went further to build an app that not only offers new surprise gifts but also enables customers to send their surprises to friends and family. They found a way of ensuring their generosity gets noticed far and wide.

What can I try?

Double-sided rewards

Give rewards for both customers making referrals and the newly referred customers. Everyone wins. Dropbox and Uber triumphed from this tactic and many others have followed.

What commodity can you offer that is relatively low cost to you but high value to your customer? Of course, if you know your customer LTV, you know what you can treat them to!

Surprise and delight

Random acts of kindness ensure you keep customers coming back and that you also get talked about much more. It can be simple as sending a gift on their birthday or when they take up your premium offer.

Some police forces have even used this tactic by pulling over careful drivers and giving a surprise gift as a reward.

Look after influencers

Is your product free for bloggers and influencers? If not, perhaps it should be. They are the people you want on your side and it’s worth giving something away for the potential word of mouth boost they can provide. Similarly, if you are starting up, make sure they are on your invite list for any early offers and beta versions.

Reward loyal actions

Reward customers when they reach certain milestones. That might be based on the time spent with you or related to their activity level.

We’ve all probably got a loyalty card from our favourite coffee shop, which keeps us coming back. Klout and other social influencer platforms are renowned for giving prizes when your score improves, which provides a real incentive to stay active.

Customer activation and loyalty is essential to growth. If you’re only going after new customers, you’ll find scalable revenue growth a nightmare.

10. Topic takeover

By piggybacking current events, it’s possible to infiltrate relevant interests. Associating with a topic can get you in front of what people are looking for. Creating a clever tie in can go even further by inciting social approval and more positive interactions, as opposed to being a mere distraction.

Give me an example!

After Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split, Norwegian Airlines quickly put out an ad that simply said, “Brad is single”, then stated the low cost of fares to LA. Genius.

What can I try?

Relate to current affairs 

News-jacking is an opportunity to reach a wider, relevant audience. The topic may not be directly relevant to you, but try and find associations that work. When the lights went out during the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo put out a post stating, “You can still dunk in the dark”. But it’s not just known brands that can make this work to their advantage. During the same event, a company called Agility Recover were able to get a lot of visibility with their post, “When you least expect it, disasters strike. What’s your plan?”.

So keep your eyes (and brain!) peeled for interesting events and see what creative associations you can respond with.

Target interests

Search for people that talk about keywords relevant to your content. They are more likely to follow back and interact. Let’s say you’ve just written an ebook on sheep herding best practice. You might then search Twitter and other platforms for keywords relating to this, such as ‘sheepdog training’. By pinning posts about your content to the top of your feed, when people follow you back, these are likely to be the first thing they see. Following up with them directly with a link in a friendly message can dramatically increase the number of clicks you receive.

Keep your enemies close 

Another way of finding your relevant audience is to target your competitors’ followers. It’s safe to assume they already have similar interests. Once you see who’s engaged in your competitors’ topics, you can start the hunt for your prime audience. Thankfully there are plenty of tools that can help you do this to save you manually trawling through their follower lists.

That completes the roundup of 10 ways of influencing your customers’ behaviour. If you missed part 1, click here.

Now over to you to discover where you can change behaviour for positive growth. If you need any hints, go ahead and take advantage of our free Market Intel report, that will give you all sorts of useful insights.