You’ve most likely spent years grooming your product or service, getting it ready to offer to your audience. But there’s one important question you need to ask before you do: Why should people care about it? Essentially, what are their reasons for choosing a product or service — and, especially yours — over another?
Let’s talk about the science behind why people are motivated to buy one product or service over another and how you can use this knowledge in your own strategy, messaging, and decision-making.
The Psychology of Your Buyer
You have one clear goal in mind: You want people to buy your product or service. But to do this, you need to understand the psychology of why people buy. Once you grasp this, you’re one step closer to putting this psychology to work for you.
As poet and author, Maya Angelou, astutely observed, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
If you can reach people and get them to feel something about your product or service, that is a powerful driver toward their choosing you over your competition.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss here.
Let’s look into why people choose a product or service over another, as well as several strategies to tap into people’s emotions and spark their feelings.
7 Reasons for Choosing a Product or Service & How to Make Them Work for You
1. Word Pictures
We all know the expression a picture is worth a thousand words. And it’s true, images are very powerful. But don’t underestimate the power of written and spoken communication. With the right words painting a picture for your audience, you can spark strong emotions and connections.
Use descriptive language that helps people to visualize your message. Instead of using the same words that everyone else in the industry does, look to breathe life into your campaigns with fresh language that makes people respond.
Think for a moment about State Farm Insurance’s famous slogan. While other insurance companies often used common industry words like protection and coverage, State Farm chose the simple but powerful message, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” In just those few words, you imagine a picture of your reliable, trustworthy friend who lives next door and is there when you’re in trouble. It’s a word picture that makes a memorable point.
Write down the words and terms you commonly see in your industry and think about word pictures that would ignite more of an emotional response. It’s a great exercise to free your creative juices.
Emotions are a powerful motivator for any buyer — and it’s one of the most powerful reasons for choosing a product or service.
But the key is to play on the right emotions.
Some businesses try to sell their products or services by exploiting people’s worst fears. For instance, “Buy this hard drive or you’ll lose all of your files.” Or “Buy this alarm system to prevent someone from sneaking into your house and killing your entire family in the middle of the night.”
Now, granted, some of these fears are legitimate. But using fear as a driving emotion to make a sale doesn’t work. It’s more likely to shut people down rather than effectively access their emotions.
Instead, play on positive emotions. In the same examples as above, you might focus on the confidence people feel when all of their work is saved securely on a backup hard drive, or the peace of mind someone experiences when he knows his home is secure.
The difference is palpable.
And fear isn’t the only negative emotion to avoid. Other negative emotions include sadness, guilt, anger, and anxiety. These are more likely to cause people to mentally check out or move on entirely.
In contrast, positive emotions like awe, joy, trust, and happiness engage people to want to know more.
So, next time you want to use emotions in your strategy, list positive ones relevant to your product or service. Refer to your list as you develop your campaigns.
We’ve all witnessed that person at a party who walks in and thinks the world revolves around him or her. This is the person who jumps into a conversation and immediately changes it to focus on himself or herself. Annoying, isn’t it?
Don’t be that person when it comes to your product or service.
Instead, hold yourself back and get to know the community of people that comprise your audience. Discover what matters to them and their feelings on big issues.
Become a meaningful part of the community by participating in conversations and adding helpful points.
Avoid introducing new, contradictory ideas within the community or making others feel like you’re condescending to tell them what to do. Instead, build people up by congratulating them or telling them what they’re doing well. This creates a productive relationship with room to grow.
This echoes Maya Angelou’s statement, people remember how you make them feel. You want people to remember that you made them feel great, while also helping them.
4. A Meaningful Story
From the time we’re little, storytelling is how we learn and grow. And it’s not just for children. As adults, we all appreciate a good story. For many of us, facts and figures tend to go in one ear and out the other. But create a story that makes the same point, and we’re hooked.
But not all stories are equal. You could create a story around what you ate for lunch, but that doesn’t mean people are going to tune in.
You story should follow a formula.
All effective stories have a few key elements, including a character, a beginning, a middle, an end, a conflict, and a resolution. This could be the story of how you overcame incredible odds to found your company. It could be the story of how a client fought against the odds with the help of your product or service.
One storytelling strategy is to keep it familiar. There are a few common structures in storytelling that never seem to get old. For example, overcoming a monster or rags to riches are both storylines that people know. That familiarity oftentimes draws people to your story. They want to root for the main character and see how the hero gets to the inevitable end.
Another key strategy of storytelling is the plot twist. While people love familiarity, a little twist or surprise can be just enough to keep them engaged to the end. It prevents your story from growing stale. With every new story you tell, try to include surprise plot twists to keep your audience on its toes.
In a recent study from SproutSocial, 64% of people admitted they want brands to connect with them on social media.
What does this mean?
It means that as a brand, you need to be present and engaged with your audience on social media. Don’t just be there to sell them your product or service.
There are many things in this world that divide people — political affiliations, age, race, etc. — but people want to be able to connect. And it’s not just connecting with your brand, it’s connecting with the community that your brand represents. Consider how tech leaders have found spaces where their followers can connect with one another, share recommendations and experiences, and rely on one another. This might be at industry events, in a web forum, or right on social media.
Look for opportunities to connect your own audience and make it easy for them to connect with one another.
Social media makes this a lot easier than it used to be. Many brands are creating groups where their followers with similar interests can join and interact with one another without ever having to leave home. Consider Peloton’s Facebook group. It’s not a place where they sell their product. It’s a space where members can share their stories, encourage others, and celebrate their wins together.
Other brands, both in B2B and B2C have also created these kinds of connections with great success.
And it benefits you as well. When you connect with people in this way, you win their loyalty. Even if problems arise in your brand, you’ll have a loyal community to back you up.
Plus, it helps your bottom line. The same study from SproutSocial that we cited earlier reveals that 76% of consumers said they were more likely to shop with a brand when they felt connected.
So take the time to connect with your audience on social media. It’s an investment that will pay off down the road.
People don’t just want to know what your product or service can do for them. They want to know about the people behind it. Who are you? What do you stand for? Are you like them? Knowing the answers to these questions can help people feel a powerful connection that draws them to what you have to offer.
So, while you’re planning how to present your product or service, take time to think about how you present yourself. Decide how you want to connect with people and what you will do to let your audience get to know you.
The best way to do this is through social media. Using your personal account, connect with others, and share some personal details and even some viewpoints on important issues.
Today’s customers are more on edge than ever before. Oftentimes, they’re on high alert, afraid of being taken advatnage of.
And this is even more true when it comes to brands. The average consumer is still skeptical of brand.
To combat this, lead with authenticity right from the beginning of your customer’s interactions with your brand. Be up front with people as soon as they see your home page or pricing structure.
Transparency should follow you throughout your strategy, even when it’s uncomfortable. Say there’s a problem you discover with your product. Tell your customers about it immediately, explain what you’re doing to fix it and what you’re doing to help your customers through the rough patch.
Being transparent in this way builds trust. Customers know that no matter what comes up in the future, you’ve been honest with them so far and earned their trust.
Concluding Thoughts on Getting People to Care
Getting people to care might just be the most important goal of your entire marketing strategy. And, as we’ve seen, it’s entirely attainable.
Instead of haphazardly landing on someone’e emotions and closing a sale, learn how to strategically use the science of psychology to make people care about your product or service.
Learning more about people’s reasons for choosing one product or service over another will help you to create campaigns, messaging, and strategy that work.
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