Every business owner wants to know the answer to this question. After all, if you know how to motivate people to buy, then you should have no trouble boosting your sales, which is the ultimate goal.
Once upon a time, the golden rule was give people what they need, because that is what they will spend their money on. While that may well have been the case a few decades ago, things are a little bit different now.
Statistics show that in today’s media driven society people are actually spending more money on the things that they want like, smart TV’s, High Tech Electronics and leisure activities than they are on the necessities like food and shelter!
That’s why it only stands to reason if you have a product or service to sell you need to present it to your prospects as something they want. Focus on what is in it for them, stress the benefits and make them feel like it is something they absolutely must have. Make them feel like they can’t live without it.
People buy because they get pleasure from their purchase. They don’t walk into a car dealership and buy the latest model because they need it they do it because it makes them feel good to drive it.
Whether it is the comfort of the plush leather seats, the power windows, or the symbol of status, they just love driving their new car! Whatever their reason, you can rest assured that their decision was based on want, not need.
Want isn’t the only thing that motivates people to make a purchase. While it is the leading factor, many other triggers can motivate them to whip out their wallets. For instance, if you can connect your product or service to consumers in a way that can helps them:
Or take advantage of opportunities that will benefit them in a positive way then you can motivate them to take action. Once you find out what they want and present your product or service to the in a way that makes them feel like they can’t live without it, you should have no trouble boosting sales for your business.
If you shop online or if you’ve ever made a purchase from a website like Amazon then chances are testimonials probably played a big part in your decision-making process.
Customer testimonials have the power to boost your sales substantially and they do it without spending and extra money on advertising. They are excellent emotional triggers. A glowing recommendation from happy customer can create a level of trust and provide potential customers with the ability to imagine what it would be like to purchase your products or services.
Typically, when someone begins shopping for a new product and service, one of the first things they take into consideration is the recommendation of others. They seek advice from family, friends, and testimonials of complete strangers. They do this because they want to make an informed choice.
Testimonials give them insight into how other people feel about the product or service as well as a good idea of what can do for them. So, do not underestimate the impact they can have on your business.
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Get any group of marketers together and ask them what they think about customer referral programs. The chances are extremely good that you’ll hear a universal chorus of approval.
What’s not to love about customer referrals? They’re a free way to generate leads. Even if you offer an incentive for referrals, you’ll probably end up paying less for them than you would for advertising.
There’s a reason that so many businesses offer referral programs…
But what you may not know is that most of them are actually failures.
That might surprise you, but it shouldn’t.
Referral programs fail because companies just set them up without thinking about them. They don’t consider the three big questions:
1. What makes customers refer their friends and acquaintances to a business?
2. What are the benefits customers receive from your products?
3. When and how should you promote your referral program?
If you’re shaking your head and realising that you’ve made this mistake too, don’t worry. We’re here to help you figure out how to make your referral program a big success.
Why Do Referrals Happen?
Let’s start with question number one: What makes a customer want to refer a friend to a particular business?
That’s a big question and an important one. If you don’t understand it, you might just end up spinning your wheels with a referral program that appeals to nobody.
According to Jonah Berger, who wrote a book called Contagious: Why Things Catch On, there are six potential factors that might make your customers want to give you a referral:
- Social currency comes first. Will a referral make your customer look good on their own or in comparison to other people?
- Emotions play a big role in decision making. If your referral program engages customers’ emotions, they’ll be more likely to refer.
- Virality is up next. When an idea or concept is easy to remember, it’s also more likely to spread. That’s just as true of referrals as it is of cat videos.
- Stories are important to people. If your referral request comes disguised as a story, then it’s more likely that people will want to share it.
- Practicality is really at the core of referrals. Is your product practical? Is the incentive to refer it practical too?
- Publicity is the final factor. People tend to follow what others do, but only if they can see that they’re doing it.
The good news is that you don’t have to engage all six of these factors to make your referral program a success. You just need to use the ones that make sense in the best possible way to inspire referrals from your existing customers.
How can you optimize the “why” of your referral program? The key is making it clear that your product aligns with your customers’ core concerns, beliefs, and values.
For example, Apple sells its products by talking about their desire to challenge the status quo. They encourage their customers to think of themselves in a certain way that tells a story and taps into their emotions.
Keep in mind that this aspect isn’t about what you offer in return for a referral – although it’s a good idea if you can connect it to those same values.
What Benefits Does Your Product Provide?
Next, let’s talk about the benefits that existing customers can gain if they refer their friends to you.
This question relates most closely to the issues of practicality and social currency. If someone is going to give you a referral, they want to know:
- Will it make me look good?
- Will it help my friend?
- What’s in it for me?
To understand how this might work, let’s look at an example.
Cloud storage company Dropbox increased their sign-up rate by 60% in 2010 by using a simple referral proposition that hit all three of these points perfectly.
The specific offer was that for every friend who signed up for Dropbox, the customer making the referral would receive 500 MB of free storage – and so would their friend. They placed of 16 GB on the referral program.
This offer makes the referrer look good because they’re offering their friend a practical and valuable solution for cloud storage along with a freebie. The benefits to their friends are obvious – and then the person making the referral gets a freebie too.
Think about what you can do to highlight the practical benefits of participating in your referral program. The more obvious they are, the easier it will be for people to make the leap and take part.
When and How Should You Promote Your Referral Program?
The last step is knowing when and how to promote your referral program. Where do you advertise it?
The key is making sure that your customers see it (there’s no point in showing it to non-customers) at the time when they are most likely to take action.
A lot of companies make the mistake of putting information about their referral program in the footer of their website or on their home page.
That does nothing to speak to the emotions of your customers, or to trigger them to take part.
Instead, a better bet is to consider the best way to reach out directly to your customers when they are at their most emotional – and most likely to be enamored of the practicality and value of your products.
In case you were wondering, that’s right after they make a purchase!
The best way to get it to them is to use an email autoresponder. Most customers expect to see a follow-up email after they make an online purchase, and it’s the perfect opportunity for you to outline the benefits of your referral program.
If you want referrals to pour in like rain…
Don’t just dump your referral program in some out of the way corner of your home page.
Instead, make it clear why people should give you referrals and what they (and their friends) can gain from doing so.
Then, hit them with the information about it at exactly the same time – and sit back and collect the referrals that result.
There is a unique challenge to online local marketing. Your competition pool is often smaller and much more unique. Therefore the goal of getting to the first page of search results seems easier to obtain. It may even seem cheaper, since all you have to do is beat out a few hundred businesses.
Perhaps you, as a business owner, have decided to do your own online local marketing. You’ve searched online for information on how to get the results you want. You’ve created a plan, and now you’re ready to take action.
But wait. Before you take that first step, there’s something that I need to tell you: chances are the information you’ve gathered is woefully out of date.
In fact, chances are most local business owners are using online marketing tactics that may be ten years old.
“How is that possible?” you ask. After all, you checked the date of your information. Some of it was published as recently as a few days ago.
Search engines change their algorithms daily. These changes are often minor, but they add up to bigger changes, like Google’s recent change favoring mobile-friendly websites (more on that later). So tactics that may have worked ten years ago do not work now. In fact, search engines penalize some of those tactics. If you get hit with penalties, it’s improbable that you will show up in the search engines at all.
Here is a list of seven local marketing myths you may be buying into that are keeping your business from achieving online success.
Myth #1: Quick SEO Can Help You Get on Page 1
There are no shortcuts when it comes to ranking in SEO. A long term, consistent approach is needed in order to be successful. Sometimes, even the best plan to get on the first page doesn’t come to fruition.
There are hundreds of factors that decide where your website is going to rank in a search engine. One of those factors is how long your website has been around. If it’s less than a year old, your chances of getting on page one are about 2-3% at best.
Search engines put their trust in older websites with an established history. Those websites that are ranking on page one for your keyword have been around for years. Even if they haven’t, they’ve probably got other ranking factors working for them that you aren’t seeing. It is highly unlikely that any “quick SEO” technique is going to work in your favor. It’s better if you simply invest in a solid, long term plan and exercise some patience.
Myth #2: Microsites Will Help You Boost Your Rankings
The logic is fairly simple. Ranking a microsite is easier than ranking a huge site, right? And the microsites will contain general information that will point people back to your business. So you can pull in traffic from these sites without investing a lot of money in SEO for your company website.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t work like that anymore. The days when you could use dozens of keyword-based microsites to get search engine rankings are gone.
Search engine algorithms have been updated to exclude any network of websites that point to the same domain. So if you’re looking to use 50 plumber-based keyword microsites to point back to your business websites, think again. You’re more likely to get penalized than be rewarded.
Myth #3: Your Keyword Needs to Be in Your Domain
This springs from the second myth involving microsites. Having someone search for “laptop repair” and seeing “laptoprepair.com” at the #1 position will garner clicks.
Except for one thing: if you actually search for “laptop repair” in a search engine, the first results to come up are going to be businesses with brand names as their domains, like “geeksquad.com.”
Brand names are more important than keywords in search engine results. The moral: focus on establishing your brand instead of trying to rank for a keyword. If your brand is associated with that keyword, you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings.
Myth #4: You Need Multiple Phone Numbers for Tracking Purposes
This is another myth that springs from myth #2. When setting up microsites, each site would have its own separate phone number. That way the business owner could see which sites were performing the best, and which ones needed to be cut.
A search engine uses your phone number to identify your business as unique. Multiple phone numbers confuses the search engine, and can hinder your online marketing efforts. Stick to one number. It’s easier to maintain.
Myth #5: You Don’t Need Social Media
It is true that some businesses won’t get a lot of attention on social media. But you still need to use it to your advantage. You can use it to connect with other local businesses that compliment your services. You can report on local events, or curate information that is of interest in your niche. Doing these things can position you as an expert in your field.
Myth #6: Optimizing Your Site for Mobile is a Waste of Time
Maybe this was true a few years ago, but now it’s a necessary part of having a website.
In fact, in early 2015 Google launched an algorithm change that rewards mobile-friendly websites with higher rankings. They’re placing more emphasis on mobile traffic, since more than 50% of internet traffic comes from mobile sources. That number will continue to grow.
Optimize your website for mobile. You’ll boost your rankings and get more traffic.
Myth #7: Reviews Affect Your Rankings
Your reviews have nothing to do with your rankings.
Your reviews are just that: reviews. They do affect how customers view your business, but they don’t affect how search engines rank your website.
If you’re worried about bad reviews and a bad reputation, you shouldn’t be. Be proactive. Respond to negative reviews in a very professional manner. Most of the time you’ll find you can resolve the issue. This impresses upon potential customers that you care about their experience with you and you want to satisfy them.
In truth, the right response to a bad review is better than a dozen glowing reviews.
Local marketing can be pretty confusing. It’s easy to come down with information overload. If you’re still using any of these myths in your local marketing plans, make immediate adjustments. You don’t want to purposefully hold your business back from reaching its full potential.