You work hard to grow your list of subscribers – whether that’s to your blog, email list, and/or social media counts.
And you probably invest a lot of time and energy into attracting your audience in those spaces. You tweet, you write in-depth blog posts, you email consistently and following all the best practices.
But earning those subscribers is only the first hurdle in the world of digital marketing and sales.
The second hurdle is turning those subscribers you’ve worked so hard to earn into excited, ready-to-buy customers who support you time and time again.
The question is: Um…how do you do that?
For years, marketers have been tapping into research and studies to try and find the best, most effective means of making this conversion happen-and happen fast.
Today, we’re going to look at a bit of this data, too.
By leaning on tried and tested tactics that are backed with documented results, we’ll show you how to transform your engaged audience from interested passives to enthusiastic buyers.
The Science Behind Lead Nurturing
There’s actually quite a bit of science and psychology happening behind the scenes in the world of lead nurturing.
The good news is you don’t have to have a degree in either to leverage some of the findings and research marketers have found effective over the years.
With a crash course in the psychology of lead conversion (that’s ahead!), you can quickly start using some of these theories for your own efforts.
Let’s look at some of the most relevant, data-backed approaches that you can deploy right away to convert more subscribers into buyers.
Mere exposure effect
The more familiar we are with things, the more we like them. Plain and simple.
Psychological research shows that humans have a tendency to fear/dislike the unknown. It presents a level of uncertainty that makes most people…well, a little squirmy.
That’s why the Mere Exposure Effect is important to consider when creating a plan for turning subscribers into highly engaged, enthusiastic buyers. Essentially, it’s a psychological phenomenon that indicates people feel a preference for all things (and people) familiar.
Familiar = likable. Unfamiliar = not so likeable.
There’s an interesting experiment by Richard Moreland and Scott Beach that shows this phenomenon in action. When students visited a classroom of 100 people 5, 10, or 15 times during a semester and were asked to rate how much they liked their classmates-guess what? The ones who attended class the most were the most liked by others. The students who were the most familiar consistently scored higher on the “liking” scale overall.
If you’re wondering, “How does this translate into the world of lead nurturing?”, here’s what you need to know: The Mere Exposure Effect directly relates to the importance of relationship-building with your subscribers.
Before making a sales pitch and trying to convert your leads or subscribers, you’ve gotta make them like you. You can do this by teaching what you know, delivering personalized content, and by always answering questions in a timely manner.
It shows you care-and that you’re generally a nice person.
There are lots of tools that make this approach simpler and create a more efficient model for converting subscribers, but the bottom line here is that you have to ditch the immediate hard sales angle and instead focus on first building rapport with your audience members.
We can all agree that one of the biggest hurdles for converting leads is often overcoming attitudes, objections, and general feelings of discomfort that are keeping people from becoming a customer.
These are sentiments like:
“I guess I don’t really need this right now. I’ll just wait a little longer.”
“I’m not sure this product will work for me.”
Our job as marketers is to convince those subscribers to change those attitudes and thoughts.
That’s where Cognitive Dissonance comes in. It refers to a situation in which conflicting attitudes or beliefs results a feeling of unease or discomfort, which then leads to an alteration of one of the attitudes to relieve the discomfort and restore balance.
The theory suggests we, as humans, are motivated to avoid disharmony-and we’re willing to change our minds and feelings to achieve that re-balancing.
So how do we get subscribers to change their minds, ditch their objections, and become customers?
There are a few ways to do that:
1. Create a sense of urgency
Implementing a limited time offer and using scarcity reminds the subscriber that he or she needs to act immediately, or the offer will be missed. Timers are a great visual way to create this effect, as the countdown clock quickly produces that “emotional disharmony” that the theory says we’re hard-wired to counteract. Make people feel a little nervous about missing out on a great product, and they’ll more quickly overcome those nagging doubts that are pulling them in the non-buying direction.
Here’s an example of an timer in action on a product page:
2. Leverage social proof
Testimonials, case studies, and user reviews are all forms of social proof that allow subscribers to see honest reviews from unbiased third parties. You can toot your own horn all day long, but it’s much more compelling when a customer does it for you. What’s more: Studies show that 70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, and product reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions from manufacturers. Give your happy customers a voice, and they’ll do part of the lead conversion work for you.
Here’s an example of testimonials in action from our Doodly product page:
3. Deliver the right content at the right time
Some subscribers are just beginning the customer journey with you, so they need some time to learn more about you and your offerings before they’re ready to become a buyer. You can help move them along this journey by delivering personalized, highly relevant content right when they need it. For example: If you’re using a tool like ClickPerfect that helps you see what site visitors are clicking on, you can use that data to then follow up with a relevant drip email campaign, an eBook, etc. that provides the exact information that person needs.
Take a look at this example from Sephora: They deliver an email follow up with relevant product suggestions based on the lead’s browsing history.
Next, let’s look at another psychological theory that you can use to convert leads: the Law of Reciprocity.
Law of Reciprocity
Sharing is caring.
Give and you shall receive.
These adages hold true for lead nurturing (and ultimately conversion), too.
It’s the Law of Reciprocity. Simply put, reciprocity is a social rule that indicates people should (and will) repay what another person has given to them.
Ever felt obligated to buy a gift for someone who surprised you with an unexpected present? Left a higher tip for a waitress or waiter who dropped off mints at your table with the check? That’s the Law of Reciprocity at work.
In fact, there’s a study that illustrates just how effective this approach is-and it involves the waiter/waitress and mints example.
Researchers found that when a waiter or waitress left one piece of candy per customer with the customer’s bill, tips were 3% higher. What’s more: When they left two pieces of candy per customer, tips went up 14%.
This tells us something else interesting that we can use as marketers-the more you give, the higher the return. The more you share selflessly, the more you sell.
Gary Vaynerchuk calls this approach jab, jab, jab, right hook-and he wrote a whole book about it. The premise is simple: If you give, give, give to your audience, when you finally make that ask, they’ll be more than happy to follow through and deploy reciprocity by returning the favor.
Vaynerchuk writes: “Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.”
There are some easy ways you can do this for your subscribers-and some can even be automated for greater efficiency.
Add videos to your emails
By creating simple, visually appealing videos that walk subscribers through processes and how-tos, you can provide extremely valuable pieces of content that both educate and empower. Teaching what you know is a simple way to share your expertise and earn the trust and respect of your leads.
Share free eBooks
Packaging lessons into a free eBook is a simple way to create a worthwhile asset that your subscribers will appreciate. When you give it away for free, you immediately create that feeling of indebtedness that you can tap into later.
Start Real Conversations
If you give customers a voice with surveys, feedback requests, and emails that ask for responses, you show that there’s a real human being on the other side of your marketing efforts. This encourages your subscribers to reciprocate with responses and data that’s valuable for your business-and it builds relationships at the same time. Win-win! With smart email tools that make managing this strategy a bit simpler, you can more effectively leverage email and have conversations with your audience.
Use Science to Convert More Subscribers Into Enthusiastic Buyers
By using psychological theories like the mere exposure effect, cognitive dissonance, and the Law of Reciprocity, you’ll be better able to turn your subscribers into enthusiastic buyers (and friends! And loyal supporters!) As you work on this, remember to use tools that help you work smarter, not harder. Take advantage of the modern resources that can grow your business, save you time, and keep your marketing efforts stress-free.
When she’s not assisting wherever she can within our organization, you can find her eating pizza, solving sudoku puzzles and hanging out with her family.
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