Ballerinas aren’t known for their strength. They are famous for grace and poise while performing extremely demanding moves, if you don’t believe me, try pirouetting for an hour and see how tired you get. How is this possible? ballerinas perform physically demanding routines without falling from grace and make it look easy. The trick is gravity, and physics. Ballerinas use the natural forces to make difficult routines easier. They understand how to utilize existing resources to do difficult dances without working too hard. Marketing should be done the same way – there are tricks that can be used, undetected by your audience to make marketing more effective and drive sales. Here is the short list of secrets.
1. Use Comparisons: A man walks into a local suit store and buys a good quality three-piece for $999. Immediately after making the purchase, the store attendant begins up-selling $100 dollar sweaters and caps. It might seem absurd to try and sell the man expensive items when he just spent a grand on a suit, but the rule of comparison takes effect and the man walks out of the store with a new sweater and top hat in addition to his suit. See after spending nearly a thousand dollars on a suit, a one-hundred dollar sweater seems reasonable. However, if the man were presented with the sweater first it would be comparatively expensive.
The most obvious place to use comparisons is on a pricing page. Think of the last time you saw a pricing page with only one paid option. They don’t usually exist because of the comparison effect. For example, check out the Squarespace pricing page below. They have three options and are obviously pushing the middle one. It seems like a bargain in comparison to the most expensive option but isn’t the most basic.
2. Expensive = Good: At a rural shop in the Arizona desert, Denice sells authentic Native American merchandise to tourists. There is one item that’s been on the shelf for months and just won’t sell. One day, frustrated with the slow-moving item, she tells her employee to change the price by 50% just to sell it. The employee (who must have been in the sun too long) accidentally increased the price by 50% – it nearly immediately sold. Denice could not make heads or tails of this situation, so she tried the same tactic on another product – it too sold right away.
What Denice is experiencing is the expensive = good phenomena that has been implanted into our consumer mindset. Because more expensive things are usually higher quality or better, we tend to think that all expensive things are better. Obviously this doesn’t work all the time, you can’t sell a product with a set price for a 100% mark-up and expect results, but in general expensive is equated with quality.
3. Reciprocation: In 1938, the Sudan was in the midst of an economic crisis, people were living on the streets and poverty was at an all-time high. The government was nearly insolvent. They sent $5000 to Mexico. Why would a country that is experiencing extreme poverty send aid to a country that is okay? Drugs? Ransom? Debt? No, none of those. You see, in 1935, three years earlier, Mexico had sent the Sudan aid when the country was being invaded by Italy, and the the Sudan was returning the favor.
This story might seem ridiculous, but it exemplifies the power of reciprocity. You do something for me and I feel extremely obligated to do something for you. For online companies, giving away free products and information in exchange for contact information or permission to follow-up is a very powerful way to generate leads.
4. Social Proof: In a random and very unscientific survey, a janitor, two teachers, and a student were asked what they thought of the fake laugh tracks that often accompany TV shows. They all expressed disdain for the fake laughing and said they would prefer it weren’t there – so why is it there? The answer is social proof. If people are laughing (even if they are fake) then the show must be funny.
For companies, no one wants to be the first customer. People want to know their friends and authority figures have already used and tested out a new product or service before jumping in themselves. The ‘customer bar’ like the one below, is now a staple of any website or brand that doesn’t have immediate recognition, and even large companies that do have global brand recognition have resorted to customer bars.
5. Scarcity: Have you ever seen a checkout form with a countdown timer? Next time you land on one, wait for the timer to go to zero and see what happens. Spoiler alert, nothing will happen. The reason that countdown bar is there is because it makes you think the item you are purchasing is scarce and if you don’t buy it now someone else will, and no one wants to lose out on what they want.
The most common place this is used is in the checkout, but it can also be used to sell products, get email signups, or offer timed discounts.
Market like a ballerina – let natural triggers do the selling for you. Whether it’s society or nature, our brains are programmed to respond to certain offers and analogies and we can’t help but pull out our wallets. Take advantage of these triggers to market like a ballerina.
Points derived with the help of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion