by Juan Robin II
I have a confession to make.
I just cannot resist buying that extra chocolate bar while paying for my grocery at the cash counter of my local superstore.
Or taking the offer to upgrade my Big Mac meal even though I can rarely eat the regular sized one.
Or going for the large Latte at the coffee shop even when I struggle to drink to the regular size.
Even if I don’t need it, even if I don’t plan to buy it, even if I try not to buy it.
I still buy them. Every single time.
And the store owner knows it.
In fact, he knows I’m not alone.
There are hundreds of thousands of people like me all over the world.
Which is why retail stores everywhere make extra sales by taking advantage of impulse buying and upselling.
That right there is a practical example of how understanding human psychology and emotions can help you drive more action and boost sales.
Sales, in fact, is all about psychology.
Research shows that 8 out of 10 buying decisions are based on emotions, not logic.
Buying that extra chocolate bar doesn’t make sense. Upgrading to an even bigger coffee isn’t logical. Taking a slightly larger burger meal that is even more unhealthy even when I’m not that hungry is just dumb.
But I still do it.
Thousands of people do it.
Because sales are driven by emotions.
As an affiliate marketer, the more you understand human psychology the better you’ll get at driving more conversions, closing more sales and banking higher commissions.
That’s the difference between you and super-successful affiliate marketers.
They understand human psychology and know how to use emotions to their advantage.
But I’m not here to turn you into a psychologist or a hypnotist.
Can’t do it with just one article.
But I can share a few psychological triggers that you can apply to your affiliate and online marketing strategy and immediately see results.
Don’t believe me?
Keep reading (with the intention to take action).
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- How to convince people to buy from you even if they don’t need your product
- The simple technique that triggers lazy people into action
- How to help your prospects overcome purchase anxiety
- How smart marketers increase repeat sales
1. Scare Your Prospects Into Take Action (…That Benefits Them)
Fear is a powerful emotion that drives many of the decisions we make in our daily lives. When fear takes over, we look for safety.
This has a very real impact on businesses and buyer purchase decisions. For example, The FBI reported that gun sales went up by 12.3% in Florida and 3.4% all over USA immediately after the deadly Parkland school shooting incident.
Advertisers and marketers routinely use fear in their campaigns to drive more sales, like this advertisement for example.
Like it or not, but these campaigns usually work because people don’t act rationally when they’re afraid.
Here’s another example of a public service campaign using fear to convince motorcyclists to wear helmets.
Source: AIP Foundation
But there are other, not so dark, ways to use fear in your marketing campaigns.
As an affiliate marketer, you can play on your audience’s fear of missing out (FOMO) to drive more sales. Studies suggest that around 69% of millennials experience FOMO while using the internet and 60% of them make reactive purchases mainly driven by fear of missing out on a good deal.
Booking.com uses this technique in a very subtle but effective way.
Using one-time offers (OTO) in a sales funnel is another example of how affiliate marketers use fear. OTO’s are heavily discounted deals that affiliate marketers offer if someone buys their main product.
Marketers also frequently use limited time offers and discounts to scare their audience into taking action.
I get these kinds of emails all the time.
Here’s another one
Marketers keep doing this and it works.
However, use fear with caution.
Because using it excessively, and not actually living up to your promise, hurts your credibility and makes your message ineffective.
Fake Fear with bullsh*t scarcity and deadlines that don’t really exist aren’t cool. They just make you look scammy and your audience lose faith in you, so use fear in a respectable and honest way.
2. Demonstrate Contrast To Shake Your Buyer
I often say this in my posts that people don’t buy products. They buy better versions of themselves.
They buy a product because they believe it’ll take them from their existing state to a better and more desirable state.
It’ll solve a problem or make them happier or richer or healthier.
Your job as a marketer is to show how your product can improve the life of your buyer.
Using contrasts is a great way to do that.
Adding contrast to your marketing message simply means that you show the “before” and “after” state of your buyer in the same picture.
You make them dream and show them how your product will drastically improve their current state or protect them from an undesirable situation.
For example, look at this pop-up that Chelsea (former staff writer at NicheHacks) uses on her copywriting website
In just a couple of sentences (from meeehhh to Holy Sh*t) she gets her point across and makes her prospects dream.
Here’s an even better example of using visuals to demonstrate the “before” and “after” effect of your offer.
The core benefit of this traffic alert app is that it saves time and gets you home faster.
But instead of focusing on its features this ad makes the buyer dream. It shows them how their lives would improve by using this app.
That’s the power of contrast.
3. Use Their Greed To Your Advantage
“You never get enough of what you don’t really want!”
I recently read this somewhere and it really hit me hard.
Think about it.
People who’re already rich, want to become richer.
Those with power, want more power.
It’s a never-ending desire that’s mainly driven by greed.
And we all have it to different extents.
We’re all greedy by instinct, just admit it.
That’s why we’re still drawn to “Buy One Get One Free!” offers despite every brand on the planet using them.
In fact, almost all marketing is driven by greed to a large extent.
But how can you use this emotion to your advantage as an affiliate marketer?
Just look around, most marketers are already doing it.
For example, almost every affiliate marketer I know offers bonuses and extras while promoting digital products.
Here’s an old email I got from Stuart during one of his product promotions.
You can find the same technique in action on most digital product sales pages
Even Amazon uses it
But you don’t always have to offer bonuses or free products to take advantage of greed in your prospects.
If you can prove that the value of your product is significantly higher than the price you’re asking for, you can still trigger the same emotion and make users take action.
For example, this $1 sign up offer from Digital Marketer is unbelievably attractive and clearly offers MUCH more value than its price.
There are numerous other ways you can use this particular emotion in your marketing strategy.
4. Accelerate Sales by Using Scarcity & Urgency
Using scarcity is a great way to create a sense of urgency in your visitors.
And urgency is the catalyst that speeds up the buying process and forces your prospects to take action.
All successful physical and digital product sellers do it.
Like Amazon, for example
The subject line of this email by Jeff Walker is another good example
Very intelligently, Jeff has created a subject line that creates a sense of urgency in the readers.
You can apply the same to your “calls to action” buttons and blog post headlines as well
Use words like “Now”, “Hurry”, “Quick” to make your calls to action more urgent.
For example, instead of using “Join Us” use “Join Us Now!”
Product creators and affiliate marketers use scarcity in almost every campaign.
For example, why do you think people have limited time product launches?
Can’t they just leave registration open forever?
Of course, they can.
But people are lazy and smart marketers know it. If left to our own devices with no urgency or deadlines most of us will never make a decision and instead put it off till “later” or a “better time” which never comes.
And that isn’t good for your prospect in getting their problems solved (the quicker the better) or for you as a business who needs to make sales to pay your bills.
Which is why a fundamental rule of marketing is that there must always be urgency and there must always be a deadline.
5. Use Novelty To Attract Repeat Buyers
All of us like new things.
A new iPhone every year, a new laptop, a new car every few years.
The list goes on and on.
Do we really need a new iPhone every year? No
Is there really something drastically different in every new iPhone from the previous version? No
Does it make our lives significantly better than the previous version? No
Then why do we buy it?
The answer lies in a research by Dr. Emrah Duzel.
He concluded that we like things that are new and novel because they trigger a dopamine release (a chemical in the brain that makes us happy and motivated).
In marketing terms, this means that you constantly need to renew and refresh your message.
Why else do you think Pepsi keeps coming up with new slogans every year?
This is exactly the reason why marketers keep releasing new versions and upgrades of their products every few months.
They sell the same old products with minor upgrades
But people buy them again and again because they perceive them to be valuable.
Stuart’s product “Find Your Niche in 7 Easy Steps” is a very good example of this phenomenon
Every year Stuart makes this product available for download for a few days after making minor updates to its content.
Yet, the same people who already have this product ask him whether they should buy it again or not.
In fact, many of them do.
This makes no sense.
Stuart even tells them NOT to buy it again because if they had actually followed the instructions in that eBook they would’ve unearthed a million niches in 1 year.
But they didn’t take action.
Yet, when the product becomes available again with minor updates, they’re ready to buy it again thinking that somehow buying it a second time will help them when all they have to do is take action on the first version they have.
But that’s human psychology for you.
People perceive new things as better.
Take advantage of this behaviour in an ethical way. Don’t trick people into buying the same product over and over again if there’s no changes in it.
Though at the same time if you’ve updated the product and there’s fresh information in there then there’s no harm in someone purchasing to get the updated info.
Here’s another example.
Over the last couple of years, you might’ve noticed many bloggers replace blog post date with “Last Updated”
What does this do to your brain?
Even if there’s no change in the content, you immediately think this information is more up to date and valuable.
If the same post had its original publish date of 2016, it might’ve appeared outdated.
So here’s the marketing takeaway for you.
Keep renewing and updating your products and affiliate offers.
Even if you’re promoting the same products, promote them in different ways and make them look new.
6. Hack Your Prospects’ Minds With the Halo Effect
In simple words, Halo Effect refers to our tendency of judging a person’s unknown qualities based on our knowledge of a known quality.
For example, if someone’s physically attractive, we assume they’re intelligent as well.
Just because a marketer is successful at big product launches and promotions, we assume he’s also more intelligent, credible, and happier than us.
It’s not always true, of course. But that’s how the human brain works.
And you need to take advantage of it.
It’s a well-known human behavior that advertisers and marketers have been using for years.
Celebrity endorsements are the most common example of this.
Brands associate themselves with celebrities because it makes them likable and more credible.
So how does this practically impact you as an affiliate marketer?
In several ways actually.
The appearance of your product, its branding, presentation everything has an impact on how people perceive it.
Even if your product is great and offers lots of value, people might perceive it as unreliable if your landing page isn’t professionally designed or if the product doesn’t have endorsements.
On the contrary, if a well-known marketer launches a new product, people perceive it to be valuable even before exploring it.
This is why a product that’s endorsed by the marketers usually has MUCH higher sales than a product with no endorsements.
The same effect is in play when marketers borrow credibility from other reliable brands
The Halo Effect has a direct impact on your affiliate sales.
For example, if a customer purchases a product you’re promoting and likes it, he’s much likelier to buy from you again even if your new product has nothing to do with his previous purchase.
Based on his previous experience, the customer assumes that every product you promote is worth buying.
So be careful about choosing your product promotions.
7. Use Reciprocity To Drive More Action
No matter what news channels tell you, humans are still compassionate and kind beings at heart.
This is evident from our universal behavior of reciprocity.
Reciprocity means that when someone gives us something for free, we’re compelled to return the favor.
You might’ve seen perfume sellers give free samples to everyone even before they buy anything.
That’s reciprocity in action.
When you get free perfume samples, you feel compelled to buy from the same shop.
How does this translate into online marketing?
Lead magnets are free content resources that marketers give away to turn visitors into subscribers.
If you simply ask your website visitors to sign up to your email list, they won’t.
But when you offer them a free content resource, they feel compelled to sign up.
This is the same principle content marketing uses to generate sales.
The article you’re reading right now took hours of research and cost Stuart several hundred dollars.
Yet he’s given it away for free.
His blog is full of actionable content and marketing advice that many people charge hundreds of dollars for.
But he’s giving away for free.
Is he stupid?
When people keep consuming high-quality marketing content for free, guess who they’ll be buying from when Stuart launches a paid product.
It’s a proven model that’s been working like a charm.
Studies suggest that content marketing results in 88% and 67% more leads for B2B and B2C businesses respectively.
Apply it to your affiliate marketing model as well.
Give away free value and build trust.
People will return the favor by opening their wallets to you.
8. Apply Reverse Psychology To Open Your Visitors’ Eyes
You must’ve seen these pop-ups on different blogs
And they’re very effective.
Partly because they’re so huge and in your face but mainly because of the reverse psychology used in their call to action.
Here’s another one.
This time it’s a slide-in box instead of a pop-up but the call to action is based on the same technique.
Why does this work so well?
Because instead of the usual positive calls to action that mention desirable actions like “Join Now”, “Yes I’m in!”, “Please send me the eBook” etc. negative calls to action highlight undesirable outcomes.
They highlight what the user is missing out on.
Using reverse psychology opens the eyes of your visitors because it makes them realize what they’re missing out on.
Using this technique increases the effectiveness of the positive call to action because the negative statement pushes people away.
For example, in the two screenshots I’ve shared, how would feel clicking on “No I’ve never had writer’s block”
You’ll be reluctant, like most people.
You can apply this technique to not only your email popups but also to your sales page copy and calls to action.
I particularly liked a sales page that had the “Why This Is Not For You” section before “Why You Should Buy”
Under that heading, the page had provocative copy that hits the readers hard.
For example here’s one of the points I remember
“This course is NOT for you if you’re and want everything to be spoon fed to you”
“This is NOT for you if you’re short-sighted and greedy and just looking to make a quick buck instead of building a long-term and evergreen business”
This copy is provocative
And it’s designed to do exactly that.
Because it pushes people towards the positive action and increases conversions.
9. Disrupt Then Reframe (DTR) To Change Perceptions
DTR is a really interesting technique that you might already be using unconsciously in your daily life.
But advertisers and marketers use it intentionally because it breaks down any mental barriers that stop people from taking action.
The core idea behind this technique is that you rephrase the action that you want people to take in such a way that it appears unusual and easier.
You disrupt their regular thought process and then reframe the same information in a way that the customer finds easy to accept.
Here’s popular experiment that’ll help you understand DTR.
To test the effectiveness of DTR, a group of researchers tasked two teams of undergrads with door to door selling Christmas cards to benefit a charity.
One team simply stated the price of the cards to their prospects which was $3.
The other one, however, used the DTR technique.
They disrupted the prospects’ perception by stating the price as 300 pennies instead of $3 and reframed by adding a small pitch “it’s a bargain”
The second team closed a whopping 70% sales as compared to the first team which sold to only 30%.
How do you apply this to your affiliate marketing strategy?
There are numerous ways.
But here’s a really easy to understand example that I’ve seen many marketers do.
Simple reframe your total product price into per day price, like this.
Culligan used the same strategy to make its $29/month service look more affordable by pitching it as “less than a dollar per day”
This doesn’t change the price of your product, but it makes your prospects view the price differently.
And research shows that they’re likelier to respond positively to it.
10. Use Social Proof To Relax Your Prospects
This one’s pretty easy to understand and almost every marketer uses it.
But I need to mention it because it’s so important.
Using social proof is another way of borrowing credibility from others.
You show your prospects that there are examples of people who’ve used your product and they love it.
It comes in various forms.
Most marketers use testimonials for social proof.
Others use case studies to demonstrate how people are benefiting from their products.
Even the number of subscribers or customers mentioned on a landing page is a form of social proof.
Using social proof not only gives credibility to your product but also eases the nerves of your prospects. It has a reassuring effect on most people which reduces their resistance to buying.
11. Apply Secrecy To Earn Big Bucks from Your Customers
“My secret list building strategy revealed!”
“The little-known strategy that brings millions of visitors every month to these websites”
“5 secret money making methods millionaire marketers never share with their followers”
I don’t know about you but I’m sick of these “secret” tactics.
Yet, whenever I see a headline like this I click on it.
As humans, we love to know secrets.
Research shows that people feel closer to someone who shares secrets with them.
It also gives them a sense of being important
This is why private membership groups and exclusive gated content works so well.
Take the example of our own Facebook Mastermind which almost 50,000 active members now.
We promote it as an exclusive closed community of the best niche marketers in the world where newbies can interact with seasoned niche marketing experts, learn from their experiences and seek their guidance that is otherwise unavailable on other public forums. But you can’t join it unless you’re approved by the group admin.
This instantly makes it desirable to new NicheHacks visitors because it gives them the impression of an exclusive value-driven closed community available to members only.
This also fuels the subscriptions to our premium NicheHacks Insider Community, which is a paid membership program.
To take advantage of this human behavior, promote secrecy in your sales content and try to make it look exclusive.
Or use it in your email subjects and headlines to increase CTR
When your audience perceives something to be exclusive, they’re often prepared to pay a higher price for it.
This is the reason why membership sites and subscription-based services have seen explosive growth over the last few years.
12. Have a Higher Purpose To Gain Unconditional Support
Most people buy products because they benefit them in some way.
They spend money on services or products that make them look good, solve a problem or generally make them happier.
But most of us have certain causes, goals, or issues very close to our hearts.
For example poverty eradication, or fight against mental illnesses, or gender equality, or animal rights etc.
When brands or marketers tie their marketing strategy with a higher goal, people support them even if they don’t actually need the product.
For example, veganism is a rising trend among millennials and many of them feel strongly about it. This shoe brand naturally appeals to them.
This perfectly ties in with the idea of starting a niche site or a niche business about something that people are passionate about.
A topic that attracts people because they care about it, not just because they can make money from it.
Like this niche site about vegan recipes (a topic that people are passionate about for a number of reasons – health, animal rights etc.)
Feed, an eCommerce retailer is another good example
Every Feed product you buy helps reduce hunger around the world.
This provides additional incentive to buyers who care about fighting global hunger and gives them satisfaction for contributing to a noble cause.
Are You Ready To Hypnotize Your Visitors?
As I said at the start, selling is all about understanding human behavior and psychology.
The more you apply it to your marketing strategy, the better you’ll get at making people take action.
But for that to happen, you need to take action first.
So take a good look at your existing marketing strategy, promotional emails, landing pages, and calls to action and apply the tricks that I’ve shared in this post.
I’ll be waiting to hear your results in the comments.