Why People Buy Anything Online
- by Jim Edwards
© Jim Edwards – All Rights reserved
There’s a mental "hump" over which everyone must jump before they buy anything online. It doesn’t matter what you sell, every single customer must throw a little switch in their minds before they pull out their credit card to buy. What makes them throw that mental switch? Anyone who buys anything online does so because of 2 basic emotions and one (or more) of four basic buying motivators.
People buy 99% of everything sold online for one of 4 basic reasons.
First, they buy because of money.
They buy based on how much money they can make or save as a result of purchasing. In fact, making money is the number one reason people buy just about any "info-product" online.
Now, you might say, "My product has nothing to do with making money! How does this help me?" Well, could you put a spin on your product that would help people save money or make money?
For example: if you sell anything to do with golf (equipment, videos, clothing, etc.) you could add a report that explains how to get more business by playing golf with clients. I bet Realtors, insurance agents, and investment advisors would buy whatever product you sold just to get the bonus report about making money while playing golf.
The second reason anybody buys online involves time and effort.
People simply don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. They buy products in the hope of saving a few minutes or alleviating some mundane task.
Saving time and effort is one of the reasons software sells so well online because people hope (sometimes in vain) to offload tasks to their computer.
Show people how your product saves them time and reduces effort and you’ve got a great angle to help increase sales.
The third reason people buy online is to escape either physical or mental pain.
Online pharmacies succeed, even though they represent a risky proposition, because people with physical problems need medicine and can’t afford to get it any other way (adding mental anguish to the mix).
One way to position your product or service to alleviate pain is by explaining how you take the worry out of the transaction. Explain how others put all the risk on the customer while you actually remove it through your guarantees, testimonials and proof that your product delivers as promised.
The fourth biggest reason people buy online revolves around the promise of increased popularity and social success.
Why do you think people buy stylish clothes, perfume, books on how to pick up women, or acne treatments? They buy these, and thousands of other things, because they want to feel better about themselves and operate more confidently in social situations!
You can help increase sales of just about any online item by explaining to your customers how smart they’ll look or how they can brag about the money they saved. No matter what you sell, take a little extra time to explain to your customers how they will look good and feel smart purchasing from you.
No matter which of these four buying motivators you invoke, two emotions will intensify their effectiveness: "fear" and "greed."
Normally fear in online selling revolves around fear of loss. Offline retailers try to invoke fear of loss by holding sales (deadlines with financial incentives), but they hold sales so often they lose much of their effectiveness (example: the weekly furniture ads on TV declaring once in a lifetime deals this weekend only).
Online, you can effectively use fear of loss by threatening to raise the price at any time, only offer a limited number of bonuses, or only make an offer good until a certain date.
Greed will also intensify the buying motivation by giving people a self-serving reason to buy now. Greed can be as simple as telling them how much money they can make / save as a result of making a purchase now as opposed to waiting.
But greed can also take a more emotional form where customers covet the feeling they’ll get by making purchase. Whether it’s a good feeling from buying a loved-one that perfect toy or gift, or the feeling of smug satisfaction from snagging one of the most popular gifts this holiday season, consumers are greedy for both material and emotional gain. Explain to them how they can satisfy their greed and you win!
Now, you might say, "Gee Jim, this sounds great, but I don’t see how all this comes together to sell online. Give me an example!"
Okay, let’s take one of the most mundane yet competitive items of the Christmas season: gift cards.
Everyone sells them, yet the marketing for gift cards both online and offline absolutely stinks. Retailers hawk gift cards by either hanging them on a rack or putting a button on their website that says "We have gift cards." Yet every single one of them misses an opportunity to cash-in with gift cards if they would just explain to people why they should buy in terms of the four motivators.
In fact, gift card retailers make the oldest and most fatal mistake in all of sales: selling on features rather than on benefits.
In other words, they try to sell based on what the gift cards do (let someone pick what they want) rather than on what gift cards do for the person who buys them. Gift cards actually help you save on gas (save money) because they don’t necessitate you driving all over town trying to chase down a gift (save time / avoid wasted effort) the person you’re buying for may not want anyway (mental pain of rejection). In fact, a gift card from a store your friend or loved one really likes will make your gift the most popular one under the tree (social success).
You can increase your online sales just by shifting the emphasis off what the product or service does and onto what it does for the person buying it, along with putting your message within the context of as many of the four main reasons people buy as you can.
Then, by intensifying your prospects’ desire through the effective use of fear and greed, you can truly explode your sales over the competition.
All it takes is a little bit of careful thought, some basic explanation to your customers, and the motivation to do a tiny bit more that others are willing to do in their marketing.
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