- How to Build Quality Links From Resource Pages
- How to Avoid Friction Points for Your Customers
- How to Use Tumblr To Drive Traffic and Land New Customers
- The Psychology Of Color
- The Psychology Of Pricing
Posted: 18 Apr 2019 05:26 AM PDT
Every website needs to prioritize link building. Regardless of your business type or industry, backlinks help drive more traffic to your website and are great for SEO purposes.
So where should you start?
Resource pages need to be a major component of your link building strategy. In fact, 56% of webmasters say that they use resource pages to build backlinks.
This strategy is second only to content creation in terms of the most popular ways to build links. Why is this case?
That’s because the sole purpose of resource pages is to link out to other websites, which makes this an easy process. All you need to do is find authority resource pages that are related to your site, and then convince the webmasters to add your site to their page.
It’s actually not that complex when you know how to approach it.
I’ve dealt with so many website owners who have identified the need for building quality links, but they just don’t know how to do it. That was my inspiration for this guide.
I’ll show you the best ways to build quality links specifically from resource pages.
Find relevant resource pages
This needs to be your first step. You can’t just sit back and hope that your website will get picked up by resource pages. That type of passive strategy won’t be effective.
Instead, you need to start researching resource pages that are related to your brand. Narrow down the ones within your niche.
You don’t need any fancy software or subscriptions to do this. All you have to do is use Google.
For example, let’s say your website is in the food industry. You could try the following search string to identify resource pages.
“Cooking” + inurl:links
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Put your keyword in quotes to find pages related to that specific word, which is “cooking” in this instance. By adding “inurl:links” to the query, it limits the search to websites with the word “links” in the URL.
It’s unlikely that people who have cooking websites will be discussing links. So you know that your search results will yield resource pages.
Generally, everything you see in these SERPs will be a list of links in some form or another. Now you just have to go through each site and select the ones you want to pursue.
Be selective. You don’t need to reach out to every resource page on the planet.
When you’re reviewing the search results, the number one thing to look for is page authority. Page authority is more important than domain authority in this case. That’s because you’re trying to get your link shared on a particular resource page.
So even if certain sites don’t have the highest domain authority, you can still reach out to them if they have a resource page in your niche with a high page authority.
Contact the webmasters
Once you’ve found some resource pages with a high page authority that are relevant to your brand, it’s time for you to reach out to those webmasters.
But before you do that, it’s important to take the time to review the links that are already shared on each particular resource page. This will help you figure out what types of links you should be sending to the webmaster.
In my experience, it’s usually rare for resource pages to link out to the homepages of other websites. When they do link to homepages, it’s usually for bigger and more well-known brands.
So if you’re just blindly submitting your homepage to resource pages, there is no guarantee that you’ll be featured. Instead, you’re better off sending them content pages.
Each webmaster is different, so just make sure you can pitch something that fits within the page you’re requesting a link on. For example, let’s say you found a cooking website that’s mostly related to grilling and BBQ. You could pitch a blog post about a barbeque grilled chicken recipe.
If you don’t have this type of content on your website, you should create it. Not only will it help you get featured on more niche resource pages for the purpose of building backlinks, but it’s also valuable content for your website and SEO strategy.
Take a look at this example from Teri’s Kitchen, which was one of the top hits of the Google search results we saw earlier.
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Based on this, it’s clear that the site accepts submissions. In fact, it almost seems like they encourage it.
So in this case, all you’d need to do is reach out. This is something that you’ll see on most resource pages. They’ll be some type of easy contact form or instructions asking for links.
Most resource pages want more links on their site. Remember, that’s the whole purpose of a resource page.
So if you pitch them something relevant, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get featured. It benefits both parties. You build backlinks while the resource page improves at the same time. The more resources these webmasters have on each page, the more valuable it is for their website.
Your pitch doesn’t need to be too persuasive. Less is more. Just send the link with a couple of sentences about why you think it fits on their page.
Alternative search strings
Link building with resource pages is pretty straightforward. As I’ve described above, the whole process can essentially be broken down into two steps:
By following the search string that we used earlier with “keyword” + inurl:links, it will bring you straight to resource pages.
But to get the most out of this strategy, you need to switch up your search queries to find other results. Depending on your search, you’ll be able to identify different resource pages.
I’ll take you through three of the best search options to improve the first step of this process.
Another one of my favorite search strings for finding resource pages is by adding “useful resources” in addition to the keyword in quotes. Here’s what it looks like using our cooking example:
“Cooking” + useful resources
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Right away, look at the number of results that this search yielded.
There are nearly 77 million hits. If you refer back to the “inurl” search we used earlier, there were just 244,000 results.
Obviously, you aren’t going to be scrolling through thousands or millions of results. But the point I’m trying to make here is that this alternate search will bring up new results.
In my experience, searching for the keyword plus useful resources usually displays lots of authoritative websites.
Now you just have to follow the same process. Go through each of the top results one at a time. See what kind of content each resource page is sharing. Then determine what link on your site that you’re going to pitch before you contact the webmaster.
In some cases, it can be a bit challenging to get featured on these authoritative sites. They may have a more exclusive selection process. But at the end of the day, they still exist for the same purpose of linking out to other websites, so don’t sell yourself short.
Depending on the type of website you have, you might want to limit your resource page outreach to authoritative and trusted sites only.
For this purpose, I’d recommend using the following search string:
site: .edu “keyword” links
So continuing with our cooking example, the search would look like this:
site: .edu “cooking” links
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Again, this query will bring up a completely new set of results.
Now, it’s worth noting that not all of the results will necessarily be relevant to your site. You still have to go through and find the ones that are resource pages that are actually accepting submissions.
For the most part, you won’t see sites with a .edu domain that have something like Teri’s Kitchen, which we discussed earlier. Teri asks for submissions right at the top of the page. That won’t be the case for Harvard’s website.
So you’ll need to work a little bit harder to get featured.
Authority sites with .edu domains usually have a big staff as well. It’s not just one person monitoring the site and adding content. General submissions may not always be sent to the right person. So you need to figure out who is responsible for the particular page that you want to be featured on.
Here’s a trick that I’ve used in the past.
Look to the URL of the page. That can give you a clue of who you should be getting in contact with. The URL might give away the particular department associated with that resource page. Then you can go through the staff listing and see who is the head of that department. Their contact information should be available there as well.
You can also use an employee directory or even LinkedIn to find the right person who manages that page or the webmaster for a particular department.
Here’s another trick. Scroll to the very bottom of the page and it will sometimes show you a “last updated by” note with a person’s name.
If you search around on the site and do some digging, you can usually find what you’re looking for. Here’s an example from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, which was one of the top search results for our .edu query.
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Here is the footer of the resource page.
As you can see, there is a separate email address for the food department.
You could even take this one step further by clicking the “food team resources” link just a few lines below that email address on the left side of the footer.
That would bring you to this page:
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There’s another link here showing the staff listing and their contact information.
It’s better to take these extra steps now to increase the chances of getting your links featured. Otherwise, it’s just going to be a waste of your time if you submit to the wrong person, department, or your submission gets ignored.
Sending emails to email@example.com won’t get the job done. Your message will just get lost in the shuffle.
These websites have so many other things that are more important to deal with. So if your email is delivered to the wrong person, it’s unlikely that they will forward it to the appropriate party.
Related to keyword
If you have a unique niche that doesn’t have tons of resource pages, you’ll need to find ways to broaden your search to get the best results.
Change the search string accordingly. Here is one of my favorite tricks to find more related sites.
Simply remove the quotes from your keyword. By removing the quotes, it tells Google that you’re not looking for an exact match keyword. Years ago you used to have to add a tilde (~) to search for related terms, but now Google does this by default.
So go back and remove the quotes from your inurl, useful resources, and .edu searches to see what comes up.
Here’s an example to show you the difference.
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When we first searched for useful resources with quotes around cooking, we got just under 77 million results.
But now that we’ve removed the quotes, we’re approaching 92 million hits.
Resource pages should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to your link building strategy.
Take advantage of all of the different search strings that I’ve explained above. This will give you the widest range of search results to find resource pages in different categories.
I’d recommend going through the top 50 hits or so within your niche for each query. Then narrow down the options that would be a good fit for your site.
Now find your best content that matches the specified resource page before you ask to be featured. Remember, it’s more likely that your link will be shared if you pitch content as opposed to the general homepage.
Make sure you contact the right person. This will be more challenging for higher authority sites, especially with an .edu domain, but it’s still doable if you dig around.
If you don’t have content that fits these resource sites, you can always create new content before submitting.
Follow the process that I’ve outlined above to build quality links with resource pages.
Posted: 17 Apr 2019 04:44 PM PDT
There’s many things we can do in order to encourage people to purchase.
But if we’re not careful…
We’ll push people away.
These are friction points, points in our marketing and business that PUSH customers away. In many cases, we don’t even realize it.
Friction points are one of the top reasons why your prospects are hesitating from moving through your funnel.
What is a friction point?
Friction is any variable, website quality, or user behavior trend that is slowing down (or entirely halting) the progression of your company’s sales cycle.
Friction can stem from the most subtle details on your website.
Here are some common sources of friction and ways that your company can avoid them:
Landing Page Length
One common point of friction relates to web page length — in other words, the amount of content and information to share with your website visitors.
Friction happens when you share too much. Friction happens when you share too little. You need to find a happy medium to effectively communicate with your users.
The thing is, marketers tend to gravitate towards opposite ends of the spectrum.
The key to finding the right balance is to continuously test your landing pages.
Consider the following case study where a longer landing page outperformed a much shorter variation. Aagaard was looking at PPC landing page of which the goal was to get prospects to sign up for a home energy audit.
The company is relatively unknown, and the offer was relatively complex.
In this case, the longer landing page performed best and generated the higher conversion rate. In other words, friction was at a minimum.
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Let’s look at another example.
DesignBoost provides online courses that teach students how to design mobile apps, landing pages, and more with photoshop. They had the goal of increasing signups.
The original homepage was very, very long:
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Now here’s the short version that was tested against:
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When a landing page is too long, it can scare people away by making your offer look too complex. If a landing page is too short, it can scare people away by making your company appear (potentially) unprofessional or untrustworthy.
So how do you find the happy medium?
Qualitative research (talking to your customers, running feedback surveys, interviewing prospects, etc.) can help you uncover what people care about when deciding to do business with your company. What we’re about to say shouldn’t surprise you — it’s common sense.
Your landing pages and homepage should communicate exactly what users want to know, in the most distilled form possible.
Answer the question of what your customers care most about, and distill your answer into the most simple and straightforward possible forms. Customers who want more in-depth details will read through your company’s knowledge center, FAQs, case studies, and other in-depth marketing materials. What’s most important is that your landing pages, homepage, and site navigation make it easy to find this information (not that the information is jam-packed into one page that nobody can read).
Cognitive dissonance is what happens when your landing pages, marketing messages, and ads don’t make sense.
Remember that the heart of online marketing is how disparate, moving parts come together. In an ideal world, everything — images, copy, themes, long-form content, product descriptions — would flow harmoniously, but here’s the thing.
It’s really, really challenging to communicate with an audience. Any any given time, we’re wearing our marketing hats. There is always a possibility for disconnect between what you intend to say and how your audience will interpret it.
f you’re a marketer and you’re thinking of copying a competitor’s marketing (winning) marketing strategy, you might actually lose. Why? Because there are subtle details about your brand that distinguish it from other companies (that might even be doing the exact same thing).
Your brand’s personality, tone, and style might be different. Your customer base’s values might also be different.
Cognitive fluency is the opposite of cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive fluency is as simple as making your website easy to read. The fact is that audience eyeballs are all created differently. Your 20-year-old marketing intern’s eyesight might be perfect, but your 72-year-old first-time buyer? Not so much. If people are havingtrouble reading or processing information, they’re less likely to buy.
Consumers are driven by their instincts. As much as we like to believe that we’re rational and driven by conscious thoughts, the truth is that we’re driven by our emotional brains. We don’t even realize it sometimes.
Friction happens for reasons that we can’t fully capture or explain — for highly emotional reasons.
To effectively reach your audience, logic just isn’t enough. You need to force an emotional bond by appealing to your audience’s intuition, instincts, and senses.
That’s why so many organizations invest so much time (and money) on aesthetics and crafting an experience of delight.
When you get it right, delight is the single-most important variable for eliminating friction. Delight is about taking the minutiae (as well as different parts of your marketing strategy) and connecting them to your company’s bigger picture.
Here are the four steps that we recommend for building delight for your brand:
Why should customers trust your company? What makes your brand different from all the shady businesses after the world that have — time and time again -—scammed their customers, been exposed to cyber vulnerabilities, and simply not respected their customers.
At any given time, consumers are thinking:
“Why should I waste my time?”
And honestly, they’re right. It’s the brand’s burden of responsibility to communicate trust signals to their audiences. There are a few solutions available to help your brand prove establish its reputation and customer value.
Customer Reviews & Testimonials
The dark corners of the Internet are looking to eat consumers alive — and that goes for the not-so-shady corners too.
One way to ease your consumers’ fears is to pave a path with the footsteps of those who have been there before.
Customer reviews and testimonials add credibility to your assertion that what you’re selling is legit. Here’s why: today’s consumer is totally self-directed. By the time they arrive at your website, they’re already in the mindset of wanting to buy. By the time they actually reach out to a sales rep or complete a lead gen form, they’re already ready to buy.
FigLeaves, a popular women’s clothing retailer, added product reviews to their website. This change made customers 35% more likely to complete a purchase.
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Clarity.fm, as another example, brings together teams of rockstar consultants. When searching for a marketing expert, for instance, how can advice seekers determine who to call?
Reviews from previous callers.
Anyone (who is selling anything) needs to build up a stellar and verifiable reputation to justify the prices that they’re charging customers.
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Do your best to personalize testimonials and reviews, directly from the sources. Present a clear and compelling framework for why your company will save your customer time and money. Make sure to summarize the high-level overview, but also dig deep into the detail (like the following examples):
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One word of caution: your testimonials need to be thoughtful and readily communicate answers to the questions that your customers are asking.
WikiJob, a career information site, provides the perfect inspiration for this point. The company had three testimonials on their homepage. The problem is that these testimonials had too much wrong with them.
The testimonials weren’t attributed to any specific customers, so nobody could see that they were testimonials. They were just random quotes on the homepage. WikiJob did have testimonials, but they were at the bottom of the page. WikiJob decided to A/B test and move the testimonials to the top of the page.
After making the testimonials look more like testimonials, WikiJob was able to boost conversions by 34%.
Here’s what the original page looked like:
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And here’s the variation that was tested:
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If you’ve been following the news, you’re probably well aware that data privacy is a major consumer priority. Cyber security breaches happen far too often — making consumers hesitant to share their personal data and credit card information online. The risks are far too high and outweigh the decision to buy a $10 product on your e-commerce site.
Trust and safety seals can help your brand explain to consumers that you’re serious about privacy.
OrientalFurniture.com — a furniture, gifts, and accessories retailer — published a ‘trust and safety seal’ case study with Internet Retailer in 2011.
This A/B test was able to boost OrientalFurniture’s conversion rate by 7.6% — visitors who saw the trust and safety seal were more likely to make a purchase than those who did not.
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Safety, trust, and accreditation seals can be placed in various parts throughout your website — on landing pages, near your website footer, and on company about pages. Make sure, however that they’re placed strategically and ready-to-see when your customers checkout. Maximize the impact of these placements.
Here is another example from ModCloth, a boutique-like women’s clothing retailer, that explains that all transactions are secure:
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Here is an example from Sole Society, a women’s shoe retailer that explains that all purchases come with a flexible, generous, and free return policy.
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Final Thoughts: Always Be Testing
We’ve just about approached the very last section of this chapter and have covered almost every consumer psychology related concept in this guide.
As we conclude — especially as we’re talking about friction — we’d like to emphasize that you should always be running A/B tests to challenge your assumptions. The truth is that you’ll never know where your points of friction are unless you’re constantly researching your customers’ pain points. Even Google Analytics can be misleading. For instance, you might see that users are spending 5-10 minutes on your website — “yay, that’s high user engagement”.
Actually, no. It could also be the case that your customers are thoroughly confused. A/B tests will help you extrapolate patterns, pinpoint friction, and alleviate pain points that are causing blockages in your conversion funnel.
Qualitative research is the next step — by talking to your customers, you’ll see why certain patterns exist and understand how you can alleviate them. You can also make more educated guesses about future design, copywriting, and UX experiences.
Trust the data — it’s smarter than you.
Posted: 17 Apr 2019 02:14 PM PDT
With millions of passionate users, Tumblr is a social media powerhouse that can’t be ignored.
Even if you’ve never read a Tumblr blog, I’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to create an awesome Tumblr blog from scratch.
I’ll also go over how you can promote your blog within Tumblr without being pushy or salesy.
Your first step is to head over to Tumblr.com and sign up on the home page. So you put in your email, your password, and your username, and your username is really important so just like at any social media site, like Pinterest or Facebook or Twitter, you want your username to be a brand name.
So if we are signing up for Quick Sprout, you would want to make it Quick Sprout and click “Sign up,” and then put your age, and agree to the terms and services and click done. And you’re in.
The next step once you have your account is to look for other blogs in your niche and then follow them because Tumblr is all about following other people’s blogs and sharing their content on your blog. Head over to the search bar here and put in a keyword related to what your blog is going to be about.
Let’s say that I search for marketing, and then you just want to find blogs that look like a good fit for the type of traffic that I want, they produce good content, and they are related to what your blog is going to be about. When you find some, just click on the little blue plus sign and you will be following them. Just do it until you’ve found five, and then click on next step.
Next you want to add some more details about you and your brand. So if you’re creating a Tumblr around a brand, you want to add your logo, but if it was more of a personal brand, you’d want to upload a head shot. So we’re going to add a picture of Neil, and you can adjust it, then click “Save” when it looks good, and then under title, you want to add your title and a description. You can put a little description about what your brand is about, and you can put something like a slogan or something that is associated with your brand.
Then click “Next step.” And if you want, you can download their app depending on what mobile device that you use but I’m just going to click I’ll get it later. So once you see this screen you’re good. You officially have a Tumblr blog. So your next step is to find a theme that’s in line with your brand and what your Tumblr blog is going to be all about. So to do that, click on the picture here, and this will actually take you to your blog. So this is what it looks like right now.
Now to find a theme, click on the “Customize” button in the top right corner, and then click on themes. And then you can choose from hundreds of different themes that Tumblr has, just like with Word Press. So, if you want a free theme, you can click on “Free,” or if you have an idea of what you want your blog to look like, whether it’s single-column or two-column, you can choose that. But let’s just choose free themes to get started.
Now when you find one that looks nice, just click on it, and Tumblr will show you a live preview of what your blog would look like with that theme. So depending on your brand, this might be the perfect theme, or, maybe this one, Esquire theme, might work better for you. OK? So when you find one that looks nice, click on the “Use” button, and from here you can make any changes to your theme that you want. So if you wanted to change the background color from yellow to another color, you click on the color, and then choose one that works best for you.
Or if you want to change the accent color, you can do the same thing. And if you want to get really hard core about changing the themes to make sure it’s super in line with what the brand is all about, you can click on “Edit HTML,” and you can actually edit the HTML of the document. When you make a change, click on update preview, and it will show you what that change will look like on your blog.
So once everything looks good, click on save, then go back to appearance, click on “Save” again, and then click on close and you’ll see what your blog looks like with that theme. So obviously, it’s a little bit bare here, so you want to start adding some content to make your blog a real blog. So to do that, click on the “Dashboard” button, and that will take you back to your Tumblr dashboard. Now, there’s a number of different ways to add content to Tumblr.
So if you wanted to add text, you could add text. Now unlike other blogging platforms, you don’t want to do things like 5 tips for whatever at Tumblr. That’s not the kind of content that tends to perform well. It’s more eye-catching and engaging stuff. So you want to do like, “Four Examples of Bad-ass Marketing.” OK, because that’s the type of audience that tends to hang out on Tumblr. And then you can add content, just like you would on any blog post, and when it looks good, click on “Publish,” and then if you want to see what it looks like, on your site, you can always click on your face or your logo and it will take you back to your blog. So this is what it looks like.
Now there are some other ways to add content to your Tumblr blog, one of the most important of which is reblogging other people’s content. So when we first signed up, we followed some bloggers, but now we want to be a little more particular about who we’re following so then we can get their feed. So when you follow someone, their feed ends up here on your dashboard. OK, so what you want to do is follow people strategically who are going to post content that your audience would be interested in and then you can reblog it. So to do that, click on “Find blogs,” and Tumblr will show you some of the most popular blogs.
So what you want to do is look on the right hand side of the page and find a category that fits best with your blog’s topic, so in the case of Quick Sprout, we choose business. And then you want to find blogs in that space that publish content that your audience would be interested in. And when you find a blog that looks like a good fit, hover over it and click on the “Follow” button. And now you will follow that blog.
So, when you go into your Tumblr dashboard, and that blog publishes something new, so in the case of Planet Money they just published this, and if you think it’s cool and something that your audience would want to see, just like with any other social media network, you want to share it. So what you do is you click these little arrow buttons, and that will reblog the post. So now when you go back to your Tumblr blog, the post is here.
So when your audience sees this and they think that it’s cool, they’ll appreciate it just like they would if you shared a great piece of content on Twitter or Facebook. Reblogging also puts you on the radar screen of influential Tumblr blogs, because when you reblog someone else’s content, they are notified. So when we reblogged this piece of content from Planet Money, if we go to the page where the content originally appeared, we can see that it shows that Quick Sprout reblogged it. So, when they see that, they say hey, what’s Quick Sprout? Then they click on it, and when they go to your blog and they see something cool, they reblog to return the favor.
But obviously, for them to do that, you need to have great original content and that’s what I’m going to show you how to do right now. As I mentioned earlier, not all content performs well on Tumblr. In general, pictures perform really well, so let’s say that you wanted to announce that you just opened a forum on Tumblr. Now instead of heading back to your dashboard, clicking the text button and making a text-based announcement like, “Hey, we just launched a forum.” You wouldn’t want to do that.
You would want to announce it with a picture. So you head back to your site, and take a picture of whatever it is you’re announcing, copy the image location, and then click photo, and then click URL, and then enter the image URL, and the image will be the centerpiece of your post. So, whenever you want to publish something, whether it’s tips on how to do something or an announcement for your company, you want to make it image-focused.
So if you were going to do, like five tips for getting more Twitter followers, you would want to put that as five different images or one big image instead of making that text. And to explain what your images are about, you can add a caption here. So, put something like “Announcing for Quick Sprout forum,” and then click “Publish.” And then when you go back to your blog by clicking on your face or logo, you’ll see, it’s right here. It has a nice little frame around it, thanks to the theme.
So, that’s all there is to marketing your business on Tumblr, and just like with any social media site, the most important thing is to get involved with the community and share great content. And the only twist is that when you share content on Tumblr, make sure it’s images most of the time.
Posted: 17 Apr 2019 12:13 PM PDT
Color and visual cues can have a dramatic impact on conversion rates. On Quick Sprout, for instance, the Hellobar — a red bar on the top of the page accounts for 11% of all new leads.
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The same is true for KimberlySnyder.net — she generates around 20% of her revenue through a bright, red Hellobar.
This tool may not be beautiful. In fact, on some websites, it looks like a total eyesore. But it stands out.
You see, audiences online have limited attention spans. They’re powering through websites (and digesting information at a million miles an hour). The only way to grab their attention is to stand out from everything that is competing for their attention. That is where color comes in.
Color has value beyond aesthetics. Yes, we all have preferences, but why? The answer to that question will directly affect your online marketing and conversion optimization strategy. Color is something that’s always around us, but we rarely think about how it impacts us. In this chapter, we’re going to overthink it. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about color will be captured in the next 20+ pages.
There is a clear science to picking colors that work together. There is a definite element of subjectivity involved (culture, generational perspectives, and personal preferences), but there is also a set of best practices that psychologists and designers will stick to. Colm Tuite, a user experience designer, breaks down color into the following framework.
Pures, Tints, Shades & Tones
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These are colors that are not mixed with other hues. They’re usually incorporated into bright designs. Anything youthful, summery, cheerful, energetic, or ‘cool’ can benefit from using pure colors.
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These are colors mixed with white. They convey a lighter, more peaceful, and less energetic feeling than pure colors. They’re also considered more feminine. Companies in the health, spa, and beauty industries could benefit from using these colors.
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These are colors mixed with black and are effective in communicating mysterious, dark, evil, or dangerous moods. Shades can work well with gradients when used with either a pure color or lighter shade.
The Meanings Of Colors
Certain colors are tied to cultural, emotional, and social connotations. Here are some meanings of colors in the western world.
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Tints and shades can help influence the feelings that color conveys. For instance, a darker shade of blue would convey more security and integrity. Lighter shades of blue would convey more tranquility and peace. Some colors have developed a particular meaning over time due to use from certain organizations (i.e. a branding effective).
For instance, the Catholic Church uses deep shades of purple and red, giving the colors a spiritual meaning. Pink has also become associated with femininity. Countries have also adopted certain colors as their own (for instance, Ireland and green).
A common mistake when working with colors is to use too many of them. It is usually better to use one prominent color that is offset by a neutral color like white, gray, or black. When you use too many colors, you may end up conveying too many feelings or messages at once — something that will potentially confuse the person viewing your design.
For the most part, dark colors are strong complements to bright colors. That is why most books are designed using white backgrounds and black text. Each color has a contrast value (white is the lightest and black is the darkest). Yellow and green have light values (so they would be difficult to read on a white background).
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Let’s say that a client approaches your (hypothetical design) company looking for a logo. The company is a beauty spa, which uses natural, organic products. The target market is women, and she is trying to convey a peaceful messages, rather than an energetic one. So, she knows that tints are the best route to take, as opposed to pure colors or shades. Colors to convey tranquility and femininity are pink, yellow, purple, and blue.
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The client really wants to drive home that products are organic. One option is green, which conveys thoughts of freshness and the environment. The following shade of green, however, is not very feminine:
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So the shade would need to be a little light
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If you also want to convey a bit of tranquility, you would add a bit of blue.
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Color And Conversions
Here’s the quick facts on how colors impact conversions:
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Here’s some additional facts on how color effects purchase decisions:
Color affects us in countless ways, both mentally and physically. Psychologists have suggested that color impression can account for 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service. A bad color combination can have the same user experience consequences of poor copy or slow page load times.
ender is something we’ve talked about in the last few sections — but it’s important for us to call out specifically. At any given time, your audience is some proportion of men and women. For the sake of argument, we’re going to say 50/50, but the reality is that this number can fluctuate depending on your business and industry. If you’re not careful (and create gender-centric marketing imagery), you could end up losing out on up to 50% of your web traffic and conversions.
In our everyday lives, we see the world as individuals. We need to change our perspective and start seeing the world as marketers instead. Color is out of the ways to market to people who aren’t like us.
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In general, research says that gender associations with color are ambiguous.
Some observations that some analysts have made:
What’s important to keep in mind is that cultural and social contexts are changing all the time. There is so much variation in the population that you’re not going to be able to appease everybody with just one color scheme. You could read all of the psychology studies in the world, but if you sit around trying to be a perfectionist, you’re never going to get anything done.
The best way to figure out if you’re excluding men and women in your marketing? Talk to people in your target customer base. Research some of the color schemes that your competitors are using. Don’t leave the decision to guess work, but don’t dwell on finding the “right” answer either (because you probably won’t).
The best answer is in your data. In addition to conducting qualitative research with your target customers, make sure that you’re running consistent A/B tests.
As you’re designing your website, keep in mind that your audiences perceive the world differently. Even if you have perfect vision, the world doesn’t. The W3C Web Accessibility initiative has put together a list of resources to help website owners ensure that their websites are accessible to people with disabilities. Here is a guide to help you establish checkpoints for accessible colors.
rightness, for the purpose of this discussion, is defined as the intensity of light illuminating an object. It can be calculated as the arithmetic mean of the red, green, and blue color coordinates. The W3C suggests using the following formula to determine color brightness:
BRIGHTNESS = ((RED X 299) + (GREEN X 587) + (BLUE X 114))/1000
A visible color should be brighter than 125
Color difference is the variation in hugh between the foreground and the background color of your website. Here is a formula to help you calculate the color difference:
RED = MAX(RED FOREGROUND, RED BACKGROUND)
GREEN = MAX(GREEN FOREGROUND, GREEN BACKGROUND) -MIN(GREEN FOREGROUND, GREEN BACKGROUND)
BLUE = MAX(BLUE FOREGROUND, BLUE BACKGROUND)
= (RED) + (GREEN) + (BLUE)
Background and foreground color are visible if the color difference has a value greater than 500.
Rules Of Thumb
To make sure that your website is accessible, start by following these best practices:
Relevance To Sales
When you’re choosing colors for your website, landing pages, and call to action buttons, you’re not just choosing colors for the sake of aesthetics. Here is a chart from Ren Walker at AdPearance that gives an overview of colors within the context of call to action buttons (in the Western world):
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Wow. That’s a lot of options. Which one should you choose? Even if you’re a color psychology expert, it can be tough to decide on just one color — for a form button, for instance. What if you want to create a sense of urgency but also trust?
The most important way to narrow down your options is to consider the context of your form. What type of information are you looking to collect? If the potential lead needs to include personal information beyond basic contact details, you might consider choosing a calming color like green or blue. You should also consider what the rest of your page looks like. A red button, for instance, won’t stand out on a page that is based on the same color. Choose contrasting colors so that your call to action (CTA) buttons stand out on your landing pages.
Capturing Audience’s Attention
Take this commonly cited A/B test, for instance:
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Performable — an email marketing platform that was acquired by HubSpot, experienced a 21% boost in conversions when the company changed its call to action button color from green to red.
The effect of the color change has everything to do with the CTA’s context.
The page on the left is very-much geared towards a green palette. The green CTA just blends within the page’s surrounding context. Red, however, presents a drastic visual context. The button truly stands out from the other elements on the page.
Website Elements Affected
In a blog post for CrazyEgg, Stephanie Hamilton put together a comprehensive list of website elements impacted by color:
One solution for drawing attention to monochromatic links is to give them a faint background to lift them off the page. This technique helps to remind users where they are on your website. Check out how AppZapper makes the “overview” link by highlighting it in green when the user is on the page.
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Bronto uses saturated colors to bring attention to its website navigation. This helps focus the reader’s attention to this extremely important (but small) part of the website.
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Use colors to make your website’s call to action (CTA) buttons stand out from other elements on your website. Large, vibrant buttons will help your users understand what actions they should be taking on your website.
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Vibrant (but minimal) headings can help illuminate the most important concepts that you’re trying to communicate on your website.
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If you want to draw attention to a certain feature or section of your website, you can use colors in a way that don’t overwhelm the rest of your page’s design.
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Complement Your Brand’s Personality
Brand personality is a concept that we’ve talked about earlier in this guide. Color presents a powerful opportunity for self-expression. Use colors to accentuate your existing brand identity, and make sure that you piece together a cohesive style. At the end of the day, color is only one part of your branding equation and ultimately needs to complement your voice, persona, tone, and company values.
Here are the steps that we advises marketers take:
1. Decide which emotions you want to convey
This decision will help you decide what color(s) you want to pick and whether you’ll need to create a blend with others. You’ll need to pick a range of colors from the following options:
2. Choose the palette that best communicates your company’s style
Warm and Comforting Browns
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Know Your Niche
Your industry has everything to do with your website’s color scheme and brand personality. A finance website, for instance, should be down to earth. If you move too far from the established path, you’ll risk confusing or causing cognitive dissonance with your customer base. Here are some examples of color schemes that work well for finance sites:
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This color palette relies on greens that users are used to seeing with financial institutions. The gold switches it up a bit, and the black gives the scheme a foundation of strength and authority.
This is a strong color combination for a financial brand because it goes beyond the obvious association with money (green). Gold and black reinforce the concept of wealth and provide a sense of stability.
Here is an example of a ‘cool’ color palette that uses traditional financial colors (green and blue):
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By using these colors in lighter, brighter values, the brand associates itself with the finance world in a way that looks modern and youthful rather than heavy and overbearing.
The use of white space gives the website a clean, light feel. This is especially valid for a finance site, which drives business by building trust with its user base.
Color is something that we could seriously talk about forever, but there are still many more topics that we need to cover in this guide. Now is a good time to step back, reflect on key concepts covered, and prep our brains for what’s coming next.
Posted: 17 Apr 2019 10:20 AM PDT
If you’re running a business or marketing team, you’re probably focused on three key metrics: cost, revenue, and profit (or margin). Your goal is always to minimize costs while maximizing revenues. You may even work with a finance leader to set aggressive growth goals for your company.
For many business leaders, pricing is something practical. You choose numbers that will pay employee salaries and keep the lights on. You pick numbers that will be extremely competitive with the market — after all, it’s your buyers that will keep your company afloat.
There’s a key dimension to pricing, however, that your business may be missing.
You guessed it — it’s buyer psychology.
Pricing is a concept that transcends profit margins. It’s also a marketing tactic that can help your business boost sales volume. When you think about pricing, you need to focus on more than what will cover your company’s operating expenses and pay the bills. You need to choose numbers that will compel your audiences to buy. This post will teach you how.
Emphasize Value & ROI Above Cost
Instead of showing prospects what they should expect to spend, show them what they are going earn. As a marketer, you’re well aware that costs are always relative to outcome. Instead of fixating on how your product delivers the best rates in the industry, communicate something more — that your product comes with unbeatable results.
Bidsketch, a company that sells proposal templates to agencies and freelancers, exemplifies this idea. The company empowers its subscribers to create professional looking proposals in minutes — a process that would otherwise take solopreneurs hours (sometimes days).
The company does a great job communicating the ROI of its product: time saved and dollars earned.
Business owners are well-aware that time is more valuable than money.
The company, on its home page, shares a testimonial from one client who was able to cut down proposal time from 3 hours to 45 minutes. Bidsketch also advertises that its subscribers will be able to cut their proposal creation time in half.
Collectively, Bidsketch customers have been able to generate $261M+ in new projects — indicating that clients are able to achieve significant results (new business) in less time.
Now come the tough question — how much does this cost? The homepage clearly explains the benefits and value of using Bidsketch, but how much of a commitment is necessary to get started?
$29 per month.
A smart business owner will immediately jump to do a quick cost-benefit analysis:
Let’s say that on average, it takes 3 hours to complete a proposal. Anyone who runs (or works for) a business can approximate how much their time is worth. For clarity’s sake, let’s approximate this number to be $100/hour. Using Bidsketch, you will be able to draft proposals in an hour and a half instead of 3, which means that the cost of creating a proposal will be $150 instead of $300. When you spend $29 to use Bidsketch, you’ll generate an incremental $121.
Is the $29 cost worth it? Absolutely. In fact, it’s a no brainer.
Cost is always relative, in the eye of the beholder. Communicate ROI first — before cost becomes a consideration. If you’re able to communicate results in terms of a clear value proposition, your costs will look much less expensive.
Let’s say that Bidsketch took an entirely different approach to marketing and didn’t communicate a clear value proposition on its home page — a $29 monthly spend would look much bigger.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs are notoriously frugal. They are frequently living off their savings and pouring their investments into their business. Why spend $29 on a Bidsketch subscription when you could put the funding towards your AdWords campaigns (or grocery bills), instead?
All of a sudden, cost becomes a major consideration.
“It’s Miller Time”
For a company selling beer, this type of slogan might come off as somewhat of an odd choice.
But according to new research which advocates the benefits of “selling time” over money, it may be a perfect choice.
“Because a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes—and to more purchases”.
So says Jennifer Aaker, the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Why would selling experience (or time spent) with a product work so much better in some instances than discussing the products favorable price?
Aaker noted that many (around 48% of those analyzed) advertisements included a reference to time, noting that many marketers seem to innately understand the importance of time to a consumer.
Unfortunately, very little in the way of actual studies had been done to back this up.
In their first experiment addressing this, Aaker and her co-author Cassie Mogilner set up, of all things, a lemonade stand using two 6-year olds (so it would appear legitimate).
In this experiment, the lemonade sold could be purchased for $1-$3 (customer selected) and a sign was used to advertise the stand.
The 3 separate signs to advertise the lemonade were as follows:
Even with this lemonade example the results were apparent.
The sign stressing time attracted twice as many people, who were willing to pay twice as much.
To further drive this point home, a second study done with college students (and iPods) was conducted.
This time, only two questions were asked:
Not surprisingly considering the last study, students asked about time demonstrated far more favorable opinions of their iPods than those asked about money.
The researchers thought that:
Aaker and her colleague were not done yet, however.
Determined to test whether or not all references to money would lead to a more negative output (due to the participant being reminded of how much they spent on a product), they conducted a similar experiment at a concert.
This time, the “cost” was actually time, as the concert was free, but people had to “spend” time in line to get the good seats.
The two questions asked by the researchers in this scenario were:
Even in an instance like this, where time was the resource being spent, asking about time increased favorable opinions toward the concert.
Not only that, people who stood in line the longest, or the people who incurred the most “cost”, actually rated their satisfaction with the concert the highest.
“Even though waiting is presumably a bad thing, it somehow made people concentrate on the overall experience”, says Aaker.
So what’s the deal here?
Marketers need to start being aware of the meaning that their products bring to the lives of their customers before they start focusing their marketing efforts.
And one more thing to think about…
The study notes that the one exception seems to be any products consumers might buy for prestige value.
If you aren’t in the line of selling sports cars or tailored made suits, you most likely won’t have to deal with this, but the point remains:
“With such ‘prestige’ purchases, consumers feel that possessing the products reflect important aspects of themselves, and get more satisfaction from merely owning the product rather than spending time with it”, says Mogilner.
Factor these considerations of the important of time next time you go about pricing your product, and you’ll see that catering to consumer’s most precious resource, their time, can be more persuasive than even the most drastic of price reductions.
Be Wary Of Comparative Pricing
You walk into a drugstore to buy a bottle of Ibuprofen. You’re faced with two options — the first, a major pharma brand and the second, a generic.
The generic is 30% cheaper than its retail equivalent. Why not save a few dollars?
The problem with comparative pricing is that it isn’t as foolproof as marketers think. Consumers’ perceptions of products may be swayed in a few different ways.
According to Itamar Simonson, consumers won’t always go for the cheapest. They may go for the consumer brand, which seems like a ‘less risky’ choice. Or, consumers may avoid making a purchase altogether.
New research from Stanford points out that unintended consequences may result from asking customers to compare prices.
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This study analyzes the effect of implicit and explicit comparisons to arrive to this conclusion.
Implicit comparisons occur when a customer takes the initiative to compare two or more products.
Conversely, explicit comparisons are those that are specifically stated or brought up by the marketer or advertiser.
To test the effects of comparative advertising, Simonson and Dholakia set up two trials.
The first involved selling CDs on eBay.
The researchers listed (for sale) a number of top-selling albums in CD format, such as “The Wall” by Pink Floyd (hey, not too bad of taste either ;)).
The cost of the CD’s put up for sale always started at $1.99.
They then “framed” these auctions in two very distinct ways.
The first way had the CD ‘flanked’ with two additional copies (of the same CD) that had a starting bid of $0.99.
The second had the original CD flanked with two copies starting at $6.99.
The results seemed clear: The CDs flanked with the more expensive options ($6.99) consistently ended up fetching higher prices than the CDs next to the $0.99 offerings.
“We didn’t tell people to make a comparison; they did it on their own”, said Simonson.
“And when people make these kinds of comparisons on their own, they are very influential”.
In order to test the effects of explicitly telling the consumers to compare, the researchers re-did the experiment with the same settings, only this time they outright asked consumers to compare the $1.99 CD with the other offerings.
The results of this showed that when explicitly stated to compare, prices of the adjacent CDs became statistically irrelevant to what the bids were on the middle disc.
Additionally, buyers became much more cautious and risk averse in their purchasing of the CDs:
“The mere fact that we had asked them to make a comparison caused them to fear that they were being tricked in some way”, said Simonson.
The results were that people became more timid in every aspect imaginable: fewer bids, longer time on their first bid, and less of a likelihood to participate in multiple auctions.
“Marketers need to be aware that comparative selling, although it can be very powerful, is not without its risks”.
Think about that the next time you directly compare your offering to your competitors.
Instead, you might better benefit from highlighting unique strengths and placing an emphasis on time saved over money saved…
Avoid Option Overload
Pricing is a discipline where art meets science.
On the one hand, you want to empower your customers with tons of information. You want to be flexible, and you want to offer ‘premium’ packages.
But here’s the thing — when it comes to pricing, less is more.
As Unbounce’s Oli Gardner puts it:
Oli Gardner expands upon this concept through a powerful analogy — the Toothpaste Trance. This is a psychological phenomenon that has, at some point, affected everyone. Here’s what happens. There is so much choice for the same product that you end up picking at things randomly. You’re overwhelmed, stop looking at products for their individual benefits and features, and start to perceive each option as ‘one in the same’.
There’s a famous experiment involving supermarket jam. In 2000, researchers S.S. Inyengar and M.R. Leper conducted a study in a supermarket. The premise? Shoppers could sample the different flavors of jam that were available for purchase. The test compared the impact of varying the number of choices between 24 and 6.
In the case of the 24 flavors, only 3% of those who tasted the samples went on to purchase the jam, compared to a 30% purchase rate when only 6 flavors were available. Too many options will only inhibit your customers’ ability to make a clear decision.
Along those lines, your pricing tables need to avoid distractions. Pick 3-5 services in which your company truly excels. Bundle options together into these services, and present the information in 3 streamlined packages.
What’s key is that you bundle your products and services into packages that make sense for your target customers. The way that you present your pricing is just as important as your actual price points.
Consider the following case study from Visual Website Optimizer:
BaseKit, a popular website builder, wanted to improve the performance of its pricing page. They measured success based on the number of people who visit the ‘Buy Now’ page after visiting the ‘Plans and Pricing’ page.
(For follow-up studies, Visual Website Optimizer recommended that BaseKit monitor revenue as a measure of performance).
The traffic directed to the pricing page is primarily paid, so it is highly targeted towards users who are interested in the product.
This was the original variation of the pricing page:
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The variation page was designed to have brighter, bolder, and clearer pricing — along with a testimonial and more obvious currency selection. The redesigned pricing page yielded a 25% increase in conversions:
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The new design reached statistical significance at the 95% confidence level with 24 hours. For the entire duration of the test, the page yielded a 25% improvement.
Price Vs. Value
Is price a measure of value? Not necessarily, says a study conducted in 2008 by Goldstein and team. The study found that people “do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine” when they don’t know much the wine cost. According to another study, however, there is a clear correlation between price and perceived value. When participants were told that a wine had a high price, participants gave that wine higher ratings.
The study took its analysis a step further by examining actual neurological responses to this wine tasting activity.
When told that a wine was more expensive, study participants experienced higher activation in the brain regions associated with feelings of pleasantness. To some extent, consumers are letting price influence how they feel about products and services.
A similar study conducted by Dan Ariely found that students who paid more for cold medicine reported feeling better than students who purchased the same medicine at a discounted price.
But still, expensive is not always better. Remember that consumers are driven by a variety of budgets. Some consumers simply can’t afford more expensive products and service. While they’d love to pay more for quality, they don’t have the flexibility to make frivolous or purchases.
‘Need vs. luxury’ is one of the most foundational concepts in modern economics. The idea is simple — people will spend money on necessities like food, shelter, and clothing before spending money on luxury items like designer goods, expensive materials, and pricey cars.
Some consumer are aggressive about comparing prices and finding deals that align with their wallets. But even this trend isn’t always the case.
Comparison shopping is a strategy used by online retailers to outperform competitors. You may have come across comparison shopping engines like ShopStyle, Google Shopping, or PriceGrabber that make comparison shopping easy.
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Here’s the thing. Research suggests that ‘comparisons’ can position your products (or services) as inferior — even when the products are actually the same. Sounds confusing? Here’s one theory — comparison shopping forces consumers to let their minds wander. Inevitably, they start asking questions — why are some products prices less expensively than others? Consumers may then convince themselves that they’re getting additional value from the more expensive item.
Here’s the moral of the story — there is no cookie answer to the question of whether to set prices higher or lower. Some consumer groups will be more price sensitive than others. What businesses need to do is develop an extremely focused market.
Talk to your customers and run qualitative research studies to learn what your target audiences value. Build your pricing models according to what you learn. Be prepared, however — you won’t necessarily please everyone. By focusing on some customer segments, you’ll likely exclude others. And that’s fine.
Tricks Of The Trade
CBS News put together a great summary highlighting tricks that retailers will frequently use to convince consumers to buy. These include the following:
Getting Rid of Dollar Signs
According to a 2009 Cornell University study, prices marked with dollar signs are correlated with lower consumer spending levels. This particular experiment found that diners in upscale restaurants spend significantly less when menus contained the word “dollars” or the dollar symbol “$”. The reason why? We’re overloaded with information. Words and symbols are additional pieces of information for us to process. Expensive restaurants with a minimalistic approach (‘24’ vs. ‘$24’) want patrons to focus on the food instead of the price.
‘10 for $10’
You’ve seen these offers in virtually every supermarket or drugstore. Consumers are convinced that they have to buy 10 items to get the deal, so they’ll load up their shopping carts.
The reality is that it’s an advertising ploy. You don’t necessarily have to buy all 10 to get the price. You can simply get 1 for $1. By advertising ‘10 for $10,’ the story is trying to get you to buy more.
You’ve probably seen this language at the supermarket too. This language creates the illusion of a product being a scarce resource. You’re instantly compelled to buy more in case the store runs out. Remember, it’s just a marketing ploy.
The Power Of ‘9’
-William Poundstone Author of Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value and How to Take Advantage of It
Also, because we read numbers from left to right, we encode a price like $7.99 as $7 — especially if we read too quickly. It’s called “left-digit effect”:
-Vicki Morwitz Research Professor of Marketing at the Stern School of Business at New York University and president of The Society For Consumer Psychology
Head over to practically any store around (online or brick and mortar) and you’ll see prices that end in “9” everywhere.
We’ve all heard of the reasons why it’s used (to make the price look lower), but does it really work? Are people really going to be effected by a $99 price point versus paying $100?
As it turns out, this tactic does indeed work, and has been dubbed the use of “charm prices”.
In his book Priceless, William Poundstone dissects 8 different studies on the use of charm prices, and found that, on average, they increased sales by 24% versus their nearby, ’rounded’ price points.
In fact, in an experiment tested by MIT and the University of Chicago, a standard women’s clothing item was tested at the prices of $34, $39, and $44.
To the researchers surprise, the item sold best at $39, even more than the cheaper $34 price.
One has to wonder… is there anything that can outsell number 9?
Researchers have found that sale prices, that emphasize the original price, do seem to beat out number 9 when split tested.
Humans have short attention spans. Every fraction of a second matters. We don’t have time to waste on interpreting commas and decimal places. That’s why retailers will use whole, flat numbers.
Some stores will put a product on sale and show you the original price from which it was marked down. The sign might say that the original cost was $10 and now $8 instead of $7.97. That’s because ‘$7.97’ is an awkward number. Even though ‘$7.97’ is cheaper, it takes a little more time to digest and instantly calculate the savings. It’s easier to go to $8, as customers can calculate ‘$10-$8’ very quickly.
Reduced Font Size
Marketing professors at Clark University and The University of Connecticut found that consumers perceive sale prices to be a better value when the price is written in a small font rather than a large, bold typeface. This is something that marketers sometimes get wrong.
The theory is that the human mind connects physical magnitude to numerical magnitude.
Keep in mind, however, is that human eyes aren’t created equally. Small fonts, especially on a computer screen, can be tough to read. Don’t force your audiences to read, but don’t bombard them with giant text advertising your sales either.
Pricing is more than just numbers. Consumers are typically looking to solve a problem and relieve a key pain point. When trying to establish the ‘right’ price, speak directly to your audience’s needs and values. The solution you’re able to provide will exponentially outweigh the numbers you select. Focus on data related to consumer needs, not arbitrary numbers.
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