August 12, 2021
In the never-ending quest for marketers and advertisers to be more effective in their campaigns, nudging has emerged as a North Star to follow.
Nudging, a technique used to modify the behaviour of a consumer based on what information is presented to them (and how), is a gentle yet effective tool born of understanding how the mind responds to prompts. They are often undetectable by the consumer and encourage more specific, action-oriented options, rather than forbidding or removing any.
While big, in-your-face campaigns may grab the consumer’s attention, getting them to follow through and act is where it counts – especially for direct response marketers. As it is often said (perhaps only by me), “Impressions are nice, but they don’t pay the rent!” Maximizing the likelihood of conversion to sale requires thoughtful journey planning and allowing the consumer to feel like they’re in control. Even lead generation, while not immediately revenue generating, provides an invaluable connection to the consumer with plenty of information for the marketer.
One of the most widely recognizable nudges, for example, is the pop-up option to sign up (with or without an incentive) when you first land on a company’s webpage. A tried-and-true method, but once the email has been captured, then what? Using information collected from previous sign ups and website visits, guide your customer on a journey you know they’re already thinking of taking. Promoting a particular product or service? Ensure it’s the first thing they see on your webpage. Default options are a powerful nudge, as they require no addition effort in making a decision. The consumer is not overloaded with information or options about what and where and why, and appreciates the process being streamlined. An example of this can be personalizing the customer experience to include ‘smart defaults’, such as remembering the consumer’s size or preferences. Small touches like this can be impactful and make the customer’s journey to purchase smoother.
Anchoring is also effective as another form of nudging, as humans tend to leverage new information against existing information automatically. Price or product anchoring can allow for subconscious favouring of one item over the other, depending on the search criteria (e.g., price, functionality, etc.). For example, consumers are likely to select an item with a lower price point if it’s surrounded by ones with a higher price (the anchor), even when the items belong to the same category. This technique also works with reviews (or social proofs). A product or service that has higher ratings boosts confidence and soothes anxieties over whether to commit. A simple 5-star rating system can be effective in nudging a consumer one way or another.
Nudging can come from the consumer as well, but you have to be paying attention. If the data collected from your webpage indicates that one product or service is naturally being favoured over another, figuring out why and creating a nudge towards it can help further its success. Say a product made of recycled materials is doing well, placing a badge indicating “Recycled Materials” on it, and others like it, will help easily direct like-minded consumers towards them. Badges, when used properly (and sparingly), can be a hugely effective tool in creating a journey to purchase.
Figuring out how to best capture your consumer’s attention to get them to act will always be a challenge, with the goalposts continually moving. Luckily, there are several tools available to help you get started. Web analytics tools can help gather aggregate data about your customer’s journey (through your website), identifying what’s working and what’s not. CRM tools like HubSpot can track your customers interactions and even serve up those personalized nudges if you want to get down to the customer level.
The more is understood about the how and why of consumer behaviour, the more effective companies will be in satisfying their customers and building long-lasting relationships. Not sure where to get started? Try nudging your agency for a little guidance…