The Small BIG (speed summary) – 20 Psychological Nudges to get People to Buy


Here are 20 psychological nudges to get people to buy from ‘The small BIG – Small Changes that Spark Big Influence’, the new book on marketing persuasion by Persuasion Science rockstars psychologists Robert Cialdini and Noah Goldstein, and Steve Martin.

The small BIG a kind of Nudge meets Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion covering 50 small psychological nudges – drawn from psychological and behavioural science – that can make a big change the persuasive effectiveness of your marketing (or whatever/whoever you are trying to influence).

Many of the psychological nudges are built around Cialdini’s 6 universal persuasion principles (authority, social proof, scarcity, consistency, liking, reciprocity) and are based on the now-dominant idea that our minds have two systems for thinking and solving problems; (system) one – fast, intuitive and mostly unconscious, and (system) two – slow, reasoned and deliberate.

Most people spend most of the time using System 1, only hauling System 2 out to ponder when we absolutely have to. The psychological nudges covered in ‘The small Big’ involve presenting information in a way that fits the automatic biases and rules (heuristics) that make up our System 1 minds.

Here’s the first 20 psychological nudges for your delight and delectation – next week we’ll cover the remaining 30

  • Nudge 1: Nudge people to buy/pay using social proof by telling them about the large number of people who have already bought/paid (UK tax authority HMRC used this to boost payment from late-payers from 57% to 86%)
  • Nudge 2: Nudge people to adopt a new product (go against the crowd/convention) using negative competitor-user imagery by pairing crowd/convention behaviour with unpopular/undesirable people/groups
  • Nudge 3: Nudge people to buy by talking about the costs or benefits of deviating from the norm  (e.g. if buying is the/their norm, then highlight the costs of not buying (deviating from norm), but if buying is not the norm, highlight the benefits of buying (deviating from the norm)
  • Nudge 4: Nudge people to buy a new product (and thereby violate a social norm) using active social proof by showing others actively buying (or in the case of pro-social behaviour, if the social norm is to drop litter, show others picking up litter)
  • Nudge 5: Nudge people to pay attention by using their first name; first name cues our attention (cocktail party phenomenon – from the background din of chatter, you notice when someone uses your name)
  • Nudge 6: Nudge people towards buying by focusing both on how they have similar traits to other buyers and that they are dissimilar to non-buyers (focus on uncommon commonalities)
  • Nudge 7: Nudge people to spot marketing opportunities by pairing them with a fresh set of eyes (familiarity leads to opportunity-blindness)
  • Nudge 8: Nudge people to buy by first securing an active (and public) pre-sales commitment (e.g. sign up for information – for instance missed appointments dropped by 25% when patients filled in an appointment card themselves)
  • Nudge 9: Nudge people indirectly in small steps, by first encouraging them to engage (publicly if possible) in a low-cost activity consistent with buying, and then using further cues to trigger purchase.
  • Nudge 10: Nudge people to buy ‘sinful/guilty’ products by providing them with a way to offset the guilt and ‘licence’ the behaviour (e.g. placing recycling bins in a room will encourage wasteful behaviour)
  • Nudge 11: Nudge people using stories that illustrate the positive ’significance’ of purchase on others – rather than personal benefit.
  • Nudge 12: Nudge people by linking the desired behaviour (e.g. buying) to that of someone they know, whilst linking non-compliance (not buying) to losing (not losing is often a greater motivator than winning)
  • Nudge 13: Nudge people to buy with ‘implementation intentions’ by getting them to predict purchase as likely – and encouraging them to specify the details (when, where etc)
  • Nudge 14: Nudge people to buy with ‘future lock-in’ by inviting them to commit to buying in the future (e.g. subscriptions)
  • Nudge 15: Nudge people to buy now because they owe it to their future selves (moral responsibility to one’s future self)
  • Nudge 16: Nudge people to buy by framing the benefits of purchase as an attainable challenge. We are motivated by challenges, but only when we see them as attainable (5 a day fresh produce recommendation would work better if it was framed as a more attainable 4-6)
  • Nudge 17: Nudge people to buy by first framing their options as a choice between two purchases, and then pointing our what they stand to lose if they don’t choose the option you want them to take (AKA ‘Enhanced Active Choice’)
  • Nudge 18:Nudge people with deadlines – an offer of just a few days will yield more purchases than a more flexible offer with a long expiry date
  • Nudge 19: Nudge people to stay waiting in line/on hold rather than quit using distraction techniques – like Disney queues, give them something entertaining to distract their attention and feeling they are wasting/losing time
  • Nudge 20: Nudge people to buy using ‘preference for potential’ – the way we find future potential to be more compelling than past track record (people preferred a Facebook clip suggesting an artist could become the Next Big Thing, over the same clip suggesting the artist was currently The Next Big Thing’

 

 

Previous Psych Eye for the Innovation Guy [Download]
Next 30 More Psychological Nudges to Get People to Buy from 'The small BIG' (speed summary)

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