Every company wants to find more customers. However, scaling your customer base is no easy task. The average person living in a city sees over 5,000 ad messages a day.¹ Now more than ever it is essential for companies to create the most compelling, attention-grabbing, and inspiring ads possible in order to compete. Using psychology, science, and an understanding of how the human brain functions are key drivers for increasing customer growth. Here are three ways to boost your customer acquisition strategies.
The Power of Pictures
Everyone has heard the expression, “birds of a feather flock together”. This simple adage holds true for advertising. If your target demographic is mainly soccer moms, then use models that look like soccer moms. Having your advertising’s imagery connect with your target demographic will immediately attract more customers. Why does this work so well?
Neuro Web Design author, Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D, explains, “Similarity builds rapport. If we feel people are like us, we tend to like them more. We like people who are dressed similarly to the way we are dressed. And we prefer to buy from people who we like and are similar to.”²
For most brands this is relatively straight forward, they have a target demographic and they can find photography to match. But what if your brand is targeting everyone? Look to Flo from Progressive Insurance for inspiration. She attracts multiple demographics simultaneously. She could be a soccer mom. She could be a trendy-single. She could be conservative or she could be alternative. Her ambiguous features are incredibly rare and clearly the reason actress, Stephanie Courtney can rake in millions for her role as Flo.
If your company cannot find a “Flo” and still has a very broad demographic, dig deeper into your data and find your most valuable customer segment. Do not attempt to be inclusive by having every ethnicity and gender represented in your ads. By including everyone you alienate everyone. Pick one or pick none.
Another key reason to use pictures is found by studying the brain. We remember things we see better than anything else. The part of the brain that processes images takes up half of all the brain's processing power. Research confirms that people can remember more than 2,500 pictures with 90% accuracy and a year later can accurately recall 63% of those images. Compared to what we hear or read only 10% a year later.²
The Power of Emotion and Fear
We naturally remember better when we are emotionally aroused. The amygdala part of the brain identifies that something should be feared and the hippocampus connects that feeling to conscious cognitive experience and memory in the brain. When we are afraid, we are aroused, when we are aroused, we forget less quickly.²
Fear of loss or the Fear Factor is the #1 principle of consumer psychology according to Drew Eric Whitman in his book, Ca$hvertising.³ To answer the question why it is so effective, Whitman explains, “In a word: stress. Fear causes stress. And stress causes the desire to do something…Fear paints a picture of necessary response.” Social psychologists and consumer researchers have been studying this effect for over 60 years, and confirm that the fear of losing motivates more than the opportunity to win.
Loss aversion is incredibly motivating and can be used to strengthen your customer acquisition strategy. Legendary copywriter, John Caples advises, “If the price is going up, say so. If the supply is limited, say so. And if there is a time limit, say so.” Almost every product and service can tap into utilizing this advice and reap the ROI.
The Power of the Word You
In my opinion, the word “you” is the most powerful word in advertising. Customers crave personalization and in many ways are self-centered. Turning to the fundamentals of psychology we find that when marketers use the word “you” in their messaging, they grab the attention of the customer. This method is effective because they are talking about the customer’s favorite subject: themselves. At Underground Elephant we saw conversion rates improve by as much as 300% by changing text to include the word “you” in our ads and landing pages. It may not work for every product or service but it is worth testing.
These three customer acquisition strategies are based on understanding how the brain works. Using pictures, emotions, fear and the word “you” can significantly increase customer growth. All that said, testing is critical and every marketer should test scientifically new concepts before making drastic changes to their advertising campaigns. Effectively using the above methods to attract new customers can produce big advantages for a brand.
²Weinschenk, Susan. M. Neuro Web Design. Berkeley, CA: New Riders
³Whitman, Drew. E. Ca$hvertising. Pompton Plains, NJ: Career Press