The abundance of advertising has led to oversaturation. People are less and less likely to respond to and interact with ads. This phenomenon is called advertising blindness. To bring the audience out of this state, they use triggers - a special marketing tool that helps to convey the right messages to potential customers and stimulate them to make a purchase. In this article, we'll take a closer look at this concept and tell you how to use it in online sales.
In terms of marketing, trigger means the factors that influence one’s decision to make a purchase. Here’s a simple example: when a child sees a bright toy, their hands unconsciously reach for it, and after a couple of minutes, they are already bugging their parents to buy it. Here, the fact that the product looks attractive and is displayed in a favorable light did its job.
On social media, it happens in a similar way. By showing beautiful pictures and saying the right words, we encourage customers to take a desired action: leave their contacts, sign up for a waiting list, or place an order. Think back to how many times you've made impulse purchases after swatching some blogger's or brand's Stories. Surely they talked about the benefits of the product and emphasized that your life will change immediately. All you have to do is click the Buy button. And so it turns out that just a couple of well-placed, seemingly casual phrases hit the target and the number of customers increases.
This tool has several important advantages. First, it's a great way to research your audience and understand them better. By doing so, you'll know what factors influence purchase decisions and will be able to use them when planning your marketing strategy. Secondly, by talking about how a product or service helps solve problems, you increase its value in the eyes of customers. Thirdly, it's how we remove customer objections ("expensive," "poor quality," etc.). Thanks to this sales and the number of repeat orders increase.
The rise of influencer marketing has led to the fact that triggers have become associated with a not entirely ethical way of promotion. The fact is that influencers, in a passionate desire to sell their products, resort to heavy-handed imposition. For example, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some offered first-aid courses and guides on how to build a medicine cabinet at home. To get even more people to buy their stuff, bloggers monetized on the fear of death and the fear of losing loved ones. Decent people don't do that and we won't teach you these tricks. Instead, we're going to look at a few classic techniques that will help grab your audience's attention.
Triggers can play on various emotions, so they can be divided into positive, negative, and neutral.
Positive triggers inspire and motivate.
Negative triggers scare and cause anxiety.
Neutral triggers are calming, giving you a sense of confidence in your choices.
Below, we'll tell you how to use these factors without scaring customers away.
The fact of product scarcity encourages people to make quick decisions because if they don’t buy within a short time, the products will run out. It’s not uncommon for shortages to be justified by the high demand for a product and used in cases where old stock needs to be sold. Also, this trigger is created artificially to create the idea of a limited product/service supply. This method is often used on social media: there’s a lucrative offer to the first hundred buyers, which stimulates high sales.
The special offer duration can also be limited. That's why online stores often use a countdown timer to show how much time is left until the end of the discount offers. On Instagram, this idea can be applied by using an appropriate sticker.
The example shows a blogger advertising the most expensive rates while emphasizing that a lot of people choose them. Usually, the higher the price, the more extras are offered to go with the product, such as homework checking or personal adviser support. For those who need these add-ons, it’s important to place an order in time before they run out of offers. Therefore, when talking about the popularity of the product, marketers encourage their audience to make a purchase as soon as possible.
It's nice to know that you are a member of a special group of people who have access to something that most people can't afford. For some people, the proof of status is having an expensive car or cool real estate while for others it’s the opportunity to buy a collection of jewelry or clothes. It’s on this desire that famous brands play.
The most striking example is the Birkin bag from the Hermes fashion house. To become the happy owner of this item, you’ll not only have to wait in line for a couple of years but also cough up a hefty amount of money. And it's not because of the manufacturing process complexity or the uniqueness of the material. The company simply created an artificial scarcity, refusing to sell the item to just anyone, and thus emphasized the special status of the accessory owners. After all, if a person owns a Birkin, it means they are really a VIP.
As we can see, thanks to the symbiosis of the two triggers above, the brand managed to generate demand that continues to this day. You can use this technique on social media, highlighting the special features of your products and talking about their premium nature. Here are a few ideas for using this trick:
Come up with a limited edition collection or unique service for a limited number of users.
Sell customers VIP access to products. For example, the Intertop store offers an annual subscription for a token amount, which allows customers to use exclusive offers.
Create a closed channel with sales, bonuses, and promo codes for regular customers. This idea can be implemented through the Close Friends feature on Instagram or by creating a community in Telegram.
Organize early product launches, including online, by inviting famous bloggers. This way, you show that your product is in demand with the upper echelon of customers whom social media users look up to.
Here you can also emphasize how a customer will feel when they become the owner of this product or what benefits he or she will receive after using it. For example, when advertising jewelry, some marketers mention the envy of others and an increased sense of self-importance. We don't recommend pushing these triggers too aggressively, but an occasional reminder won't hurt either.
There is a concept in psychology called FOMO, which means the fear of missing out on something important and worthwhile. That's why sales often play on the fear of missing out on a lucrative offer and come up with special offers that help calm this feeling.
For example, thanks to pre-order lists, the chance of forgetting about a sales launch is simply zero. In the picture below, you can see how the blogger skillfully talks about the benefits of this step. All you have to do is provide your contacts. The ultimate goal of this method is, of course, sales, but this will be achieved by follow-up mailings, reminders, and special offers. At the end of this path, customers must make a purchase.
This trigger can also be used in conjunction with the product scarcity factor. To do this, launch short-term sales, offer limited time discounts and promotions, and emphasize that there are very few discounted items left.
It's not just missed sales that we feel regret for. There is a stronger trigger, the desire to improve one's life, and the fear of missing out on the opportunity. Most often this factor is used in advertising for training courses to encourage the audience to invest in a project or buy another course.
But this method also works in regular marketing. Let’s say you have your own English school. Everyone understands that knowledge of foreign languages opens up great opportunities. In this case, as you advertise your services, tell your customers about the benefits and emphasize the fact that without English, many doors will be closed for them (moving to another country and socialization in a foreign society, career development, etc.).
We are used to relying on someone else's authoritative opinion when making decisions. It's easier than analyzing something on your own and trying to figure out the truth. That's why when a brand provides evidence that it can be trusted, potential customers are more willing to buy. Loyalty can be earned through high-quality products or services, expertise, customer focus, and positive reviews.
Marketers usually use certificates, diplomas, and awards to prove their competence. Place the documents proving your expertise and advanced training on all public platforms. The same rule applies to government product certifications.
Remember the commercials about that toothpaste that 9 out of 10 dentists recommend? That, too, was an authoritative opinion trigger. So if you have the opportunity to interview, ask for a comment, or invite an expert for a live stream to recommend or endorse your professional approach, take advantage of it.
Position yourself as an expert trusted by many. Feel free to post testimonials from satisfied customers confirming that your services or products are useful to others. Also, from time to time, publish sales statistics and mention the most popular products. For example, many Instagram Stories use trigger words like "Bestseller", "Our top seller", "We just got a rare item", etc. This way, you confirm that you deserve your place in the market.
People like simple solutions that don't a lot of effort and time. This is why magic pills in the form of courses promising riches untold after completion are very easy to sell. There is no need to brazenly cheat your audience, but it’s normal practice to present a product, emphasizing that it will easily help to solve a problem. Of course, as long as it's true and not a blatant lie for the sake of high sales.
Simplicity will also manifest itself in the way you approach creating a product line. By offering people a comprehensive solution, you’ll show that you care about their time and make your customers’ life easier. The most basic example is gift sets. Customers don’t have to think about the gifts they have to give friends a family for a holiday. All they have to do is to go to a website and place an order. This trigger is very convincing and has a positive effect on customer loyalty.
Use the words like "simple", "quick", "easy", "in no time" and other synonyms in your ads. This method is especially useful for those who work in complex areas where you have to make a lot of effort to get results. For example, don't tell your subscribers that losing weight will take a couple of days. Instead, pay attention to the fact that the way to a slim figure doesn’t have to include forcing yourself to do what you don’t want or experiencing emotional stress, and is, therefore, easier, faster, and simpler.
Earlier we discussed how important it is for a person to identify himself or herself with a group. But not every business offers products that give some kind of VIP benefits. In that case, you have to unite customers according to other common characteristics. This could be marital status, occupation, or interests.
Let’s say you sell products for children. Your main target audience is moms. They have similar problems, needs, and values, so what is relevant for one is likely to be useful for the other. So, if you sell expensive children's toys, you can tell stories of customers who have already purchased the product and were delighted with it. Accompany your storytelling with photo evidence and words about how all the moms choose this product and send laudatory reviews. Who wouldn't want to buy a toy after that to make themselves feel like good parents?
Another way to give a sense of unity is to post memes and have conversations about things that only this group of people understand. For example, one beauty shop positioned itself for a long time through the phrase, "We’ll make your nails look better than your boyfriend's ex’s." They often posted similar jokes in their Stories, and in general, the profile was managed with a clear understanding of their target audience.
Marketers talk about another way to unite subscribers through reaching out to them. Some call their followers a gang, some call them dear women, and some call them kitties and bunnies. The important thing is that people associate themselves with this group and consider all the other participants as insiders. This increases customer loyalty and positively influences the desire to make purchases.
This method aims to show customers the possible negative consequences that can result from refusing a purchase or service. There’s no need to associate fear with any life- or health-threatening things. Rather talk about more down-to-earth topics. For example, when you buy shoes, you want them to be comfortable and of good quality. You don't want to suffer from a pair of uncomfortable footwear or pay twice because some part of it has come off and can't be repaired. And on this fear of buying a bad product, you can build a strategy for your product presentation.
Take time to describe what the consequences may be due to wearing shoes that do not fit. Tell how materials affect durability, and explain with examples how buying a cheap pair, where the manufacturer has saved on quality, can be fraught with bad consequences. Calculate how much overspending occurs if a family of four buys new sneakers once a year instead of buying a high-quality pair that will last two to three years. Present this information not only in terms of benefits but also in terms of bad decisions that lead to inconvenience in normal life.
We've discussed seven commonly used triggers. Chances are, you've already used some of them in your content and ads. As you can see, the same topic can be presented from different points of view, and experienced bloggers do just that when building their customer trust. When offering their product, they bring new triggers to the table every day. This makes sense because audiences are heterogeneous and what worked for one won't work for another. The mix of factors that influence purchase decisions helps to influence all segments of your target audience. So constantly test which approach is most effective in your case. The main thing is to avoid going overboard with it. Negative triggers give the highest results, but their effects end very quickly. If you constantly scare your followers and play on their fears, sooner or later their loyalty and trust in you will fall. So approach this issue mindfully.
Although triggers are a powerful tool, it will give results only when used in combination. Do not forget about the development of a marketing strategy, quality products, and first-class services. Then the conversion from advertising will increase and you will be able to attract the attention of your audience.