Digital marketing experts estimate the average American sees between 5,000 to 10,000 ads a day. These numbers could make anyone trying to create eye-catching messaging feel like a shot in the dark. But don’t lose heart, you have the power of the mind- the unconscious mind.

Here are a few science-backed tricks that will have your customers wanting more…before they even know what hit them.

Setting the agenda

Agenda-setting in the context of marketing and advertising simply means drawing attention to a product or service that wasn’t initially on the buyer’s radar. Introducing an added accessory at check-out is an example of setting the buyer’s agenda, or up-selling added features the customer wasn’t previously considering.  The most famous of them all…would you like fries with that?

A relatively new, not so subtle but extremely effective form of agenda-setting is retargeting- using cookies to follow site visitors around with ads on other sites they browse. You know, when you’re reading an article online and the sunglasses you were obsessing about the night before pop up on the screen…

Get it before it’s gone…

By now, you’re well-versed in the power of framing communication. You can also use framing to up your sales at the checkout line by suggesting how many items a customer should buy:

“Get 4 avocados for just $5.”

A study by Harvard marketing professor, John T. Gourville showed that consumers tend to follow the suggestions listed in messaging, even if the savings weren’t that notable or the price would have been the same regardless of the quantity purchased.

Another way to boost sales is to frame your messaging in a way that conveys scarcity. Let’s say you run a promo on your line of ultra-wicking hiking socks, but you limit purchases to 3 pairs per person. You’ll find that most shoppers will buy the maximum amount of 3, convinced it’s such an amazing deal, they will never find another one like it and all the socks will be gone forever.

All the Feels

Priming is when marketers create a lasting emotional bond with the product by creating associations with things that make us feel good or increase the perception of value. Marketing guru, George Cook, says priming works best for luxury items, “…when the utility of the product isn’t the primary focus of the consumer.”

“In car ads, when you see a car driving down a European motorway with a voice over in a foreign voice, that’s what’s going on,” explains Cook. “The marketers are creating a stage for the product.”

Or, the beautiful woman pulling up in her Maserati to pick up her gorgeous lover returning from a spin in his fixed-wing aircraft…

But priming techniques can also be as simple as what images you present on your website. In one study, separate groups were asked to compare two different car brands by researching their websites. The first group was shown a page with a green background covered with pennies, and the second group, a red background engulfed in flames. Guess which group spent more time sifting through each car’s safety features?  Before they ever knew what hit them…

With these simple suggestions, you can see how powerful suggestion can be to your marketing.  Up-sells and cross-sells are extremely low hanging fruit while the wallet is open.  Add some suggestions in your sales process and see how this impacts the average order.


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