Shopping is painful.
I’m not talking about those horrible websites with horrible and unusual interfaces. I’m looking at them, websites that don’t have carts in 2020.
(If they exist).
Those only make shopping more painful.
But it is never a painless process. The strange and intriguing field of neuroeconomics shows that it is literally painful to part with money. You could buy a gold-plated mansion for $ 700 and still feel a pang.
And a pang is all that is. I am not saying that you break your head when you part with a dollar. But that pang is enough to stop people. That’s why e-commerce aims to be as fluid as possible – they want the customer to complete the purchase before the sting gets worse.
But how could this be? People like to buy things, right? Retail therapy doesn’t have the same vibe as shock therapy …
Money is not money. It is power and opportunity. And sure, you can always earn more, but you can’t get it back once you part ways with it, refunds aside.
What does this mean for your marketing?
A few things.
Known entities are more familiar and less painful. The first time you buy a certain brand of potato chips is the worst. After that, it becomes easier because there is less uncertainty (which is a form of pain in and of itself).
What if you sell unique items, like smartphones? It can still be a known or unknown entity. How small is the pang that Apple fans feel before buying an iPhone? The phone may be new, but the brand is not.
Subscriptions work the same. It is much, much easier to keep an existing subscriber than to attract a new one.
But what if none of that applies?
What if you are relatively unknown and you are selling unique things?
That’s when you use this classic marketing technique:
You make the pain of not buying greater than the pain of buying.
Consider my common examples of coaching and hypnotherapy:
Let’s say someone is struggling at work. They are talented enough to earn a promotion; in fact, depending on who is elected in their place, they are overqualified, but something is holding them back.
Maybe they are too shy to try.
Or they perform very well in all settings except the interview.
Or maybe he’s a superstar with an unfortunate quirk, like outbursts of anger or overloading his people.
So this is the truth:
Signing up for a session with you would cost money, which would be painful.
But staying as they are would be much worse.
It is up to your marketing to make this clear.
Now, seedy sellers will invent new pains for their market. They will create false fear or misery and then sell the solution. I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t make money, because it does. In the long term, however? It leads to refunds, a bad reputation, and many missed opportunities.
Your market is already in a lot of real pain. No need to cook anymore.
And when you eliminate those annoyances, they will love you for it.