What are your thoughts on flash sales, clickbaits, and ads or posts that promise the latest and the greatest (but only if you act now!)? How often do you find that the sale wasn’t that great, the click wasn’t worth your time, and the promise fell short?
Such ploys more often than not come across as sales-y, yucky, and downright sleazy. Yet the unfortunate truth is they work. As Ted Chong describes in a recent article, sales ploys play upon people’s psychological motivations and behaviors. They compel customers to act based on their most basic emotions and needs. “Successful salespeople and marketers,” Chong explains, “understand universal human behaviors well enough to use the right trigger words to get [customers] to take action, each and every time.”
But that doesn’t mean we business owners should use ploys for the sake of getting a quick sale. As Simon Sinek notes in his book Start With Why, marketing methods that focus on a quick profit may result in short-term advantages, but they rarely, if ever, result in loyal followers. Only authentic messages (and products or services) that inspire and are genuine will keep customers coming back.
Chong acknowledges this fact as well, noting that understanding human behavior and using it for the greater good is a far better method than resorting to a trick or ploy. “Once you understand people at their core,” he states, “you can do away with tactics and start to appeal to them in a non-sleazy and natural way.”
I’d like to think we all can promote our businesses and appeal to our customers by relying on empathy, understanding, and usefulness rather than by simply playing upon basic human behavior. Offering a personalized experience, making the buying process seamless, and inspiring customers through thought and action must certainly be more effective.
At the end of the day, marketing content should be more about the customer and less about the business. Long-term revenue that comes from marketing is merely evidence that a business has connected with loyal customers in a meaningful way. And that is more profitable than any quick ploy.