Do you have any specialized knowledge and want to benefit from it? The best way to do it is to create an online course on a particular platform and promote it to let more people know about it. If you aren’t a newbie in digital marketing and have a blog with a large audience, you may think you don’t need to learn new ways of promotion to use when launching another online course. However, no matter how good and well-known your personal brand is, you won’t be able to reach a larger audience without a strong knowledge of marketing and its tricks.
You’re a course creator, and you know that people can’t assess the quality of material and presentation until they purchase your course. Well, all course creators do their best to explain the value of the knowledge they share before the sales start, but it’s not enough to make people buy an online course. Nowadays, it’s possible to find almost any information for free; that’s why your primary aim is to make your content as interesting and valuable as possible. And you’ll hardly succeed without a solid knowledge of psychology.
Human psychology is a complex system, and if you plan to understand how everything works quickly, you’ll fail. You need to study psychology for several years in a row to become an expert, but we don’t have so much free time to wait. Therefore, today, we’ll talk about psychological triggers in marketing. All systems of our organism try to save their resources, and the psyche isn’t an exception. To achieve this aim, it creates specific patterns of behavior, appearing in reaction to external stimuli. These patterns are also known as triggers. Trigger literally starts a reaction in your psyche. A thought, phrase, memory, situation, and anything else causing powerful emotion can be a trigger.
Gradually, this notion started to be used in marketing and became its inherent part. Trigger in sales is something that makes a person buy goods or services. This instrument is based on customers’ feelings and can work independently, without any other marketing tricks. If you think that triggers can only increase sales, you’re wrong: they improve conversion, relationships with buyers, remove all barriers your customers have, etc. It’s impossible to promote any product without using triggers — take it into account while advertising your online course.
Trigger №1. Storytelling
Stories have been existing for a long time. People used them to transfer information to each other even before the invention of writing. Remember your childhood: we all loved listening to fairytales, scary stories, and other narrations. And even when we seem to be old enough, we can notice that stories are still engaging; they can catch our attention and make us do something. You can continue selling your content in an old-fashioned way, but nobody is interested in boring advertising. People can easily detect that you try to impose something, and they won’t buy your product.
But if you manage to craft an incredible story that’ll describe your customers and their feelings, you increase your chances to attract a prospective customer. When you tell a story, you don’t impose something directly, and you try to impact a person through their feelings. Hire a professional storyteller if you lack experience in writing some catchy stories. Storytelling isn’t a new technique — there are dozens of books devoted to using storytelling in marketing campaigns. Use stories to push your clients to the right decision.
Trigger №2. Mutual gratitude
It’s another widespread marketing instrument used by content marketing specialists and course creators. How often do you accept gifts for free? Don’t you get a desire to give something in return? In 90% of cases, people feel an imbalance when getting a gift without making a reciprocal gesture. That’s why marketing specialists use this trigger whenever possible. You give a piece of helpful information to a person (a free stream or e-mail), and your audience wants to return the favor — to purchase your online course.
Mutual gratitude trigger is used in many niches. For instance, people who sell goods give away free samples, letting clients try the product and purchase it later. Those who sell online services apply mutual gratitude, offering customers a discount in exchange for a subscription, like, or registration. There are many ways to use this trigger but don’t overdo it; otherwise, you can scare people. Customers are too suspicious of the excessive generosity, so be careful not to harm your sales.
Trigger №3. Social proof
We all claim that the herd instinct doesn’t characterize us. However, when we wander around the shopping mall, we’ll pay attention to a crowded place. The same works for online stores. It’s the way the social proof trigger works. We trust people, and especially our relatives and friends. If someone recommends us to visit the restaurant, see the movie or read the book, we’ll probably do it because we have a good recommendation. We trust people, not the brand itself, but it’s not wrong.
This trigger works better in the form of reviews. When your prospective audience sees numerous positive reviews about your course, people get interested in your product faster. And, most likely, they’ll buy the course. Customer reviews can accelerate sales, but you’ll need to convince people that all reviews are genuine. Many websites post fake comments; therefore, people tend not to trust this form of recommendation. Ask your clients to record videos, leave personal data, and do anything to prove the review isn’t fake. Post successful cases of your clients on your website to benefit from them.
Trigger №4. Credibility
If you partner with famous companies, business owners, and influencers, but your website lacks information about it, you miss an excellent opportunity to activate a credibility trigger. People tend to purchase services from trusted people, and cooperation with well-known companies makes you a credible course provider. Have you noticed that influencer marketing is a fast and popular way to increase sales? A similar strategy should work with your course.
However, you don’t need to advertise on social media - just find several experts in your niche and post their comments about you on your website. Note that this expert shouldn’t have a large subscriber base. The credibility trigger is a perfect instrument for newbies in content marketing and those who start their first online course. Customers don’t know you yet, but collaboration with experts will help them pay no attention to the lack of experience.
Trigger №5. Community
We have already mentioned the power of herd instinct. But the community trigger differs from social proof. Well, each of your clients is an identity, but they still are affected by society. That’s why you should try to unite as many people as possible. We look at other people, see what they have, and want to buy the same thing. That’s why many websites contain information regarding the number of people who bought or downloaded a product. It’s a perfect example of applying this trigger.
You also should mention the opportunity to join the like-minded community and make new friends. Your clients will get new knowledge, share it with friends and attract more people. Here is an important rule: the more numbers you use in promotion - the higher is the chance to increase sales and conversion rate.
Trigger №6. A shortage
We make decisions faster when we are limited in time. This information can help you sell online courses. When someone visits your store and sees a notification about starting an online course, they’ll hardly decide to buy it right now. But if you mention that “you can’t accept all people,” “yesterday a certain number of students enrolled in your course,” “it’s the last chance to become a student,” “the sales will close up tomorrow,” etc., you’ll ensure that the shortage makes people think fast.
“Limited,” “special,” and some other words make clients think that your online course is worth their attention if it’s so demanding. Providing such a course makes people feel lucky and special. Make a discount, set a countdown timer, write the number of free spots, and attract customers’ attention in any available way. You must prove to your clients that they are unique to you.
Trigger №7. Anticipation
We are always waiting for something — be it the release of a new TV series or a device of a favorite company. And the longer we are waiting, the stronger is our desire to see or purchase the thing we are anticipating. So you shouldn’t start sales immediately after you created your course — wait for some time, prepare and warm up your audience first. You aim to create a queue: remind people daily that your online course starts soon. But note that this trigger won’t work effectively without using any other instruments. If you and your product aren’t well-known, people will hardly line up to buy it.
But a good marketing strategy will help you create a fuss.
It was the list of the most widespread triggers, but it’s not the full one. If you dive into this topic, you’ll be surprised to see several dozens of triggers. Each of them is effective, but it’s better to use them in combination. Analyze contact points and think about how you can use triggers in a given situation.
We don’t recommend you base your marketing strategy on triggers alone — many factors can impact their effectiveness. Newbies in content marketing should combine triggers and other instruments to increase sales. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions in the comments section, and we’ll answer the most interesting ones in our next posts.