Helping Your Prospects Make Decisions

This is part of a series of reflections inspired by my Reforge Growth course. I'm part of a cohort of marketers learning how to develop a systematic approach to solving growth challenges. Find the whole series here.

When we think about growth, we often think about revenue or users. We're always looking to increase the numbers—that mythical "up and to-the-right" chart—without really thinking about the why behind it. Why does someone want your product in the first place? What flips the switch so that they decide to buy?

Climb Every Mountain

As marketers, we want to drive our prospects to say "Yes! You! I want your product!" Yet we continue to expect our prospects to make rational, logical decisions. Of course they want our product, because it has the best/most features, is set at the right price, and solves their problem, right?

Well, not so much.

When a prospect is looking to do something, whether it's subscribe to a newsletter or buy a product, they face their greatest enemy: themselves. It's like trying to climb a mountain—how can you, as a marketer, be their sherpa and guide them to the summit and beyond to shangri-la?

Related: Book Review: Influence

Fuel the Fire with Emotion

We make all of our decisions (yes, even in B2B) off of an emotion. That emotion can be positive (Curious for more information) or negative (FOMO). Emotion is the spark that sets off the decision-making process. 

Only then, after they've leapt head-first into this new decision, does logic come in. We use logic not to make the decision so much as to justify it. Logical appeals like price and features only work to cement the decision they've already made. Yet we rarely design our websites, emails, or blog posts to appeal to an emotion. Instead we focus on the rational, what we know. 

We need to lean in to emotion, even the negative ones. It's ok to call out the very reason why someone is looking for your product in the purpose—it may be excitement, but it could just as easily be fear.

Make the Action Easy

To us, it seems like our call-to-action is easy, but if you look hard enough, you can find the point of friction for your prospect or user. What cognitive friction exists when making this decision? That can be any thinking that needs to be done. What doubt is running through their mind? How hard is it to complete the action?

It comes down to a combination of motivation to complete the action and the ability to do so. In B2B, many prospects have the motivation—they've chosen your product, they love it, they want it—but not always the ability. They may love you, but if they can't convince their boss why the investment makes sense, then you still lose.

Your job is to make that action as easy and frictionless as possible—or if you can't, try to increase the motivation to complete the action. For example, adding a sense of urgency ("Buy now!") or a feeling of scarcity ("Only 28 remaining!")

Don't Forget the Reward

We're all human. And while the reward may be access to your product, there are other ways you can reward your user (and no, you don't necessarily need to gamify everything). This is critical whether you're looking to retain this customer or ask them for additional actions to get them further down the funnel.

Make the Decision-Making Process Easier

When you look at the decision for your prospect to buy, there's probably a series of smaller decisions that needs to be made, like subscribing to the newsletter, or following you on social media. Think through each decision and how they add up to see if you're building in the right psychological balance to ensure that the decision-making process is as easy as possible.

One more thing to note: None of this can happen without a great product that someone would want to purchase in the first place. At that point, you become a manipulator—not a marketer. 

 Find the whole series here.