5 Psychological concept to get users to take action

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Emotional Contagion:
Yes, some emotional expression is contagious.
Ever wondered why you yawn when you see someone else yawn?
This behavior is subconscious and since from an evolutionary  point of view we are a part of a herd, it is meant to send a social message.
Smiling has a similar effect, and here is where emotional contagion comes in handy in your product:
Just like the explanation above, when we see someone smiling at us we smile back sometimes uncontrollably.
When we smile our body releases serotonin, dopamine and other "feel-good" indicators.

When you use a smiling avatar or image, you contribute to the user's positive feelings and actions.

Obligation - Public commitment:
Did you ever promised yourself "I'll start a diet tomorrow" ?
If you did promise but didn't keep it, think now whether the outcome would have been different if you said it in public - most likely yes.
When we commit to something in front of others we are way more likely to inspire for completion of this commitment.
If a user shares a good thing about your product to facebook, and he gets likes showing that people paid attention to this piece of his, he is most likely to stand behind his statement in the future.

Authority and Likes:
We highly regard opinion and reviews made by specialists and people we like.
If I see a Mashable good quote about a product, I am likely to accept this quote as opposed to a user which I am not familiar with.
Having many reviews, testimonials, "as seen on...", etc. will gain you credibility and users will feel confident.

Less is more.
We instinctively assign greater value to things which are in low availability due to the fear of losing them.
Good examples are: 4 last rooms available (in a hotel), 9 seats available on a specific flight, etc.
A good way to leverage this concept is to offer membership program.
An interesting implementation can be seen with Gilt.com, where offers are available for a specific time period, Premium users don't get a discount nor a free item, they get 15 minutes head start for auctions.
Yes, that's right, so think about scarcity next time you want to push sales.

We think we like to have many options to choose, we don't.
When building a flow in your product, don't give the user too much choice, he should have as least options as possible.
Too many options might cause confusion and inability to reach a decision, ending up in churning.