Is marketing bias creeping into your copy… and dragging down sales?
A funny thing happens when marketers, writers and biz owners sit down in front of a blank screen: we speak from our own experience.
And that works.
Especially if you ‘are’ the market.
In fact, it’s often the advice given to brand new entrepreneurs:
“Imagine that you are your own Ideal Client. What would you say to yourself if you were just starting out on this journey? What products would you have liked? What services would have changed everything for you?”
But what happens as your business grows, and you know your product will help lots of people who have the same problem… but aren’t exactly like you?
Suddenly, you could be writing with blinders on, as these invisible sales killers take over…
It’s so common that it’s practically invisible. That’s a problem, because the biases you can’t see, will kill sales.
It’s like a virus. Sure it’s invisible, but you still get a nasty case of the flu.
How do you catch yourself speaking (or writing) from inside a marketing bias? Have you ever said: “I know I’m not the market here, but…”
… you’ve gotten trapped in a certain way of talking to your customers that may (or may not) inspire them to buy from you.
Why does that matter?
The next thing that happens is we make sense of our marketing from inside the one bias. You might ask yourself:
- Is the copy compelling?
- Is the price attractive?
- Does this marketing medium make sense?
And the answer to these (and many more) questions is…
- It depends on who is reading your copy. Are they just like you? Similar to you? Totally different? (And how could you find that out?)
- It depends on what your price is being compared to… and how much the customer values the comparisons you choose.
- It depends on where your customers hang out.
In this article, I’m going to show you the most common marketing biases. In a future article, we’ll talk about how to take a shortcut around these biases so that your marketing appeals to more customers and triggers fewer objections.
Have you ever been tricked by this marketing bias?
Here are the most common marketing biases:
1. Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias is a tendency to interpret information based on a previous belief. It is the most common bias for entrepreneurs, especially ones who are passionate about their business.
For example, imagine a business owner already believes that women between the ages of 30 and 39 would like to buy a new weight loss book (because the entrepreneur is a 35 year old woman who lost a lot of weight and wrote a book about her experience). Confirmation bias could lead her to market to thirty-something women only… without testing to see if the product also appeals to other age groups.
A quick way to overcome this bias is to get fresh eyes on your project. Ask a friend: what does this product remind you of? Who else could benefit from it? Why might my target audience not want to buy this book? You’ll be amazed at the new ideas you’ll discover.
2. Irrational Escalation
Irrational escalation is the tendency to ignore new evidence if it undermines a decision that has already been made. It is particularly dangerous for an entrepreneur who is already invested in an idea.
For example, if an entrepreneur has spent time and money creating a new acne program and then discovers that most people won’t commit to a 30-day program…. the entrepreneur would be likely to dismiss that research and throw more money at an offer that will probably never generate sales.
This is a tough one. It’s important to stay passionate about your product… and be willing to cut your losses if you need to. Try to stay objective. If this offer doesn’t work, another one will.
3. Social Desirability Bias
Social desirability is sometimes called Observer Effect. It leads people to make choices they think are more “socially acceptable” when they’re being watched. This means, people will behave one way on Facebook and another way in person. Or, they might vote for a certain product, but when you finally release it, nobody buys it.
You can prevent this bias by selling a smaller version of your product before you offer a premium version. You can also get honest feedback by giving people multiple (private and public) ways to talk to you about your products and services.
4. Framing Effect
Framing effect happens when similar information gets different results because it was presented in a different way.
An example of this is when a teacher gives out multiple versions of a test. Sure, it reduces cheating, and it also tells the teacher how a certain class wants to get their information: True/false quiz, multiple choice or essay? You won’t know what connects with your people best until you test it out.
You can compensate for this bias by sending out different versions of your offer. (Sometimes just changing the headline is all it takes to get a better response.)
5. Knowledge Bias
The knowledge bias happens because people often like familiar choices more choices that are truly better. The classic example is Classic Coke vs. New Coke. This is why building brand familiarity and loyalty are so important. It’s also why testimonials from familiar (and possibly famous) people are so important.
When you pick your testimonials, make sure the testimonial-givers are the ones that matter most to your customers: Highlight people who are most similar to your ideal customer. And, highlight people who the customer hopes to be like “someday”.