//Cognitive Bias: How to Get People to Prefer Your Business
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Cognitive Bias: How to Get People to Prefer Your Business



Most of us like to think we are logical people, especially when it comes to purchasing decisions. However, we are not computers. As logical as we try to be, emotion always has some influence on our decisions.

Psychologists describe these emotional factors in our decision-making processes as "cognitive biases". Without even realizing it, we make decisions based on these emotional biases and build our logical arguments to make or buy something that justifies our emotions.

This is good news for marketers.

If you understand how cognitive biases work how to use them in your marketing, you can give people the impression that you have a better product, service or business. At this point, it does not matter whether you are better or not; people will buy from you because that is what feels good.

That said, let's examine some powerful cognitive biases that you can use to make your products or services superior to the competition. .

The simple effect of exposure

In the 1960s Charles Goetzinger taught at OSU and decided to conduct a social experiment in class. Before the start of the semester, he contacted one of the students and asked them to wear a giant black bag all over the body during the course – throughout the semester. to convince a student to do so, this experience has resulted in fascinating observations.

As could be expected, the initial response to the black bag was very hostile and derogatory. However, as the semester progressed, people's response to the unexplained bag subsided and the student began to make friends.

Why? Familiarity puts us at ease.

As humans, our brain is wired to identify potential threats. A sudden change in ambient noise could represent an imminent attack, a strange taste in your water could mean that it is contaminated … for our brain, "new" often means "danger".

However, if we around something new for a while and nothing goes wrong, our brain relaxes. The new thing is part of our "normal" experience and our brain is evaluating other unknown hazards.

How to use the simple effect of exposure

Unfortunately, most companies may not allow you to spend a semester waiting for someone to become familiar with his Mark. A good long-term knowledge of your customers is a great idea, but you often need that they buy in the next few days.

So, how do you use a simple exposure so that people feel comfortable enough to buy within a reasonable time? Here are some options to consider:


When done, retargeting is a matter of familiarity. There is a reason why retargeting campaigns have a better CTR than most display campaigns. Retargeting ads remind people that they are interested in what you sell and help them feel more comfortable buying from you.

Retargeting is also a great way to address potential customer concerns during their buyer journey. Remember, at the primary level, the term "new" is scary because it is a potential threat. If you can become familiar with your potential customers while decreasing the level of threat you perceive, your potential customers will feel more comfortable buying from you than anyone else.

New Use

Repetition and re-exposure are fundamental to the way we learn and familiarize ourselves with new things. This principle is just as important for an adult who makes a purchase decision as for a child who is learning to walk.

For example, many myths, trends and fashions began to appear when something viral on social media. People read, hear and see something so often that it's just part of their belief system – whether or not what they believe to be really true.

In essence, repetition creates reality.

This principle works for honest businesses as well as for fad diets. If you have an excellent marketing message, why not turn it into a blog post, a podcast, an infographic, a video, a slide presentation, etc.? … 19459002_revend19199001HERReservingwiththisgeneralfromthenumber offeatureswhenthegensareyourmessageInquirywhentheyareyourreveneditsyourinstinctivelyrepeatwithyourmissemessages, and / or how much more do they look?

Theory of Risk Compensation

At the time when governments really began to be interested in automobile safety Sam Peltzman discovered something of 39; interesting. Although safety devices such as seat belts make people safer, their benefits to the general public are lower than predicted by government safety tests.

Why? The more secure people were in their cars, the more they took risks while driving.

Again, it goes back to the way our brains are wired. Every decision has a kind of inherent risk and we are constantly trying to determine whether the risk is worth it.

However, this decision is not a matter of pure calculation. Our internal risk-benefit analysis is not based on reliable data; it is based on perceived risks and benefits.

So, if someone is considering cutting himself in front of a semitrailer and is not wearing his seatbelt, the perceived risk is quite high. If their time is a little off, they could be ejected from the car and die. However, if they think that their seatbelt will protect them, the perceived risk is much lower and they are therefore more likely to decide that the risk of being an accident victim is worth the advantage of gaining a few seconds when their movements.

This same principle applies to marketing. Whatever you are trying to entice people to do, your customers will associate a level of risk: loss of money, time, confidentiality, and so on. Your job is to increase perceived benefits and reduce risk so that people feel safe doing what you want.

How to Use the Risk Compensation Theory

If you do it right, people should have the feeling that there is more risk of not not follow your CTA (CTA) in relation to this one. Essentially, it reverses the risk-benefit equation.

Of course, it is easier to achieve this than doing it, but here are some ways to maximize the perceived benefits and minimize the perceived risks of your CTA:

Using Social Proof

Social proof is one of the best tools in the toolbox of the online marketer. Nowadays, people are instinctively suspicious of marketing (after all, you are paid to promote your business). However, as people trust others, the inclusion of testimonials and reviews is a great way to tip the scales in favor of risks and benefits.

That said, it is not enough to have testimonials or criticisms. You need social evidence that makes people think that giving them money, time, or information is a safe bet. If the criticisms you share do not inspire confidence (or worse, do not feel wrong), they can actually play against you.

Use the halo of someone else

A similar, but different, way of reducing the perceived risk is to associate yourself with a third party to which your audience is already doing trust.

The classic example is to obtain the seal of trust certification from a third party company. However, this tactic has been used for so long that it has become an expectation. These days, a seal of trust may not reduce the perceived risk of doing business with you, but not having one can certainly increase it!

If you want to use the trust of someone else to gain the trust of your business, you must influence marketing is one of the most easy. Unlike testimonials – which are usually placed on your marketing materials – influencers defend your business with their most loyal customers.

Because influencers already have a high level of trust with their audience, their endorsement for your business seems much more believable. and meaningful than anything you could say about yourself. This is a simple but very effective way to use the halo of someone else to build trust in your business.


Honestly, the mere effect of exposure and the theory of risk compensation are only the tip of the iceberg. . There are dozens of other cognitive biases that you can use in your marketing to entice people to choose your business rather than their competitors.

The trick is to understand how different cognitive biases play into the buying decisions. of your target audience. Once you understand this, it is usually quite easy to influence these prejudices so as to favor your business.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the invited author and not necessarily those of Marketing Land. Associated authors are listed here .

About the Author

target acquired how to define and use your ideal target market - Cognitive Bias: How to Get People to Prefer Your Business

Jacob is a passionate entrepreneur whose mission is to develop companies using PPC & CRO. As Founder and CEO of Disruptive Advertising Jacob has developed an award-winning, world-class organization that has now helped more than 2,000 businesses increase their online revenues. Connect with him on Twitter .