So, we'd all like to believe that we make rational decisions most of the time. Right?
Well, last week at FutureM I heard Aaron Reid and Nancy Harhut talk about the science of decision making and they tell us otherwise! In fact, only 5% of our decisions are based on a rational thought process. The other 95% is based in the sub-concious! Decisions already made by our mind, only to lead the other 95% to believe.
So, what factors influence our decision making process?
It's been scientifically proven that avoiding pain is peceived to be 2x more beneficial than gaining something. Hence subject lines, like those defined below, work well in getting people to open their emails.
"How to avoid..."
"Don't miss out!"
"What never to eat on airplanes"
"7 E-mail Marketing Rules To Follow Before Hitting Send"
One thing is for certain. When people are uncertain they follow the lead of others they know. Including testimonials has shown to increase order value by an order of 80%! Why? Because people believe in other people. And, worldwide a whopping 92% of the people trust earned media (like testimonials and recommendations) more than anything else.
Creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity is another way to nudge customers in making decisions. If your customer feels your're going to run out of inventory they are more likley to act fast and complete a purchase. Everyone from Amazon to Travelocity is employing this tactic.
Exclusivity has a similar effect. I mean, who doesn't want to belong to an exclusive club, right? If it's your last chance to respond to get a sneak preview at something, chances are you will. Think daily deal sites like HauteLook.com (Nordstrom) and MyHabit.com (Amazon) that bring you exclusive member-only offers!
Eye Magnet Words
Eye-magnet words are designed to draw your attention, increase engagement and generates more responses. And the big daddy of them all is FREE.
Remember the days of the "old" web when you clicked a Submit button to submit a form? If we know our conversions would get a boost by just changing that button to "Download the Free Whitepaper", then why not?
Examples of a few more eye-magnet words are:
New, Introducing (exclusivity)
Guarantee, Proven (removes risk, social proof)
Easy, Quick, Improved
Personalization is another way to boost your response rates. Research shows that personalization with a name that sounds like or is similar to the user's name increased responses by 56% while a generic name resulted in a 30% increase. Not bad for 2 extra words!
Writing something down increases the level of commitment from your users. Once you have something positive in writing from the person, they feel tempted to demonstrate this commitment and are less likely to change their purchase behavior. Think of all the testimonials! People who provide testimonials to your product or service are less likely to purchase from a competitor.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to hear Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist, Google Social for Brands, speak at FutureM in Boston.
First, a few stats that he shared.
- Cellphones have become a part of our human body. He labeled it the 79th organ!
- There are 6 billion mobile devices in the world right now. I didn't realize how apt the page we've created was in this context! How many Android devices in the world? (sorry: works on Chrome and IE only)
- We're 16-digits of separation from any other person in the world. At first, I thought he was talking about IP addresses but quickly realized he was talking about phone numbers.
- There are 1.5 billion people on Planet Social (most of them on Facebook, of course!)
- Google+ had 400 million users and 100 million monthly active users who spend 12 minutes/day
He also outlined Google's social vision as "creating a social layer across all of Google's products". And that includes all google social properties like Google+, Search, YouTube, Hangouts, etc.
Here are the 5 insights he shared. If you are looking for specific examples on how to drive conversations and engagement, read the stories that appear below this list.
1. Face-to-face Conversations
2. Human Connections
3. Connect with your Fans
4. Deepen Engagement
5. Know your Brand Influencers
Google+ enabled President Obama to connect with ordinary citizens at his State of the Union address. Every person who wanted to ask a question had to record the question and upload it to YouTube. They received 250,000 questions from all across the US!
President Obama fielding questions via a live Google+ Hangout
Google+ enabled Jaxa, the Japanese equivalent of NASA, organize a hangout between a Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide and the citizens of Japan to engage and educate the audience about Japan's space program (forward to 40 minutes)
Google searches now feature "Social Extensions" that let you see if a hotel or airline that you are considering has been "+1"d by a friend or a colleague. Since recommendations from friends are a source of high-quality information, these extensions are improving clickthrough rates (CTR) by 10-15 percent.
Google+ Hangouts is taking people around the world through Virtual Photo Walks and how it was deepening engagement. Virtual Photo Walk page on Google+.
And, Google+ is letting you drive and measure engagement by connecting with your fans who share your content via Google+ by displaying profiles of people who've +1'd your content or have shared it amongst their circles. If you are a brand influencer for a company it is important to know and engage with these influencers.
More stats on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in case you are interested.
The coming of the cloud has transformed how people store, access, engage, manage and deploy information, hardware and services.
As a user of hosted email or an app, you might be wondering what else is hosted out there? Well, here's a list to get you started.
AaaS - Application As A Service
BaaS - Backend As A Service
BaaS providers take aim at the fact that even developers want an easy way to access and manage data stored in the cloud. BaaS providers offer developers easy access to multiple clouds enabling them to focus on deliveirng the best user experience and functionality and creating rich internet applications. These services are extremely niche and cater to and are collectively referred to as Developer Platforms.
Examples: Parse, Kinvey, StackMob
HaaS - Hardware as a Service
IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service
In the IaaS model an organization outsources all of its hardware including storage, servers and networking components. The provider owns and manages the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. Pricing is based on a utility pricing model i.e. you pay for what you use. Turn on the lights and you pay. Leave them off and start saving. It's also sometimes referred to as Hardware as a Service (HaaS) Network as a Service (NaaS).
Examples: Sungard, Cisco, Rackspace, Amazon
MaaS - Music as a Service
You've got thousands of songs that you want to listen to. Some more, some less frequently. But, don't want to pay $18 for a CD or an album featuring only 2 of your favorite songs. Of course you don't. Everyone gets that. So, now you can create your custom album on iTunes or sign up for a subscription and play all the music you want (and more) from (almost) any device.
Examples: Rhapsody, Spotify
NaaS - Network as a Service
PaaS - Platform as a Service
PaaS is a category of cloud computing services that provide a computing platform and a solution stack as a service. Along with SaaS and IaaS, it is a service model of cloud computing. Companies creates the software using tools and/or libraries from the provider. They also control software deployment and configuration settings. The provider is responsible for offering and manaing the networks, servers, storage and other (optional) services.
The PaaS model facilitates the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software and provisioning hosting capabilities. The provider's job is to deliver reliability, scalability and speed for deploying applications in the cloud. Again, this service category is catered to developers.
Examples: Xtium, Engine Yard, AppFog, Heroku
SaaS - Software as a Service
This is the most common service model and a one that people are most familiar with and connected to. This model has widespread applications. There's no specific niche. It is replacing traditional applications that came on CD/DVD, required installation and upgrades or security patches every so often. They are all moving to the cloud.
Most feature a free, freemium or a premium pricing model. Some require commitment, others don't. Either which way, they are for the masses. From document processing to complex applications, everything is literally available under the cloud!
Most companies are now building software platforms that can be accessed, maintained, secured and managed easily using a single point of interface with their users via an authenticated login. Salesforce.com was a pioneer in this SaaS delivery model.
Examples: Salesforce.com, Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud
VaaS - Voice as a Service
This category of providers focuses on enabling voice-based services for your existing website or applications. Live chat or "talk-back" apps are an example of apps in this category. They enable easy integration of voice-enabled services within your platform and are paid for as a subscription. It's quite popular amongst retail sites that sell products that are usually more complicated but we've seen them being used on B2B service sites as well. They are often used to provide live support instead of a phone call.
Examples: BoldChat, LivePerson, Volusion