One of the cornerstones of modern sales techniques is the concept of mirroring. Expert salesmen figured out that when they mirror their prospects’ mannerisms, words and facial expressions, they can increase their sales volume. This should not be a surprise. One key element of human nature is that we tend to trust people who are like us.
A salesman in front of you is trying to make a sales pitch, that person most of the time is a stranger, still you find yourself subconsciously drawn to what that person is saying and often times you find yourself whipping out your credit card or forking over some hard earned dollars to pay for whatever it is that person is selling. The reason you do this is that, more likely than not, you got mirrored. In other words this experienced salesman used your psychology against you. Most people will not buy from people they do not trust.
However, you can stimulate trust through mirroring. When somebody gets in front of your face and uses your manner of speaking and bounces back to you some of your facial expression and your mannerisms, you instantly get comfortable with that person. Your guard starts coming down. Eventually more and more of that person’s words register with you. Eventually that person is able to close you. This is a very powerful sales technique in the brick and mortar world. The good news is if you are selling products and services online, this process can work to your advantage. Of course you have to tweak it so that it can work online. Here are some key factors to consider in building a successful online mirroring sales strategy.
Marketing Recap: The Rule of Seven
One of the long standing rules in online marketing is that people have to see your ad or your value proposition at least seven or eight times before they even think about clicking on the banner, or even better, buying whatever it is that you are advertising. In short, people need some sort of familiarity online to trigger the whole buying process. A prospect needs seven or eight views before they act on a particular value proposition.
This is why ad networks like Google have adopted an online advertising technology called ad re-targeting. Ad re-targeting is crucial. How does ad re-targeting work? When visiting different websites who are using the same ad network, you will see the same ads from the other websites you have visited before. The ad network is showing you ad after ad that highlights the value of that particular website that you visited earlier but did not buy anything from. This is the rule of seven in action. You are constantly being branded, constantly being talked to, and the more you see the ad the more it is wearing your resistance down.
Your Prospects’ Impressions are Formed Throughout the Targeting Process
You have to be aware that throughout the process where you show your ads to your prospect again and again, you are forming an impression in the mind of that prospect. Your prospect is not blind. Your prospect is definitely not dumb. You have to be aware of this process. Sadly, there are too many online advertisers that are not aware of this impression system.
They think that they can just throw any ad at their prospects and the prospects will behave in the desired way. It does not work that way. You have to be aware that throughout the process of targeting your prospects they are forming impressions. You have to be aware of this and use this awareness to your advantage. How do you do that? You figure out the theme that is being broadcast to your prospect. If you are running many different ads, where they use different themes or they have different messages, you are not building a unified impression. You are probably only succeeding in confusing your prospect.
Another key factor you need to be aware of and figure out, is how the overall look of your campaign impresses your prospect. If your campaign uses many different themes, chances are your prospects do not even know that it is the same company running all these ads. If you are throwing many different ideas at your prospects, your prospects probably have the impression that they are dealing with many different service providers. It is really important to make sure that the impression that you are creating is uniform, not just in terms of themes but also in messages and in overall look.
Finally, once you are aware that your prospect is building an overall impression of your ads, the final and crucial step is to figure out the overall message of your content. What messages are your ads sending to the prospect? Are these messages complimentary or are they conflicting? Do they work together or are they taking random shots from many random directions?
The Power of Expectations
It is very important to go through the process of becoming aware of how your prospects get impressed by your ad messages. At the very least it is important to go through this process because you are building expectations in their mind. If you want to figure out an effective way not to sell to somebody, you only need to do one thing, you need to break their expectations. In other words, you need to disappoint them.
You need to under perform. Unfortunately, this is how many online advertisers conduct their page design and their online advertising efforts. They set up the wrong expectations between the ad material that their target audience initially sees and the landing pages that they get to when these prospects click on an ad. You have to remember the power of expectations. If you want to sell online you have to set the right expectations. Also, you have to be clear as to the kind of messaging you send so you are setting up the right kinds of expectations. This is all about managing expectations. The good news is you have a lot more power over this process than you care to admit or that you are aware of. It really boils down to the ad messages that you are sending out.
Landing Page must Mirror your Visitors’ Expectations
Once you have a rough idea as to the overall impressions and expectations that you are creating in the eyes of your target audience, the next step is to make sure that your landing pages, your results pages and any other page you lead your prospects to, mirror those expectations. This is where the mirroring sales strategy kick in. You have to mirror in terms of text messaging, you have to mirror in terms of graphics similarities, you have to mirror in terms of the overall range of emotions that they get by looking at your particular web page. Otherwise, you may be setting up a situation where instead of mirroring you are confusing or surprising or otherwise discouraging your target viewer.
Mirror But Build up
This is where rubber meets the road when it comes to using brick and mortar mirroring sales techniques in the online world. As mentioned above, your graphical cues must mirror the previous graphical cues you sent to your prospect. Your landing page or your conversion pages must mirror but they have to build up the effect of the mirroring. You do not have that much time. In fact, buying decisions can be made in a split second. It does not take long for your prospect to make a decision whether to buy from you or click the back button. It is very important to realize this and act accordingly.
You have to set up your conversion pages where they mirror but amplify the themes that are being mirrored. You can do this by your choice of words, by graphics that you present or video that you embed. Unfortunately, all the answers are not going to come out of a shelf, all the answers are not going to come in a can. You have to do a lot of testing. Split testing is crucial. You have to run several ad campaigns that lead to many conversion pages. These conversion pages are all designed using different levels of mirroring. Also, these different conversion pages mirror different elements of the previous messaging that you have sent your prospects through ads or e-mails.
Pay Attention to Bulk User Behavior
Now that you are using split testing to actually get data on how your target prospects interact with your conversion pages, you need to focus on the numbers. First and foremost, you have to look at the raw effect of the conversion pages. Are you getting sales? Are you getting e-mail sign ups? Are you getting ad clicks? In other words, are you getting results? Compared to different results based on the different pages and their different mirroring strategies. Next, correlate the results that you are getting with traffic sources and traffic volume. Finally, correlate the results you are getting with the sequence of pages that a particular visitor went through so you can draw a chain of page use until you got that conversion. This takes a lot of work. This does not happen overnight and it takes a lot of patience. However, by paying attention to these pieces of data you can get clear directions on mirroring conversion pages that truly work.
By being systematic and methodical in your conversion optimization activities you can really take your website’s profitability to a higher level. The good news is that you do not need to take shots in the dark. By taking out specific and strategic ad buys at many different sources of traffic and testing many different versions of your conversion pages, you can arrive at an optimal conversion page sooner rather than later. All you need to do is be methodical, scientific and numbers driven.