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  • What Motivates a Buyer and the Types of Consumers

    So another result of my time off and mentally going over my own motavations really allowed me to think about the personal aspect of this business, and what motivates a sale. I’ve often thought before that among the most effective skillsets for a marketer to have is blackhat seo and PPC. Not so much because they overlap too much, but rather because of their differences. Blackhat focuses on efficiency at it’s core. PPC focuses on conversions at it’s core. Too often, blackhats end up forgetting about conversions ratios and any form of split testing. At the same time PPCers often find the insanely slow and labor intensive ways to do their work.

    Introduction: The Core of Conversions
    As pessimistic as this is, I’m convinced 90% of human motivation is fear. The best landing pages I’ve had open up and discuss the benefits of the product briefly. Then everything after that is either dispelling fear around them making the purchase of the product (safety, is it a scam, etc) or inspiring fear of the “inferior” competition. After that, the only thing left is price. If the human mind cannot find a reason not to buy, and has at least some compelling reason to buy, they will. People in general think pretty linearly and predictably. So think ‘what problems exist in this niche’, then ‘how can I convince them this product is different’

    Understanding Consumer Duty, Diligence, and Curiosity
    As soon as the user hits the landing page or website, they can all be grouped into 2 of 4 groups.

    1. The Lazy Consumer – CTR from landing page to offer is not always the most important thing. A landing page with little to no text and just a few highlighted points/benefits will have a great CTR. But often does terrible for conversions. Why is this? Because there’s a lot of lazy consumers. These guys want to at least be able to pretend their researching the product, but don’t want to read. Too many words on your landing page and they will hit the “back” button. A few short lines, and they feel like they’ve done their research. Still not a reliable conversion, but still better to appease them then have them turn and run.
    2. The Diligent Consumer - These guys will click through at the same level as the lazy consumer on a page with little text, but only to take a look. They’re a tremendously reliable conversion if you make them happy. Having a couple paragraphs of information on the product makes them feel well researched. They’ll read it all, check any subpages you have, and a high percent of the time convert into a sale. Sadly their conversions go away if you have the same setup that works well with the “lazy consumer”

    The next 2 group…

    1. The Curious – These are those “just looking” people. Your ad looks interesting, so they click. They’re probably not interested in your product, but whatever. These are the ones who tend to come out of more general search terms (“diets”), or off of improperly placed content network campaigns.
    2. The Genuinely Interested – Your core group pretty much. They know a bit about the niche and know what they’re looking for.

    Different Tactics Required for Each Group

    • The Genuinely Interested are the easiest to convert into a sale, for obvious reasons. Since they know what they’re looking for, all you have to do is convince them that this is the product matches their criteria. Cater to their keywords. If you get a click for “organic acne cure”, “organic” is the keyword to hone in on. That’s their selling point. That’s why they didn’t buy the other products out there. If you can’t convince them that yours is, you’re dead in the water just like everyone else.
    • The Curious are a much harder conversion. They have a lower attention span than the genuinely interested, but really getting them to read is significant here. With the “genuinely interested” you just have to convince them that the product matches what they’re looking for; they already know they need it. With the curious you have to not only sell the product itself to them as a quality product, but also explain that they have a need for it in the first place.
    • Making a Page to Satisfy Both the Lazy and Diligent Consumer
      The perfect test for making sure a landing page can deal with both of these types of visitors is just to glance at it. When you glance, you should immediately have an idea of the key points for the product. What it is, what sets it apart. Then when you read it you should feel like you know at least a bit more about the product. The real trick is to be able to do both without making the text look overwhelming to lazy consumer. Sometimes having a couple lines describing each main point and a “read more” link to a more in depth section is a good way to appease both.

    Exploring Keywords and their Insight
    All we really know about the user to determine their motivation(an important factor) when they enter our site is their referrer(their keywords). Even reordering the points on a page depending on the keywords can have a tremendous effect. Think of them as more of demographic data rather than simply keywords. For example with, “organic acne cure”, “healthy acne cure” you’re probably looking for a more health conscious person. 28-35 aged woman most likely. For “fast acne cure” you’re looking at a wider age demographic, but probably tending more towards the younger end of things(18-25). Of course, the perceived demographic of the keywords varies tremendously based on who you grew up with and the people you knew. But if “reading” people and understanding social situations is your thing, give it a go. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Still crankin,

    13 Responses to “What Motivates a Buyer and the Types of Consumers”

    1. Tom says:

      Excellent post. I wonder if you created different landing pages for the different type of viewer. My bet is that different PPC campaigns would draw in different types of buyers.

    2. Stever says:

      You’re so right about the fear thing. You see it in the stock markets all the time. Markets run on fear and greed. Greed lifts values up and fear brings it down.

      When markets are rising it attracts more attention and begins to appease peoples fear to place their money on the line. More and more people become attracted to the rising price which in turn gives it more of a boost.

      Then at some point the momentum looses steam and the fear kicks in. Those who got in late are afraid of taking loses and those that got in early are afraid for their dwindling profits. Everyone starts rushing for the exits to sell, sell, sell.

      You see that prices tend to fall over a time frame of about 1/3 of the time it took for the price to rise.

      It can be seen at any time frame. If the market took 10 years to rise it takes about 3 years to fall. If it took about 10 days to jump, after some company announces good news, it then takes about 3 days for it to crash after that temporary euphoric run on the stock price.

      You could say that fear (pessimism) is 3 times more powerful than greed (optimism). It’s primarily “greed” in the stock markets but could be swapped for “need”, or “want”, or “desire” in any other commodity or service market. Fear is still fear because it represents the unknown. Do I really need or want this product? Is that a good price? Should I buy it from these guys? Will my expectations be satisfied?

      I’m in the process of reworking some PPC landing pages now. Will pay attention to trying to address customers fears.

      Thanks for the great post :)

    3. kjb1891 says:

      Great post X.

      Stever, great comment as well.

    4. Banner Blindness says:

      I can’t believe you have the time to write so throughly.

    5. Soeren Sprogoe says:


      Amazing to see such an article from a SEO’er. Reminds me of the model Persuasive Architect and Guru Bryan Eisenberg preaches.

    6. Shleek says:

      I must agree with you: Fear spawns a sense of need. We are often so afraid we convince ourselves we need to buy something we don’t. The fashion industry paints this picture perfectly. Those who feel fearful of falling out of the trendy category often convince themselves they NEED to purchase items to produce satisfaction . this fear justifies an extended value placed upon this ideal. Consumers in general are more fearful. It is the companies that ease this fear that are converting.

    7. Kurt Henninger says:

      I would say another great motivation besides fear is greed. Greed drives many people, including online, to do things they would never normally do without greed driving them.

    8. Gab Goldenberg says:

      A more interesting question is what motivates you to blog? You write bright items like this and then let your blog look dead for a week or two. Yet as recently as a couple months back you were fighting hard to hit sphinn front page and get lots of stumble traffic etc. I’m missing something…

      Also, while you have more experience than I do, I need to question the basis for you saying fear is such a powerful motivator. I’m guessing it’s your experience with SERPs featuring copy like Is XYZ a scam? Find out at the only reliable affiliate review site online. affiliate-review-(and-some-viagra).info ?

      Look at the mortgage serps. Debt consolidation. Contact lenses. Gambling. Email marketing. Not much in the way of scam questions there.

    9. Chris Monty says:

      Excellent post. It’s not really important to know how to sell. What matters is knowing WHY people BUY.

    10. devlin says:

      Excellent post. This is why those long sales letters are so long. The curious and lazy consumers will scan the page and begin to scroll down looking for points of interest. The pages designers have intentionally created bold, highlighted, and bulleted items to satisfy the curious and lazy while the extended reiterated copy is for diligent consumer who needs to be pushed over the tipping point. Love them or hate them those lonng sales pages work by satisfying all parties described in your post.

    11. Blackhatseo says:

      Added. Nice work on this one. Btw, my blog is dofollow, stop by and grab a link. Bompa

    12. David Wilkinson says:

      You know why I like you dude? Because damn. You may not write daily like Chow & the “big blogger boys”, but when you do, you can be sure the post sure as hell rocks.

      Best. Blog. Ever.

    13. Ibiza Best SEO Blog Awards 2008 | SEO Ibiza - Superior Small Business SEO says:

      [...] far from all being automated script bashing, they guy really knows his onions, check this post on buyer motivation, he has a long very successful career ahead of him we are [...]

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