Customer Promoting & Inhibiting Pressures: What to Know

October 9, 2015

8:00 pm

I had a rather interesting conversation with someone not long ago. This person doubled their conversion rates simply by changing one line of text in the middle of 1,500 word page. I know what you're thinking: “What in the world did they say?!” That's a great question, and this story is a testament to how important every detail is.

So much goes into every customer action, from why you do or don't click on an advertised link to whether you purchase to whether you make multiple purchases, that it can be very difficult to understand what you, as a person trying to build a business, need to pay attention to.

Know the Difference Between Promoting & Inhibiting Pressures

Promoting pressures are anything that encourage someone to make a “yes” decision, like showing a potential customer who else they know has already said “yes,” or offering the first 30 days for free.

Inhibiting pressures are anything that discourages someone from making a “yes” decision, or rather, encourages them to make a “no” decision. This would be having needed information difficult to find, or asking a potential customer to go through more steps than necessary to get what they want.

You need to increase promoting pressures and decrease inhibiting pressures, simultaneously and as much as possible. Every little bit makes a difference. Even the color of a single button or one line of text in the middle of a 1,500-word page can mean a drastic change in revenue. But you have to find those details.

If you're like many people and companies, you don't have the resources to make every change you want instantly. In which case you should focus on minimizing inhibiting pressures. To quote Microsoft behavioral scientist, Matt Wallaert, “When we spend a dollar on inhibiting pressures, that dollar goes farther than spending it on promoting pressures.”

In other words, make it easier for people to buy from you.

Know What to Look for

No matter what you change, there's always going to be a way to do things easier. Focus on this. You know your company and product better than any potential customer out there. You know what to look for, where to find it, and probably already have some thoughts on how the whole process could be easier.

Whatever you think would make it easier, you need to act on. This is also where paying attention to your (Google) Analytics software can prove valuable. If you notice a large portion of your website's traffic jumps ship at the same place, there's probably a golden opportunity to decrease an inhibiting pressure.

A few general aspects to pay attention to are: simplifying the purchasing process, such as moving to one-click purchasing (i.e. copy Amazon); switching up the placement of content on your website’s home page to make it flow better; something aesthetic, like adding white space to your most important content or using a different font that's easier to read; perfecting your call-to-action and placement of it; and your response times to questions, requests, etc.

Think of yourself as a consumer looking for something similar to what your organization provides. What details would you need before making a decision? In what order? How quickly do you need to be able to find them?

Know How to Handle Communication

It's hard to tell if organizations overlook this or just don't care, but direct communication with a company is one of the largest inhibiting pressures for any consumer. Need proof? When was the last time you looked forward to calling Comcast?

Nobody wants to wait for an answer, and nobody wants to be treated like another number or dollar sign. So your communication needs to be as personal and as quick as you can make it.

When was the last time you called an 800 number and thought, “I'm about to get great service!” If you've ever done that, I'd be surprised.

Even if you're a well known national company, using a local area code number gives people the impression that they'll receive a small business experience, i.e. friendly and helpful. This greatly reduces the inhibiting pressure of expecting an automated service whenever consumers see an 800 number.

If you want people to email you, let them feel that they're emailing a real person. Give them someone to address their message to! Instead of, let them email Stacy doesn't have to be the one responding every time, but giving the impression of a real person reduces that automated service-esque inhibiting pressure.

Live chat features and business texting features are also great tools for personal communication that minimize inhibiting pressures, and generally make things easier for consumers.

Whatever you choose, know that consumers want communication that is personal, timely, and mobile-friendly.

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Kenneth is a writer, marketer, and creative type. Check out his website at !