Understanding the principle of liking and knowing how to use it in your marketing and on your website can give you an unfair advantage over the competition.
Anchoring Effect Principle
People frequently act illogically, making their behavior difficult to predict. And, they rarely take the time to learn the full facts before taking action. Instead, people tend to unconsciously latch onto the first fact they hear, basing their decision-making on that fact… whether it’s accurate or not. This phenomenon is called anchoring.
Here’s everything you need to know about the anchoring effect, plus all other important principles and theories that can supercharge your marketing and influence people to buy your products or services.
What is the anchoring effect?
The anchoring effect is the principle that people tend to unconsciously latch onto the first fact they hear, basing their decision-making on that fact ... whether it’s accurate or not. This phenomenon is called anchoring.
The anchoring effect can work for you or against you. It’s one of the most important effects in cognitive psychology. When anchoring works for you, it becomes easier to market your company’s products or services. When anchoring works against you, it’s increasingly difficult to do so.
How your business can use anchoring to drive sales
First impressions matter. For example, when it comes to website design, if you don’t help people understand in a few seconds how you can solve their problem, they’ll leave your site.
First impressions are quick. A Google study showed that they can be made in 17 milliseconds!
When a prospective customer first learns about your brand, they hear your company’s name or see your logo. First impressions matter when it comes to your company’s name and your logo. After all, it’s impossible to anchor and create an advantage if your prospective customer can’t remember or spell the name of your business.
The same holds true for your business logo. Far too many struggling businesses created their logo from a generic template or an online template logo maker. The problem is that thousands or tens of thousands of other businesses have identical or similar logos. It’s impossible for a brand to use the anchoring effect to its advantage when a consumer can’t recognize the brand!
So, how can you apply the anchoring effect to create a stronger brand and make sure that design works for your business and doesn’t undermine your marketing?
Make sure you find a unique business name for your business. Don’t use online name generators or generic lists of ideas. If you want a catchy business name that stands out from your competition, get help from experts.
Don’t settle for a generic logo based on a template or one created by a computer. It’ll look like tens of thousands of other logos and will help your business get lost in the crowd. Instead, understand how fonts, colors, shapes and lines in a logo design influence purchasing decisions. Work with experts to get a professional logo design that helps your business stand out.
And, if you sell products, learn how psychology can help you create an eye-catching packaging design for your products.
How the anchoring effect can impact pricing
Anchoring has a deep impact on a person’s perception of value – which makes it an essential tool when considering a pricing strategy for your business.
A price without a value attached to it is a number with no power.
The value you assign to a price gives it meaning and helps consumers decide if they are willing to pay it.
Anchoring provides a context for estimating value.
Think of it this way: you walk into a convenience store on a hot summer day hankering for a fountain soda. The sign says you can get a 20 oz Coke for $1.79 or a 32oz Coke for $1.99. For a measly 20 cents, you can get almost twice as much Coke!
Having anchored that a 20 oz Coke is worth $1.79, that 32 oz for $1.99 suddenly seems like an awesome deal! It doesn’t matter that both are overpriced.
So, how can you apply the anchoring effect to how you price products or services for your business? Here are a few options to consider…
When setting your pricing, remember that the first option the client sees is likely to be the price that anchors in their brain. So, if your goal is to move your mid-price option, anchor the top-priced item by placing it first or by placing it in the center in a larger font to draw focus. This will make the mid-price option look like a great deal in comparison.
Want to sell your most-expensive option? Make sure that you set the lower price in a similar range and show how much more value comes with the slightly bigger price. Remember that fountain Coke? How do you say no to a much higher value for a minimal price increase?
Show a discounted price based on a higher original price. You see this often when someone posts the suggested 'retail' price which is crossed out and you’re instead presented with a lower price. Even if the final price is still high, the initial price was anchored and influenced how consumers perceive the actual price.
Customers can subconsciously anchor to any number – it doesn’t have to be a price. So, featuring any higher number next to your price increases your chance of a sale. Consider showing the number of items sold, the number of customers who have purchased, or even another unrelated item with a higher price.
How the anchoring effect can help you to negotiate better
The anchor effect plays a role in every negotiation. The bottom line is that the person who makes the first offer sets the anchor. And, whoever sets the anchor helps determine the range of the negotiations.
So if you put your offer on the table first, the odds are in your favor that you’ll end the negotiation in a place that you’re comfortable with. But, if you’ve already missed your opportunity to go first and set the anchor, there is a way that you can reset the playing field.
The best way to defend against being controlled by an anchor in a negotiation is to utterly refute and discredit the number proposed.
Assertively denying the credibility of the proposed number helps to wipe it from your own mind and the mind of the opposing party. At that point, you can then propose a new anchor to reset the terms of the negotiation in your favor.
Whatever you’re negotiating, you stand to benefit if you remember the anchoring effect.
If you’re hoping for a higher salary, plan ahead by listing a higher salary requirement right in your application. Ask for more than you expect to receive. This will naturally raise the amount of all subsequent salary numbers offered.
Are you auditioning vendors and looking for the best price? Then start the negotiations off with a low amount. This will lead the prices to trend lower for the remainder of the negotiation.
If the terms offered are way off for you, then say so. You can reset the anchor by pointing out that a competitor has made a stronger offer, or simply by assertively discrediting their offer. Do this with conviction and you’ll be in a position to reset the anchor in a more favorable place.
How the anchoring effect can improve your marketing
Today’s marketing is ruled by data and metrics.
How do you determine if your efforts are a success? Metrics.
But, choosing the right metrics to measure can mean the difference between success and failure. And, anchoring doesn’t only impact numbers. The anchoring effect can manipulate how you perceive and value concepts as well.
The anchoring bias in marketing can easily mislead you.
So, when planning your marketing strategy, and how to measure it, keep the anchoring effect in mind.
The anchoring effect may lead you to latch onto pseudo-useful metrics because they were the first to appear on your radar. But, don’t get stuck there.
Don’t just aim for low-hanging fruit (data) that’s easy to collect and right in front of you. Instead, be mindful and carefully consider each option to be sure you’re making strong choices.
What are the core principles of marketing psychology?
There are many important principles, theories, and concepts used in marketing psychology. These include:
- the principle of reciprocity
- information-gap theory
- social proof theory
- and loss aversion marketing
You can research each of these principles, plus dozens of other key principles of marketing psychology, via the links below.
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