There is a very interesting anecdote in the beginning of Influence, a book by Robert Cialdini. An Indian jewelry store owner in Arizona was having trouble selling a certain allotment of turquoise jewelry.
The quality of product wasn’t bad considering the price, and there was considerable foot traffic at the store, interested in other items.
She tried a number of sales tricks and techniques, but nothing worked. Finally, she asked one of her sales people to reduce the price by half.
However, because of some misunderstanding, the sales person doubled the price. Then a surprising thing happened. All the articles were sold in a few days, at twice the price.
Customers swooped down on the allotment of turquoise pieces when they started selling at a high price.
This is because when there is limited information and time to make a decision, people are more likely to rely on first impressions, stereotypes and whatever information they have.
The customers in the jewelry store had little to no knowledge of turquoise. So the only information they did have became a guiding principle, which was the price.
If the article was expensive, then it must be more valuable and desirable than other pieces of jewelry. So an increase in price caused an increase in sales.
Automatic Behavior Patterns
This isn’t just a standalone case. As a matter of fact, automatic, stereotyped behaviour is prevalent in human nature.
We can’t just sit down and spend hours gathering and analyzing information for every little thing. So our mind creates and relies on shortcuts and habits.
We rely on snap judgements, internal biases and personal experiences in many day-to-day instances for quick decision making. It’s not a perfect system, but most of the time it works, and it has aided in our survival as humans for a long time.
Take another example. Most of us get discount coupons via mail, and we take them on face value.
We don’t over-think about it. We assume that the business sending those discount coupons has actually reduced the prices, because no one has the time and capacity to actually get historical data, compare and check if the claims are valid.
Once you understand this basic concept, you can apply it in many ways to get what you want.
For instance, although the jewelry store owner discovered this scenario by accident, she was able to use the “expensive = good” stereotype more often and on purpose.
She would on occasion raise prices of items which were not moving fast, or she would keep the price tag same but mark the articles as “Reduced from $__”
In another case, the book shares an example of two brothers, Sid and Harry, who owned a men’s tailor shop.
Whenever a new customer came and started trying on the suits, Sid would pretend as if he had a hearing problem and request the customer to speak loudly to him.
After a while, when the customer asked for the price of a suit, Sid would call his brother at the back of the room, “Harry, how much for this suit?, ” to which Harry would shout an exaggerated reply, “For that beautiful all-wool suit, forty-two dollars.”
Pretending not to have heard properly, Sid would turn to the customer and say, “Twenty-two dollars.” Most customers fell for the trick and rushed to buy the suit and get out of the store asap, before “poor Sid” realizes his mistake!
Relation To Blogger Outreach
Now, you must be thinking, what does this have to do with blog outreach? The concepts we discussed above play a strong role in making the bloggers you reach out to more likely to send back a positive response.
When you email a busy blogger, you’re on a clean slate for them. They don’t know anything about you or your brand to make a fully-informed decision about whether they want to help you or not. And they don’t have time to research either as there are hundreds of emails in their inbox for them to sift through.
Just like the jewelry store was able to use this situation to her advantage, you can do the same by increasing the perceived value of your offer or incentive.
Just like a high price indicated to jewelry customers that they are getting something valuable, you can look for ways to convey to your target bloggers that what you’re offering is something of great value, in exchange for the action you want them to take. Here are some on top of my mind:
Via Pricing - When reaching out to a blogger with an offer to provide a free sample of your product or service, you need to make sure the perceived value is high. As we discussed above, one way to do that is via pricing. If you’re giving away something expensive for free, your incentive will seem more valuable.
Via Social Proof - If a blogger has never heard of your brand before, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because they have limited information, you can choose what you share with them and create a first impression which makes you look more valuable.
You can put your best foot forward and share only what has been the most impressive thing about your business so far. This can be number of app downloads, awards your brand has won, current client base, portfolio, case studies and something else depending on the context.
Via Unique Value Proposition - Another way to convey instant value is the difference between your brand and competitors, as well as their offers. Share who you are and what is the “why” behind your product and service, in an authentic way.
The more remarkable the difference between your brand/pitch and that of other outreach emails they get on a daily basis, the better.
Via Qualifying Targets - Make it known in your message why you are reaching out to the blogger and that you don’t work with any blogger. You have a criteria for targeting bloggers and you are reaching out to only those who meet those conditions. Explain why they are the best fit for endorsing your product or service.
These are the ways I could think of for now, but I am sure there may be many more which can help you enhance your value in the eyes of bloggers you reach out to.
The more valuable your brand and your offer seems to be, the better your chances of getting a positive response from bloggers.
Think about what a higher success rate of your outreach emails can do for your brand, and try to think of new ways in which you can leverage the psychological principles we discussed.
Whether your ultimate objective is brand awareness, lead generation or sales, a stronger blogger outreach will take you closer to your goals and give more return on your buck.
Did I miss anything? Did you try these tips? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.