Imagine this …
The season finale of your all-time favourite TV show is in four days.
The last episode ended on a cliffhanger and you can’t wait to see what happens next.
Each time you see a commercial teasing the series ending, you get even more excited.
You read fan blogs predicting what will happen.
You make bets with coworkers about which of the main characters will get killed off.
You even decide to host a viewing party and you spend the night before the finale preparing themed snacks. You even design your own signature cocktail especially for the event.
The big night finally arrives.
You and three friends are hunkered down in your living room, drinks in hand, counting down the minutes until the finale begins.
After what feels like an eternity, you finally hear that famous theme song you know so well.
How do you feel at that moment?
In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re exploring Anticipation – why building anticipation before buyers experience your product can increase satisfaction, build loyalty, and produce raving fans.
Let’s get into it.
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The Psychology of Anticipation 🧠
Anticipation is a key ingredient in human happiness. A 2014 study found that “the enjoyment people glean from anticipation might also be an important component of life satisfaction.”
When we have something to look forward to in the future—like a vacation, holiday, or the release of a new product—we’re happier. Better yet? The build-up prior to the event actually heightens our perceived value of the experience itself. In other words, time spent anticipating can actually make us enjoy an experience much more.
People in the film industry are pros at building suspense and keeping us on the edge of our seats, but marketers can do it too.
Inside Your Buyer’s Mind 🧐
Buyers are impatient. If you asked them, they’d never say that they wanted to wait to enjoy your product. Yet many of the world’s leading brands know better…
Starbucks teases the return of their famous Pumpkin Spice Latte weeks before it’s available.
McDonald’s buys whole-page ads to get people excited before bringing back the McRib.
Your customers may not realize it, but keeping them in suspense can actually make them love your product much more. That said, anticipation also increases your buyers’ expectations.
If you hype up your product and it fails to deliver, customers will be even more disappointed… and may be very vocal about it. Just ask fans of the series Lost. After six seasons of anticipation, the Lost finale was coined by one critic as “the king of disappointing series finales.”
How To Apply This 🤑
Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?
In marketing, “teaser” campaigns are designed to build suspense. The goal is to share just enough information to build anticipation around a product launch or future event, without giving away too much. You can add teasers as a P.S. in an email, share partial product reveals on social media, or create ‘coming soon’ ads hinting about the new product.
When you want to build some hype, adding a countdown clock to your website or email sequence is an easy way to do it. Tesla used a countdown clock on their website before releasing the Model Z to whip fans into a buying frenzy.
Get People Talking
There are so many smart ways to build hype around a new product. You could let influencers or journalists try it first with a private beta launch or by sending them free samples. You could build buzz using a service like CrowdsOnDemand.com to hire people to line up around the block of your storefront. Or, you could do what Apple often does and leak a product preview weeks before launching. The ideas are endless.
The Short of It 💥
Anticipation helps consumers get excited about new products and services.
When done well, building anticipation can increase demand and foster more brand loyalty. That said, if you’re not extremely confident that your product will deliver as promised, don’t use this tactic. It could backfire big time.
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