Imagine this…

You just got out of an Uber.

You had a great drive and now you’re walking into your destination.

Within a 30 seconds of exiting the car, your phone pings with a reminder to tip your driver. You’re in a hurry and for a moment you think about doing it later, but you don’t want to forget.

You open the Uber app and are presented with three automated tip options: 15%, 18%, and 20%.

There’s also an option to enter a tip manually.

The driver was lovely and you feel generous, so you hit the 20% option.

Next, you’re asked to rate your experience. It’s a no brainer. You tap the 5-star rating and continue with your day.

Uber got everything they needed from you in just a few seconds.

How do you feel about the experience?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re exploring Nudges – how choice architecture pushes people towards a desired action.

Let’s get into it…

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The Psychology of Nudges 🧠

Every day the average adult is confronted with 35,000 decisions. 

These decisions range from mundane things, like what to eat for breakfast, to critical decisions, like how to save for retirement or which job offer to accept.

Making so many decisions takes a lot of brainpower. And human brains are kiiiiiinda lazy, so we unconsciously scan our environment looking for direction. 

Enter the nudge.

Coined by economist Richard Thaler in 2008, a “nudge” is subtle encouragement designed to move your audience towards positive actions or away from negative actions.

Nudges work because of choice architecture. Choice architecture refers to the way decisions are arranged and how that impacts the correlating action.

For example, many people want to eat healthier yet struggle… 

A cafeteria nudged customers to make healthier choices by placing the nutritious snacks in prominent positions and moving the unhealthy ones below eye-level. This gentle nudge encouraged people to choose healthy snacks over unhealthy ones 25% more often.

Nudges are all around you. You may have been nudged to pay off your student loan, save for retirements, or to declare unclaimed income—without even knowing it. 

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind 🧐

When your buyer lands on your website or in your store, they’re unfamiliar with the environment and looking for clues about what to do next. 

As the choice architect, you can help to nudge them in the right decision.

For example, Airtable nudges new customers to choose their Pro plan by showing that it’s the “most popular”—a common use of social proof to persuade.

Your buyers want to be nudged to make the best choices. It’s your job to design an environment that helps them do that.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Set Defaults

Most people will never adjust the default settings of a product (notifications, layout, font, buttons, colors).

“The devil is in the default,” as product designer Scott Belsky likes to say.

Slack’s default workplace settings notify users about every message and show badges for each action. These default notifications continuously nudge users to open the app and see what’s going on. More notifications = a higher chance of adoption rate by the Slack user.

Show & Tell

Use both visual and written instructions when possible. Arrows and illustrations will help your buyer quickly understand what their next move should be.

SurveyMonkey nudges their homepage visitors to test out their platform by nudging them forward with relevant questions businesses would love to have answers to.

Don’t Be Pushy

The best nudge techniques don’t feel like they exist at all. They’re just small conveniences that help users to get better outcomes (eg. doing the math for you on your Uber tip or giving you questions to add to your survey).

People should be able to ignore the nudge and change course easily should they choose. It’s a nudge—not a shove.

The Short of It 💥

Take a look at the choice architecture your buyers go through and figure out where you can add nudges that help them along the buying journey.

Make these nudges small, convenient indications for the best action to take.

Until next time, happy selling!



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways I can help:

  1. Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (2000+ happy students)
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  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence

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Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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