Transparency Effect

This post is sponsored by Superside

Imagine this…

While preparing your morning coffee you realize you’re running low on coffee beans. ☕️

You hop online to order more.

The brand you usually order from is running a huge sale—you can get 4 packs of coffee beans for the price of one.

At first you’re thrilled, but then become suspicious.

“That’s way too good of a sale,” you think to yourself. “Is something wrong with these beans?”

You start looking around for clues and find exactly what you need.

The brand reassures you there’s nothing wrong with the beans. They tell you they’re changing their packaging and need to clear out their inventory to make space for the new.

Why are you no longer worried about the quality of the beans?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at the Transparency Effect — why you can tell people you’re nudging them towards purchasing without losing the sale.

Let’s get into it…

Picture this: 

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The Psychology of the Transparency Effect 🧠

We don’t mind getting sold to when the person on the other side tells us they’re selling to us.

The trust that gets built thanks to the transparency can even make us choose to fork over more cash.

To study the Transparency Effect, researchers gave 498 people 10 euros to donate to charity. Each participant could choose how much of the 10 euros they wanted to donate.

The participants were divided into 5 groups and asked to give their donation online.

Researchers found that adding the 8 euro default increased average donations from €1.80 to at least €2.85.

For the remaining 3 groups, they added varying text telling participants why they’d added the default donation amount of 8 euros.

The 3 groups that experienced the transparency still gave the same amount as Group 2 (that was just given the default 8 euro donation amount).

Our minds are okay with spending more even when we’re told a strategy is being used against us to make us spend or donate more.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

Your buyers want to know there’s real people behind your brand.

The Pratfall Effect is our reminder that people love realness.

And the Transparency Effect shows us that it applies to the buying experience.

Buyers like knowing brands are open and honest with them. This boosts trust (easily one of the most important factors in marketing).

Transparency can be used to create trust between buyers and brands. And, it can even be used to ask for more information or money.

How To Apply This 🤑

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

Tell buyers why you’re running a sale

Avoid tainting your brand with lower prices by telling your buyers why certain products are on sale.

Let them know that you bought too much stock, you’re not offering this digital product anymore, or you need to move inventory out before you can buy more.

Lululemon uses the Transparency Effect on this page dedicated to clothes they’ve made too much of.

Buyers don’t have to wonder if the sale items are out of style or the quality wasn’t up to par.

They can confidently hit the buy button knowing these are just extras the company wants to move off their shelves.

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Use the Transparency Effect to make buyers like you more

This is the perfect moment to make your prospects and buyers smile.

Abtin Masseratagah shares a perfect example of a way to use the Transparency Effect to win brownie points with buyers.

Not only is this copy clever. But, it uses transparency to explain why the brand needs to cut off communication.

Being transparent and clever can make it hard for buyers to ignore you.

Show your buyers why the buying experience is what it is

Your buyers don’t know the backend of your business.

You may have had a scammer request $7,000 of refunds recently. This led you to have to match the card country and billing country in your payment processor.

You’ve added necessary friction to the buying page to avoid more scammers. But your real buyers are also experiencing the friction.

Let them in on the story and explain why you need to keep that friction there. Peter Levels recently experienced a scammer and had to add this friction to his payment page.

He shares the entire story on his Twitter and continues to send updates.

The transparency of why he’s creating purposeful friction helps buyers understand and work around it (if they’re in a situation where they’ll get blocked from purchasing).

The Short of It 💥

Buyers know you’re marketing to them.

So why pretend like you’re not?

Use the Transparency Effect to make buyers feel like they can trust you.

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 (3200+ happy students)
  2. Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (500+ happy students)
  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence
  4. Apply to sponsor an upcoming issue of Why We Buy (next opening in July)

Thank you to our featured sponsors

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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