Calming the Anxious Consumer: Marketing Sherpa’s Conversion Heuristics Targets Consumer Anxiety

Calming the Anxious Consumer: Marketing Sherpa’s Conversion Heuristics Targets Consumer Anxiety Conversion Heuristics, MarketingSherpa’s innovative way to look at enterprise marketing, takes into account the full cycle of a consumer experience before they arrive at conversion. In my last blog post, I broke down the formula to discuss each symbol in the conversion formula: C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a.

The variables represent anxiety, friction, incentive, value proposition, motivation and (ultimately) conversion. While the eye tends to get drawn to C, thus becoming to focus on the formula and our general goal to capture our audience, I would argue that the most important signifier in this formula is “a” – anxiety.

Conversion Heuristics is different from any other marketing strategy out there. It looks at the full scope of both user and marketers by offering a blue print for both groups. It lays out a path for business to arrive at their destination – conversion – but it also keeps the full experience of the user in mind. Being user focused rather than being just marketing focused means recognizing the first obstacle to conversion, which is consumer anxiety.

Consumers face anxiety in a number of ways. Josh Wilson of the Marketing Experiments Blog, powered by MECLABS, who introduced the formula, helps us understand customer anxiety by reminding us of one very simple thing: our customers are people. He comments:

“It is very important to remember that your prospects are people. They have thoughts, feelings, needs and desires. When there is product or service being offered to a prospect, that prospect may have questions or concerns. This psychological concern occurs within the prospect’s mind.

Anxiety is a real concern that the prospect may have regarding your offer. The prospect may not even be aware that it is happening, but when corrected or addressed, there can be some significant lifts in your conversion rate.”

Josh goes on to lay out some great examples of what can trigger consumer anxiety, including asking questions like:

  • Is my credit card information safe if I make a purchase?
  • What happens if I’m not happy with the product?
  • Could I get a better price somewhere else?


These (and more) are common questions that run through consumer minds – and they can be easily calmed by first being aware that they exist. Calming some of these fears is naturally done if the rest of the formula is followed. For example, adding a seal that ensure security during the checkout process offers an incentive and reduces consumer anxiety. Setting up your product or service by highlight value, by engaging the consumer in committed journey-unique email campaigns, and having a strong social media presence that highlights culture, will go a long way in building value that motivates the consumer.

Showing value and building a brand reputation, which is critical for enterprise level companies, also tends to remove the lingering question of bargain hunting which really only surfaces when value is questioned. For example, no one complains about how much Apple products cost because they know there’s value there.

As you can see, anxiety isn’t so much the highly volatile emotional element we might feel it is. Rather, think of it as a baseline consideration. Tackling it means you’re automatically knocking out other obstacles in your bath to conversion.

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