I introduced the four most powerful human motivators (accomplishment, freedom, connectedness, and growth) in my post, “Is Poor User Experience Slowing Your Conversion Rates?” In this post, I zero in on the motivating power of freedom.
I recently took a vacation with my family to southern Utah. Spending time in the Mojave landscape, taking in the stunning sights of Zion Canyon and Signal Peak, I fantasized about being free to roam and work from remote locations. If I could keep doing the work that I love—and maintain quality and productivity—while traveling and making memories with my family, I’d jump at the chance. I wouldn’t even look at the price tag.
Freedom is a universal longing, and one of the most powerful motivators. It is deeply embedded in us as a psychological need, as strong as our physical need for food and water. Teachers have found that when they give students freedom to make some choices on their own, they behave better and happily engage in learning. And cash-strapped businesses are beginning to use flexibility and autonomy in place of a raise or bonus to incentivize employees.
Digital marketers will be smart to think about how their products or services introduce more freedom into individuals’ lives, and how they can make freedom central to brand messaging. Tapping into this core motivator is a powerful way to attract and engage. Freedom, along with accomplishment, connectedness, and growth, is one of the four primary human motivators that digital marketers need to harness for steadily rising conversion rates.
It’s Your Choice
How is it within your power to offer people freedom? It’s not, exactly. But you can provide options. This is the most basic form of freedom you can give your customers: the freedom to choose. Think of NIKEiD, which lets shoppers customize shoes by color and features. Or T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plan, which bills itself as unlimited and unrestricted, and offers add-on services. Infusing your brand with choice can be as simple as offering additional preference settings in an app, or as complex as providing fully custom orders. When your audience perceives themselves as having freedom to choose, they will feel greater ownership of your brand and become more invested in it long term.
Freedom’s Many Forms
You can’t offer users total freedom—no one can. But you can position your brand as an aid in achieving more autonomy in a particular area of life. For example, there’s a popular app that’s actually named Freedom. It offers users just one thing: the ability to block distracting websites for a self-selected length of time. The app claims that it will free you to be more productive.
Consider these four key areas most people seek freedom in. Where does your company fit in?
1. Time. We long for the freedom to choose how to use our time, and when to work, relax, and socialize. We also want to free our time from stressful, annoying, meaningless, or unfulfilling tasks. Think of your product or solution’s unique value proposition. How does it save people time? Are you messaging it’s time-saving benefits clearly?
2. Money. We want the option to earn more, generate income from the things we enjoy doing, and spend as we choose. We also want freedom from the daily concerns of bills, budgets, debt, and accounting. Let people know how your services can help them save money for a passion project, or save their company money so they become the office all-star.
3. Environment. Most of us wish we could spend our hours in beautiful, interesting, or soothing environments, and choose the people who surround us each day. We desire comfort, convenience, and stimulation in our homes and workplaces, and freedom to move between environments at will. Does your brand increase mobility? Beautify or functionally improve work and living spaces? Let consumers know that you can have a direct impact on their level of freedom.
4. Commitments. We want the freedom to put our energy and focus toward the things we care about. Most of us, given the freedom, would still work; we’d just work on our creative passions, entrepreneurial ideas, idealistic goals, personal wellness, and things that bring us joy. If you create products or solutions that streamline processes, tell your audience they’ll gain control over their time and focus.
Freedom for What?
Start with a deep understanding of your customers’ limitations, frustrations, aspirations, and desires. Then creatively explore ways you can be an ally in their pursuit of freedom. When they experience genuine life enhancements—even minor ones—from interacting with your brand, they will repay you with loyalty. And they may even tell their family and friends that your [insert product or service here] changed their lives and they absolutely must try it themselves.
Very few things can drive conversion faster and farther than the promise of greater freedom. How can you supply your audience with more choice, autonomy, and opportunity?
Take a look back at accomplishment, and follow along as I explore the remaining motivators: connectedness, and growth.