The 3 Types of Buyers (& How to Increase Conversions From All of Them)

Ramona Sukhraj

Head of Editorial Content, Strategized Initiatives That Increased IMPACT’s Website Traffic From ~45K to ~400K

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The 3 Types of Buyers (& How to Increase Conversions From All of Them) Blog Feature

Published on July 17th, 2015

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the-3-types-of-buyers-how-to-increase-conversions-from-all-of-them.jpgI love a deal. I come from a long line of bargainers, extreme couponers, and bulk buyers.

I mean, those Cheetos were on sale. How could we not buy five bags, right?

But unfortunately for Marketers and sales teams across the globe, not all buyers are as easy to convert as me and my clan.

According to a recent study partially funded by Carnegie Mellon and the Russell Sage Foundation, most consumers can be put into 3 distinct buyer groups depending on the level of pain they experience when they anticipate a purchase.

It dubbed these buyer types: “Unconflicted” or Average Spenders, “Spendthrifts,” and “Tightwads.”

Each of these groups have their own unique spending habits and needs that have to be met before they feel comfortable making a commitment.

By knowing and understanding these details, you can adapt your Inbound Marketing efforts to increase conversion rates and make the process as pain free (literally) as possible.

Let’s dive deeper into each of the groups and how you can cater to them with your marketing.

Buyer #1: Unconflicted (Average Spenders)

Unconflicted, or Average Spenders, make up approximately 61% of all consumers.

They are conscious of prices and the financial and emotional effects they have, but their reasoning is generally logical and they see consequences as equal to the actual expense incurred.

For example, if an Average Spender decides to go out for an expensive dinner tonight, they will only experience a “moderate amount of pain of paying, as if dining out tonight requires giving up exactly one dinner at an even nicer restaurant next month.”

In other words, the current benefits are equal to the current and future costs. Nothing better, nothing worse.

Like most people, Average Spenders also have their moments of impulse buying, but they are in no way immune to “Buyer’s Remorse.”

They are level-headed and need to feel satisfied by their purchase both in terms of emotion and performance in order to be “delighted.” If either of these needs isn’t met, remorse will set it.

How Can You Increase Their Conversions? Average spenders do not want to be tricked into anything or upsold. They are level-headed, making buying decisions based on both emotions and value, so it’s important to align your marketing with both of these in mind.

An easy way to do this is by offering a product guarantee or warranty.

Average Spenders are practical with their money and by having messages like these on your pricing, consultation, or product pages you can help reassure them that they are making a smart purchasing decision.

If you are confident enough to offer people their money back if your product doesn’t work or meet their expectations, it instills trust and also eases many other qualms they may have about giving you a shot. (Note: Offering a free trial or sample will have a similar effect.)

Another way to offer reassurance to an Average Spender is through facts, data, & social proof. It’s not enough to say how great you are, you need to prove it. Support your claims by including things like:

  • Industry Certifications
  • Industry Awards
  • Social Stats (Shares, “Likes”, etc.)
  • Partner Logos
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Product Reviews

This kind of third-party praise helps your audience know what they can realistically expect from you while also confirming that you’re not making empty claims.

When it comes to an Average Spender, you can also use a discount or premium to pique their interest. At the end of the day, even if your brand is short on social or industry proof, a deal may be the deciding factor between you and a competitor.

Buyer #2: "Spendthrifts”

Accounting for about 15% of consumers, Spendthrifts are usually those friends of yours splurging on a vacation or making it rain the night after pay day.

They are able to spend more than the average bear before hitting what the study called “maximum buying pain” and they love to treat themselves by spending. In fact, they feel best if they are spending and often associate higher price tags with quality and luxury.

To use our example of the restaurant again, Spendthrifts “feel minimal pain...as if dining out tonight requires giving up nothing next month.” They do not see or feel the consequences of their actions and are in turn, more willing to spend without much deliberation.

How Can You Increase Their Conversions? Getting a Spendthrift to convert or make a purchase is easy, but there are still several ways to optimize your marketing to get the most out of them.

For example, depending on the nature of your product and service, you can consider offering a “premium” package or edition. As mentioned above, Spendthrifts love luxury and anything that reflects status. By positioning a version of your product as “deluxe” or “premium,” you will help satisfy this psychological need and attract more conversions.

You can also take a page out of the “Brick and Mortar” playbook and optimize for “impulse” purchases. Offer add-ons or prominently display related items (i.e. accessories, integrations, support packages, etc.)

Unlike Average Spenders or Tightwads (who we’ll meet in our next section), Spendthrifts are more likely to purchase these items even if they don’t need them.

Buyer #3: "Tightwads”

While they only make up 24% of consumers, Tightwads definitely present the biggest conversion challenge to Marketers.

Tightwads, unlike Spendthrifts, steer clear of indulgences and rarely treat themselves. They experience the most “buying pain” out of all three groups and do not like to do so unless it’s absolutely necessary and can be justified in a functional way.

Because of this, Tightwads tend to take longer than the other groups to deliberate, and then spend less even after doing so.

Unlike Average Spenders who see the consequences of their expenditures as equal to the amount spent, Tightwads often view them as dramatically higher. Returning to our restaurant example to illustrate, if a Tightwad dines out tonight, they would feel as if doing so “requires giving up several nicer dinners next month.” Their guilt and “pain” is so extreme they feel a need to make up for their monetary loss in a way that is just as exaggerated.

How Can You Increase Their Conversions? Out of the 3 groups, Tightwads do the most research before making a purchase so they also require the most nurturing.

With this in mind, always be as thorough as possible with your Marketing and make sure you have strategies in place to meet their needs.

Start by publishing educational content (i.e. blog articles, eBooks, etc.) that will answer your buyer’s most frequently asked questions.

Having this information optimized for search engines and readily available on your website will help your audience get started on their deliberation early on and without assistance. (If they do have questions, you can also explore ways to provide customer service as easily as possible like via Live Chat, email, or phone, but this eliminates a lot of the busy work.)

When it comes to your marketing messages and copy, focus on the value of your product by framing it in terms of the problem that it solves. Tightwads not only like to plan ahead, they like to plan for the worst.

By highlighting your benefits as a way of avoiding something negative, your message will be more likely to connect and resonate with a Tightwad audience and in turn, make them feel more comfortable converting.

Tightwads are also highly concerned about getting ripped off. (Who isn’t?)

By offering a special discount, bundle, or coupon code, you can help relieve some of the psychological pain they associate with making a purchase from your company and make them more inclined to convert.

You can also achieve a similar result by eliminating unnecessary or hidden fees and framing your prices to show them in lowest value. (i.e. If your product costs $12,000 a year, display it in monthly terms, $1,000 a month, to avoid Sticker Shock.)

Key Takeaway

Depending on your product or service, you may encounter all (or even none) of these Buyer Types at some point in your history. It all comes down to knowing your persona and what group or groups they may typically fall into. Once you have this nailed down as well as their typical buying cycle, aligning your content and inbound marketing to meet their needs will be far easier.

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