Many entrepreneurs take their preparation quite seriously. They go to business school at great expense and come out with an MBA that will take most of their career to pay off. Some take on unpaid internships and low-paying jobs in mailrooms just to get a foot in the door. They can do the back of the napkin math without the napkin. They follow every major market like it was their favorite band. And when they launch their business, it is a big deal.

What they often fail to do is study human behavior. I don’t mean the kind you can read about in business texts. The real human behavior that matters is that of the person at Walmart comparing two brands. They fail to understand how simple, flawed, messy humans go about their day and make purchasing decisions. Many great companies have died on the vine because they didn’t understand key aspects of what makes people tick. Here are a few behaviors you should understand if you want your business to grow:

Why Customers Leave Reviews

You can’t hope to be successful online without satisfied customers leaving reviews. It is fair to say that if you know the secret to getting people to leave positive online reviews, you will gain a huge, competitive advantage over your competition.

People leave positive reviews for a variety of reasons including the following:

  • They were surprised and delighted by what they received.
  • They had an exceptional support experience when they encountered a problem.
  • After trying many other products, yours was the one that finally satisfied their needs.

Be the company that under-promises and over-delivers. Use a well-made box so that the product does not arrive looking damaged. When things do go wrong, respond quickly and courteously. If they are very upset, offer a refund even if you don’t have to and write it off as a part of the marketing budget. These are the little things that make the difference and inspire customers to write a positive review, even if they ultimately return the product.

How Consumers use Search Engines

Should you hire an SEO agency for your small business? Absolutely! If you are not proficient in SEO you don’t want to do it yourself, or worse, not do it at all. If you are proficient enough to do it yourself, you have to understand how consumers use search engines. Their searches are not clean and logical. They are often confused, misspelled, and unclear. People look for a single piece of information. They are not trying to learn everything there is to know. They want to get in, get what they need, and get out. Your site needs to be tuned to quick bites, not long sales pitches.

What People Think They Know About Malware

Consumers are actively seeking protection from malware. Unfortunately, they don’t know the difference between malware and a perfectly harmless popup. If your site is constantly taking over the screen with subscription offers and requests for personal information, people will assume your site is dangerous and will move on without looking back. Your site should feel safe and harmless, not like the digital version of a used car salesman.

Why Your Emails Turn Customers Off

People will also install anything that promises less junk mail. They hate it even more than paper spam. They did not give you permission to spam them and sell their data just because they bought something from you. Your aggressive email campaign will ensure that many of them will never make that mistake again. If you must send an unsolicited email, make it a thank you note and a 10% off coupon for the next time they shop with you. Beyond that, it’s just spam.

Why People Hate Ads So Much

People are sick and tired of being followed by ads all over the internet. It is to the point where they think their smart speaker is spying on them. What you are presenting is not an advertisement, it is creepy, digital stalking. Act like a stalker, expect to get treated like a stalker.

I get it: Sales is hard. But your desperation just makes things worse, not better. Put down the textbooks and study the real world. Your business will improve when you understand why people leave good reviews, how people use search engines, what they think they know about malware, why your email marketing could be making matters worse, and why they have grown to be downright hostile toward invasive ads.