No matter how weird Muslims may seem to you, they are normal people with issues that normal people face. In fact, they have more issues than the average person that doesn’t have to pray five times a day or put on a hijab every time they go out.
Marketing to Muslim consumers is not that different from marketing to other people. They are attracted to the benefit a product might offer. They too fall prey to marketing tactics such as impulse buying.
But before you can put them in a psychological mode where they are ready to buy you have to consider a few things that will lift the halal consumer veil. Once you took these steps then only Muslims will allow you to temper with their impulse buying switch.
You have to be aware of these 6 situations that exert undue influence on Muslim consumers purchasing decisions. If you ignore these 6 factors you are unknowingly prohibiting Muslims to even consider your product or services.
It must be Halal. This is the number one criteria to make Muslims see your product or services. It is the gatekeeper without which you will be invisible. Your product or services must be perceived as halal. Ideally, it should have a halal certificate. This issue is not about certification it is more about compliance. A product .may not have a halal certificate but still accepted by Muslims
Your product or services must have an Ironclad shariah-compliant image. Sometimes just by having ‘Shariah-compliant’ as a unique selling point in your copy, it blinded Muslims to other defects as in the case of ‘One Coin’ which duped many British Muslims out of thousands of pounds
This is the only way to get around the invisible halal filtering process in a Muslim mind. If a product is made by Muslims then it is automatically accepted as halal even when it is not certified. There have been many Non-Muslim businesses that try to fool Muslims into thinking that their product is made Muslims.
In today’s information age they always exposed in the end. Halal is a big deal to Muslims, you don’t want to build a brand on a lie. If you don’t yet develop the shariah-compliant image at the very least you can portray your brand as being Muslim friendly
Muslims are progressive people and they demand that you respect their belief, so you should avoid portraying Arabs as villains. You can’t expect people to give you their money by insulting them. Just to give you an example PUBG was boycotted for insulting holy sites. But this kind of boycott usually fizzles off after a while. But some take longer than others like the one in Malaysia when the Arabic writing (khat) is deemed to be insulted. It gave birth to the Buy Muslim First campaign.
Muslims are one group of people but they are not all the same, they actually vary in terms of culture even in terms of interpretation as to what is halal. Recent research showed there are conservative Muslims, ‘New-Age’ Muslims, liberal Muslims and socially pragmatist Muslims.
Their expectations are different and you have to market to them differently. What would work for one group might not work for another. Similarly what is effective in one region may be repulsive in another.
Human Rights- Halal is not just about permissibility it is also about justice, compassion and being humane. You want to disassociate yourself from practices that exploit others, like using child labor, human trafficking, and other activities that throw away human decency.
Similarly, if your country has an inhumane policy towards Muslims, a clear case is brands that support Israel they will be repercussions. Although some countries get away with like China even when their treatment of the Uigurs Muslims are resented. You can’t expect, Muslim consumers to buy your products when you are killing Muslims. Muslims governments may keep silent on these gross human rights abuses but Muslim consumers are increasingly particular about where they spent their money. But these do not apply to all Muslims
A lot of purchasing decisions on the individual level is triggered by emotional cues. They then give use their intellect to justify their irrational impulse. So a lot of copywriting bang on these emotional triggers repeatedly to drive results. Muslims are humans, they too buy because of emotional attachments. Many would argue that Islam is against impulse buying because it pushes you to buy things that you don’t need. Islam and Muslims are two different things. What we do know from research is halal conscious consumers are risk-averse.
This, however, does not mean that you should include a ‘no brainer’ money-back guarantee in every copy that you write. This will only will trigger their hypersensitive ‘Too good to be true’ alarm. It just means that they would have more objections that need to be dealt with convincingly and credibly.
Consumers usually look for the What’s In It For Me or WIIFM but for Muslims, you could generally use WOW or What Others Want. Generally, Muslims’ emotional triggers get activated by altruistic motives. One proof of this is nearly $100 million have been funded for projects that have a social impact on a crowd-funding platform such as Launch-Good.
I have a cousin who used this same WOW concept on a much smaller scale. He gets people to pay him every week for products they will never see nor consume. He made home-made ice-cream and delivers them to mosques in his city every Friday on behalf of the benevolent benefactors.
There is a lot of research being done to study what will influence the buying decision of halal consumers. You can go google them up, but personally, I believe that you’ll get more accurate insights into Muslim buying behavior by going to your local Masjid and talk to ordinary Muslims.
Ultimately, when writing copy targeted to Muslims they are people just like any other human being. It is just that their priorities are different. Before anything else, you have to make sure they want to listen to what you got to say.
Shahfizal Musa is the Founder and Managing Editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.
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