It’s safe to assume that in order for a marketer(opens in a new tab or window) to successfully do their job, they first need to understand who the customer is, what they want, and what drives them to make a purchase. If it sounds a little like psychology(opens in a new tab or window), that’s because these strategies are based on psychological theories, and are commonly referred to as marketing psychology.
And while marketers are definitely not psychologists, they do use several psychologically-based observations about human behavior to communicate effectively with potential customers and increase conversions on a daily basis.
In the article below, we will investigate what marketing psychology is, five commonly used marketing psychology principles and how to use them for yourself.
Marketing psychology has been loosely defined(opens in a new tab or window) as “incorporating a range of psychological principles into your content, marketing, and sales strategy.” Going further, you can also think of marketing psychology as a way to look for patterns in humans and assess how this relates to their purchase decisions.
Put simply, the idea surrounding the Reciprocity Principle is that in order to receive sales as a brand or business, you must give to the customer first. This is because psychologists believe that humans are more likely to return a favor or increase their cooperation levels if someone (or in this case a brand) has done something for them first.
Whether it's giving them a feel-good moment with a top-notch buying experience or providing a safe transaction with a cash receipt(opens in a new tab or window) for their return and refund guarantee, customers will remember and reciprocate in the future.
So by offering added value to your followers or new customers, you are opening the doors towards a new relationship with them.
In a world where many brands already invest in digital marketing to some capacity, chances are you may already be enlisting the elements of the reciprocity principle. Whether it’s offering free content on your blog, providing your Instagram following with inspirational quotes(opens in a new tab or window), or, keeping in touch with your customers through a helpful and curated newsletter once a month, these services provide value to the customer on top of your basic product or service offering.
Give your followers a mid-week boost of confidence by customizing the Pink Quote Women's Equality Instagram Post(opens in a new tab or window) or the Grey Beach Quotes Summer Instagram Post(opens in a new tab or window) template.
Image Credit: Glossier, Create and Barrel and French Connection via Medium(opens in a new tab or window) First developed by George Loewenstein(opens in a new tab or window) the early 90s, he believed that curiosity was birthed when people feel like there is a gap between the information they know and what they want to know.
Marketers often use The Information-Gap Theory in content and social media marketing. You can see the theory used in the way publishers write headlines as questions. Chances are you’ve seen headlines that start with phrases like: “How To...” or “The Secret Trick To…” or even, “The One Hack..”. These headlines are used to pique our curiosity and want to fill the knowledge gap by clicking into the story.
Writing tip: It’s worth noting that this trend taken too far can become known as click-bait, and many publishers are trying to steer away from misleading headlines that don’t match the intent of the article.
With social media, brands often attempt to steer followers towards their homepage in order to increase traffic. Whether it’s attracting followers to the latest sale or news story, you’ll often find brands use a vague selling point on Instagram Stories(opens in a new tab or window) with a “Swipe Up” to find out more information about a sale, or an exclusive offer.
Entice your followers with these minimal and bold Instagram Story templates.
Psychologists believe that humans place a value on things that are harder to obtain. According to Shahram Heshmat(opens in a new tab or window), we can think of scarcity in a positive way because it “orients the mind automatically and powerfully toward unfulfilled needs.” Scarcity marketing is where consumers fear that they will miss out on what’s on offer, thus losing their freedom of choice.
Some of the ways marketers use this idea can be through:
Increase awareness on your next big sale by setting promoting it on your Facebook Banner.
Professor of psychology and marketing, and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion(opens in a new tab or window), Robert Cialdini, believes that when humans are unsure what to do, they look to those around them for advice on what should be done.
Social proof marketing goes one step further than simple word of mouth. Instead, it calls on the persuasive powers of experts, celebrities and user reviews as a way to increase our trust in the product or service. And the digital age has amplified the power of Social Proof Marketing to new heights.
Below are other types of social proofing you can try when trying to promote your business:
When it comes to spotlighting positive reviews, many brands have dedicated pages on their website, or use them in social media marketing.
Nobel Prize-winning psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky discovered Loss Aversion during their research on Prospect Theory. In short, Daniel and Amos found that people seemed to value avoiding a loss more than accessing an equivalent gain.
Marketers use Loss Aversion Marketing on a regular basis—just think of how many “last chance to buy” emails you have received in your inbox?
While this can prove to be an effective strategy, the internet has meant that many users get flooded with this style of marketing, and thus if not done properly, it can have a detrimental effect.
Some Loss Aversion Marketing strategies include:
For the perfect loss aversion marketing strategy, advertise your next sale on social media with the eye-catching Summer Sale Facebook Post(opens in a new tab or window) and Surprise Sale Facebook(opens in a new tab or window) graphics.
While it can be appealing to try and utilize all the marketing strategies listed above, when assessing how you can implement marketing psychology into your strategy it’s best to first think about the business you work for, what best suits your existing strategy and what data says about who your customer is.
In conclusion, leveraging psychology in your marketing strategy is a great way to get your brand noticed in a sea of competition. It will also help you define what is the most engaging way to communicate with your customers.