6 Ways to Win the Marketing Game with Psychology

marketing psychology
marketing psychology

What do you think is the key to successful marketing? Many would say it comes down to understanding your audience. This is certainly true, but once you’ve gathered intelligence on your audience, what do you do with that information? In its essence, successful marketing boils down to understanding the mind of your customer and using psychology to influence them to perform the desired action.

Smart marketers use psychology in a strategic way to both attract and engage consumers. If you can master these psychology tricks too, you’ll help your brand stick in the mind of your target audience, making them more likely to buy whatever you’re selling.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Understanding what makes your customers tick is key to successfully marketing to them.
  • Harness the power of emotions and storytelling to make your content marketing more engaging.
  • Use psychological biases such as a feeling of exclusivity or scarcity to boost your marketing efforts, but in honest and ethical ways.

1. Appeal to Their Emotions

The only way to win the marketing game is to win the hearts and minds of your target audience. Appealing to their minds is the easy part – crafting a logical argument about what your product and service can do for them should form the basis of your marketing communications.

However, to really be successful, your marketing campaigns must also tap into the emotions of your customers. Getting this right is an essential part of any marketing strategy – in other words, focus on the benefits, not the features.

It’s important to note that emotional marketing tends to be more effective when you’re speaking in a B2C context. If you’re trying to market to other businesses, it’s more likely that your audience will have their logical hats on and will be looking for how your product can be useful to them, rather than how it makes them feel.

But if you are talking directly to consumers, it is really important to connect with them on an emotional level and to promote a positive emotional response such as happiness, excitement, or inspiration. A 2016 study showed that individuals who build an emotional connection with a brand are 8.4 times more likely to trust the brand, and 7.1 times more likely to make a repeat purchase.

2. Become Their Friend

Speaking of emotional responses, it’s just as important for your brand to appear likable as it is for you to have good products.

Consumers are becoming increasingly distrustful of big corporations. Winning their trust and developing a friendly and approachable brand voice is vital to building engagement and a loyal following.

Being honest and authentic with your audience can go a long way to winning them over. Encouraging two-way communications is also important – don’t just bombard them with marketing messages – listen to what they have to say and act on it.

Some companies have had huge marketing success with chatbots when they’re well-programmed to represent the face of the brand. A friendly chatbot doesn’t just tell the customer information about your company. It also feels like someone is actually paying attention to what they say and cares about how they feel.

3. Utilize Social Proof

Humans are social creatures and tend to have a herd mentality. You may feel like you’re a unique snowflake, but the fact is it’s incredibly difficult to go against the grain and ignore what others around you are doing. Going with the flow is easier and it feels good too.

How to harness this quirk of human nature in your marketing? Use the power of social proof.

Social media has made the habits and preferences of others around us highly visible online, and as marketers, we can use this trend to our advantage.

One very simple example of social proof in action is when “influencers” buy fake followers to artificially bump their follower count. This isn’t only to impress brands that might choose to advertise with them – follower counts tend to grow exponentially as they increase. If you see someone followed by tens of thousands of people, you’re more inclined to follow them too, regardless of the quality of the content produced.

How can you use social proof in your marketing efforts? Make it easy to share your content and display like and share counts on your articles. Encourage user-generated content, reviews, and testimonials. And consider engaging in influencer marketing, but make sure to only work with influencers who reflect your brand values.

image source: https://blog.convert.com/importance-social-proof-marketing-conversion.html

4. Emphasize Exclusivity

Most people love to feel like they’re part of an exclusive club. This is one reason why “platinum” credit cards are so successful. Many people consider them to be a badge of success – a status symbol that places them above others, even if the fees and benefits associated with the card are less appealing than other “standard” credit cards.

The US Marines ran a very successful recruitment campaign for several decades using the power of exclusivity. Their tagline “The Few. The Proud” emphasized the highly selective Marines recruitment process and the fact that only the very best individuals would succeed.

Don’t try to market your product to everyone as this can actually make it less appealing. Instead, identify your target market and think of ways you can make them feel special.

5. Promote Scarcity and FOMO

Another concept related to exclusivity is “FOMO” or the fear of missing out. By introducing an element of scarcity into your marketing tactics, you can boost your conversion rate – nobody wants to miss out on a great deal.

This is possibly one of the most overused psychology tactics in marketing today, and as such it has lost a little of its effectiveness. Online shoppers are so used to seeing marketing messages like “Buy now! Discount ends tomorrow!” that they’ve become somewhat blind to them.

The key to being successful with this marketing tactic is to respect your customers and don’t fake scarcity. If you’re limiting your service to a certain number of clients, stick to that and close the doors when you’ve reached capacity. Don’t run continual sales as the power of those discounts will soon fade as soon as your customers realize they can get them at any time.

6. Harness the Power of Storytelling

As humans, it’s in our DNA to love stories. Stories are passed down through generations, and we grow up hearing stories from our parents from a young age.

Using a compelling story to get across your message rather than simply relaying the facts is more effective because it helps the information stick in the minds of your audience better.

Stories also tend to appeal to our emotions (see point 1), and can transport us to a place where we feel like we’re already using the product that’s being marketed.

Think about how real estate agents describe coming home at the end of a busy day to a warm and comforting home, rather than just describing the features of a particular property. When you read this description, you imagine yourself in the home, and if it resonates with you, the hard part of making the sale is already done.

Image source: https://www.abccopywriting.com/2013/12/10/what-really-makes-a-good-story

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.