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4 Ways to Implement Psychology in Marketing

image for Ridofranz / Getty Images
Ridofranz / Getty Images
  • When used in the appropriate way, marketing psychology can be an effective tool for increasing consumer awareness to your brand as well as the potential for increased profits.
  • Psychology plays an important role in decision-making, so marketing and psychology go together hand in hand when it comes to predicting consumer reactions to the products and services being offered.
  • It’s important to use the appropriate psychology technique for the marketing campaign. For instance, when there is a fear of scarcity, the psychology of human nature is to rush out and buy the product or service at risk of being depleted.

It's difficult to keep anyone's attention for more than a few seconds. Social media is especially distracting with news feeds and notifications on multiple platforms. For your business to prosper, you need to find special ways to connect with consumers and encourage them to take action through marketing.

"The motivations that lead people to action are the same online and offline," said Rachel Clemens, CMO of Mighty Citizen. "Great storytelling moves people, no matter the media. Clear branding, delightful design and easy-to-use technology drive people to action, whether that's via a website, online ad, TV commercial or even in a face-to-face meeting."

Leveraging psychology as a marketing tactic is a great way to get your brand noticed among millions of possible distractions. If you learn what is most engaging to buyers and when they are most likely to make a purchase, you can channel that knowledge to attract potential customers. Here are six tips on using psychology to improve your marketing strategy.

When your customers shop online, you want them to still have an "in-store" experience. Rather than just offering a product or service as is, provide additional information to personalize the customer experience.

"When making decisions, people love context," said Clemens. "They want to know what other people are doing, and they tend to opt for the same."

Organize your products by price and relevance, or based on the customer's purchasing history. Tell your customers which products are most popular so feel more confident in their selections.

During checkout, many companies experiment with default checking, which automatically selects an option for the consumer. Examples are opting to pay extra for two-day shipping or subscribe to the company's email list.

"When an option is preselected by default, people are far more likely to accept it," Clemens told Business News Daily. "In turn, organizations make more money and grow their email lists quicker."

However, she noted, be considerate of your customers. If you're selecting these options at their expense, they'll likely notice and lose respect for your company.

"Making your users feel duped is a sure way to turn them away," Clemens said.

When a customer proceeds to checkout, they are typically more open to additional purchases than when they are simply browsing. Take this opportunity to show them related products and deals that might interest them. For instance, if they have a pair of jeans in their cart, and you have a sale of buy one pair get one half-off, alert the customer before they place their order.

If they already made the purchase, however, you can still follow up with suggestions.

"Once your users have made a decision … it's easier for them to make another small decision," Clemens said. "Organizations can use this tactic on thank you pages or in confirmation messages to offer additional value-added products and services."

If your customers see that many people are buying a specific product, they'll feel more inclined to purchase it themselves. Creating a digital community for your customers will help your company become more renowned and increase your sales.

This is a concept called social herding, or "the practice of giving an online presence a sense of community," according to Clemens. Take Aerie for instance: their #AerieREAL campaign, which encourages women of all sizes to feel comfortable in their own skin, is also a major drive for revenue. The movement positively impacts society while simultaneously marketing the brand.

Another example is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which gained widespread attention across various social channels and raised $115 million in the summer of 2014.

"Hashtags and handles were used to spread the message and tag others to participate," said Clemens. "Those that participated felt a social kinship with others who had also participated and a viral experience was born."

"Humans are pack animals," Clemens added. "We like to follow the crowd. If we see other people doing something, we're more likely to join in."

Reciprocity psychology basically means that in order to get something, you must give something first. In business, this may mean that in order for your business to get a sale, you must first give something to the customer.

By offering your new customers an added value, you will be opening the door towards a business relationship with them. For example, if you own an HVAC service, reciprocity may be offering a free in-home evaluation of energy loss resulting from an insufficient HVAC system. In return, the customer will be thankful for the "free" service you provided, and they might then purchase a new HVAC system from your company. Utilizing reciprocity psychology in marketing can be beneficial for a variety of things, such as gaining new customers and gaining customer loyalty.

A popular persuasion technique is to invoke a sense of urgency and scarcity, which means presenting something as only being available for a limited time or that there are only a few of the items left. For instance, black Friday sales advertise "hot-ticket" items by announcing a limited amount, which induces a sense of urgency to purchase by the consumers. Through scarcity marketing, consumers naturally fear that they will miss out on the offer, so they will take nontypical steps to obtain the item; hence, customers standing in line for several hours in the early morning, simply to guarantee they will get the item before anyone else takes it from them.

Using psychology in marketing is an ideal way to understand and predict what your consumers may think about and how they will purchase your goods and services; however, it is important to make sure the proper type of psychology is used for the specific goal of the marketing plan.

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.