5 Psychological Tricks to Use in Your Marketing Campaigns (and Why They Work)

Marketing is a deeply psychological field.

In essence, you’re trying to alter the psychological state of another human – creating some kind of motivation for them to engage with your brand, company or product.

Despite this, we don’t tend to look at the key psychological drivers behind the marketing we do – we’ve got some ideas that have either worked in the past or worked for someone else, so we’ll implement those.

By following this route we come to understand ‘what’ works – but often not ‘why’ it works. When you discover the ‘why’, you get to play around with your marketing, with less chance of reducing the effectiveness of your message – and a deep understanding of how you can tie your products of services to deeply rooted psychological motivations in your potential customers.

Check out these 5 psychological tricks that could very well improve your marketing efforts…

#1 – Create fear

When you think about using fear in marketing you could be forgiven for thinking of it as a blunt instrument that only the most susceptible customers will be drawn by – but you’d be wrong.

Fear comes in many shapes and sizes – and while some medical companies might be able to lever a ‘if you don’t use this product your life is at risk’ – that’s not going to work for many other industries.

So, instead, we need to lever a different kind of fear – usually either fear that someone will miss an opportunity, or fear that they’re not going to know as much as the person next to them.

This all might sound contrived, I mean, how dangerous is it if someone doesn’t use your product? Well, if you’ve got a real belief in what you’re selling this could be a genuine concern. Is someone going to die if they don’t use your web design company? Highly unlikely – but if you strongly believe that you do your job better than the next person, then could your customers be missing out on their full brand potential without you onside? Yes, they could.

Establishing your product, for example, lets say you offer pool services such as willshapools.com, the knowledge you hold or the service you provide as absolute ‘musts’ for any self-respecting customer, and you create an air that they’re not getting the most out of life unless they take the action you’re suggesting…

#2 – Create a new position

You can’t control what your competitors are doing with their branding – but you can look at what they’re not doing – then make it work for you.

Here’s an example:

Car 1 is stylish, versatile, affordable and spacious – so when a competitor tries to bring Car 2 comes to market they’re in for a tough time vs. the established value of Car 1. Instead of going head to head on those selling points, they find their own selling point; safety.

“Car 2 – for when your family’s safety matters”

Now, of course your family’s safety matters – so you wouldn’t want to be seen making a choice that suggests it doesn’t.

With just a few words your product establishes its own unique selling point and diminishes the selling points of the competitor – you’ve repositioned your competitor in your customer’s heads as the brand that doesn’t care about your family’s safety – making them an obvious second choice.

This tactic works because, in general, we like to be seen to be making choices that establish us as agreeing with popular opinion, if we don’t, we face rejection – and no one likes rejection.

#3 – Display (the right amount of) confidence

Confidence is a balance, offer too much and you come across as being insincere and not credible – too little and customers are going to see you as second best (or worse)

Product comparisons are a great way of establishing a solid display of confidence in your product – and you’ll notice it’s not uncommon to see pages on brand’s webpages with titles that follow a format like:

“Our product vs. competitor vs. competitor”

Now, who in their right mind would compare their product to a superior competitor? The answer is clear – no one – but is it really that simple?

Well, no it’s not, because it’s all about perception rather than reality. You wouldn’t pick a fight unless you were in with a chance of winning right? Perhaps you would if you felt the pre-fight PR was going to be enough to notch up a win – and you definitely would if the fight never really happened as a result of your great PR.

People do not expect you to pick fights you won’t win – so when you do, they’ll assume you, your product or your service is capable of the win – and they’ll spend accordingly.

#4 – Familiarity breeds friendship

This is a quick and simple tip based on some fairly simple psychology.

The more times we see something, the more we believe it to be true – even if we have no evidence that this is the case. You might not know your next-door neighbour, but studies show you’re more likely to trust that person than you would a random person in the street.

People like familiarity. It’s why irritating TV advertisements work. Make your message, brand, product or service a frequent feature in their social media and they’ll trust you more than the next company…

#5 – Give to receive

Ever wondered why a waiter sits a mint on top of your bill when you’ve eaten in a restaurant?

It’s all about our desire to be seen a gracious. Studies show that you’re far more likely to tip (and increase your tip) if you’ve been given something you perceive to be free-of-charge – even if it’s just a mint.

The good news is, we don’t have to deliver mints to potential customers to win their favour, instead, we can simply offer them something digital – like an interesting piece of content or a discount code.

This is where content marketing is invaluable. Who are you most likely to favour? A company who’s consistently providing you with great and valuable content? Or a company who offer you nothing other than the bare-bones service? Studies show that we almost always opt for the company that’s been dishing out value – we don’t want to appear ungrateful after all…


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