Written by Sam Yadegar on Jan 21 , 2021

Here’s how digital marketers can leverage psychology tactics to improve campaigns, conversions, and more.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How psychology plays into marketing
  • Ways to use psychology to create better campaigns
  • Tips for objection handling through psychology
  • How marketing psychology can help foster brand trust

Marketing is all about human behavior. As marketers, we’re always trying to get inside our target audience’s heads. What do they want, what are their concerns, and what will inspire them to act?

Encouraging people to think or act in a certain way involves a good deal of the science behind the mind and human behavior, known as psychology. It makes sense that having a strong understanding of this subject could help improve the way we approach marketing.

For example, plenty has been written about what constitutes a successful website user experience. Easy navigation, appealing design, a secure online transaction process, and crisp content all make a difference. But if you really want to beat your competition? Having a strong understanding of user motivations and behaviors can go a long way. 

Below, we break down nine marketing psychology tips that can help turn window shoppers into converted customers.

HawkSEM Psychology Tips to Improve Your Digital Marketing

Tailoring to someone’s interests can make them feel more valued, which in turn gives them a more positive impression of your brand or offering. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Address pain points

The human mind looks for reasons and patterns. When giving people a reason to choose your product or service, highlight how it will minimize the issues they’re facing. 

For this to work, though, it’s crucial to understand your customers’ pain points and motivations. Creating ideal client personas through research and surveys can help you do just that.

2. Focus on the positive

Once you’ve addressed pain points, focus on the positive outcome your target audience is seeking, whether that’s saving money, streamlining a process, or making their lives better in some other way.

While Psychology Today reports that our brains are more sensitive to negativity, it’s the small positive acts that matters most — in a ratio of about five to one. They add that “it takes frequent small positive experiences to tip the scales toward happiness.”

This is where remarketing comes in. Leveraging repeated messaging through remarketing can create a pattern that may inspire someone to finally “add to cart” or request a consultation. 

3. Personalize to make your point

HubSpot highlights a University of Texas study that claims “we can attribute our preference for personalized experiences to two key factors: desire for control and information overload.” Adopting the marketing psychology tactic of tailoring your message to someone’s interests can make them feel more valued. This, in turn, can give them a more positive impression of your brand.

“Customer-centric marketing” is a phrase repeated ad nauseam. But the fact remains that, these days, customers want to know you created your business or offerings with them in mind. 

Building custom landing pages and ads that are specific to certain audience segments is one of the most effective ways to do this. When creating these campaigns, make sure that:

  • The message is clear
  • The design is consistent
  • There’s a strong call to action (CTA)
  • Everything is optimized for mobile

4. Save customers time

While we have tools that save us time and help us get more done, our lifestyles and business challenges have many of us still wishing we had more time. That’s why the promise of time savings often has more impact than the assurance of cost savings. 

As the New York Times reports, “In our pursuit of happiness, we are constantly faced with decisions both big and small that force us to pit time against money.” Part of this reason, according to experts, is because most people have far less free time than previous generations.

If it makes sense for your business, emphasize the time you can save customers. Back it up with testimonials. You could also provide a curated list of your product options or service add-ons to customers to drive the point home.

5. Be honest and transparent

We’ve mentioned before how today’s customers favor the brands they consider authentic. A study from Label Insight showed that, “if your brand isn’t transparent, consumers will hunt for information elsewhere,” according to Inc

Your ad copy should not only get to the heart of customers’ problems while illustrating empathy and kindness (without coming off as condescending or insincere). That means no sensationalist language or over-to-top claims that stretch the truth. Sticking to the facts is always best.

HawkSEM - Marketing Psychology

Colors can trigger specific feelings, particularly when purchase intent is high. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Leverage color psychology

There’s a reason why a certain popular fast-food chain uses a lot of red in their restaurant interior and packaging design. The same goes for why hospital rooms are often painted calm, soothing colors like light blue. 

Research shows that colors can influence how marketing messages are interpreted. This is especially true when it comes to persuasion and your brand’s impression. In fact, they can even trigger specific feelings, particularly when purchase intent is high. 

You can use the principles of color psychology to:

  • Run better-informed A/B tests
  • Create recallable and impactful brand logos
  • When planning a website redesign 
  • Create engaging social media and content posts

7. Understand the fear of missing out (FOMO)

While the psychology behind FOMO is a newly studied phenomenon, it’s known to affect a variety of age groups, according to experts. 

The simple fact is that fear can prompt actions. This means it’s worth exploring as part of your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy. This is particularly true during times of blowout sales, discounts, and when you’re trying to maximize leads or purchases over a short time period. 

Pro tip: Studies show that limited-time offers entice shoppers to buy. Knowing that a good offer will only be available for the next 24 hours or so is likely to have the most impact on customers. 

8. Include testimonials and social proof

Speaking of authenticity, it’s human nature to question things. In fact, skepticism can be a key part of critical thinking. While skeptics aren’t always cynics, acknowledging that all of your marketing claims need to be backed up and credible can help strengthen your campaigns.

For example, you could attach a name, face, and job industry or title to each testimonial on your ad or site. This provides context that helps the reader trust what’s being said. Videos showing how your service has made a difference to customers can also win you loyalty and encourage people to explore your company further.

9. Prepare to overcome objections

To appear as an authentic brand, it’s important to showcase the merits of your offerings without overlooking contrarian ideas. That means that, psychologically, it’s possible to raise credibility by pointing out your product’s shortcomings, as Fast Company explains.

Seasoned marketers know that paying attention to common objections from prospects and customers is crucial. It’s not only beneficial for overall brand feedback, but it can help inform how your company projects itself through avenues like ads and content. 

Sure, a similar business may offer a few more bells and whistles, or come at a lower price. Objections like that are the perfect opportunity to highlight the value that comes with opting for your brand. That could mean fostering a true partnership with your client, a CX team that goes above and beyond, a core value of giving back, or something more.

The takeaway

Whether you look at the side of the marketer or the audience being marketed to, humans are at the core of both. 

The more you expand your knowledge of marketing psychology, the better positioned you’ll be to drive up your conversion rate and attract a loyal customer base. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in January 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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