[Ebook] Leveraging Psychology in Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing


Marketing and psychology share a common bond—they both strive to understand the motivation, needs, desires and responses of individuals. As a discipline, psychology has studied and gained insight into how human psychology drives our consumer actions. Kath Pay, Marketing Director at cloud.IQ illustrates that as marketers, when we integrate consumer psychology insights into our programs we are able to speak to our buyers more effectively—moving them through their buying lifecycle faster.

Without reading and researching consumer psychology studies, marketers can incorporate the insights into their programs by leveraging these seven psychology concepts:

1. Persuasion Architecture

Persuasion Architecture is simply using design (in an email or on a website) to help guide the buyer to convert. In this case, conversion does not necessarily mean purchase, it can be clicking on a call-to-action, reading an article, or going to the website. To effectively use persuasion architecture, your design needs to ensure that it is as easy as possible for a buyer to follow the path to conversion.  You can do this two ways:

  • Implicit Directional Cues: Less obvious visual cues that include line of sight, color, and shape and size of objects that imply prioritization through visual weight.
  • Explicit Directional Cues: More obvious visual cues that often take the shape of a line, arrow or curve that explicitly guides the viewer to the call-to-action.

2. Emotion Driven Behavior

Despite being conscious of making a “rational” decision, most people subconsciously make purchasing decisions based on emotion. Then they rationalize their purchase by coming up with explanations after the fact.

So while it’s important to educate your buyers about your products and services, it’s also important to engage their emotions in your marketing. This can be done through images, storytelling, persuasive subject lines or compelling copy. A good example of this can be seen in many television commercials, that build a story around the product instead of doing a ‘hard-sell’. By emotionally engaging your audience, you improve your chances of converting buyers emotionally.

3. Social Proof

Social Proof is the concept that people are more likely to engage in a behavior if they see others doing the same or are told others did the same. It’s basically the effect of peer pressure.

Social Proof can be used in a variety of ways—from encouraging purchase through peer evaluations, to using statistics to show buyers what actions other buyers ‘like them’ took, to suggesting a tipping amount—it can be an incredibly powerful way to prompt buyer action.

4. Scarcity and Loss Aversion

At the basic levels of human behavior, there are two main drivers—avoiding pain and experiencing pleasure. These are the key to every action that we as humans take and they shape the concept of scarcity and loss aversion.

When people are faced with either limited availability, or a limited opportunity to get they best deal, they are more likely to buy. This is why buyers act quickly when they are told that a product or special offer won’t last long. They want to avoid the pain of a lost opportunity and experience the pleasure of a getting a deal. Marketers can incorporate this principle into their marketing promotions with countdown clocks, and by using language that illustrates a sense of scarcity like ‘limited edition’ or ‘don’t miss out’.

5. Reciprocity

It’s human nature to dislike being indebted to others, which is the basis of the reciprocity principle. In order to effectively leverage this principle, marketers need to ensure that they offer their buyers something of real value.

Offering value makes asking for something in exchange feel acceptable to buyers. Often marketers will leverage this principle in their email list-building efforts—offering a discount code, or exclusive access to content in exchange for buyer contact information. By doing this, you not only gain information, you don’t annoy your buyer.

6. Commitment and Consistency

The principle of commitment and consistency declares that as human beings, we have a deep need to be seen as reliable and true to our word. Most people dislike saying one thing and then doing another, so if you can get a buyer to publicly commit to something, they are more likely to follow-through with it. For example, having a buyer commit to your brand in a small way, like a reward program or ‘liking’ or ‘following’ you on social media sites, makes them more likely to eventually purchase from you.

7. Anchoring

Anchoring comes from a cognitive bias known as a heuristic, which describes the human tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information that you receive (the anchor) when making decisions. This strategy allows buyers to shorten their decision-making time and make decisions without stopping to think about every possible course of action.

When buyers need to choose between options, they look for a base from which to start—this is the anchor. An example of the anchoring effect in action is promoting a product on sale with it’s original price still listed. Buyers will see the original price and anchor it in order to evaluate how good the sale price is.

As Kath Pay demonstrates, leveraging these techniques derived from consumer psychology principles in your cross-channel marketing campaigns will help drive buyer engagement, lifecycle acceleration, advocacy and purchase. See in-depth explanations and examples of each of these principles in action in our ebook–Leveraging Psychology in Digital Marketing.

Leveraging Psychology in Digital Marketing