The role of psychology in digital marketing

Louise Rohan avatar
The role of psychology in digital marketing

Digital marketing is all about knowing what makes your audience tick. It’s essential that you understand what resonates with your target market, what type of content they want to see, and what entices them to click on ads and calls to action. What are your potential customer’s pain points and how can you prove that you can help them? This is where the psychology of marketing comes in.

Paradox of choice

Studies have shown that giving customers too many options to choose from can lead to consumer anxiety and ‘buyer paralysis’. The buyer becomes worried that whatever choice they make will be the wrong one and as a result, they end up not purchasing at all. To combat this, ensure that you don’t overwhelm your consumers with too much choice. Make sure that you provide clear calls to action and either only provide potential customers with one or two options to choose from, or split your products into clear, simple categories and use different marketing campaigns to target each category.

Emotional marketing

Other studies show that we often rely on emotions, rather than rational information, to make a decision. Many marketers use emotional messaging in order to make their audience sit up and take notice. This tactic involves tapping into a particular emotion such as happiness, anger or fear in order to elicit a response from the consumer, leading them to make a purchase and become a loyal customer.

When you are putting together your content marketing strategy, spend some time thinking about what sort of content would inspire and evoke excitement in your target audience. Tell a story that gives a relatable, human feeling to your brand.

Social proof

Social proof is based around the idea that people love to get reassurance from others that your product or service is legitimate and high quality. You can tell your audience as much as you want about your brilliant products or fantastic services, but proof from other customers is what really convinces people. Just think of any shop or restaurant that you’ve ever searched for on Google – 99% of the time, you’re going to choose the one that has the highest rating on Google reviews.

In fact, research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend. So a key part of any digital marketing strategy should be collecting client testimonials, user reviews and user-generated content. If you wish to take your social proof strategy a step further, consider using influencer marketing for product reviews or celebrity endorsements.

Information-gap theory

The information-gap theory was developed by George Lowenstein in the 1990s and is based around the idea that people experience a strong emotional response when they notice a gap between what they currently know and what they would like to know.

This is why ‘how to’ or ‘top things you didn’t know about’ articles tend to gain such high traction. These are headlines that spark curiosity in the reader. You have alerted the user to a gap in their knowledge and have implied that by reading your article they will fill this gap. I often find myself scrolling through my LinkedIn newsfeed, scrolling past a ‘7 things you didn’t know about…’ article and then going back up and clicking on it a few seconds later out of sheer curiosity. It’s a great way of grabbing the user’s attention and enticing them to click through. However, do make sure your content is genuinely interesting and educational, otherwise it is just clickbait.

Scarcity theory 

Research has shown that consumers are more likely to purchase a product if they believe there is a limited supply or they will be securing a discount that is only available for a short period of time. For example, when you are in the middle of booking a flight you might see an alert which says ‘only 2 seats left at this price’, or when booking a hotel you might see ‘5 other people currently looking at this room’. This marketing tactic taps into that fear of missing out that is inherent in all of us and encourages you to book quickly before it’s too late.

Colour psychology

Colour psychology is so important in marketing, particularly when it comes to designs, infographics and your website design. Research has shown that different colours can trigger certain emotions in consumers.

For example, red has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and people tend to associate it with emotions such as energy and passion. It can also be associated with aggression and power, so if you want your brand to come across as calming and reassuring, you would be better off with a soft blue or green. Have a think about what you want your customers to feel when they enter your website, and then choose a colour scheme accordingly.

These are just a few of the tactics that can be used to subconsciously influence your target audience and increase conversion rates. I can guarantee that every time you are making a purchase online or are hit by targeted ads from now on, you’ll notice that at least one of these tricks is being used on you!

Give us a call on 01992 582 824 or fill out our contact form if you would like us to help you build a strategy to engage with your target customers.

Louise Rohan avatar

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