Amal Tapalov
Amal Tapalov

Psychological triggers in marketing

It isn’t news that technologies evolve every day, and modern businesses use various marketing and advertising strategies to reach even more potential customers and close sales. From traditional media to digital marketing and social media, marketing and advertising seem to be everywhere. In the digital world, companies of all shapes and sizes strive to persuade each potential lead to take a call-to-action.

We believe that we have complete control over our actions, but science has shown that we have cognitive biases and can be persuaded to take specific actions.

The truth is the higher a person’s motivation, the higher the chance an emotional trigger will happen.

But what are psychological triggers and how can you leverage them in your marketing to boost website sales and improve the user experience for your customers and prospects?

In this article I’ll introduce 10 psychological triggers and how you can use them in your own marketing strategies.

1. Social proof

It’s no secret that social proof is a powerful psychological trigger in marketing. Real people using a product or service can influence our decision to get into it or avoid it.

For example, let’s say you’re browsing through listings on Amazon. Do you go to the review section, read what people wrote about the item, and check how many stars the item has? I definitely go through all these steps because I need proof that this item is good to buy — simple as that.

Some statisticsto prove it:

  • 92% of customers read online reviews before buying.
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1–3 reviews.

2. Authority

Another psychological trigger is the principle of authority. People are more likely to accept the opinion of a product or service if it’s supported by credentials such as:

  • Diplomas, degrees, or awards
  • Press coverage
  • Recommendation from a highly-specialized and respected individual
  • Interviews, expert content, and publications

I tend to believe in products that are supported by big brands such as Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, Amazon, etc. even during the first stages of getting to know the product. The presence of popular brands or celebrities in product campaigns attracts people to become part of it and, figuratively speaking, be in the same party with them.

3. Scarcity

I’m sure you’ve experienced the fear of missing out (FOMO) at least once per week, or even more. I see the scarcity trigger every day while shopping at my local grocery store or browsing online shops. To put it simply, the principle of scarcity is limiting products or services, making them harder to obtain. Fear is an incredibly powerful psychological trigger that can be traced back to our early ancestors. But you only have to lightly touch that trigger to make an impact.

4. Personalization

Personalization has been a trend in marketing over the past decade. Large companies and enterprises invest a lot of money into personalizing their products and services to consumers. Why? Recent studies show that personalization can lead to a 500% increase in consumer spending.

Let’s imagine you received an email and your name is in the subject line. How likely are you to open it? No need to answer, because marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

Nowadays, marketing isn’t about showing the same block of information to everyone; instead, it’s about persona-based and future behavior-based communication. I bet you’ve noticed items related to your search history in online shops, or movies “you might like” on video streaming platforms. I like personalization, as it helps me save time in most cases, and I don’t perceive it as another episode of the “Black Mirror” series.

5. Consensus

This is a common principle in social relationships born years ago when only the first contacts began to emerge.

It could be access to your app, a 30-day trial access to a YouTube Premium account, or freebies in exchange for your email. As Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing, explains, “One of the most widespread and basic norms of human culture is embodied in the rule for reciprocation. The rule requires that one person try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided.” Simple as that.

When you provide someone with something valuable, they’ll feel obligated to give something in return. An effective method is to provide customers with really valuable incentives; otherwise your business could lose potential leads.

6. Be specific

People tend to be skeptical when they feel that the information you provide is too general, vague, or unrealistic. Make them feel more connected with what you’re selling by being specific. This also helps you become more relatable to your customers.

One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to use quantifiable numbers. Instead of saying, “Our clients managed to increase the conversion rate by 20%,” say, “Our clients managed to increase conversion rate by 21.5%.” Or, you can say, “We have 9,984 happy clients,” instead of 10,000 — you want to demonstrate that you believe every client counts.

7. Credibility

This trigger will help you create reasons for why customers should rely on you. People are naturally skeptical, and it’s your responsibility to build credibility and gain their trust.

Have you ever been on a company’s website and read about their years of experience, their success story from a startup to enterprise, or the journey of gaining enough investments to grow? All these facts are reliability-building statements. By showing how you’ve succeeded over years of experience, you prove to your customers that you can be trusted.

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