Marketing Psychology: 7 Tactics to Influence Consumer Behavior

Have you ever been a recipient of a free service or product before? Like you got a product/service without paying a dime?

How did you feel about the brand that offered you such?

I’m guessing they quickly became one of the brands you’re most loyal to.

If that brand asked you today to start paying a small fee for the product, would you still continue to use their service?

I know a lot of people might say YES, and many might say NO. But I suspect there will be more Yeses than Nos.

This is a typical example of marketing psychology at play.

A True Life Story: Narrating a personal experience with marketing psychology

For many years I’ve used the services of Zen flowchart whenever I needed to make a flow chart. Zen offers its products for free. Like I don’t pay a dime.

I used their platform to create my website wireframe, sitemap, company organogram, customer service model, and so much more.

Up until now, I’ve never paid a dime to do any of the things. If Zen asked me tomorrow to start paying a $5 monthly subscription to continue using their service, would I agree? Without a second thought!

That is what we are saying.

Of course, you don’t have to give out your products or services for free. Not if you don’t have the capacity to. But there are other psychological tactics you can pull on prospects to lure them in.


Marketing psychology: tactics to influence behavior of consumer

1.   Reciprocity

As humans, we tend to feel indebted to someone when they do something for us.

For example, if a website gives you a free eBook, you definitely want to check out their other products. If a company gives you reward points for patronizing them, you definitely want to tell your friends about them. If a service provider offers you a discount service, you definitely want to defend them when you see others badmouthing them.

This is known as the psychology of reciprocity. It’s quite similar to the marketing tactic adopted by the brand I talked about in the early parts of the article.

Reciprocity doesn’t always have to be about free things or things of monetary value. You can use just about anything to lure people into feeling indebted to you.

A price slash, free course, educational material, free tips/tools, discount, coupon code, a referral program, or a purchasing reward program.

2.   Social proof

Social proof is a highly effective marketing tactic that’s been leveraged by many brands over the years. It involves the act of getting people to make a choice by proving to them that others are making similar choices.

How many times have you purchased a product just because you see your favorite celebrity rocking it? Don’t be shy about it; we’ve all been there.

That’s a great example of social proof at work.

You, too, can leverage the same tactic for your brand by getting a celebrity or an influencer to endorse you. You can also secure social proof by getting plenty of positive online reviews or receiving a certification from an authorized body in the industry.

3.   Choice of words

When it comes to patronizing brands, humans generally fall under the following category: nervous, greedy, expectant, curious, fearful, etc.

Your choice of words when targeting a particular kind of audience can play a part in the results you see.

For example, let’s say you’re marketing your product to a group of forex traders or sports bettors. You want to leverage words and phrases that scream greed. Why? Because most traders and bettors are greedy in nature. So, rather than say something like “Buy the best forex trading manual,” you want to sound more like “Go from $100 to $100000 in one week of trading.”

If you were marketing to a group of nervous and skeptical buyers, you want to leverage words like ‘best,’ ‘best-selling,’ ‘top-rated,’ ‘science-backed,’ ETC. Words like these help to assuage any fears buyers may have.

4.   FOMO

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. You can leverage this concept to get people to patronize your business.

How? You wonder.

Firstly, by offering time-limited offers. A time-limited offer is an offer that is only available for a short space of time. For example, a cooking recipe that’s only on sale for seven days.

Secondly, by offering exclusive offers. Exclusive offers are deals available only to a select few people. For example, imagine if Sony declares today that they have 100 customized PS5 to sell exclusively only to those with a brand membership card. You can bet that every customer with a membership card will run to their website to take advantage. Indeed, nobody wants to miss out.

5.   Fitts’ law

Fitts’ law states that the longer the distance and the smaller the size of a target, the longer it takes for a person to interact with the target. And vice versa

The implication for marketers?

Marketers need to keep their most important marketing elements at positions and in sizes where it would be hard for users to miss them. This would mean writing CTAs in large texts or keeping post titles in bold texts.

You want to apply Fitts’ law on other important marketing elements: copies, ads, captions, headers, special offers, etc.

6.   Authority

You can showcase authority via your expertise, track record, experience, or industry network. Authority can help you influence people’s opinions and purchase behaviors.

When buyers see that you’re an authority in the field, they tend to believe what you say and become a lot more inclined to patronize you.

For example, buyers would rather buy entrepreneurial tips from a guy with a successful business than from a random John who claims to have a degree in Business Administration. The former has been able to showcase their authority by being a successful entrepreneur. As such, people are more likely to be influenced by their opinions.

7.   Humor

People are generally stressed from work and life-related activities. As such, many are default tensed.

What does this mean for marketers?

It means marketers who are able to pull off the best jokes in their campaigns win the biggest fraction of the audience.

Humor has long been a key part of marketing copies. And even today, it still works magic.

You should be careful when using humor in your copies so that you don’t come off insensitive in some contexts.

Stay Connected

Read On