Psychology-based Marketing: 3 Proven Ways to Increase Engagement and Response

December 9, 2013 by

psychology based marketingGetting people to click, call, or visit is hard work.

But what if there were a secret to it? And what if this secret were scientifically-proven … affordable … and easy?

If this sounds like the miracle of science you’ve been waiting for, I have good news: Your wait is over.

Social scientists have now proven that people have developed shortcuts to decision-making. In truth, if we wanted to weigh every bit of information before making a decision, we’d never make any. So over the millennia, we’ve created these default behaviors. And science shows we rely on them all the time – even though we’re often unaware of it. 

RELATED CLASS: 7 Ways to Motivate Behavior in Any Online Channel

And what does this have to do with marketing? Lots! Because not only have social scientists discovered these decision shortcuts — these instinctive, reflexive actions — they’ve also found that they can be prompted. 

In other words, we can use what science has proven about human behavior in order to influence it – to stack the deck in our favor.

Social scientists have identified dozens of human behavior principles. Here are three you can use today to increase engagement and response.

1. Availability Bias

Social scientists have found that people judge the likelihood of something happening based on how easy it is to think of examples. That’s why, after hearing about a plane crash, we all think it’s more dangerous to fly than it actually is.

So how can marketers use this? Let me give you an example. Sharper Image sent me an email advertising their “Weather Alert Emergency Hand Crank Radio.” Now I happen to believe God created batteries for a reason. I am not the hand crank type.

However, the very night before the email arrived, there were terrible thunderstorms in my area. It was all over the news. People lost power. While I wasn’t one of them, it certainly changed my perception about the need for a hand crank radio. 

RELATED CLASS: How to Write Killer Email Copy

2. Social Proof

Social scientists have found that when people are uncertain of what to do, they look to others — especially others like themselves – and follow their lead.

This is why endorsements from your customers trump anything you as a marketer can say.

So how can you harness social proof in your marketing? One example is an email  the Obama campaign sent during his bid for re-election. It’s now no secret that President Obama assembled a team of behavioral scientists to help get the vote out. This particular email offered “25 reasons from 25 people who are voting for Obama,” and then urged me to forward the email to my friends. It’s a great example of social proof used on me – and then by me.

25 reasons people are voting for obama

3. Principle of Scarcity

When something is available only to a select group of people, or only for a limited amount of time, that makes us want it even more. Social scientists call this the principle of scarcity and it has two components: exclusivity and urgency.

A terrific example of the scarcity principle in action is Grey Poupon’s Society of Good Taste. Essentially a fan club for the mustard, Grey Poupon requires you to apply for membership through a Facebook app. Candidates are scored based on their “credentials, social standing and public appearances,” and either accepted or not. 

Grey Poupon Society Facebook

Once in, you can try to win prizes that are available only during specified times.

Essentially, the promotion leveraged both the exclusivity and urgency halves of scarcity.

There are plenty more human behavior principles where these came from – all particularly powerful in increasing engagement and response.

Learn scientifically proven ways to prompt your audience to take automatic action.

Watch 7 Ways to Motivate Behavior in Any Online Channel, and discover techniques you can easily embed in your integrated strategy and creative today in order to increase your engagement and response rates tomorrow. You'll learn how to harness the surprising power of the Principle of Consistency, and see rich examples from email, direct mail, social, and digital. Get instant access to this class now.

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