9 Psychology Principles for Marketing Your Business and Boosting Sales

You’ve come up with a fantastic idea for a new product.

Or you’re launching a service that solves problems and gives great value to your customer.

Now you need to convince everyone to support it.

However, you haven’t had much success with this in the past. So, how can you get everyone to support your service or product?

One of the greatest tools a marketer can use is understanding how and why people act the way they do. Knowing how to create content your audience will love and trust and that is personalised to target the right people is key.

It’s helpful to know just how people think.

Understanding key principles in psychology can take your marketing efforts from good to great, all because you’re starting to target the right people in the right places, the right way.

Once you understand these 9 principles behind marketing psychology and integrate them into your marketing plan, you’ll start attracting those prospective customers you weren’t able to reach before and your conversions will explode.

Let’s begin.


1. Commitment: People Want Their Beliefs to Match Their Values

The principle of “commitment” declares we have a deep seated need to be viewed as consistent.

So when we have publicly committed to something or someone, then we are more likely to go through and deliver on that commitment.  Therefore consistency.

This makes for a very powerful tool for marketers or for people who are looking to get others to take a specific action.

When You Could Use This in Marketing:

You can use this principle when talking to clients. As you discuss with them the benefits of what you are selling, get them to agree each step of the way.

Don’t just bombard them with the information.

So, if you are trying to sell Youtube software , you would say: Our software automates 100% of your video uploads. Would you find that useful? Then, our software makes it easy customize your video metadata. Do you think you could use that?

And so on.

Then, if the customer has replied yes to all or most of these, when it is time to say ‘Yes I’ll take it’, they have almost talked themselves into buying what you’re selling by agreeing that they would find the benefits useful.

Thus giving you more success than simply reading a list of features to the customer.


2. Authority: Obey Me!

Ever wonder why people overall tend to obey figures of authority, even if those authority figures are objectionable and ask others to commit objectionable acts?

Jim Jones and Charles Manson come to mind.

It’s simply our animal nature at work.

Job titles (Dr., for instance) and uniforms can add an whiff  of authority into people, thus leading the average person to accept what a person in authority says without question.

You can see this in commercials that, for example, utilize doctors to front their ad campaigns.

In the real world, people give their trust — and their money — to experts every day.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

You’re probably thinking, ‘I am not an authority/expert, how can this work for me?’.

Truthfully you do not need to be an authority or expert in your field to apply this principle, however, it makes it a lot easier if you are.

Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate authority.

Ask the key influencers and authority figures in your field to back your idea/project/business/website. If they show support for you then the people that they influence will also give you more credibility and trust.

This is why testimonials work so well in persuading people to buy online. They work even better if the person leaving the testimonial/review is considered an expert.


 3. Liking: The More You Like Someone, the More You’ll Be Persuaded by Him or Her

Liking someone is extremely meaningful because it will affect the chances of you being influenced by that individual.

It’s based on sharing something similar with people you like, and can be made even more effective as it also includes physical attractiveness, similarity and compliments.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

A company that wants to boost its conversion rates simply has to focus on creating a very well-executed “About Us” page. Your “About Us” page serves as an opportunity to tell potential buyers all about the similarities between you and  your site visitors. Similarity is one of the key building blocks of liking, you now see why investing time in an effective “About Us” page is so crucial.


4. Clustering

People have a limited amount of short-term memory.

In fact, most people can only remember seven pieces of information (plus or minus two pieces in any given situation) at a time.

To cope, most people tend to cluster similar pieces of information together. For example, you may mentally group grocery items into certain categories (dairy, grain, meat, etc.) to be able to better remember what exactly was on the list.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Retail and consumer product companies regularly apply clustering techniques to data that describe their customers’ buying habits, gender, age, income level, etc. These companies tailor their marketing and product development strategies to each consumer group to increase sales and build brand loyalty.


5. Verbatim Effect

We naturally condense information in our memory.

A compelling speech is often reduced to a “fuzzy blur” where we remember a few key concepts.

If you’re writing, pack as much information into the headline as you can. If you’re on radio, aim for short, compelling soundbites.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

With our busy schedules, people are headline-hungry.

Given the “verbatim effect,” you should try to pack as much relevant and descriptive information into your headline as you can.

Your headline is only a few words that sum up your entire post,  so use it wisely – it may be all that your readers remember.


Because the majority of people use headlines to decide whether or not to read your article. Doesn’t matter how good or bad your actual article is. If it has a weak headline, it won’t get read.


6. Recency Illusion – the belief that things YOU have noticed only recently are in fact recent

It starts happening after you encounter something for the first time, and then you start noticing it everywhere you look.

You bought a new MacBook Pro and now everyone you see seems to have one, too. You notice it because you’re more aware of it.

That’s why it’s critical to deliver marketing messages via multiple formats and channels. You can reach more people but you also give them multiple opportunities to see or hear your content.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

A product that’s been used in the same way for many years is introduced in a new way for a new generation.

When Starbucks changed their logo, everyone was in uproar over the re-envisioned image of the Siren.

In reality the twin-tailed mermaid is still a half-fish half-woman creature, but with its suggestive spread of her two tails cut off.

Due to controversy over the change and the newness of the logo, people flocked to stores of the world-famous brand and their coffee sales surged, but slid soon after the noise died down.


7. Scarcity: The more fleeting or rare something is, the more we want it

This psychology principle goes back to the simple formula of supply and demand: the more rare the opportunity, content, or product is, the more valuable it is.

First, we instinctually prize things that are rare. Our brains use an item’s rarity as a proxy for its value as in “It must be valuable because everyone wants it!”

Second, we hate losing things. This applies to tangible goods; think of the pain you get when you realize you left your mobile in the cab.

Third, competition. Not only are we averse to losing things, we hate losing them to other people. This is why you see people go crazy during  Black Friday sales events.

With scarcity, we experience several emotions at once, the combination of which put our critical thinking on hold and make us susceptible to being persuaded to buy.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Don’t make anything open-ended and show the value of acting now.

Having a set fixed end date for any project stirs people to act, even if that end date is arbitrary.

  • “Limited time only – 25% percent off”
  • “Limited time offer – Up to 40% discount within 11 days!”


8. Social Proof: Validation Based on What Others Are Doing

Social proof is based on the time honored tradition of safety in numbers … people doing what they observe other people doing.

In 2014 and beyond, social proof will gain in importance because customers are becoming more informed all the time.

Given the ease of the internet at their fingertips, customers can know an immense amount of information about your business before ever speaking with a salesperson.

Check out these two statistics revealed by consumer research around American consumers:

  1. Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. [source]
  2. Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. [source]

When You Could Use This in Marketing

Adding testimonials to your website is the most common way of implementing Social Proof. This is where your current users/readers write a short paragraph about why they are glad they took the desired action and why they would recommend it to others.

PRO tip for using testimonials — if you have some information about the visitor, use it!

People are more likely to follow people that are like them, so if you know your visitor is male, show testimonials from other men.

If you know that your visitor is called David and you have a testimonial written by someone else called David then show that.


9. Reciprocity: I’ll Scratch Your Back, You Scratch Mine

The concept of “reciprocity” is simple – if someone does something for you, you naturally will want to do something for them.

For example, a “thank you” in response to an act of kindness is still followed by the reciprocal gesture “you’re welcome”.

When You Could Use This in Marketing

People love to get things for free.

  • “Buy One and get another Free”
  • “Get Free Shipping”
  • “Free Trial”

So how do you make best use of this?

Give away something — for FREE!

It can be anything — a branded sweatshirt, an exclusive ebook, or video.

You giving creates reciprocity and ,by delighting your audience with these small gifts, you’ll be one step closer to establishing atrue, solid relationship with your visitors, leads, and customers.

What psychology principles do you use in your every-day marketing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.