Add Psychology for Insta-Appeal
It’s no wonder people hate marketers. I mean really - we’re in the business of climbing into people’s brains and convincing them that they can’t live another day without a branded product or service. Pretty creepy stuff. While we’d all be more effective at our work if we could know each of our prospects really well before we started writing content and Tweets, that’s not plausible. And possibly even creepier. Therefore, enter real science. Great marketers are continually walking the line between psychology and technology to learn how to climb into many, many heads at the same time. Let's keep calm and creep on:
1. Make Your Titles More Depressing
So, there’s this remarkably strange phenomenon in science known as the negativity bias. In short, the human brain is more sensitive to negative facts, information, and news items. The average person’s brain will have more activity seeing a headline about 32 people killed than 32 kittens saved by firefighters. Journalists figured this fact out eons ago, which is why your average venture into Google News is about as uplifting as a funeral.
Is it safe to assume that driving more traffic to your blog from fast-moving social media network feeds might just require a slightly more dark take on your topics? Like writing “10 Reasons Your Prospects Point and Laugh at You” instead of “10 Inbound Marketing Tips”? In short, the answer is probably yes.
2. Text Can’t Compete
If you’re approaching Facebook or Tumblr marketing without visual content, it’s time to stop and hit reset. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than plain text. Now that’s one way to make sure your point gets across.
3. Play Devil’s Advocate
Remember the last time someone argued passionately against a fact you knew to be true and then smirked “I was just playing devils advocate?” You’re not alone in finding argument for the sake of argument super annoying. Not only is it a really effective way to annoy the heck out of your friends, it’s a pretty good way to convince people of a decision. Research by Social Psychologists indicates that counter-arguments will strengthen the position someone held in the first place. That means writing content titled “X Reasons Why [Our Product] is a Stupid Piece of Crap,” could actually send your sales through the roof. It’s certainly worth a try, right?
4. Create a Sense of Urgency With Mystery
Every marketer wants to create a sense of urgency that makes their prospects feel the sky could fall unless they convert into leads and customers. However, Gregory Ciotti is a believer that marketers don’t always take the right approach, which is to leave a little to the imagination. A major psychological study indicated that people were more likely to take action with less information than more, because their minds filled in the blank with a catastrophe. That means hinting at disaster or a limited-time offer might freak out your market more than actually letting them know that the sale ends Saturday.
5. Stop Lying to People
Okay, the research we’re citing is about to get sort of mind-blowingly strange. You might want to go cuddle your kitten if you’re afraid of weird studies. Psychologist Fiona Lee followed publically-traded companies who admitted to issues in a given year. Half of the organizations blamed their problems on external factors (like Hurricanes and Recessions), and the other half took full responsibility for bad management practices. The companies who took responsibility had higher stock prices the following year. I still can’t really wrap my head around why, but Lee believes that consumers think taking responsibility is equitable with being responsible. By all means, let your prospects know every time you burn microwave popcorn.
6. Define Your Buyer Personas to Their Face
Really great marketers spend time behind closed doors sketching out buyer persona profiles, and ensuring they include all sorts of personal information like age and income. Amazing, rock star marketers might just tell their buyer personas who they are to their face. Science indicates that people like being labeled and described, and defining who your products and services are for can be an effective way to help the right people find them. Think “50 Crockpot Recipes for Busy Working Moms.” The audience is instantly-defined. Don’t keep your buyer personas a total secret, unless you’ve named them Sluggish Stanley.
7. Be Divisive
Some of the greatest marketing of all time was really just a song and dance about who the company’s consumers weren’t. Steve Jobs let us know in his 1984 commercial that boring business drones need not apply to be Mac owners. The Mac versus PC commercials poked not-so-subtle fun at users of Microsoft products. In a pretty dark study that attempted to find out why humans do horrible things in large groups, Dr. Henri Tajfel discovered that it’s really easy to get groups to discriminate. Create some loyalty, define an enemy, and voila. Instant bullying. We’re definitely not suggesting that you use this research for evil, but letting your prospects know who your product isn’t for might be an effective tactic. Define who they are, and let them know how your product or service can fill the gap in helping them avoid being someone they’re not.
What are some of the stranger intersections between marketing and psychology you’ve discovered?
image credit: victor habbick/freedigitalphotos.net