8 Simple Rules of Marketing Psychology

Which boat would you buy – and why?


When it comes to marketing your products or services, knowing what makes people buy and why can have a monumental impact on the success of your marketing and advertising campaigns. Here are 8 simple rules that you can incorporate into your sales and marketing strategy to improve customer engagement and increase your total sales.

  1. FACE IT! Pareidolia is the psychological term that describes seeing a human face in a random object or image (like seeing the man in the moon or the image of Virgin Mary burned into a grilled cheese sandwich that scored $28,000 on eBay). Ads showing people’s faces outperform product-only ads better than 3:1 because we’re hardwired for it.
  1. Getting to know your target customer (who they are: age, sex, profession, education, hobbies, interests, dreams, fears) allows you to align and focus your campaigns exclusively that speak to them. People want to feel like you know them, like them, and are talking to them. That’s how Cosmo took a dead magazine into a billion dollar enterprise.
  1. People buy for emotional reasons (joy, happiness, envy, lust, greed, fear, etc.); so your ads must trigger an emotional response in them. Use visuals (pictures and videos, preferably that show the faces of people enjoying your products) to help stir up that emotion. You want them to SEE the emotions of other people who are loving your products (refer to #1).
  1. Functional specs (height, size, capacity, etc.) are needed in your sales arsenal but it’s the benefits (prestige, fun with friends, wind in your hair, “chick magnet”) that will sell the product.  Professional copywriters should know how to incorporate both into a successful ad.
  1. Make it personal (say “you” instead of “it”, “them” or “they”) and use words like ‘imagine’ that puts them behind the steering wheel in their own mind.  “Imagine the wind blowing through your hair as your soak in the warmth of the hot sun, cooled only by a light spray of ocean mist…” can you feel it?
  1. Knowing their objections up front (ie: no place to store it) allows you to proactively solve any doubts (6 months free boat storage with every purchase) before they arise. The more time they have to object to buying, the more likely they will talk themselves out of the purchase. However, if their objections are addressed right within the marketing itself, they won’t be able to come up with any reasons not to buy from you. This is why the “impulse buy philosophy” (like the chocolate bars, gum and magazines we add onto our orders while in line at the grocery store) is so successful.
  1. Add-ons (which can lead to up-sells) can be less expensive and more effective than knocking a few dollars off the listed price of the main sale. The bottom line here is that your customers want to walk away feeling like they are special and have scored the best deal of the day – so make them feel like they are and give them a deal you’ll both be happy with.
  1. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes what you think is a great ad will flop. Your marketing needs feel like it’s personal; at least to your customers but the recipe for a successful campaign is not made of hopes and feel-goods. A successful marketing campaign is a combination of research, analytics, and skill using the science of persuasion.  Targeted market research, combined with split tests, along with polls, focus groups and surveys can save you thousands of dollars by reducing advertising duds while increasing the overall effectiveness of your ads.


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