3 Psychology Biases That Can Make or Break Your Online Marketing

Digital Marketing

What’s behind the decisions your customers make to click, buy and share? According to The Advertised Mind, neuromarketing is the root of why people make decisions. “Our unconscious mind – not our conscious mind – drives how we respond to ads, brands and products and, ultimately, drives all our buying decisions. Customers don’t really know why they buy what they buy, which is why traditional market research falls short.”

If our unconscious mind really is the driving force behind how we respond to decisions, marketers need to get to grips with the main psychological traits that can influence their customers’ perceptions of their brand, products and advertising. We bring you the top three unconscious triggers that can affect your online marketing and offer some solutions on how to make the most of them.

1. The Halo Effect

The Theory:

The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias that influences our overall impression of person or brand based on a previous experience we’ve had with them. For example, if a person is physically attractive and outgoing they can also be seen as funny, intelligent and kind, even if this is not the case.

The Problem:

Once a customer has formed an initial impression of your brand or product, all of their future impressions could be influenced by it. This can be problematic if your customer’s initial impression is negative, or even if it’s only mediocre. Marketers should aim to create a fantastic and memorable first impression of their brand and carry it throughout the sales funnel.

The Solution:
  • Endorsements from powerful influencers or celebrities can have a significant impact on your brand’s perception (even something as small as a retweet can have a positive effect).
  • One great product can often influence the perceptions and sales of another. Apple’s iPod for example has been well documented as the shining halo example marketers should aspire to.
  • Never underestimate the importance of great customer service. If a customer rings you enquiring about your product/service create a good first impression by being knowledgeable, friendly and genuinely helpful.
  • Build up pre-existing trust by giving potential customers insight into your brand and creating a positive impression of your mission, staff and office.

2. Belief Bias

The Theory:

Belief Bias means that people are quick to reject conclusions because they sound extreme, outrageous and downright unbelievable. This can happen even when people are presented with logical facts and statistics.

The Problem:

Your customers might not believe an impressive claim you make on your landing page, even if it’s true and backed up by facts and data.

How Marketers can Overcome Belief Bias:
  • On some occasions it might be better to make a statement sound more realistic rather than trying to back up your argument with more information.
  • Try creating testimonials to back up your claims rather than highlighting statistics and data. Customers might respond better to other people endorsing your product rather than an onslaught of figures they may view as unrealistic.
  • Your customer’s gut reaction often holds a powerful influence on their purchasing decision. When writing copy try and appeal to their emotions rather than attempting to convince through pure logic.

3. The Framing Effect

The Theory:

The Framing Effect proposes that people are more likely to take risks when an outcome is presented as a loss. They also tend to avoid these same risks when an outcome is presented as a gain.

The Problem:

As marketers, sometimes we are too quick to jump to the benefits of our products or brands when creating marketing collateral and online advertising. Maybe it’s best to take a pause and think: Would this ad work best if I framed it as an avoided loss instead of a direct gain? Of course, this depends entirely on your target market, their desires and their subconscious fears.

How Marketers Can Use The Framing Effect:
  • Tell your customers what they’re going to save by buying a product. For example, instead of saying, “Pay only 60%…” it’s best to say, “Save 40% off…”
  • Blog titles and call to actions that advise customers to avoid loss or pain can be very effective. For example instead of saying, “7 Ways to Gain a Sale” try “7 Tricks to Avoid Losing Out on Your Next Sale.”
  • Subtly compare your product to that of a competitors, highlighting your unique selling point. For example, “ X company save you time, we save you effort.“

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About The Author
Zara Burke

Zara is the Digital Marketing Institute's Digital Marketing Executive. She writes about all things digital marketing, including search, social media, email, mobile and Analytics. Her core passions are content creation and small business strategy.