How to use digital consumer psychology to stand out from the competition


With more people shopping online than ever before, it’s time to use digital consumer psychology to your advantage.

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July 20, 2021

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Understanding what your customers are thinking and why they are doing what they are doing can make all the difference in your sales.

Beauty giant Neutrogena has invested time and money in consumer psychology and it pays off. When the company discovered that 75% of its customers were buying products from just one segment of its line, Neutrogena wanted to see if that could change that. Using historical shopping cart data, Neutrogena created product matches. The company started adding banner ads and videos, which would display product pairs to targeted customers. For example, if customers have purchased an eye cream in the past, it would make sense to advertise a facial cleanser in conjunction with that eye cream. Using this tactic, Neutrogena exceeded its benchmark by 289% and achieved a return on ad spend of $ 8.05.

Related: 6 Ways To Leverage Consumer Psychology To Drive More Sales

Why digital consumer psychology matters

Consumer psychology is the study of how social persuasion, decision making, and motivation influence consumer behavior. Our thoughts, feelings, perceptions and beliefs all relate to these ideas and determine our purchasing choices. That said, the correlation between understanding your customers’ buying behavior and making sales is clear. Understand how your customers make decisions, and you can adjust your sales techniques, marketing, and products to better meet their needs and speak to them directly.

Today more people are shopping online than ever before, so we need to apply these concepts to digital marketing. With over 25% of people doing 90% of all their purchases online, this trend is not going to go away.

Related: The Intersection Of Psychology And Marketing

How to Use Consumer Psychology in Online Marketing

Create social proof. People need to trust your brand to feel comfortable making a purchase, especially online where they can’t see or touch the item first. Social proof is the assurance that others have tried something, so your actions to follow suit are justified. You can create social proof online by featuring reviews, testimonials, video interviews, and affiliations. Having solid social following also builds social proof.

Make sure your website is emotionally appealing. Effective websites spark emotion in buyers. This emotion can be a relief when they see that your service can solve a problem for them, or just the appreciation of aesthetic photos and graphics. Either way, having a professionally designed website builds the confidence of your customers. The appearance of your website will determine how buyers engage with it people are less likely to buy a website if it is not visually pleasing. So make sure your photos are of high quality, the color history makes sense, and the text is aligned properly. This also applies to your email marketing and digital advertising.

Decrease cognitive load. Americans are exposed to thousands of advertisements every day. It’s a lot to process for people and it shows how important it is to stand out. Cognitive load is the mental processing power used by your working memory. When a person is overwhelmed with more information than their mental processing capacity can handle, they experience cognitive overload. We want to avoid this in digital advertising sometimes less is more. Avoid giving your customer too many choices. You can even break down a longer message on different screens. For example, in your email marketing, hook the consumer up with information that requires them to click a button to continue reading.

Related: 12 Great Resources To Dive Into Consumer Psychology

Call for scarcity. The human brain still thinks, in some ways, at a very basic level. We are programmed to fear loss, avoid pain, and chase pleasure. This is why “Buy now, limited quantities available” or “Sale ends in 24 hours” ads are so common. they work! Think about the success of Amazon Prime Day. Your attraction to scarcity will vary from company to company if you are a service provider, you may be offering limited time free consultation or training. For product-oriented businesses, you can buy one, get an “while supplies last” offer.

There is no turning back: all signs of consumer behavior point to online shopping. With this change, there is a huge opportunity to factor consumer psychology into marketing strategies. So the next time you sit down to craft your marketing plan for the quarter, take a close look at your website, digital ads, and social proof. It just might make the difference between a good month of sales and a blistering month.


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