Psychological Marketing Secrets for Your Next Campaign

by Sophie Ross

on January 25, 2017


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Psychological Marketing Secrets for Your Next Campaign.

You’re the victim of savvy cerebral warfare and you had no idea. Yes, the big guys – the major movers in every industry – have teams of top talent that craft fool-proof and time-tested ad copy that converts, and they do it almost as if following a scientific formula.

But don’t think for a minute that these marketing teams are re-inventing the wheel every time they run a new promotion. Instead they are relying on insider secrets that prey on the wants and desires of the majority of consumers out there (including you, dear sucker).

The good news is that we’re going to spill the beans now so your business can start incorporating these psychological marketing tips in your own outreach efforts to grow sales and other conversions.  

First off, we’re not really talking about being a nefarious player in your industry but simply understanding what people want to hear – scratch that – need to hear before they throw their wallets at you. (Do wallets still exist?) We know you’re a DIY website builder, and we assume you might be a DIY ad person too. Here are some of the top themes that the most successful business marketers employ, and now you can as well:

FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

This technique is employed to take advantage of the natural skepticism or cautiousness of the consumer. Targets may already be questioning themselves about their own ability to choose the right product or vendor, and you speak to those concerns by reinforcing them, essentially by asking your own challenge questions. Think about a company that is considering switching from manual bookkeeping to a payroll software and is not sure which to choose – if you were trying to sell to these folks you might include questions in your marketing copy such as:

  • What are the hidden costs of not buying from us?
  • Does your payroll software vendor offer 24/7 support?

If you know your competitor’s weakness versus yours, by all means draw attention to it using the FUD method!


Even more popular than FUD is the use of the scarcity angle in marketing – because it works. Go run through your own email inbox and you’ll find subject lines that threaten:

  • “Only XX Spots Available!”
  • “40% off sale closes at midnight!”
  • “Free gift to the first 100 subscribers only”

It’s all about creating urgency and the fear of missing out on a great deal. I bet you could come up with a half-dozen of these subject lines in the next 5 minutes for your own business, so use them in your next email blast. Pro-tip: check into adding a countdown timer in your email – those add-ons are amazingly effective at improving click-through rates and keeping your offer top-of-mind (and not instantly deleted).


Do you belong to any special invite-only Facebook groups offered by brands you patronize? If yes, then you yourself are proof that the exclusivity thing works! People want to feel that they’re part of a small and selective club of some sort and many seek to achieve that with their purchases. If your business is a BMW dealership you generate exclusivity, and desire, just by the nature of the brand you’re selling. The rest of us need to get creative and we can do this by starting a restricted-access group and giving it and its members a cool or exclusive-sounding name.

A company selling fitness consultation and supplements could start a “12-Week Challenge” group and only grant access to customers who sign up or buy a program. Another company could offer exclusive content to email subscribers of their top dog breeders’ newsletter. Even Lady Gaga’s “Little Monsters” fan club provides the aura of exclusivity to its deranged members, even if all you have to do is scribble sad thoughts in your personal diary and butcher your makeup to join.

Social Proof

We’re discussing time-tested psychological marketing tactics in this article, so let’s remember that there actually was social proof before there was social media. Consumers have always put value on the opinions of others even when its people they’ve never met. And when it comes to celebrities – look out – we fall hook line and sinker when one of those paid clowns tells us to buy a certain brand of toaster oven.

Of course now with the emergence of a new platform for business websites to grow there is greater access to, and reliance on, social proof. Think of how often you now go Yelp, or checkout Google reviews, or read a brand’s Facebook page before initiating a buy. How much would 115 Amazon reviews that average only 2 stars impact your choice to buy a certain product? Quite a bit, we’d guess.

So if you haven’t launched a campaign to acquire more reviews it’s a good time to start. Make sure you claim and optimize profiles on all the major review sites of interest to your customers. Also, add a testimonial or two (include the visual of stars if possible) in your email messages with a link to more of them on your business website or 3rd party review profile to help coax your prospects through the sales funnel.


Another great emotion to play on when marketing to your prospects is their innate feelings about fairness. Most people respond to an unexpected gift with not only pleasure at receiving it but also a nagging need to balance the scales by practicing some reciprocity. Companies that give away a high-value something without provocation usually receive stronger than average conversions on their calls-to-action.

For example, if your local accounting firm offered you a free 30 minute AMA phone call (“ask me anything”) with one of their small business tax pros – no strings attached – for simply giving them a “like” on Facebook, or signing up for their newsletter you’d probably do it if you’re a small biz doing your own books and a little over your head. You are likewise by that description a perfect lead for that firm to nurture over time and worth the valuable giveaway.

Hopefully we have your wheels turning now about what psychological sales tactics you can use in your next email or social campaign. If you’re currently using these methods (or others) please tell us in the notes what has worked best for you!

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