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The Psychology of Marketing: How to Influence Consumer Behavior #semrushchat

Elena Terenteva
The Psychology of Marketing: How to Influence Consumer Behavior #semrushchat

Admit it – as a marketer, you like to know as much as possible about your audience. If not, you’re either not a marketer or just stabbing in the dark without an understanding of what marketing is all about. The answer is pretty simple: marketers who know their audience can use psychology to attract, persuade and retain clients.

Today, we’re discussing psychology of marketing with Lee Odden,CEO at TopRankMarketingand dozens of SEMrush chat participants to find out what processes they use to make important marketing decisions.

What are some principles of human behavior that marketers can use?

Without further ado, the first question should reveal some instinctive principles of human perception and behavior that can be manipulated to leverage conversions.

Lee pointed out that a good marketer should always be aware of their working process and watch for opinions, conversations and overall details that will help make their average buyer profile more specific. Search engines can also be a good source of common queries, questions and concerns relevant to your business niche.

The next point from Lee describes the process behind decision making. People are more likely to trust other people than an advertising team on their way to work in the morning.

A1: Color psychology is key: people decide on a product in 90 seconds & 62%-90% of that choice is based on color. #semrushchat

Lee Odden (@leeodden) November 11, 2015

We’re all used to representing ourselves as rational beings, but when it comes to consumption or relationships, we behave more emotional and less rational. The psychology behind colors can quickly affect people and tip the scales towards purchasing.

Long, boring texts drive people away from your website. And the people we’re referring to live in a constant rush and have little time to focus on your blog posts and articles. So make them straight, to the point and short.

A1: People tend to buy from brands they trust. Work to build trust & brand affinity by providing value to your customers #SEMrushchat

Andrew Dennis (@AndrewDennis33) November 11, 2015

Trusted brands function as social proof. If you build an atmosphere of trust around your products and service (by addressing positive and negative feedback, solving problems, etc.) your logo will be interpreted as a sign of trust, making it more easy to purchase.

If you’re a “part” of something big, your brain interprets a purchase as an investment. Therefore, marketers should encourage their audience to take part in marketing activities, seminars, chats and so on. Let’s sum up with our best tips.

Human behavior and marketing

To better understand your audience, you need to incorporate as much data as you can. Sometimes this can be managed through a direct conversation with a customer, but most likely, the marketer will need to perform online research. The next question will tell us how to do so like a pro.

How can you collect more data about your audience online?

The method you use to collect data is important, but there are some things that you should do even before beginning full-scale research.

A2: Before data collection, it’s important to set goals for how to use the data. Will it inspire strategy, content plans, CRO? #semrushchat

Lee Odden (@leeodden) November 11, 2015

Google Analytics is the best method of studying user behavior on your site. Which pages are more popular than others and why? Is there any seasonal increase in traffic? Make sure you write everything down.

Customer polls are also a good way to reveal hidden hopes and desires. Moreover, web analytics allows marketers to look through heat and click maps to detect if the content actually answers their questions and calls to action buttons are situated in right places.

A2) Behaviors on site: shares, time on site, ppv, bounce rate, newsletter signups, heatmaps. #semrushchat

Ryan Johnson (@rsj8000) November 11, 2015

Keyword research will show you what people are using as search queries to find information on the web. By researching keywords, you can build a profile of your average customer and thus anticipate their future behavior.

When researching your audience, don’t limit yourself to your own site. Even if your audience behaves well there, but they go to the forums or their own blog, things might look not as bright.

Use keyword research to understand what they’re talking about. And if you think you’re not hearing them, just listen.

A2 Learn where you audience might go to talk, and listen to what they have to say. #semrushchat

Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) November 11, 2015

Social media is a powerful tool for collecting data. Look through your customers’ profiles and you can see their statuses, lifestyles and common interests.

Overall, the key points behind successful audience research are analytics and regular communication, as well as always paying attention to what visitors are actually doing on your website.

Data about your audience

So the data is researched and combined, but what should you do next? You can store these reports in your desk or try to apply this knowledge and leverage conversions. The next question reveals some techniques for using the data in a business environment.

Once you collect data about prospects and customers, how do you apply it?

First of all, collected data can be used to optimize offers, landing page design, as well as UI and UX within an application or service.

A3: Specific collected consumer data through things like a/b or multivariate tests can be used to optimize offers. #semrushchat

Lee Odden (@leeodden) November 11, 2015

The second point Lee kindly shared with us concerns building a general marketing strategy. Once you have all your user data combined, it’s time to anticipate how you can improve user engagement or conversion rates.

In short, if you lack the necessary marketing data concerning your audience, you can’t decide what content will be popular.

A3: Create offers and content based on collected data. Segment your target audiences by theme/category/offer. Always measure! #semrushchat

Thom Craver (@thomcraver) November 11, 2015

The information about the audience also opens the door to the new tools and approaches, that could be implemented in the strategy.

Once you’ve learned about buyer personas, the next step is to put yourself in the customer’s place. To benefit from this research, rethink your approach and your overall strategy. Segment your audience and decide how you will reach out to each group. Consider implementing A/B testing to decide what’s best for your audience.

Data about customers

People use different devices to surf the Internet, but does this fact have any influence on customer psychology? How should you interact with a mobile-oriented audience? Let’s find some answers.

Intent and behavior of a mobile user vs desktop user

Mobile users can’t navigate through non-responsive sites, so make sure your website is a good fit for them. Targeting specific locations with paid ads will sufficiently your increase mobile traffic.

A4: For mobile audiences, the info needs to be accessible for small screens, but also focus on location-centric behaviors. #semrushchat

Lee Odden (@leeodden) November 11, 2015

Imagine you are using your smartphone in a traffic jam, for example, to place an order or find the nearest parking lot. Simplicity is key in such a situation. Mobile device users doesn’t have the same reserve of patience as desktop users because they are accessing the Internet from less comfortable environment.

Mobile users are impulsive, and they can quickly change the direction of their search if the urge strikes. Therefore, you have only a few minutes to hook them on your website.

A4: Mobile users have SQUIRREL mentality -- they're flitting about form this to that. Grab 'em quick! #semrushchat https://t.co/sAywtaSa08

Sarah Bernier Danks (@bernier) November 11, 2015

Mobile search usually concerns specific places or services nearby. That’s why your business (if it’s aiming at a mobile audience) should be optimized for local search as much as possible. Use Google My Business and long tail keywords to increase your local presence.

Mobile users are more emotional when visiting a website, so long texts and lame navigation could drive them away. Use brief, plain texts and CTAs, and make sure your website is properly tested on mobile devices.

A4: #Mobile = immediacy, emotional, need driven. #Desktop = thoughful, contemplative, discerning. #SEO #SEM #semrushchat

Jacob McEwen (@jvmcewen) November 11, 2015

Our participants are unanimous today: mobile users are emotional, their thoughts flitting, and you have only a few seconds to grab their attention. By contrast, desktop users are more analytical, calm and location-dependent.

Intent and behavior of a mobile user
To what extent do specific words matter and what are the best ones to use?

Words matter! They matter even more in ad copy or call to action – simple and short messages have to be persuasive, convincing and clear. Not an easy job even for a long text! So let’s take a look at some specific words that can help you to successfully meet the copywriting challenge. First of all, remember to speak the same language your audience do. And we are not talking here just about the language itself – jargon, technical terms, the style of your message – everything have to resonate with your readers.

And don’t underestimate the power of the single word, especially words used in call-to-actions, headlines – everything eye-catching deserve to be tested and improved.

A5: Numerous case studies shown that one word can make all the difference. Use A/B testing for what works best. #semrushchat

Thom Craver (@thomcraver) November 11, 2015

Words attracting attention

Thanks to following participants: Chris Desadoy ‏@EliteYouTubePro Jim Katzaman ‏@JKatzaman Lee Odden ‏@leeodden MacKenzie Krantz ‏@kenziemmk Nishan Khednah ‏@Nishan Rohan Ayyar ‏@searchrook Stephen'Bern' Banham ‏@Berngaming Also, we decided to share with you one page from some research we are working on right now about the most popular words used in ad copies (SEMrush US database/Ad copy Body). The full research will appear on the SEMrush Blog soon. 

Most popular words in Ad copies
What are some common psychology-related mistakes marketers make that hurt their brands?

According to Lee, the biggest mistake marketers can make is to forget about their customers.

Manipulating choices with specific text formulas, trying to hide the truth under an asterisk and and having a negative bias — those were all fine in 2005, but would they be appealing to an audience in 2015? Your customers are getting smarter day by day, and if they have a negative experience of some kind, they may never come back.

Q6. Using negative choice bias to try and manipulate a positive choice. I.E. YES I want to succeed or NO I want to fail buttons #semrushchat

Chris Desadoy (@EliteYouTubePro) November 11, 2015

Content is another point of interest here. Marketers sometimes rely too heavily on fear and uncertainty instead of using a more positive approach, as Julia McCoy points out.

Who doubts that designers like their jobs? But even a good designer can sometimes suffer from megalomania and create stuff that their audience doesn’t like. Remember that your design should be based on research as well as other marketing efforts.

A6: Ego-driven marketing/web design: "I like it, therefore it's good." Everything must be data driven. #semrushchat

Ryan Johnson (@rsj8000) November 11, 2015

And the last (but not least) mistake is deciding what your audience wants instead of simply looking and listening. The good news is this flaw will be noticed very soon as even a regular customers would chose another brand sooner or later.

In summary, the worst thing marketers can do is to put their ego above their customers by taking an approach that’s too aggressive, or trying to teach people how to live or spend their free time. Never ever do that.

Psychology-related mistakes in marketing

Our final question is about persuasion skills. Sometimes a person just doesn’t want to make a purchase or consider a few products in order to make an optimal choice. How can brands leverage the psychology behind decision making?

How can brands persuade resistant customers?

Even with a tough customer you can find some points of agreement, and as a marketer, you should find them and use them.

A7: Lead with something the resistant audience agrees with, then move towards your objective message. #semrushchat

Lee Odden (@leeodden) November 11, 2015

Some audiences require a lot of negotiation experience from marketers. In most cases, it helps to first find common ground.

Sometimes it’s better to back off quickly — an approach that’s way too aggressive could scare some customers off. Use the power of images (presentations, slideshows and infographics) to convince a tough audience.

A7) Demos, reviews, give more data and information - just know when to back off #semrushchat

MacKenzie Krantz (@kenziemmk) November 11, 2015

According to ThinkSEM ‏@ThinkSEM, it’s more important to understand why your customers are resistant. Did you "sell" too soon? A good marketer understands the customer buying cycle. And to summary these opinions, another brilliant insight from Lee.

In order to persuade a resistant audience, marketers should focus on trust, educate their customers in every possible way, remarket their ads, offer discounts, and use social proof, testimonials and ratings.

How can brands persuade resistant customers?

Use the power of digital psychology to boost conversions and don’t forget to attend the next #semrushchat next Wednesday!

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Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush. Elena has eight years public relations and journalism experience, working as a broadcasting journalist, PR/Content manager for IT and finance companies.
Bookworm, poker player, good swimmer.
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