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No matter what you’re selling, it’s likely that you’re in a competitive and crowded marketplace. And if you’re not memorable, your marketing efforts won’t take you far. How do you build a unique brand that influences shoppers to choose you over your competition?

The answer? Understanding marketing psychology. Yes, you read that right. But you’re probably wondering; What is the importance of psychology in marketing?

5 Marketing Psychology Tips to Brand Your Business in 2020

1. Establish Yourself as an Authority
2. Leverage Social Proof
3. Appeal to Their Emotions
4. Use Compelling Colors
5. Be Generous

Since your prospects and customers are emotional beings, you need to understand why they think and act the way they do. Understanding this helps you identify creative ways to convince them to buy and stay loyal to your brand.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a psychologist to do that. Here are five marketing psychology tips to help you get better at marketing and influence brand loyalty.

A woman purchases on a phone, showing the value of marketing psychology in attracting and retaining customers in this article from Selz ecommerce for growing businesses

1. Establish Yourself as an Authority

Let’s say you’ve been looking for a fitness expert to help you achieve your fitness goals. You meet the first expert through a mutual introduction, and then you meet the second expert at the gym.

From your initial interactions, you realize that only a few people know about the first expert, and you just got lucky to meet them through a mutual friend. 

On the other hand, the second expert has a free online course and is writing a book on fitness. How would you make your decision?

While both might do a great job, you’re more likely to trust the second expert. 

This second expert seems more qualified because they have established themselves as an authority.

When you conduct a Google search for fitness courses, that instructor ranks first.

Creating content is an excellent way to do just that. In the process, you’ll build trust with your prospects and customers. It sounds simple, but it isn’t.

Given that there are 440 million blogs on the internet, your content should be compelling enough to rank on Google. Answer the questions that people ask by providing in-depth information better than anyone else in your niche. 

Codeless and uSERP conducted a study comparing the quality of content you’re bound to get from content mills, and the results were depressing. Take a look:

Results comparison

Sitting down for long hours writing and editing a blog post doesn’t sound exciting. But you need to look at the bigger picture. 

Publish low-quality content, and there will be no difference between you and everyone else who’s not publishing anything.

Once you’ve cracked it, expand your reach and share your expertise with a broader audience by starting a podcast.

According to Statista, 32% of adults in the U.S tuned in to listen to a podcast in the past month, and more people are tuning in every week.

Start by appearing as a guest on other shows to establish yourself and build credibility. As you do this, you’ll also be building an audience that will be tuning in to listen to your show.

2. Leverage Social Proof

We love to fit in and be part of a group. Besides, we’ll often look at how other people are behaving to guide us on how we’ll also behave.

On the surface, this seems like normal human behavior, but that’s social proof in action. It also affects how consumers behave and how they make buying decisions.

In branding, social proof comes in many forms:

  • Case studies
  • Customer testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Word of mouth recommendations

As Femke, Margot and Ellen reveal in their study, social proof has to be clear and useful for it to effectively influence the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors of people who interact with it.  

According to BrightLocal, 70% of consumers will read at least four reviews before trusting a business.

Data about social proof in a graph

To come across as a trustworthy brand that consumers want to do business with, demonstrate how good your product is through letting your customers share their experiences.

Adding social proof to your landing or pricing page is key in driving more sales.

3. Appeal to Their Emotions

Emotional branding helps you create messages that speak to your customers’ hearts. These messages appeal to their senses, making them connect with your brand. 

And that’s not all of it. Your customers are looking for a great experience with your brand. They want to express themselves through the interactions you have with them. 

Research reveals that the relationship a brand has with a consumer relies on specific motivational triggers such as harmony, autonomy, and pleasure. When we connect these positive emotions to a particular brand, it increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.

When using emotional appeal in branding, identify the emotion you want to elicit in your prospects and customers.

You might want to make them feel happy, sad, afraid, or angry. Use stories and relevant visuals to stimulate their senses and create an emotional connection with them. 

You’ll also want to take this a step further and elicit similar emotions in your ads, landing pages, and website to help you maintain consistency. To get this right, use writing apps to test the tone and style you will use in the marketing messages that you will be sending to your prospects and customers.

4. Use Compelling Colors

Your brand colors elicit emotional responses making your customers create mental associations with your brand. There are five traits that define your brand personality, helping you know what colors you should be using to showcase your brand personality.

Brand personality graph for an article about marketing psychology

And just like human beings, your brand’s personality is a mixture of these traits. However, your consumers are 80% more likely to recognize your brand depending on the dominant trait which you express through the colors, icons, and fonts you use. These elements help you trigger positive feelings while conveying your brand attributes, such as reliability, sophistication, and passion.

To illustrate this concept further, let’s take an example of a household name such as Starbucks. When you see the green logo, you’ll immediately think of their unique coffee that you can’t get anywhere else.

And it is almost impossible not to recall its distinct aroma from the coffee cup, tempting you to grab a cup of coffee next time you come across a Starbucks store.

When deciding on the color combination to use for your brand, this guide will come in handy.

5. Be Generous

Ever found yourself offering to pay the bill after coffee or lunch with a friend who once did the same thing for you?

It’s in our nature to give back to someone when we receive something from them. The principle of reciprocity states that when you are generous to others, they will give back to you in similar or different ways.

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini describes reciprocity through a case study where waiters gave diners a mint, leading to an increase in the number of tips by 3%.

When waiters went a step further and gave diners two mints, the tips increased by 14%. He goes on to explain that if a waiter left with a bill and came back immediately with a second mint, there was a 23% increase in the number of tips.

Done right, using the principle of reciprocity will help you initiate and build long-lasting relationships with your prospects and customers. You will be meeting their needs. They will feel obligated to give back to you through buying your products and referring other people to come and buy from you.

Here are two ways to help you get started with reciprocity:

1. Offer excellent customer service throughout the buyer’s journey. Remind your prospects and customers that you’re available whenever they need help.

Customer service image for Selz ecommerce for growing businesses

This way, they know that you understand them and their needs since you are willing to meet them where they are. You’ll look credible and trustworthy so they won’t hesitate to buy from you.

2. Offer a free trial of your product, for example, like Hotjar does, so they learn how to use it and enjoys the benefits long before they invest their hard-earned money in it:

Bonus: Leverage Scarcity

Things that are limited in quantity tend to be more appealing because they appear more valuable and exclusive. And once you get them, you feel powerful.

Scarcity compels us to act due to fear of missing out. Think of a time when you were shopping only to see that the items you were buying were in limited supply. You must have purchased the items immediately, right?

When using scarcity in branding, you want your customers to associate your brand with value that they can’t find anywhere else. Start by making sure that you have high-quality products and sell them for a limited time.

There is an inverse relationship between quality and quantity. High-quality products are hard to find, so you’ll never have them in large quantities.

However, selling only high-quality products means that your prospects and customers have to buy them before they run out of stock.   

A man works diligently at his computer and is attracted through careful application of marketing psychology


Your customers are different. However, the brain tends to react in similar ways when exposed to specific stimuli.

And since you want to stand out in your marketplace, start by implementing the marketing psychology tips we’ve discussed above.

Little by little, you’ll find it easier and cheaper to acquire more customers, inspire them to stay loyal, and increase your referrals.

Over to you. What tip will you start with?

About the author

Alex Sloane

Alex Sloane is a freelance content strategist who has worked with major brands to develop content marketing plans that drive real results.