This blog post on psychology in marketing marks the last blog post I’ll be doing on my 3 favourite talks at Brighton SEO this April. To garner some context, read the first one here. The other two talks can be found here and here.
Creating Persuasive Content
It was no surprise that the Brighton SEO keynote speaker would be extraordinary. What I didn’t expect was for her to also be a beautiful, evil genius. Nathalie Nahai talked about the various ways that psychology can be used to influence your marketing strategies, including how to decipher different personality types and therefore how to best control, sorry, influence their decision-making in regards to your products or services. I’ll be fair, though – the language Nathalie used was intensely clever, reminding us that we are hoping to provoke a response that will prompt a conversion that is a mutually beneficial action. I couldn’t agree more, either. For me, good marketing is about making sure that the right products reach the view of the right people. By psychologically understanding your target market, i.e. the people that actually will benefit from what you’re offering, you can ensure that you are tailoring your approach to that audience, which in turn means you are helping that targeted audience to realise just how good you are for them.
Nathalie breaks down what ‘good’ content should do into the following three steps: grab (attention), provoke (an emotional response), and convert (in a mutually beneficial way). That means that this blog post you’re reading right now should have hopefully grabbed your attention with the title, and then held your attention by being so insightful. That insightfulness should provoke an emotional response such as ‘oh, I am feeling so smart now that I know these things that I’m reading’. This entirely justified emotional response will hopefully end with you ‘converting’. That conversion will probably be you following us on social media so that you can keep up to date with all of our upcoming, similarly intelligent and insightful, blog posts. I’ll be watching our stats to see if that’s the case; no pressure.
To avoid simply parroting what Nathalie told the audience about psychology in marketing, I’m going to work backwards, because there’s nothing more invigoratingly challenging for both you and me than swimming upstream for no discernible reason. I’ll present to you each of the key takeaways that Nathalie highlighted on her last slide. For each of these, I’ll grab together all of the relevant bits from the talk for you, and pop them into a paragraph or two that will demonstrate the concept. Sound confusing? You’ll just have to trust me. This is a learning experience for all of us.
One of the most important things you can do for your brand is to establish trust with your audience. People trust based on a few factors, but you can boil it down to one or two key elements: homophily (similarity) and therefore understanding. If your audience feels that you are similar, and therefore you understand them, they are much more likely to be persuaded by your message. Because they would never lie, right? So why would you? I’m sure Nathalie could clarify the psychology going on there.
I touched on the importance of ‘understanding’ your audience in my blog post about Natalie Jones’ talk on humour, but suffice to say that if an audience feels that you understand them, they gravitate towards your brand, and humour demonstrates a mutual view on the world and therefore a mutual understanding. There are a number of ways that you can demonstrate this understanding, though, other than the aforementioned humour. Another way that you can do this using psychology, as discussed by evil-genius Nathalie, is to promote trustworthy brand values. This is why there’s such an upsurgence of eco-friendly companies, or why you (or the brand you are working for) should involve yourself in charities. Lastly, and this is to do with homophily, you can mirror your audience. What are your audience saying? How are they reacting? You should react the same, even if that means you have to agree with Trump once in awhile – though I certainly hope you won’t have to do this.
Target Your Content To Your Customer’s Personality
Here’s where the truly masterful psychology comes in. Essentially, people can be simplified into certain personality types. These personality types respond to certain trigger words. Identify what personality types you should be targeting; use those trigger words; get rich. Here are the personality types along with their motivations and some trigger words that Nathalie provided:
Motivation: Creativity and Intellectual Stimulation
Use words such as ‘innovation’ and ‘imagination’
Motivation: Efficiency and Goal Pursuit
Use words such as ‘achieve’ and ‘results’
Extravert (And for anyone questioning the spelling.)
Motivation: Excitement and Social Rewards
Use words such as ‘outgoing’ and ‘attention’
Motivation: Connection with Family and Community
Use words such as ‘harmony’ and ‘love’
Motivation: Safety and Security
Use words such as ‘protection’ and ‘reduce anxiety’
Obviously, the challenge here is accurately deciphering the (average) personality of your target audience. Sometimes it will be obvious – do you sell safety equipment? Target the neurotics with words like ‘safety’ and ‘protection’! Sometimes, though, there’s not a clear way to go. In that case, you need to create one. With only 5 distinct personality types in psychology, whichever direction you choose to go with your brand will generate enough of a target market to make it worthwhile, rather than flinging around all of the trigger words for all of the personality types and catching maybe only 5% of each.
Trigger Words and Delivering Value: How To
This is all about how to avoid accidentally writing the dreaded ‘clickbait’. Are you listening, Buzzfeed? We all want to write catchy titles. It is ever so tempting to throw some clickbait onto your website and watch those views roll in. However, remember what I said earlier about trust? This is a surefire way to lose the trust of your audience. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t write eye-catching titles, just make sure that the content actually justifies it. If your content doesn’t actually offer value, or doesn’t deliver on any of the promises you’ve made in the title, then congratulations – you’ve made clickbait! Now we all hate you.
If you’re confident that your content delivers enough to justify a buzzword-laden, emotionally triggering headline, then here’s Nathalie’s formula on how to write one:
The example provided by Nathalie was as follows:
I can personally attest that this title would likely live up to the promise of getting blind drunk at Brighton SEO. Well done, Nathalie, you genius of marketing psychology and shiny, shiny hair.
You can watch Nathalie’s full talk here. If you’re interested in what else Nathalie has to say, and you absolutely should be, make sure to follow her on Twitter, @NathalieNahai, check out her website for upcoming talks and, if you’re super keen like me, purchase her book ‘Web of Influence’ for an even more in-depth look into web psychology.
If you enjoyed this series of blog posts on our 3 favourite talks at Brighton SEO, make sure to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter so that you don’t miss anything coming up in the future. I have it on good authority that I’ll be heading back to Brighton SEO in September, where I can then come back and tell you all my thoughts on it from my position at that point: the position of being an aged, wise, and completely jaded 6 month old in the industry, along with my position of being Nathalie Nahai’s new best friend, of course.