How to Create a Psychology-Based Marketing Strategy

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In the world of search marketing, we are always trying to work out what exactly makes people tick in a variety of different situations—including online browsing, using social media networks, and most importantly for many marketers — the process of purchasing products or services. It is important to take into account the audience we are trying to engage with by figuring out exactly what motivates them and interests them. Without this knowledge, we are always going to be second-guessing.

With content marketing now the driving force behind the majority of search marketing strategies, it is important to create content that makes a difference. The basics involve creating content that is of interest to the person who sees it, in the hopes that they will share it and at best link to it. However, the psychology behind it can be broken down even further.

Next time you sit down to develop your SEO strategy consider the following:

Human Behavior

Keyword research is key in understanding what drives human behavior.  By effectively exploring exactly why people use different keywords, we can understand what it is they are looking for. If a popular keyword starts with the words “How to”, then you know the person searching wants to understand how they can do something themselves. If a popular search begins with “Why does”, then the likelihood is that the person searching is looking for an answer rather than a guide. By understanding what exactly it is that your audience is looking for, you can create content targeted to their needs. According to The Psychology of Search, by BG Theory, “People don’t go to a search engine to browse the web. They go there because they have a question to be answered”

Customer Perception

How you view an industry or company is one thing, but the way your target audience perceives it is much more important. Creating content that just goes on about how good your company is at what it does may look impressive to you, but it’s nothing new and every business is going to talk themselves up. Focus on what your business and product can actually do to help consumers and go one step further by demonstrating it. Create a video or guide to show what you do and why it is beneficial to the person looking at it. If you were selling smart phones, you wouldn’t just write a block of text saying that the model in question was a good smart phone, you would provide all the specifications and pictures and maybe even a video demonstrating all its different features and benefits. Video is a richer form of data than other types of media, and a study from Animoto found that videos play a more pivotal role in the decision-making stage of the consumer experience.

Use Social Proof

This term refers to the herd mentality of people. You will find great examples of social proof in your day-to-day life, whether you are in the supermarket observing a group of people huddled round a floor display grabbing for the same box of chocolates, or watching a group of people crowd around an individual who has bodyguards with them. You may not know what the chocolate is, or who the seemingly famous person is, but if those people are interested, then so are you. This situation works online too, on social networks and with blog content. A study from Nielsen found that 92 percent of people trust word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. By promoting your campaign, a network will then spread your content like wildfire throughout a community. When people take part in quizzes and post the results, their friends and family have an instant desire to find out what their results would be in comparison, and the content spreads quickly.

Create Conversation

You hear it everywhere, “content is king but engagement is queen, and she rules the house!”. This is true; content is very important, but just receiving clicks won’t get you very far with your audience. Understanding exactly what your consumers want and engaging with them is crucial. Next time you create a piece of content that helps people with a question or problem, talk them through it, share it with other people who may have a similar problem and demonstrate that you are a thought-leader in the area to build up a level of trust and engagement, 80% of users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook, so utilise your social media channels.

Think About the End Goal

You create content as part of your content marketing strategy, which helps your overall search marketing approach. This means your end goal is to attract natural links and sell. If your content is not doing either of those things, then it is not winning over your audience. Popular content will drive traffic to your site, which could potentially convert to a sale — so never underestimate the SEO value of good content. Next time you sit down to go through your search strategy, consider all the options above and make sure you are using psychology when planning the direction of your next campaign. It’s not about choosing between your audience and Google, it is about finding a middle ground so you can work with both.


Featured Image Credit: author’s work, MySocialAgency

Anna Francis

Anna Francis

Content Manager at Search Laboratory
Anna is the Content Manager at Search Laboratory. She has worked in the digital industry for 5 years as a copywriter and content specialist. She loves writing, developing creative ideas, and tweeting the day away.
Anna Francis
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  • Nikhil

    Hi Anna,
    Human psychology is very difficult to understand. It is always changing, and your this blog post is crafted well according to human psychology and helps businesses to craft a great strategy for their business.
    thank you for sharing this post with us.

    • Anna Francis

      Hi Nikhil,

      Thank you very much. I studied Psychology at University so find the subject very interesting in the world of business!

  • Scott @ Kawntent

    Great research Anna! When I read marketing-related psychology articles, it’s usually a bit too scientific for me. I like how you took that information and made it more understandable for us and applicable.

    • Anna Francis

      Thanks Scott, really glad you found it helpful 🙂

  • Alex Morris

    Interesting post, Anna. A marketing campaign directed at internet driven deindividuation would be pretty innovative – those who like their anonymity online being allowed to be as mad as they want. Not always a good thing, but all the former YouTube commenters must be going crazy not letting their alter-egos out. A bit off topic, but I was reading something on psychology before.

    I believe Google have their next Penguin/Panda in the works, so I’m expecting a big shift in how we search soon. I’m certainly enjoying SEO moving away from its spam heavy past.

    • Anna Francis

      Thanks Alex!

  • centermassmedia

    Great Article. Great Share. Content is King and most definitely something to pay close attention to. Integrating Psychology into your content is something that many people loose sight of.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Anna Francis

      Thank you, I do believe psychology is very important and often overlooked within content.

  • James R. Halloran

    All good points here, Anna! Creating conversation is definitely the toughest but most rewarding. It not only shows the public you’re approachable and trustworthy but that you’re also knowledgeable about the product you’re trying to sell.

    • Anna Francis

      Thanks James!

  • Vishwajeet Kumar

    Really a Great Piece of information. However I will give the importance to conversation, because it will help you to engage with your audience and creates a Good relationship and faith.

    • Anna Francis

      Hi Vishwajeet,

      Yes conversation is definitely important to help build trust and engagement with an audience, but it needs to be executed as part of a bigger overall strategy.

  • Paul Serwin

    Great post Anna,

    It’s integral to have a goal with your content marketing, and as with all marketing, it should lead to a sale.

    It’s very important to understand basic marketing psychology and salesmanship when crafting a content strategy.

    • Anna Francis

      Thank you very much Paul!

  • Marcia Coffey Turnquist

    Thanks for the insights, Anna. There’s always a way to reach people if you can find the right key.

    • Anna Francis

      Totally agree Marcia, thanks for the comment 🙂