Content marketing is a powerful strategy designed to engage consumers with particular products or brands through the provision of informative, entertaining or useful content. Through this, marketers seek to influence purchasing decisions and behaviours in order to drive traffic to their own website or brand.
Modern consumer experiences are becoming increasingly more personalised as marketers leverage data on buying behaviour to create targeted campaigns. Now marketers are able to use consumer psychology to influence customers on an unconscious level as well as a conscious one.
Research has shown that the unconscious mind plays a powerful role in our decision-making processes and this is especially true of consumer decisions. To offer a few examples:
- It has been proven that people will subconsciously believe that a cake topped with a fresh strawberry contains less calories than one without fruit
- Customers walk more slowly around shops when the floor tiles are smaller
- Advertisements during film trailers prove less effective when people are more focused on eating popcorn
- People eat faster when they listen to energetic music
All these factors show that consumers are influenced by far more than obvious, conscious advertising techniques and those companies that are able to leverage certain aspects of psychology may well find that sales increase accordingly.
The Psychology of Colour
Certain colours are known to prompt certain emotional responses, although these responses are affected by personal experiences and preferences. On a very basic level, the warmer colours such as red, orange and yellow promote feelings of excitement, contentment, happiness and confidence while the cooler colours such as blue and green are seen as more trustworthy, calm and peaceful. An experiment by Psychology Today used two different colours for call-to-action buttons in online health applications to evaluate the results. Those who had a red button saw a sign-up rate 34% higher than those who had a green button. Those with the red button were also more likely to rush through the application, implying a more impulsive approach to decision-making.
While most people will fully believe that the majority of their purchasing decisions are made logically, scientists have found that emotional responses to advertisements are far more likely to influence buying decisions – three times as much for television commercials and twice as much in print. Consumers automatically seek out the brands that they feel they have an emotional connection with more than they focus on the specific attributes of the product.
Today’s online market is driven by ‘the Millennials’ – those in approximately the 18-34 age bracket that expect consumer / brand relationships to be a two-way thing, that influence the decisions of other consumers and even help define brands through constant online interactions. The concept of reciprocity fundamentally works on the basis that people naturally want to return favours. Brands, therefore, that offer them free gifts, useful information, entertaining videos or anything else that actually improves the lives of the consumer will find that those consumers willingly provide positive feedback and user-generated content that can then be used to push sales even further.
The way in which consumers react to multiple choices is often mostly visual and this is especially true of products that do not require a lot of forethought – food and clothing rather than cars and houses. The typical customer in a supermarket when confronted with two similar products, one of which costs £5 and one of which costs £8 but features additional tagging informing a discount making it only £6 will opt for the more expensive option as they feel they are getting a deal. Conversely, without the tagging advertising the original price and the discount, most customers will opt for the cheapest product.
As we learn more and more about consumer psychology, marketers will be able to create more effective targeted advertising, creating an ever-more personalised experience for those shopping both online and in-store. Each customer is an individual and expects to be treated as such, at least on a conscious level. When it comes to unconscious actions, however, most people will react to the same triggers in the same way. Learning to harness this can mean creating your best content marketing strategy ever.