Use Social Psychology to Drive More Prospects to Your Offers

Everyone thinks they can’t be convinced against their will. “Sure, other people are easily fooled by fake news, TV commercials and politicians, but not me”. Whenever I see this on social media, I have to laugh. Little do they know!

Seems like every week I get emails from people who’re trying to figure out this whole sales and marketing thing. How do you influence people to buy your products? “What magic words can I apply to get people to give them their cash”?

They want to know how other people are so easily convinced to buy stuff. What’s the magic formula? Often they find themselves just giving up out of sheer frustration when their ad copy fails. Or maybe they try to use an old school marketing strategy that they’ve read about. The entire process can be so confusing that people get overwhelmed.

Let’s begin by understanding that we are all gullible at some point. It’s just a matter of knowing our triggers. We all have specific triggers. When you study and implement psychology-based selling, you’ll notice a variety of influence tactics in everyday life. You’ll also recognize some of your own triggers.

Have You Identified Your Target Audience?

The first step is to identify your target audience. The process can be simple or complex. For example, let’s say you’re promoting a line of romance novels.

Pick five people who fit the profile of your target market, such as women in their mid-40s who live in the suburbs, have school-age kids and love to download romance novels from Amazon.

Ask these five people when they last read a romance novel, and what it was about it that drew them to keep reading. They might be influenced by racy scenes or by their age group, for instance.

Did they identify with the hero or heroine? Were they more interested in the fantasy setting or the character interactions? Were they satisfied with the ending of the last set of novels they read? You can go into detail but the point is to know your demographic enough to address them in your ads.

Getting to Know Our Audience

Knowing your target audience is crucial to your marketing strategy. Without it, you may not attract your audience. By identifying your target audience, you’ll better position yourself and understand what differentiates you from your competitors. You’ll be able to communicate with them more effectively.

Let’s say that you now know who you wish to target for your campaign. It’s time to find them and offer them the opportunity to get your message.

• Who are they?

• How can you help them?

• What are their insecurities?

• Do you know their hopes and fears?

• Where are their values on the political/social quadrant?

Building Your Avatar from the Ground Up

Building an avatar of your customer can help you create better products and services for them. The more you know about their needs and wants, the better you can tailor your message and approach them accordingly.

Why should they care about you? It will provide you with a better understanding of their personalities, needs, and values. By doing this, you can tailor your approach accordingly. Your customers’ pain points are key to improving the customer experience.

Building a customer avatar for your business is vital to your success. A customer avatar is an imaginary persona that shares your goals, pain points, and preferences. Creating an avatar helps you narrow your options and create an ideal customer.

However, remember to never base your customer avatar on yourself or your personal goals. The idea is to build an authentic image that is true to who they are and how your customers can benefit.

We Rationalize Our Emotional Decisions

Marketing, advertising and promotions have a direct effect on how consumers think and feel every day. Novice copywriters often think that persuasion is about selling a product or service. The goal of a successful advertising campaign is to minimize any doubt that viewers may have about purchasing by giving them the confidence to decide.

Getting a sales commitment is about helping a prospect to give themselves permission to make the emotional decision and apply logic once the decision has been made. This isn’t a value judgement; it’s how we’re built. There is nothing unintelligent about this process; it has kept us alive as humans for thousands of years.

We Are Hard-wired to Spot that Free Offer

Our brain and our senses work in tandem to keep us safe by constantly processing information. They operate faster than we can consciously process all of that data.

Our subconscious operates on autopilot to evaluate our surroundings and make snap decisions about that leaf rustling off in our peripheral vision as we chat with friends.

Back in the old days, that leaf rustling could mean food for the family or the thing that could make you their lunch. Ever wonder why the minute you go on a diet every other TV commercial is for a fast-food restaurant?

In our current social environment, snap decisions often aren’t the most sensible ones. We like that red car because it’s surrounded by a bunch of dark grey models. The price tag on our brand-new jacket was very attractive at 60% off… even if we didn’t intend to buy a jacket today.

Targeting by Demographics

Gaining confidence in making that decision is primarily about reassuring the prospect that they are following the right path. To achieve this, marketers first search for the right prospects to target with their offers.

The ideal prospects for a particular offer have a slew of things in common. In fact, marketers will create specific groups or profiles.

They research the basic drives and motivations of groups and classify them into demographics. A statistical study of populations, especially humans, is called demography. Several factors can describe demographic characteristics, such as education, nationality, religion, ethnicity, and political beliefs.

How Does Social Psychology Influence Marketing?

Whether you’re a blogger, copywriter, digital or traditional marketer, social psychology is a powerful tool for persuasion and influence. It’s about understanding how social interactions work and how to craft messages that stick.

Creating an emotional impact to influence consumers is one of the major goals of marketing. The field of marketing psychology picks up where behavioral science leaves off, exploring a lot more psychological perspectives.

Marketing spends a lot of resources to know how consumers see brands and their messages. They look closely at their affiliations, biases, group identification, and even at how they see themselves. Consumer research can help at all levels.

Quantifying Consumer Demographics

Marketers need to understand the psychology of consumer decision-making, but it’s only a tiny slice of what makes us human. It all starts with data collection. A group’s profile is established in order to find and use emotional triggers.

Demographics deal with information about someone’s personal status in life. We collect things like age, sex, interests, and lifestyle choices. We use them to segment and build profiles.

This demographic profile includes superficial information on members of a group. Examples of a target demographic that might respond particularly well to a certain type of marketing campaign are:

• Upper middle class African American families.

• Suburban expectant mothers earning over $150,000.

• Working class white males living in specific rural counties.

• College students who are about to graduate.

• High school age young adults in cities with populations of less than 150,000.

It’s important to craft a strategy that speaks to the needs and wants of each group. Marketing psychologists use both quantitative and qualitative methods in their research. These geeks go so deep that it’s scary what they can do with data. That story is for another day.

You can use quantitative methods like market research, survey data, and focus groups. Use surveys, polls, or questionnaires to ask quantitative questions of your target audience. Based on the responses, we can improve our products and services in a way that makes customers happier and more confident in their decision to buy, and buy again.

Taking it a Step Further, Marketers Employ Psychographic Data

In psychographics, we study consumers based on their psychological characteristics, such as biases, values, desires, goals, interests, and lifestyle choices. Basically, marketing psychology focuses on what consumer’s value and how they feel about their choices.

The data is often used to segment customers. Companies segment customers based on similar wants and needs and preference. These include customer relationships, positioning, brand awareness, and communication.

Selling to Their Biases — How Our Preferences Are Used in Marketing

Biases seem hard-wired into our brains, and they influence the way we think, feel, and act. Our cognitive biases can push us to make decisions that are not in our best interests.

So it’s important for marketers to understand how people behave based on their preferences. Of course, knowledge of our biases are also used to manipulate us in a lot of ways.

There are three main types of marketing biases: cognitive bias, social bias, and affective bias. In copywriting, we favor common biases that can reach an audience right below their cognitive defenses. So market research is powerful stuff.

Cognitive bias is the most common type of bias. We see things in a way that confirms what we believe. When we rely on cognitive biases, we can misjudge facts, misunderstand others, and make faulty assumptions.

Social bias is the tendency to decide based on how we think others will react. That can hurt our decision making because our independent thinking and judgment can be overridden. Friends can be overrated, enemies can be underestimated, or we may believe that everyone is like us (or should be like us).

Affective bias is when we decide based on how we feel instead of analyzing the information objectively.

Advertisers and copywriters use these biases to gain our trust. Everything comes down to communication. Getting people’s attention and showing them we understand their situation is the first step. Let them know we share their values and feel their struggles is essential to gaining their confidence.

The Effect of Causality

When one event causes another, it is called causality. Causation makes sense to us because it’s convenient, and it makes sense of how the world works. We attribute cause and effect to form judgements and make decisions.

The Effect of Similarity

People choose options that are consistent or in alignment with self-image and their values; things they’re comfortable with.

The Confirmation Bias

We pay attention to information that confirms our preexisting beliefs while disregarding or discounting information that contradicts them.

The Availability Heuristic

We assume something is more important because it is available to us.

The Hindsight Bias

This is the tendency to believe that our past judgments were better than they actually were, and that we could have done better if we had known what would happen.

The Endowment Effect

The endowment effect is the tendency to give more value to things we own than we would if they were given to us for free.

The Overconfidence Bias

It refers to the tendency for people to overestimate their abilities and choices, which may lead to risky situations.

The Certainty Effect

The effect happens when people are more influenced by information that seems certain than by information that’s ambivalent.

Hormones Influence Our Decisions

Whether we make an excellent decision or one that may seem sketchy is also influenced by hormones. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the way hormones work to affect our psychology. It’s essential to accept the fact that hormones affect human behavior. Ask any bartender at a beach resort during Spring break.

The effects of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin on our behavior, perception, and mood are becoming more well known. There is still a lot to learn through continued research. We make and regulate many hormones in our bodies. We can do this through internal and external influences.

Humans and Their Hormones

Our endocrine glands produce hormones, which are organic chemical messengers. Hormones are released into the bloodstream, where they can act on various targets far removed from the gland. Why am I telling you about hormones now?

Well, hormones play an influential role in decisions, as do other factors. Early studies suggest that hormonal exposure early in life influences behavior later on. We aren’t fully aware of all the effects because hormonal interactions are complex.

What’s amazing is the body’s ability to produce hormones through various activities. Exercise, meditation, making love; playing with friends or pets, even watching sports, can produce hormonal changes. Watching a fictional story on television results in our bodies releasing oxytocin, the hormone for empathy and attachment.

How many times have we seen that Doritos commercial and started salivating? It’s half-time, go get your snack and come back to the article. I’ll wait…

Even when we realize that our favorite characters are fake, TV and movies can still give us a sense of connection. Shows that portray stressful situations like cable news, bad social media interactions and memes can cause hormonal changes like increased cortisol production.

Dopamine Influences Our Actions

Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine control reward and learning. Unfortunately, too much of this hormone can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain, which result in poor impulse control and negative behavior.

Gambling, eating, and sex addictions can be a problem for people who are constantly over-excited. Dopamine levels in the brain need to be regulated in order to maintain a healthy life.

Dopamine is found in foods, including bananas and chocolate. In the brain, dopamine drives many behaviors, including eating, gambling, and taking illicit drugs. Increased levels of dopamine are associated with feelings of euphoria and motivated excitement.

When we post on social media, dopamine is released, and we are stimulated. Feedback, or even conflict, can spike our dopamine levels online. As a result, a feedback loop is created because the behavior generates rewards, which perpetuates the social media habit.

Oxytocin Affects Our Perceptions

Oxytocin has many nicknames: it’s the love hormone, the monogamy hormone, the cuddle hormone, the trust-me drug. This drug facilitates group bonds and facilitates love. It can, however, result in biases and favoritisms.

Oxytocin can also lead to the formation of “in” groups. Envy and dishonesty have also been associated with it.

Oxytocin affects men and women in different ways. It affects how men and women feel and act. The posterior pituitary gland produces it.

Oxytocin affects men’s perception of other men’s and women’s attractiveness, sociability, and responsiveness. It increases feelings of jealousy and vengeance in women.

In people with mental disorders, these effects might be more noticeable. These hormones also have some unexpected effects.

Serotonin and its Influence On Our Mood

Does serotonin affect the way we feel? The neurotransmitter serotonin is found in the brain and relays messages between various parts of the body. The brain is said to be involved in many bodily functions, including regulating mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. In addition, serotonin regulates our temperature and social behavior.

It is crucial to understand how serotonin functions and how it influences our mood, since it affects nearly every part of our body. Serotonin levels are lower in people who have depression, a condition characterized by hopelessness, chronic fatigue, and suicidal thoughts.

The lack of serotonin has also been linked to anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, which uses compulsive behavior to deal with intrusive anxious thoughts.

Getting that Endorphin Satisfaction

It’s true; endorphins act as neurotransmitters since they send messages to your brain. However, they’re also considered hormones because they’re released into the bloodstream and can cause physiological changes in your body.

Hormones are said to influence our decisions, but how do they do this? Both estrogen and progesterone fluctuate over time, and both hormones may influence risk-taking behavior. The amount of progesterone in the body has been shown to enhance decision-making speed.

There is no doubt at this point that social interaction influences our hormone levels. Social media and advertising can influence how we decide what to buy, who to vote for, and even what we believe about ourselves. As copywriters, we need to take this into consideration, along with other factors.

How Psychographics Work

Marketing psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on consumer behavior. It aims to understand how people think and act to create a positive or negative outcome.

By combining a customer’s needs and feelings with an item’s appeal, marketers can make a lasting impression.

Marketing psychology also looks at how people perceive certain products or services. Companies use psychological strategies to improve their experience with their customers.

The most successful marketers can tap into this research and tailor their message to meet their audience’s needs. By using this insight, they can target their audience’s needs and create products that satisfy their emotional desires.

Besides this, they can increase their influence by understanding what influences people to buy a product. And the most effective advertisers know psychological factors can affect purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.

Building Desire in Your Audience

To increase your conversions, building desire in your audience is a vital marketing skill. When you master the art of desire, you are leveraging the brain of your potential customer.

Desire grows on its own — when people are really, truly interested in a product, they will do just about anything to make it happen. Here are some tactics to help you create a desire-inducing message for your audience:

To build desire in your audience, start by understanding what they want. Build desire with content that addresses their needs and wants, is relevant and useful, and shows your main competitive advantage.

Then, you can shift the perception of your product from being an option to a necessity. You’ll see an uptick in sales and conversions, because your audience will look for your product or service. If you can create a desire-inducing experience, you can turn your audience into raving fans.

Using the 7 Deadly Sins for Subliminal Persuasion

The Seven Deadly Sins. Vulnerabilities and compulsive behaviors in humans cause us a great deal of trouble.

Pride. This refers to excessive confidence in one’s own abilities without evidence or proof.

Envy. This is the desire for the property, traits, abilities, status, or relationships of others.

Gluttony. A glutton is someone who consumes more than they need.

Lust. The overpowering desire for physical pleasures.

Anger. Individuals who reject love but act on fury manifest anger.

Greed. This is the desire for material wealth and a fixation on property above morality.

Sloth. The avoidance of physical or mental effort.

Advertisers use these human failings to attract prospects. Whether it’s an attractive model smiling at you or the promise of effortless success with a product, these vices make tempting offers in promotional material.

Sex, food, power, money, simple answers, all make attractive offers. They hit us right below the emotional belt.

Using Hope and Fear and Influencers

Several factors influence people’s behavior. To be effective, messages need to be relevant, timely, and attractive. They must also be vivid and show how a solution can solve their pain point. Let’s consider the differences between hope and fear.

Two opposing forces that motivate human behavior are “moving toward and moving away”. We also call them attraction and aversion. People who love the idea of winning that BMW sports car are hopeful when they buy a raffle ticket.

Those who imagine their expensive BMW getting into a collision with a semi on the highway will get the most appropriate insurance policy for the vehicle because of fear.

Scientists discovered that confidence affected people’s perceptions of threats, in part because hope inspired confidence and affected people’s perceptions of a threat.

Fear holds our attention. Evolution has engineered a rapid response system that causes our nervous system to be on high alert when we feel anxiety. Fear saves lives in critical situations.

These two emotions were also found to influence people’s decisions and actions in tandem. Using hope and fear as triggers in messaging has been around as long as human communication. It’s possible to use them ethically as social psychology influences in marketing without veering into the realm of propaganda.

Crafting your messages to grab the audience’s attention is just the start. You’ll still have to follow up with information that resonates with their self-perception and identity.

Getting Out Subliminal Messaging to the Masses

Using copywriting material that focuses on demographics and psychographics help copywriters maximize the effectiveness of their sales copy and increase their conversions.

Common examples of subliminal sales techniques that work.

• Repeating key words or phrases in a sales pitch repeatedly to embed them in your subconscious mind.

• Using language that makes you feel like buying the product is in line with your self-image and values.

• Creating a positive atmosphere to make the sales process enjoyable and effortless.

• Showing customers how buying the product will change their lives for the better.

• Convincing customers that there is no better option to save themselves time/effort/money.

• Creating that sense of urgency or lose out is a common technique to get customers to buy products.

Your Brain is Doing Exactly What It’s Made For

So we are flawed in logical thinking. It’s ok, because our biases and preconceptions keep us from immediate danger. We’re hard-wired to notice subtle changes in our environment. This is how our brains sense danger, find food, find mates, and form bonds with friendly people.

Most of these perceptions are below our conscious awareness. We’re emotionally wired to handle the present (not really as effective when it comes to the future).

This is also why it’s difficult to get people to appreciate warnings of large-scale disasters down the road. Our brain has to process that information in terms of present danger to grasp the impact. It’s not that we can’t process it, it’s just difficult to keep in focus when there are so many other distractions around.

The social psychology of buying is a fascinating topic that has been studied extensively by marketing researchers. What they have found is that most people think they are too smart to be fooled, and that advertising and salespeople don’t have the power to manipulate them. However, this is not the case at all.

By understanding the psychological factors that influence our buying decisions, we can become more savvy consumers who are less likely to be taken advantage of. Copywriting tips and templates can help us write engaging and persuasive offers that will get readers to take action. So, if you want to increase your web traffic, copywriting might just be the answer you’re looking for!



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Dennis Francis

Dennis Francis


Retired content marketing consultant. Author, artist, husband, father and owner of Still helping small business owners daily.