How to Use Psychology to Improve Your Marketing Messages

… According to a Behavioral Scientist. By Heike Young.

Here’s a little marketing secret. Right now—without any additional budget or technology— you can improve the success of your marketing messages. It’s all about science and the power of the brain.

“We all want people to do stuff.
Whether you want your customers to buy from you, vendors to give you a good deal, your employees to take more initiative, or your spouse to make dinner — a large amount of everyday is about getting the people around you to do stuff.”
-Susan Weinschenk

On the latest episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce, Joel Book and I interviewed Susan Weinschenk, highly regarded behavioral scientist and author of How to Get People to Do Stuff (among other great books). You can download the episode for free now.

At their core, most of your marketing messages probably ask people to do something:

  • To read your e-book, blog, or social media post.
  • To browse your latest products or services on your website.
  • To register for your event or webinar.
  • To consider making a purchase.

Many marketers aren’t using principles of psychology in their marketing messages. But according to Susan, knowing the brain better can teach us a lot about our marketing’s efficacy and how to improve it.

On this episode of the podcast, we asked Susan a number of questions that scientifically minded marketers will want to know, including:

How does social media tap into people’s desire for belonging, and how can marketers speak to our shared need for community?
What does brain research say about how we choose to adopt new products and services?
Why do messages on electronic devices stimulate our dopamine system so much?

It’s all in this episode of the Marketing Cloudcast. Listen to a preview of our episode with psychologist Susan Weinschenk here, or download the full episode to your laptop, smartphone, iPad, or other device to enjoy whenever you want.

Here are a few key learnings from our talk with Susan.

Marketers must use stories to affect behavior.

“Everything we do is related to a story we have about who we are and how we relate to others. A lot of these stories are unconscious. Whether conscious or unconscious, our stories about ourselves deeply affect how we think and behave. If you can change someone’s story, you can change behavior,” explains Susan.

How can your content, social media, website copy, and other messaging use stories more effectively?

The easiest way to get consumers to switch to your product is to get them to change their own story.

“Getting people to change their story, and thereby change their persona, is the most powerful and long-lasting way to get people to do stuff,” Susan shared. She talked about her switch personally from PCs to Apple products, and how this switch involved a fascinating personal self-story change. Listen to learn more.

Marketers should ask consumers to go public with commitments.

Want people to buy your products, join your brand’s communities, or something else? People are more likely to do something if they announce publicly that they’ll do it. Get people to announce something publicly and you’re on your way to marketing success.

If you’re ready for marketing lessons backed by science, not conjecture, you’ll want to download the latest episode of the Marketing Cloudcast. Download Susan’s episode of the Marketing Cloudcast on iTunes.

New to podcast subscriptions in iTunes? Search for “Marketing Cloudcast” in the iTunes Store and hit Subscribe, as shown below.

Tweet @youngheike with marketing questions or topics you’d like to see covered next on the Marketing Cloudcast.