Content marketing is strategic. If you can get it right, it will bring long-term gains to your business. A high-profile online presence results in ongoing benefits like increasing website traction and brand awareness.
Understanding the psychology behind virtual interactions is essential for successful content marketing. Here are four ways you can boost engagement and conversions using psychology.
1. Emotion as the primary influencer of consumer choice
Areas of the brain that control emotions are activated during the process of economic decision making. Traditional marketing acknowledges this reality; making an individual FEEL SOMETHING will help you sell to them.
Online marketing can feed into this pattern of neuronal activity. When content is rich in sentiment, the reader is provoked into a state of mind associated with economic decision-making.
Emotion-rich content not only grabs attention, it also predisposes people to click, share and eventually buy.
Set the tone of an article by using colour, appropriate images and emotive or witty language.
The body language of the digital world
Online devices and social media platforms can deliver emotion-rich content. Emojis, GIFS, fonts, styles, colours – all these elements are the body language of the digital world.
Content can have an atmosphere, a feeling, that reaches into the home or office of the reader and provokes a reaction. This is a powerful way to soften the ground for economic decision-making.
2. Give your brand the human touch
Content with personality gives a human face to your brand. Your customers can then connect and identify with your brand and your company. Sharing your insights into a problem that your reader has experienced makes you relatable; when you also provide a tried and tested solution, this will really resonate with customers.
Getting to know your customer is essential to nailing this aspect of content marketing. For instance, if you’re an accountancy firm, your clients probably know less about accounting than you do. So, content on your website should not be dense in specialised, accounting terminology. Rather, put your readers at ease by using language and colloquialisms they are familiar with. Make them feel understood by you.
Remember your content doesn’t necessarily have to relate to your actual products or services. It’s better to create content about what interests your readers because the aim is to get people clicking, reading, and sharing your content.
Content that helps readers
Check out Dublin-based firm, Beyond (full disclosure: Beyond is our client, but we’re sharing this example because we think it does content really well!). Although Beyond offers accountancy services, it understands that clients are less interested in reading about accounting skills (after all, they already have an accountant to take care of that!) and far more interested in topics such as being a better business owner, financial planning, organising a pension, leadership, creating a good work culture… so this is what Beyond published on its blog.
Making your company website a reputable source for individuals who operate in the same professional field is a great way to increase traction.
Content that inspires readers
Irish home improvement company, Woodies, is another example of this approach. The Woodies website doesn’t just sell and showcase their products. The homepage dedicates half of its content to practical advice and home improvement inspiration. There are ‘how to’ video demonstrations and a clever gadget to help customers calculate how much wallpaper they need to cover a surface area.
Become a source that your customers can rely upon. When the time comes to make a purchase, you will have softened the ground for your brand.
3. Reciprocity is the first universal Principle of Influence
In psychological terms, reciprocity refers to the tendency to want to give something back when something is received. The phenomenon is even more pronounced in the case of an unexpected gift.
Dr Robert Cialdini demonstrated the principle of reciprocity in his book The Psychology of Persuasion. In a case study, waiters’ tips increased by 14% when diners received free mints with their bill. And when waiters left one mint, then returned with extra mints, diners felt personally rewarded. Tips then increased by an impressive 23%. According to Dr Cialdini,
“If you do me a favour, I owe you a favour. Every human culture has been trained to play by this rule.”
If you have a blog on your website or offer links to interesting articles and solutions to common problems shared by your customer base, you are, in effect giving a gift. Make it easy for people to give back, to return this favour. Readers can reciprocate by signing up for a newsletter, sharing an article, or clicking on another page.
Be generous with your knowledge
If you can offer something else for free, even better. Just like the extra mints, an unexpected favour can have an exponential impact. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- A free eBook
- Email updates on a subject or problem
- A manual to download
- A software demonstration or YouTube video
(If you’re finding this blog helpful so far, why not give our Facebook page a follow, we would really appreciate it! Are you getting the idea, yet?!)
Bring users back to your website by following up on any freebies they have received. For example, an email inviting the recipient back to your site to review the product or service they received free of charge. Make it easy for people to give back to you.
Strategise and empathise
Content marketing is like a game of chess, it requires a strategy and cannot be won in a single move. All your pieces must be positioned cleverly and discretely, never being too obvious. There are a million ways to be creative and invent new moves while keeping within the boundaries of the game. You can adapt and tweak these psychological tactics to suit your businesses. The key to success lies in an understanding of what others want and expect.