We like to think and say that we know everything. We know they sell us air when it says chips on the package, but we still buy it. We know the “last chance to buy” stand in clothing stores has dresses you can find all year round, but we still go through them first when we walk in. McDonald’s sells junk food but they still make crazy money. We all know we are being manipulated, but it is the way it is presented to us that makes our brains say “Just do it.” That is why I will now take you on a trip through some of the most powerful psychological marketing techniques. Our final destination is content creation and its key role in using those tricks to your advantage. Let’s go!

It Begins With Understanding

Push the right buttons in the human brain, and you will sell more and sell it faster.

An essential part of being a great marketer is understanding why and how people think and act the way they do. It is much harder and riskier to create a compelling content marketing strategy if you don’t know why you would be compelling people in the first place. Once you know the answer it is content creation time — crafting a killer ad copy that immediately converts. Here are the psychological techniques you need to know about.


Turning your subconscious against you.

Тhis is something you’ve been exposed to all your life, you just didn’t know the word for it. Priming is the concept that exposure to one stimulus can affect your response to another related stimulus without your conscious intention. For example, if I say yellow, you are more likely to think of a banana rather than of a laptop.

When it comes to priming in advertising, there is a very famous study by Naomi Mandel and Eric J. Johnson who tested how consumer behavior changes by visual primes, a.k.a. different webpage backgrounds. When looking to buy a car, people who landed on a page with a green background with pennies, spent more time reviewing the cost info, while those who were shown a red background with flames on it, were primarily interested in the safety section. See the link here? That is how priming marketing generally works.

The Decoy Effect

The “good deal”

You see this all the time, everywhere. It is the practice of companies adding an extra price option to make you feel like you’re getting a good deal. Let’s say you need a new laptop and can afford $1000 tops. Then you see one with a regular price of $2500 and a huge promotional tag that says you can now buy it for “only” $1500. That deal instills more value to you and you make the purchase.

In the end, you spent 30% more than what you wanted but you don’t care because it was “a good deal.”

In terms of content creation, you can incorporate this technique for landing pages. If you want to increase the conversion rate on a landing page by offering two options, you can add a third (the $2500 from the example) and guide people to the most beneficial one for you (the $1500).


Airplane companies love this technique.

They announce a 20% discount on certain flights. You feel a good deal is coming (or just a decoy effect trick, but oh well), so you rush to book a flight. And then a pop up tells you there are only 2 seats left. Oh no, better make that purchase now!

Even in this example, it is pretty easy to spot how the way you craft your promotional content to draw attention is ultimately the decisive factor on whether people click on buy or exit.

And My Favorite One — Reciprocity

The mints that come with restaurant bills.

The theory of reciprocity, as the name suggests, is if someone does something for you, you will naturally want to return the favor. If you have ever gotten a candy with your restaurant bill, you were a victim of reciprocity. You more likely tipped because of the candy rather than the service.

There are so many ways to use reciprocity to your benefit and again your content creation skills must shine. It could be anything from offering a free ebook, sending your products with a handwritten note and a cute box, a branded keyholder, you name it. Just make sure you are giving away the free thing/perk before you ask for something in return.

The Common Factor for Success — Content

You may need pros to help you succeed

While I gave examples where some of these techniques were used in visual persuasion, they still have many applications in the world of written copy. Aside from ad campaigns, you can subtly implement those tricks and many of their mischievous friends in your website copy but you need a good content creation specialist for the job. This will help you gently close deals without your customers even realizing it.

Would you add to the techniques I described? I’d love your feedback on the topic!