Digital Marketing Strategy: Winning Principles Rooted in Psychology | Cooler Insights

Wish to improve your online conversion rates? Want to attract more customers to buy from you?

Anchor your digital marketing strategy on the firm foundations of web psychology.

Thanks to Natalie Nahai’s wonderfully crafted book , you can now infuse your online marketing efforts with the knowledge of how our brain works.

In this article, I’ll be highlighting the 3 basic principles of online psychology that you can use to score winning digital campaigns.

Let’s dive into them now.

#1 Persuasion: Systematic or Heuristic

According to the book, there are two broad principles of persuasion that you can use:

Now when and how should you use these persuasion principles?

a) Systematic

For products and services that require a high degree of cognition (ie requiring your customer to engage in and enjoy thinking), using a systematic approach may work well.

List your product or service’s specifications, highlight its pros and cons over competitors, and flesh out your Unique Selling Propositions (USPs).

b) Heuristic

If your audiences are easily distracted and they lack time, using a heuristic approach may work better.

Design your experiences, messages and interactions with cognitive rules of thumb such as scarcity, social proof, liking, authority, and other principles of influence.


Courtesy of Oracle Marketing Cloud

#2 Trust and Homophily

The lack of trust is probably the number one reason why more people aren’t buying online. Fortunately, there are various strategies you can use to improve the trust-worthiness of your brand.

In thinking about trust, make sure that you anchor your business in the right values. Start with and work towards your Hows and Whats.

A good way to instill trust is to apply the principles of homophily (love of the same). This isn’t something new – we tend to respond more positively to those whom we perceive as being likeable, credible and similar to ourselves.

Thus, you should design your messages to match your customer’s psychography (unique values, motivations and needs) in order to engage them more deeply.

Do the following:

Have a look at the website below. What are the different forms of trust building and homophily on this website?

How about this website by a (believe it or not) university? Does it elicit trust and exhibit homophily?

#3 Fluency

Have you experienced badly designed and poorly written content that you just can’t comprehend?

Well, that is an example of poor cognitive fluency – a major conversion killer.

To make your information easy to process, consider the three different principles of fluency:

To score on all three areas, consider adopting these approaches.

a) Repeat and rewind

We all learn from repetition, and this is why repeating a message helps to improve fluency. However, do not do it to the point of annoyance.

Repeat a catchy tagline (eg McDonalds’ ‘I’m lovin’ it’) or Call To Actions (CTA) on your website. Summarize your key points in your article.

b) Use a familiar structure

Embrace the familiar and shun the obscure.

Use a message structure that is easy for your customers to relate, for example Nike’s strapline ‘Just Do It’ which comes in a three-word structure. This same structure was used in their ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign.

c) Perceptual fluency

Make it easy for your customers to process your visual content like social media posts, infographics, videos and websites.

Do so by adopting the following best practices:

d) Linguistic fluency

To make your brand familiar, or get people to follow your instructions or read your content more quickly, consider using text that is clear and high in contrast. Use words and sentence structures that are simple and easy to pronounce.

Consider using sans-serif fonts that are easy to read like Arial or Helvetica – these helps to boost processing fluency and improve your customer’s mood.

e) When to use disfluency

In cases where you wish your customers to engage more deeply with your message or perceive your item to be more unique (eg luxury goods), consider using a font that is slightly harder to read. This may include Mistral or Monotype Corsiva.

OK Cupid’s website is a great example of a highly fluent website. Look at their design below and match it with the points above.

Have a look at the website below. Can you list down the points where they are fluent in design?

Courtesy of Apple

What about this website design? How does it affect you when you view it? Which areas are fluent and which aren’t?

The art and science of online persuasion is a complex process involving multiple dimensions.

Adopting the principles of Persuasion, Trust and Fluency could shorten your learning curve and improve the results of your digital marketing campaigns.

To find out more, do get a copy of the Webs of Influence – it is chock-full of psychological wisdom that is specially tailored for the digital world. Highly recommended.