Mind Games: Incorporating Psychology in Your Copywriting
Ask most people if playing mind games is a bad thing, and they’ll say yes. Tricking people’s minds into creating an emotional connection with a product might seem morally ambiguous at first, until you realize that is how products are sold.
Think about the last time you bought a t-shirt. Did you buy it because its fabric was the perfect cotton blend? Did you buy it because of the country it was manufactured in? Or did you buy it because it looked and felt nice, and it fit you comfortably?
Psychology is behind every successful marketing campaign, because your brain allows emotion to be the driving factor behind most of your decisions.
One of the most important things to keep in mind as a copywriter is that you are writing for real people. Real people respond better when they feel a connection to the product rather than being given a string of facts they’ll forget in five minutes. Real people also operate under a few principles that can be used to get more sales.
- Reciprocity: Do a favor for someone and they’re more likely to return it.
- Scarcity: When people think they are running out of time, they are more likely to impulsively buy.
- Commitment: If you continue to ask people to do small tasks for you, there’s a good chance they’ll do larger ones (i.e. buy a product) down the line.
- Bandwagoning: Everyone is doing it, so why aren’t you?
- Likability: Creating personal connections with your audience, typically through sharing personal info.
- Authority: Experts giving their opinion are more trustworthy than a random person on the internet.
Each of these principles are common to marketing, but are often overlooked as gimmicky. Yet there are many ways to use all of them without being totally obvious.
Bandwagoning can seem cheap if done the wrong way, but can be one of the most effective if done the right way. If you have a large following on social media, use those numbers to your advantage and ask your audience if they’ve joined yet. To further drive bandwagoning, give your fan base a catchy nickname. Exclusivity, while not a principle itself, can drive people to want to be a part of the group.
Likability can be as simple as providing great customer service and putting your name and bio online. Putting a face to your company will show people you’re just like them. In copywriting, the easiest way to provide likability is to take the audience through a success story.
Authority has evolved over the years. Toothpaste companies using the “9 out of 10 dentists prefer us” tactic is an obvious one. Celebrities promoting products is still ongoing. But one of the best ways to capture the younger market is using influencers to promote your brand. YouTube stars are often interested in brand deals. Partnering up and writing for the audience of the influencer can be effective, but it is crucial to get the tone right in this case.