5 psychological tips to incorporate in your Digital Marketing Strategy (and 1 Forbidden Strategy banned in many countries)

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Psychology! When you think of psychology, the first thing that comes to your thought is mind reading, a black and white spiral and the word SLEEP! But it goes way further than that. Digital Marketing specialists have tried various types of psychological strategies to make sure their message gets delivered and their audience are receptive to it.

In the next 10 minutes, we will dive into how we can use psychology to craft better marketing strategies and we will explore one strategy that’s banned in most countries at the end of the article. Get your crazy hats on and let’s just jump right into it!

Psychology can give us insights into how our brains see things. Here are some mechanisms of our psyche that can be leveraged to create a better marketing strategy.

1)Reward Bias: How to place strategic rewards to acquire customers.
Anchoring: The importance of first impressions
Planting Curiosity: How clickbaits bait you into clicking
Leveraging on Scarcity: Utilizing the Fear of Missing Out to net your audience
Relatability: The driving force behind TV advertising


We as humans love rewards. There is no denying that. Either in forms of birthday presents or a bonus at work. Our reward systems works by shooting up the feel good chemical, dopamine to your brain and that lights us up. Every time our brain gets hit with dopamine, it gets wired to seek the reward out more to get that dopamine rush again. As digital marketing people, that’s good news for us!

To build your audience effectively, you can offer them rewards as a start. Have you ever came by offers on the internet that claims to give you free things when you sign up to them? ‘

credit: www.xm.com

The image above shows an example of the reward bias in use. By signing up to the service offered, it says that you will gain $30.00 for free. Lo and behold, people do sign up cause WHO DOESN’T WANT 30 US BUCKS FOR FREE?

Let’s see how we incorporated the reward bias into our website:
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The reward bias will make you consider taking action because you are presented with something valuable and you will be driven to take action because the effort required for the is low. In this case, just entering your email address and your name. We offer exclusive content for our subscribers, free e-books every 3 months and it’s free for lifetime. You literally have nothing to lose and gain a ton of value so you will subscribe to our newsletter here.


Anchoring is one of the most powerful techniques that you can implement to target your audience in digital marketing. Anchoring or focalism is when someone makes a biased decision based on the initial information offered to them. No matter what consequent information you offer to them, they will base their decision on the first piece of information that they anchored themselves into. So how do you use it in marketing? When you want to deliver a piece of information about a product or a service, you need to put the utmost importance on what they see first.

For example, let’s say you are running a digital marketing campaign to drive sales for a specific product or service offered. What’s the first thing that you want your audience to know about the product? Your selling point! It can be a lower price, or solve a problem that your users previously didn’t think of or some form of value that differentiates your product from what’s out there. That should be the first thing that your audience should see because the final decision will be made based on the initial piece of information offered. Let’s look at some examples:

credit: freepik.com

What’s the first thing that you can see in the ad? Sale and 50%. Those two words are highlighted and seems to be the first thing that grabs the viewer’s attention. Regardless of what information that is given past that, the viewer would base his or her decision on the fact that it is a sale, and they can get 50% off. You can implement this by highlighting your Unique Selling Point in Your Ads. Freepik has tons of ad templates that you can use in your digital marketing campaigns. Do check them out.


There is no denying that as humans, we are wired to be curious. On a separate note, do you know that only 65% of people can roll their tongue into a circle in their mouths? Did you roll your tongue to see if you can do it? That’s right! Your curiosity got the best of you! There are multiple theories on why we are so curious. The most accurate one in our opinion which is the incongruity theory explains that, our brains experience something similar to pain when we get a piece of information that we can’t fit in our personal model of reality in our brains. Hence, it forces us to find more information that will help fill in the gaps. Well how do you can incorporate that in digital marketing?

Let’s look at some examples:

Clickbaits! Well they can be annoying and funny at times. They do work because it triggers the curiosity mechanism in you. It fills you with this urge to know what’s going on. So how do you incorporate that into your own advertising strategies? You can be click-baity, to a certain extent. Your artwork and copywriting must make your audience go “hmm?”. You can be creative and implement alluring statements and call to actions to achieve this purpose. Go back and read the title of this article. Can you guess how we sparked your curiosity?


One thing we need to understand about ourselves as humans is that inherently, we are driven more by negative emotions compared to positive emotions. That’s why loss aversion, the tendency to avoid a loss always outweighs positive action. It makes sense evolutionarily as avoiding getting eaten by a lion is always better than eating.

So how do we implement that in digital marketing? You need to instill the fear of missing out into your audience. You need to make them feel that they are going to miss out on an awesome deal. This particular strategy is applied everywhere in advertising. Let’s have a look:

credit: Rosetta Stone

By letting the audience know that the offer is going to end soon, it instills this fear that they are going to miss out on an amazing deal. The audience is somewhat pushed into taking prompt action as there is a time limit on the offer. Another way you can incorporate the Fear of Missing Out into your digital marketing strategy is by telling them there is a limited amount of what you’re selling/ buying.

Take a look at the example below:

credit: IMC Water Bottle

By telling their audience that they have limited stock left, it creates urgency as the stock finishing is a legit possibility. By incorporating that into your copy writing and artwork, you can lure in the customers and even close sales in a short period as you are scarce.


Saving the best for last, applying relatability to your digital marketing campaign can be an effective way to boost your ROI up. Our brains are made of 100 billion neurons and each neuron carries a piece of information that is relevant to the experience that is curated inside our brains. They are interconnected in a way that if you light up one part of the brain, it will light up other parts which are connected to it.

So how do we use that to help market what you are offering? You have to pair your product with something that is already exists in their brain itself such as a behaviour or an action. If you want to go in depth on how this works, we’d suggest you look into Pavlovian’s Theory here.

One of the notorious examples of this is the infamous Marlboro Man:

credit: Marlboro

There is no doubt that Marlboro has brought forth the era of lifestyle marketing into existence. So how does lifestyle marketing work? It’s when you pair a product, in this case, cigarettes, with a lifestyle. By portraying a persona of a macho cowboy, Marlboro has successfully paired their product to the lifestyle of a cowboy. By doing this, we relate smoking with this persona of macho cowboy and in turn, adopt the product into our lives. Countless television advertisements today follow the same strategy. Just switch on the television for a couple of minutes and you will be guaranteed to see a brand that uses lifestyle marketing in their ads.

So how can we use that in our own digital marketing strategy? You can approach in multiple ways but one of the easiest one is to create a persona of your own. You need to create a strong image that appeals to people and pair it with your service or product. Take a look at the example below:

credit: Ivory Ella

The above brand has paired the awesome experience of traveling with their product. In our brain, we will establish a connection between seeking adventure, a positive stimulus with their product. Hence, every time we see their products, it will deliver the same neural pathways as if we are going on an adventure.


Let’s get into the spooky and somewhat weird advertising strategies that has been tried before. What if advertisers had the ability to get into your brain without knowing it? Have you heard of the film Inception? The whole plot relies on the protagonist, played by Leonardo Dicaprio to go into a businessman’s mind and plant a thought in it that suggests him to leave the business behind. Well what if we told you that in the past, big companies did something similar to get into your head? Spooky right? It’s called subliminal messaging. It relies on sneaking in information into your brain without you even being aware of it by flashing phrases and images that are either too quick to be detected by you or either hidden apparently from a general glance. We need to understand that our subconscious (or unconscious) mind operates at a deeper level than what’s on the surface. It has the capability to process about 20, 000 bits of data at the same time, compared to our conscious mind, which caps it at just 5 bits per second. Hence, it could pick up on things that are outside of the spotlight of our consciousness.

If you want to know more and look at some notorious examples, check this awesome article written solely about subliminal messaging here.

We hope that you found this article helpful. We hope that you can incorporate these strategies (except the last one) into your digital marketing campaign. If you want us to cover more about the mind, do leave a comment down below.

Jin Chi

Jin Chi

The founder of Catalyst Digital. Born in year 1995, a huge fan of blue ocean strategy as well as lean startup. You can contact him by email at [email protected]


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