When it comes to increasing your sales and driving that conversion rate in the right direction, we often look to the wrong places for solutions. We think about trying different marketing tactics or even dropping our prices, yet again. But what if I told you the best place to look for answers was psychological research?


Before I lose you completely, hear me out. We’re always talking about what consumers want and need from your content marketing and branding. Why is that? It’s because today’s consumers have expectations. They have wants, needs, and everything in between — and if you want to get their business, you’ll have to figure out what those things are.


But let’s take this a step further and move past what your target audience thinks they want or need. While understanding those things is a crucial component of all marketing messages, the real power comes from truly understanding what those behavior drivers are — and often, the people themselves aren’t even aware of it.



Psychology & consumer behavior studies


Countless studies have been conducted to test how the tactics we try in our sales, marketing, and conversion efforts can affect consumer behavior and ultimately push people to buy.


Here are two interesting stats from consumer behavior studies:


  • One study showed that people are MUCH more likely to donate when minimum parameters are set. In this case, two groups were asked to donate — a slight change in copy resulted in a donation rate of 50%, versus 28% for the group who was advised even the smallest donations would help.
  • One study showed that labels can drive action and be seen as a positive, when that label makes a person feel like they belong. In one study, participants were randomly assigned a status of “politically active” which resulted in a 15% higher voter turnout for the group, when compared to the group who was told nothing.



Top ways psychology affects human behavior online


It’s clear that psychology can be (and is frequently) used to affect how consumers make purchases online. But how does social media affect the way regular people behave online?


Here are some research results that paint a pretty clear picture:


  • Most people second-guess things they’re about to publish online and often change their mind before hitting that publish button. One study by Facebook found that 71% of users (and this was from a pool of 3.9 BILLION users) created at least one post and then deleted it before publishing over a 17-day period.
  • In the largest of its kind, a two-year study of one billion Facebook posts found that positive news ALWAYS spreads more than negative news. This study ultimately concluded that positive posts prompted an average of 1.75 more positive posts, compared to negative posts which prompted about 1.29 more negative posts from friends.
  • Active social media users crave the feedback and sense of community their social groups give them. One study found that when active social users were asked to refrain from posting, they began to experience negative side effects to their emotional wellbeing within two days.  



People just want to be accepted and to belong to something


One of the biggest takeaways from these studies is that when it comes down to it, most of us just want to be accepted by a group of our peers. We second-guess things before we post them because we are unsure of how they will be received. We consider our social groups, like those on Facebook, as part of our daily lives and gain a sense of satisfaction and belonging from the feedback and acknowledgment our posts and updates generate.


When it comes to sales and marketing, it’s clear that there are certain elements of the human condition you can leverage. Deep down, most people desire acceptance, belonging, and a sense of community. For businesses who have what it takes to create these types of online communities and hubs for their current and potential customers, there’s a major opportunity to use social media to grow your business.

So before you create that next Facebook post, ask yourself — how is this feeding into the innate needs of my target customer?