Samantha Brannon
Samantha Brannon 8 November 2019

Psychological Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Budget Marketing Strategy

Small businesses across the world struggle to compete with giants like Amazon and Google. It's essential to use every opportunity to get a competitive advantage when your budget is limited. These tips will help you improve your marketing strategy at almost zero cost.

In the age of fierce competition, it’s not that easy to keep a small business afloat. And it’s two times more difficult when a company operates on a tight budget.

Fortunately, we live in a digitized world that provides us with plenty of opportunities for business growth. And even if your marketing budget is close to zero, you can design a strategy that will bring you the revenue you want. All you need to succeed is to apply psychological tricks that allow getting the most out of using free marketing tools.

So let’s consider four psychological principles that every marketer should use.

Scarcity and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

The principle of scarcity was discovered in 1975, when Worchel, Lee, and Adewole conducted a “chocolate chip cookies” study. Researchers took two jars and 12 exactly the same chocolate chip cookies. They put ten cookies in the first jar and only two cookies in the second jar. Then researchers asked experiment participants to taste cookies and rate them. Surprisingly, cookies from the second jar received ratings twice as high as cookies from the first jar.

This study, as well as other recent studies, proved that scarcity significantly affects people’s perception. And if you want to boost your marketing efforts, you should apply the principle of scarcity to your business.

The first thing you can do is to inform your customers that only a few items left in stock. It will make your customers feel compelled to act – to buy your product while it’s still available. This trick is widely used by small and big companies, including air ticketing services.


Screenshot source:

If you want to launch a sales campaign, think about marketing tools you can use to evoke the fear of missing out. For instance, consider adding countdowns stickers to Instagram Stories or using countdown features in your emails.


Screenshot source: private email sent by

The Decoy Effect

Have you ever heard about the decoy effect or asymmetric dominance effect? This effect is a cognitive bias that affects consumers’ shopping behavior. It causes significant changes in preferences between two options when the third option is available.

Does it sound a little bit complicated? Let’s consider a simple example to understand what the decoy effect is all about.

Imagine you are looking for a bottle of wine. You visit the online store and see two options. The price of the first option is $19.99, and the price of the second option is $66.99. The price difference is significant, so it’s highly likely that you will decide to buy the first option because it’s cheaper.


Screenshot source:

Now let’s imagine that you see not two, but three options. And the price of the third option is $269.99. It’s highly likely you will change your mind and choose the second option. You will do it because, in comparison with the third option, the bottle of wine that costs $66.99 seems to be an affordable one.


Screenshot source:

You can apply the decoy effect to your marketing strategy to switch customers’ choice from one option to a more profitable one. Just like in this example, you can overprice one of your products to boost sales of other products.

The Verbatim Effect

According to the psychology dictionary, the verbatim effect is “the ability to paraphrase material heard or read into just the general idea, rather than repeating information word for word”.

So how does the verbatim effect may influence the way you promote your products? For instance, if customers read a vacuum cleaner buying guide, they will not memorize all the details. They will remember only general ideas such as “LG is more reliable than Rowenta” and “the dust capacity should be more than two liters”. This is widely used by academic writing services that transform complicated concepts and research results with plain language.

So when you create content for your website or social media, you should take the verbatim effect into account. To enhance your message to your customers, do the following:

  • Write powerful headlines and descriptive subheadings.
  • Add bulleted lists.
  • Use bold and italic fonts where necessary.
  • Articulate your ideas as clearly as possible.


Now let’s talk about one of the most important, yet easy-to-understand psychology concepts – the concept of reciprocity. According to this concept, if you do something good for your customers, they will naturally do something for you.

A few scientific studies showed that waiters who give a mint or chocolate candy along with the check get higher tips. And those waiters, who offer more than one candy, get even higher tips. This is how the reciprocity principle works: the more you give, the more you will get in return.

If you want to take your business to the next level, do the following:

  • Provide free trials and free plans.
  • Offer vouchers and discounts to your prospective customers.
  • Create lead magnets to grow your e-mail list. Offer your customers to download guides, infographics, checklists, and other valuable content for free.


Screenshot source:

Wrapping It Up

Now you know how to use four basic psychological tricks to build a solid marketing strategy and boost the effectiveness of your business. Don’t hesitate to apply the tips given and see your company grow.

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