7 Ways You Can Hack Your Customer’s Brain to Buy


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You might be under the assumption that what’s going on in the mind of your customer is private and you have no influence over their decision-making process. However, if that’s the case, then the whole world of marketing is a lie. Every day in the marketing world, marketers are trying to hack into the brain of their customers in order to get them to buy a certain product or service. In fact, if you think about it, the entire marketing world is a giant psychology game designed to get as many customers as possible to come buy a product or service. If you want this to happen with your customers, then you had better make sure to read down below to see how you can hack into your customer’s brains and get them to buy what you’re offering. There are certain methods that you can use to make this happen that we’re going to detail in the article below.

1. Anchoring

The first method that we’re going to talk about is called anchoring. Basically, this means that you’re going to be providing your customer with a piece of information that they’re going to hold onto and use that information to measure up against future things. This kind of marketing method is commonly used in infomercials to get you to think that what you’re paying is a bargain. The infomercial salespeople will start off by asking you how much you think this is worth. They will talk about all of the features that come with the product and why these features should mean that this is a super expensive product. However, at the end, they will reveal that the price is actually much lower than you thought, making you think that this is a bargain deal for you to buy into.

It’s actually a great method to play with the minds of your customers and get them to think that the price you’re selling for is a bargain.

2. Reciprocity

One of the best ways that marketers get you into their net is by using reciprocity. This is basically the psychological need to give something back for what we’ve received. For example, you might have felt the need to give back a compliment to someone else who has given you one. Or you might feel that you should give someone a gift because they gave you one.

The same logic is used in marketing. For example, a lot of companies will give out free templates or e-books in exchange for getting you to subscribe to their email list. This psychological knee-jerk reaction will cause you to sign up for that list because the company is giving you a gift for free.

3. The Bandwagon Effect

The next psychological effect that you can use on your customers is called the Bandwagon Effect. This is something that you’ve probably heard of and been a victim of sometime in your life. This is the method by which a company will tout how many other people have been using their product or service to persuade other people to jump on the bandwagon to try it out. Humans naturally want to be a part of the trends and things that other people are doing, so this is a great way to get more customers to your door.

4. Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is something that might seem the opposite of a marketing technique, but you can actually use it to your advantage. Loss aversion is the psychological effect by which customers want to hold onto what they already have, rather than getting something new because they don’t want to lose that thing they have. Buying stuff is an emotional experience for customers. You can use this to your advantage by providing a free trial period before customers have to subscribe to your service.
Loss Aversion also comes into play when taking of empathy. Empathizing with your customer’s frustrations and relating yourself to the place they belong to, will increase the chances of them liking you, hence, they will begin to trust you. And as per the psychology behind retail marketing, if the consumers trust you, they are more likely to buy from you!

5. Priming

It’s been shown that when you are exposed to a certain stimulus at first, you are more likely to be taken advantage of buying a related stimulus in the future. This is a psychological fact and is perfect for any marketers out there. You can frame a customer experience to make him buy. If you are running a wine store, this is a perfect example. If you are trying to sell more of your French collection of wine, you can play French music in your store. Studies have shown that this leads more people to buy the French wine, rather than the German wine. This can be used in many industries and stores, so see how you can use it for your customers!

6. The Decoy Effect

It’s possible to use this effect to trick your customers into thinking that one deal is better than other deal. This is the psychological effect by which customers will see one pricing option and think that it is a better deal than another, even if it’s not in reality. If you think about this in terms of newspaper subscriptions, then it makes a lot of sense. A lot of newspapers will price the simple print subscription at the same price as the combination print and digital subscription. Customers will think that the second deal is a better deal because it seems as if you are getting the digital subscription for free.

7. Scarcity

One of the most popular marketing methods that you can use to get your customers to buy your product is called Scarcity. This is the psychological effect by which customers don’t want to miss out on getting a product, so companies will promote that there are only a certain number of items left for sale. Because people don’t want to miss out on what other people are getting, they will start snatching up the last remaining products. This can be used even if you are not running out of the product and you just want to ramp up some of the sales.

Each of these points is super important to consider when you are wanting to hack into your customer’s brain and use psychology to your advantage. Which of these methods has your company already used and which ones do you want to try out?


  1. The anchoring you mention in #1 is one of many sophisticated pricing sleights of hand that vendors routinely execute. I don’t question that some vendors use anchoring to convince customers that the price of a similar item is a comparative bargain, but I’m troubled by the terms “play with the minds [of customers]” and “get them to think . . .” because it comes across as manipulative and opaque – two things that are highly problematic relative to the point you make in #4, “Empathizing with your customer’s frustrations and relating yourself to the place they belong to, will increase the chances of them liking you, hence, they will begin to trust you.”

    My consulting practice helps companies to develop effective sales governance, and to monitor ethical risks. In particular, I am tuned into the conditions that make it possible for bad ethics to become established and systemic. Every case of malfeasance in marketing and sales that I have encountered involve an exploitation of existing trust – regardless whether the trust was granted from customers, vendors, employees, or investors.

    A business can’t be – and probably shouldn’t be – fully transparent with its stakeholders. But when there are a) significant information imbalances between vendors and customers, b) institutionalized manipulative sales practices, and c) appeals to garner customer trust, the risks for material harm to customers and company alike are significant, and must be mitigated.

  2. These are all great ways to get inside your customer’s mind. I’m not a huge fan of scarcity because it doesn’t always work on tech products. However, the points about priming and the bandwagon effect are constantly used in interstitial ads. I see so many companies using these strategies to place their products into the minds of customers long before they even know that they want the product itself. It’s really brilliant. Thanks for the awesome advice.


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