The Psychology of Numbers: 5 Ways to Use Numbers in Your Marketing Strategy

Monday, July 15, 2019

By Quinn Coleman

Marketing strategy

It’s no secret that numbers are a powerful weapon when it comes to marketing. There’s the age-old trick in pricing consumer goods—you’re far more likely to buy something priced $3.99, versus $4.00. This is because the human mind pays more attention to the first number than the last. But whatever the reason, it is essential to know that we are profoundly impacted and swayed by numbers and how they are presented to us.

While the “$0.99” trick is a useful tool in marketing, there are many more ways that your marketing team should be using numbers in your campaigns. Whether it’s in the pricing table on your website, an article on your company’s blog, or the tagline under your google search results, correctly using numbers can lead to more hits on your website, more leads, and, above all, more revenue.

1. Make It a Numbered List

Did this list get your attention? That’s because people do not like reading long articles. In fact, the number of Americans who read for pleasure has been on a steep decline, with only 19% of them reading for pleasure on any given day.

So, then, how do you grab their attention and get the potential customers to click? Numbers. The “listacle,” as it is coined, is an article or story that is told to the reader in a list—i.e., this article. The “listacle” is appealing to the human psyche for several reasons:

  • The number catches our eye amidst other wordy headlines.
  • The story’s length can be quantified upfront, ensuring that reading the article won’t take up much time.
  • It organizes information for us, decreasing the conscious effort we must take to process something.

Minimal effort, maximum information.

Pro-tip: Odd-numbered lists are even more eye-catching than even-numbered lists. Research suggests that we believe even-numbered lists have been fleshed out with unnecessary information to round the number. An odd-numbered list appears more genuine.

2. Be #1 (Even if You Aren’t)

The truth may be that you aren’t the #1 Largest Online Marketplace in the World or the #1 Most Trusted Source of News. But you also know that anything other than number one is as good as last place. That’s because the ‘#1’ suggests that your company or service is “above the rest.” As a result, clients will be more likely to choose you over your competitors.

What does this mean for your marketing strategy if you aren’t yet the best in your field? Make yourself number one. If you aren’t #1 in the World, you might be the #1 in the United States. If you aren’t the #1 most trusted platform, you may be the #1 most popular platform. Figure out your niche way to be #1 and run with it.

3. Throw in Some Calculations

Some people may be better at math than others, but no one is a human calculator (as far as we know). This is important to consider when you know your customer will be making quick, rash decisions. When we can’t easily calculate something, we rely on other factors, such as units and large numbers, to make our determination of a deal.

For example, 25 GB of data for $190 will seem like a better deal than $7.60 per unit because this is a hard calculation to make off of the top of your head. A customer will think more about how they are getting 25 GB, and less about the incalculable cost.

4. Bigger is Usually Better

Numerosity refers to the human tendency to infer larger values from larger numbers—pretty straightforward. However, we often don’t stop to consider the units of size or other relevant variables. This means that a 14-day free trial packs more value at first glance than a 2-week free trial. That’s because we are quicker to consider the larger number, 14, than we are to consider the unit of a day or a week.

This has infinite possibilities for marketing and allows marketers to minimize the bad things, a $0.25 daily charge opposed to $7.50 per month, and maximize the good things, such as a 24-month warranty versus a 2-year warranty.

7. Lucky Number 7

Confused? You may have noticed that what was supposed to be number 5 on this list is number 7. That’s because if there’s one thing people love more than a big number, it’s the number 7. An online poll found that the number 7 was favored more than any other number—and there’s a psychological reason behind that.

Seven can be found very frequently in our day to day life—seven days a week, seven colors of the rainbow, and seven wonders of the world. In addition, seven is regarded to be an “obscure” number in a set of 10—even numbers being too “well-rounded,” five being too “in the middle,” etc., so we tend to single it out as different from any other number.

Natural gravitation to this number can be used in your marketing strategy, too. You may want to advertise the “7 reasons” why your brand is the most trusted brand according to customers, introduce how to use your product in “7 easy steps,” etc. Whichever way you can figure the number 7 into your marketing strategy, it is likely to lend a sense of uniqueness and power to your brand.

Numbers Hold Emotional Meaning and Significance for Many People

There’s no denying the power in numbers. Throughout history, humans have attached an emotional, religious, and superstitious significance to numbers. No matter how you use numbers in marketing, using them at all is bound to be a smart decision on your team’s part.

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