As marketers, we are on a never-ending quest for lead generation. We employ tools, adopt theories, test hypotheses, and eternally optimise every step of the funnel, every element on the page, and every post we share on social media channels.

And yet . . . we never seem to reach the nirvana that is having enough high-quality leads (that eventually convert into high-quality customers).

The vexation marketers face is not just a fleeting feeling. According to an August 2016 report by eMarketer, the same goals that motivate us are the barriers that frustrate us.

In a Forbes article, Susan Gunelius (@susangunelius) concludes that for marketers, “What matters is that you understand that human behavior (including consumer behavior) is guided by needs and actions . . . their basic psychological needs and philosophical causes of action are the constants that marketers can always count on.”

Through psychology, we can understand human behavior, motivations, fears, and frustrations – in short, everything – affecting our lead gen efforts.

Therefore, by understanding some (fairly) basic principles of psychology, we can take our lead gen efforts to a new realm of possibility.

Immediate reciprocity

The psychological principle of reciprocity is one we have all experienced with great satisfaction (or grave disappointment). It is the “quid per quo” of giving something and immediately getting something back.

It is also used, quite effectively, by salespeople. Walking through a department store recently, I watched as a cosmetics counter attendant offered to apply makeup for an exhausted shopper, who graciously accepted…and later purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of makeup.

Online, we tend to limit our lead generation to offering something (i.e., a white paper) and expecting users to give us something (their contact info) before we actually give them anything.

Can you imagine if the shopper at Macy’s were asked to first purchase a year’s worth of lipstick and only then be treated to professional makeup application?

Instead, find a way to give users something before asking for their lead information – once they receive something valuable from you, they will want to give up their information.

Here is a great example: HubSpot does an annual “state of inbound” report. Instead of requiring lead information to access the findings, HubSpot provides some videos and statistics on an interactive page.

Once users get a “free sample,” so to speak, of the report findings, they are more likely to submit their personal information to download the full report.

Implicit egotism

Quick – what’s your favorite number? Chances are – it is somehow related to your birth date.

And your favorite letter? Part of your name, right?

This is due to the psychological principle of implicit egotism, which explains that human nature is to naturally gravitate toward people, places, and things that resemble the self.

In setting up your content marketing strategy, you have likely done a fair amount of research into uncovering your buyer personas or target audience.

Combine implicit egotism with the proven authority created by customer testimonials, and you understand the need to create a web presence in the form of testimonials given by members of each persona.

For example, when UC Berkeley targets HR professionals with a certification course, they feature the image and testimonial of a classic member of the persona (young, female, professional) along with her testimonial as the first piece of information on the page.

The same site, when visited by a CPA persona, however, shows a different image and a different quote.

To leverage implicit egotism for your lead generation efforts is to use the knowledge of your persona, which you already invested in, and couple it with socially proofed testimonials.

When visitors land on your page and see someone just like them explaining the benefits of your program in their own words, they will feel a sense of trust and belonging – the likes of which you can never create with marketing language alone.

There is a great tool that can help you use implicit egotism for your lead generation goals – the Spectoos testimonial widget. It helps businesses easily collect testimonials, display them with the customers’ pictures.

It also links to their social media profiles in attractive “Faceboards” (you can have a different one for each buyer persona), and optimize the testimonials that appear with analytics indicating which testimonials were clicked on the most, resulting in the most conversions.

Narrative transportation theory

Have you ever read a positive novel and then experienced the same sort of positivity in your life? Or have you watched a sad movie and walked out of the theater somber?

This is transportation theory, which psychologists explain as a process when people lose themselves in a story, and then their attitudes and intentions change to reflect that story.

To use narrative transportation theory to drive lead generation is to tell a powerful story that users relate to and then take action based on the emotions they feel. For example, Todoist shares a powerful video on their site which leaves users feeling like the platform is their best friend:

The narrative on Invisionapp’s site makes designers feel like they are on the same team as the designers from big brands who already use the platform:

Psychology in Lead Generation

Mastering lead generation is not about mastering psychology. Mastering lead generation is about all of the things you already do – persona definition, inbound marketing, content generation, AB testing, optimization, cross-channel voice, and all of the wonderful bits and pieces that make up your marketing strategy.

Psychology is in addition to all that. It is a new perspective that can give you new ideas, different methods, and a new way to approach an old problem: increasing your amount of high-quality leads.

Tomer Harel is an expert in the realm of B2B technology with more than 10 years’ experience providing marketing services to businesses in various hi-tech industries. He is the co-founder of the leading testimonial platform, Spectoos.