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Online marketing: the basic principles applied

How do you use the basic priciples of online marketing?

Practical information:

The basic principles of online marketing applied

Those who do online marketing have a wide range of applications to choose from. Banners, videos, newsletters, websites and so on. The overall effectiveness of these tools is determined by how we shape its content. There are psychological proven basic principles that will help you tremendously. We’ll line up a few and see how to apply them in any kind of online advertising or marketing.

The right offer

The core of your business of course lies in what you are offering. That may be a combination of products and services. How you communicate this offer is crucial. The customer may just be looking for the product that you offer, but if it is presented in the wrong way, they will go to a competitor.


It is essential to offer precisely the right amount of choices. Consumers want to feel they make the choices themselves, but subconsciously they don’t want to go through too much trouble, and it is good to give them a helping hand by offering a good deal. As for price, we tend to choose a middle ground. An inexpensive product we will find suspicious, but we do also not want to spend too much. Make sure that there is always a cheap and an expensive alternative for the product you really want to sell. This is also called the bait effect. Just be careful that you do not make the offer too big. When there is choice stress, it can have negative affect, and the potential customer will forget about the whole purchase.


Another useful trick is to create a sense of scarcity. In web schaartste-marketing-goud-prijs-gold-scarity shops this can be used by indicating that there are only a few of the articles remaining in stock. When the customer is interested in the article, this will prevent them from looking any further for fear that the stock runs out.

Another application of the scarcity-principle is to provide an offer within a deadline. Make it clear that the order must be placed before a certain date, which can even be displayed with a countdown clock. This also induces a fear of missing the boat, and speeds up the purchasing decision.

Loss Reduction

Traditional marketing often focuses on promoting products or services. It praises how great the product is, and why they really should buy it. But with human psychology it is more effective to approach it from another angle. Emphasize in your text to the customer that they will lose money, or time, or will miss something important if they turn down the offer. Unknowingly, the fear of losing determines our behaviour more than the desire to achieve a certain profit.

A somewhat more positive application of this same principle is also possible. Make sure you have the financial loss of an acquisition softened, for example, by offering a perk or a discount coupon for the next purchase.

The right visuals

The visual marketing design is perhaps even more important than the content layout of the offer. Purchase decisions are mainly made by the instinct that is ingrained in our brains. And this primal part of our brain responds most strongly to visual stimuli.


Colours evoke emotion. For example, the color blue creates trust, yellow urges us to think, and orange stands for action and impulsivity. Such effects can be applied in the smart design of websites or ads.

Photos of people

Another important aspect of the visual design is the use of images. It is advisable to use photos of real people. People are social beings and are attracted by images of faces, especially the eyes. Photos in which the person addresses the audience are therefore more effective.

The herd instinct

The social aspect of people can also be applied in other ways of marketing activities. We can go a step further and say that man is a herd animal. In unknown or uncertain situations, we will always look around at what the herd is doing. If we do not know at a certain point what the right action is, we will soon imitate the behaviour of the herd.

Social evidential

Because of this herd behavior, it is important to build social proof strength. This is content that proves that other people have purchased your product or service and that it suits them. This may be in the form of Online reviews, recommendations by an expert or well-known person, labels, or the explicit mention of how many members or customers you already have. Connectivity via social media can also be used as a powerful tool.


Our social character leads to another extraordinary phenomenon: the principle of reciprocity. All people are unaware that they keep a count of how much they receive from others, and what they do for others. This may be charitable deeds, but the principle also applies to financial and material transactions. Give a little, take a little. The moment you do your customer a favour, for example to send a free sample, he will be inclined to buy your product because of the built-in urge to reciprocate. This giveaway is even more effective than the fore mentioned bonus to soften the financial loss.

There are many other psychological principles that can be applied in online marketing, but these basic principles in the area of offers, the visual design and the social aspect already provide a strong foundation for attracting potential customers and increasing conversion.


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