What are mental triggers and how to use them in your Marketing strategy! – WAU

Mental triggers are stimuli received by our brain that directly influence our decision making. Knowing how to stimulate these triggers is a powerful weapon of persuasion and generating results for marketing and sales.


Every day we we make up to 35,000 decisions, ranging from choosing the clothes to wear, the food to eat, everyday attitudes like walking or even reading this post!

In fact, all the things we choose not to do are also decisions.

All of them are based on a series of aspects, internal and external, related to humor, expectation, baggage, culture and etc., that awaken in us a kind of click between doing A or B.

And of course these decisions are also directly related to consumption.

Therefore, understanding the criteria that lead people to choose one thing over another can make all the difference when it comes to developing your Marketing strategy.

That’s where the mental triggers and so they deserve our attention.

After all, what are mental triggers?

Mental triggers are the decisions that our brain makes “on autopilot” to avoid our exhaustion in the face of so many choices.

It is as if he were to filter which decisions really need special attention and, with the others, he would simply accomplish what he was “educated” to do.

Observe, for example, when you are very tired mentally.

Some actions start to happen automatically and you were not even paying attention to them, or even realized what it was about.

Or even when you decide to walk. It is as if the first step was taken consciously and the rest were just happening without you even having to think about it.

That is: mental triggers are the facilitators of our brain when making decisions or attitudes.


There are some mental triggers that are most easily seen in everyday situations.

Do not be alarmed if you identify with one. This means that you are a normal person.

Let’s list some of them:

  • Shortage: You were in a relationship and at the beginning he was incredible. Suddenly, he was no longer a big deal. Then, you end. And from one hour to the next you start to realize the lack that this person started to make in your life. But, you only noticed it after you lost it, right? Please don’t cry (even because I can’t even offer you a tissue)! This is the trigger of scarcity. You only noticed the value of something you had when you stopped having it.
  • Urgency: you don’t need a different colored cola soda bottle. You didn’t even notice the packaging until then. Until you discover that this is a limited edition, that is, that it will soon cease to exist. Even without being a necessity, you believe that it is, after all, something that has a deadline to end. This somewhat resembles the scarcity trigger, but this time, you have urgency in your need and therefore take more immediate actions.
  • New: You have a cell phone. The R5 model. And he looks great! There’s only one problem: they just launched the R5². And you need it! Why he is a novelty! In addition, his camera has 0.000000000002 megapixels more resolution! Of course, you need to (but not).
  • Social proof: An instrumental Hungarian band is going to do a show in your city. You never heard a song or even knew the band before you heard about the show. But… everyone goes! So, you need to go, because you are part of “everyone”, you know “everyone”, soon you want to be with “everyone” and do what “everyone” is doing.

To further facilitate your understanding of the topic, our CMO, Vitor Peçanha, made a video explaining everything about the subject. Check out!

How mental triggers act in marketing (and consequently in sales)

Have you noticed how our brain influences our decision making?

And this happens even though, in many cases, they are not related to a real need, but, in fact, a need generated in the face of a certain circumstance.

It is from this behavior activated by mental triggers that many brands design campaigns or promotions so that, in some way, a person feels encouraged to make a purchase that, without those motivations, maybe I wouldn’t do or postpone.

Let’s go back to those examples, but now looking at the real actions of some brands to understand how they can help boost your strategy, especially if you already use Content Marketing.

Learn all about Digital Marketing

This comprehensive guide will teach you everything about digital marketing and how to apply it.


Our unconscious associates scarcity with value. That is, for us, the rarer something is, the greater value it has.

Here’s an example:

mental triggers

In 2014 Mini decided to launch in London exclusive 100 units of the Mini Cooper S model with manual transmission.

Normally, the price of an automatic vehicle is much higher than that of a manual, right?

But of this model there are only 100 units.

The exclusivity (or scarcity) of a thing makes people pay more for it.

Even if it is a symbolic value, such as providing information on a landing page or sharing actions on social networks.

And this can be a great Marketing strategy. Hold an event with limited spaces, or make available a variation of your product with a limited quantity, to increase their added value.

Remembering that when using this strategy, you should really think about whether it is really worthwhile and offer something really limited.

People will feel cheated if this is not true.


The urgency trigger leads us to take even more unconscious actions, as it limits our time in decision making.

mental triggers

The clearest example in this regard is perhaps Black Friday.

Although in London it does not have the same power as abroad, the dynamics are the same: you have one day to make a purchase, if you want to have that discount.

Other good examples of strategies that activate the urgency trigger are the collective purchasing sites, such as Peixe Urbano and Groupon.

Usually, the offers are valid for an X period of time and they even put a countdown timer on the side (making the purchase feels like being in a gymkhana).

This is perhaps one of the easiest to use.

The use of words with a sense of urgency, such as “Read this post and start your business right now! ” or “Why should you start your strategy within today”Awakens this sensation.

Recalling that: in these two cases, the content must be as convincing as in the title, otherwise the person will leave with the feeling of “oh, it doesn’t have to be right now…”

Learn to create a sense of urgency with incredible campaigns on Black Friday!

marketing at black friday


The new, at least, arouses curiosity. That’s when it doesn’t make us take insane actions.

mental triggers

We will try to ignore the price difference between London and the USA

Yes, people are willing to do absurd things out of curiosity.

In addition to the simple need to want something that is new, people also often apply the urgency trigger.

And to use this trigger, you only need one thing: something new.

And, of course, make it clear to your persona that this is a novelty.

For this, a good tool is email marketing.

When the first word in your email title is “New”, people will ask themselves “what is new?”

Hence, just having an offer that will really delight and engage the trigger of the novelty will be activated in your favor.

The more novelties you bring to a person and that add value to him, the greater his enchantment with you and the greater his authority.

Remembering: It must be something really new.

If your novelty does not have that character for the reader, your work will be in vain.

Social Proof

There is no point in denying it, regardless of the proportion in which this happens to you, the “mass” has the capacity, at least, to arouse your curiosity.

You ask yourself “why is everyone doing this?”

mental triggers

2 million is a lot of people. This at least makes you curious (that is, if you are not one of them).

And this is a great example to trigger the social proof trigger: to put the number of people who accomplished something that the reader did not do.

For this strategy, you will need numbers.

For example, the number of people who already downloaded your ebook, took your course, took your certificate or are already a customer.

From there, it is only to disclose to the personas that are outside that number.

People tend to feel excluded and there is a need and curiosity to do what everyone is doing.

That thought of “what’s so good about it?”.

Remembering that: the numbers always have to be real. Lying to the consumer is always a bad idea, especially when he discovers the scam and your product or service is misleading advertising!

Even without knowing very well how you must have already used in your strategy some instrument of activation of mental triggers.

And surely it has also been caught by someone (who never?).

But, now that you know a little more about them, you can use them in a targeted way to increase the engagement of your publications and campaigns and generate even more conversions.

And, to further increase your reach, read our post on How to increase traffic to your blog in 10 steps!