6 Psychological Principles That Persuade Visitors to Convert

Last updated on by in Conversion Optimization

You’re subscribed to dozens of different marketing blogs churning out new content every single day. You must have read dozens of blog posts and guides on landing page optimization. In fact, you’re starting to read one right now.

And you go through this endless list of content for one reason. You want more conversions on your landing pages.

You’re seeking optimization secrets, looking at best practices and tactics that worked for marketers in the past, hopeful one of them will work for you.

Landing page optimization isn’t only about techniques

Getting more conversions is not and will never be just fattening your CTA button or shortening your lead capture form. Landing page optimization techniques are important, but far more important are the strategies behind these practices. For more on that, learn how to increase your conversion rate with some simple psychological hacks in our ebook:

Strategies set the stage for tactics to shine. If you’re ignoring the psychological principles that help create an optimized landing page, you are missing out – because you’re only using half of your marketing arsenal.

We’ve analyzed the data behind these six psychological principles to help you create a page rooted in strategy and tactics to get the most conversions possible.

1. The dual process theory

The dual process theory states every process has two sides to it. One is implicit and unconscious while the other is explicit and conscious.

Dr. Daniel Kahneman talks about the dual process theory in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” postulating that the human mind can be divided into two distinct systems, i.e. System 1 and System 2.

System 1 is the fast side. It is automatic, intuitive, and instinctive. System 2, on the other hand, is focused and calculated.

While both systems are technically functional at all times, only one system is dominant when you are making a decision. Your visitor will either be someone who makes an instinctive decision or someone who has a habit of weighing the pros and cons. So which side will be most effective?

According to Gerald Zaltman, a professor at Harvard Business School, approximately 95% of all purchasing decisions are made by System 1. You need to make your landing pages instinctive clickable, intuitively fast.

One way to do this is by cutting down your copy to the bare minimum and focusing on your CTA button like Zapier does here.

Another way to implement this is with visual cues. You only have a moment to grab their attention, so use directional cues to get your visitor’s attention in the right place at the right time.

In case your product is better geared for tapping into System 2 brains, you’ll need to persuade them with facts and figures they can digest – and then come to the systematic conclusion that your solution is the way to go. This is what 99 Designs accomplishes here.

Not sure which method will be most effective? Analyze the kind of buyer persona that your visitor has, and then create landing page variants with that persona in mind.

2. Loss Aversion

People are scared to lose something more than they are happy to gain something.

We mourn losses more than we value gains. And we are so scared of losing something we will do anything in our power to stop this. We might even download an ebook because we couldn’t afford to lose any more of our “valuable time and money.”

Loss aversion is the key to why so many SaaS free trials work.

Tip: Try “We’ll handle the shipping” instead of “free shipping” on your CTA button, and see how your visitors respond.

3. The Primacy Effect

The primacy effect states that when given the choice between a list of things, our brain tends to remember the first few things better than the last. The human brain also regards things in the beginning to be of more importance than the things that come later on.

One major reason why the primacy effect works is because an individual or in this case your customer pays more attention at the start, then begins to drift away because their brains get bored or tired as time passes.

Your landing page headlines must be irresistible because if your headline fails to engage your visitors, they will lose interest. The primacy effect’s importance cannot be overstated.

The Munchery page has aevant and memorable headline.

4. The Paradox of Choice

When faced with too many choices, we are less likely to be happy with the choice we make.

It’s the paradox of choice that makes you to feel buyer’s remorse.

An experiment conducted by Lepper and Iyengar on supermarket jams at a gourmet food store revealed that when customers were given 6 different varieties of high-quality jams as free samples, instead of 24 different varieties, 30% of the people ended up buying a jar.

Out of those that got the 24 different jams, only 3% bought a jar.

When you create your landing page, strive to remove anything that doesn’t forward your conversion goal. Don’t add an image on your landing page that’s will derail your visitors. Don’t add an unnecessarily long lead capture form that distracts your visitors from the call to action button.

Give your visitors fewer choices, and they are are more likely to click where you want them to.

5. Social Proof

Herd behavior is the idea that because lots of other people are making a certain choice, that choice seems more likely to be right. It’s a form of social proof.

Our brain wants to go where other people are going. The brain’s decisionmaking center, the prefrontal cortex, is responsible for rewards and social learning, and seeing someone else’s choice activates that center and causes us to follow their lead.

Including testimonials on your landing page helps get conversions. Make sure that the testimonials are honest and descriptive. Simply including a customer quote saying, “Amazing Service” doesn’t really persuade anyone.

Social media likes and tweets hit the bull’s eye with herd behavior. The more other people say it’s true, the more likely it is to be true.

The Highrise landing page is a perfect example for using social proof.

6. The Information Gap Theory

The Information Gap Theory by George Loewenstein posits that when we are faced with a gap between what we know and what we desire to know, we act to fill that gap.

When we are curious about something, not only are we anxious to perform an action, but our brain’s pleasure centers get activated, making us feel happy about our actions. Clearly, curiosity is a powerful tool.

Curiosity plays an important role in particular on “Coming soon” pages, where you give your visitors a glimpse at what you’re offering, and then ask them to subscribe to find out more later.

Briefly does a great job at activating this curiosity.

Another way of implementing curiosity on your landing page is through the use of great copy. Give them a taste of what they want, and tell them all that’s standing in the way of them and their goal is the bright CTA button.

The Frank & Oak landing page does a great job with this.

Being a marketer is about persuading people, and following psychological principles comes in handy for creating the strategies that will convince them.

Armed with these 6 psychological principles, there are no limits to what you can achieve with your landing pages.

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