Increase Your Conversion Rate with Simple Psychology

By Shane Conversion Rate Optimisation Comments Off on Increase Your Conversion Rate with Simple Psychology

Conversion rate

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process of increasing and optimising the number of customers that convert after landing on your web-page. It is an essential process in driving sales and achieving a bigger return on investment (or ROI) for your business. Within this article we will focus on five simple psychological principles which when harnessed correctly, can work wonders for increasing conversions on your site.

What exactly is CRO?

CRO is not about generating new leads for your business, it is about increasing the rate of existing customers visiting your site that take a specific action, for example purchasing a product or adding their name to a mailing list.

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A ‘conversion’ will mean different things to sites with a different focus. For example, to an online retailer, a conversion may be the action of customer on their website actually buying the stock which was initially added to their shopping basket. For a content creator, a conversion may be the action of a customer signing up to a mailing list or carrying out a software download.

Why is psychology relevant in CRO?

The basic idea behind CRO is essentially finding out and understanding human behavioural trends that drive interaction on the web, and then applying this to your own site to help drive interactions and therefore conversions.

Psychological research is the backbone behind many digital marketing techniques, including CRO. Understanding key psychological principles is vital to gaining an understanding of customers’ behaviour on your site; why your conversion rates might not be as high as you hoped and the ways in which you can optimise your site (using psychology) to increase these conversions.

With conversion rates having such different meanings to different users, it is vitally important that the techniques used to optimise conversion rates are tailored specifically to the individual marketer, advertiser or content creator.

In this article we will explain 5 simple psychological principles that when understood can be converted into successful optimisation techniques that will drive an increase in conversions on your site.

The Five Simple Psychological Principles

1: Social Proof

social proof

The idea behind social proof is the positive influence that is created when we find out that others are partaking in or enjoying a product or service. If we see something that has many 5 star or positively worded reviews; especially from influential individuals such as celebrities; we as individuals will be more inclined to feel positively towards that something than we would if we hadn’t seen these positive reviews. Basically, it is proof from our peers that something is valuable and worth our time or money.

Social proof can be used to improve conversion rates by harnessing social pressure. As humans we do not like to feel as if we are being left out of a particular social group. By encouraging positive interactions to show how others are benefitting from your product or service you can exert a certain amount of social pressure which will encourage others to also partake in or purchase the product or service you offer.

Social proof can be introduced on to your site in many ways. These include using positive reviews, celebrity endorsements, god ratings and social follower counts among many more.

For years McDonald’s signs showed the number of billions of people they had served in their restaurants. This suggested a quality in their products and service which kept drawing people back.

2: Loss Aversion

loss aversion

As a species, we humans are terrified of loss. In all walks of life, we go out of our way to minimise the chances of us losing something. Psychological studies have shown that as humans, we feel the pain of a loss almost twice as strongly as the pleasure we feel from a gain.

Whether this be an evolutionary psychological response to the historical scarcity of resources during the hunter-gather existence of our ancestors or whether we are just predisposed to value goods and resources, as humans we will go out of our way to avoid losing out.

This is a powerful psychological response that can greatly improve conversion rates for your business if harnessed correctly. Make customers believe that there is a potential loss if they do not carry out the action that you are wishing them to.

One of the most common ways to create the impression of potential loss is by limiting the number of items being given away in an offer or by limiting the time frame a certain offer runs for. This creates an impression of scarcity. Make these limits obvious, advertise them as well as your offer to create a sense of urgency within your customers, that they will have to act quickly or lose out.

3: Anchoring

The anchoring effect is when our brains unintentionally take the first thing that we find out (or we perceive is the first thing we find out) about a subject as the ‘anchoring’ point. We tend to compare any subsequent points of information we go on to find out about a product or service to the first thing we initially heard about it, this ‘anchoring point’.

As human beings, our brains are wired to look for comparisons which can aid in our decision making. We live in a complicated world where other opinions, alternate ‘facts’ and other versions of products and services are all pushed at us from every angle. Our brains create and sort through a tangled web of options, scenarios and outcomes, and will compare subsequent information to the first thing we heard about something in an attempt to come to the right decision for us.

In terms of improving your conversion rates, harness this effect by making it obvious when you have changed an initial price or offer for a better deal. Even if you were planning on it all along, a perceived better deal will draw customers in.

You can also add some sort of bonus to the action you want customers to take. If you want them to buy a product, throw in a small freebee; if you want customers to download content, add bonus content; if you want them to sign up to a mailing list, enter them in to a prize draw as a reward! Again, make sure this is obviously advertised as an improvement to the initial deal.

anchoring effect

4: Foot-in-the-door


Another way that will increase conversions for your business over time is by getting ‘a foot in the door’ with existing customers over social media.

The human race is a socially driven species, constantly looking to nurture existing social relationships and on the look out to form new ones. Once formed, social connections can be powerful things. We feel a compulsion to honour connections once formed, even if we don’t realise we have formed them, and we will be more likely to form further and deeper connections in the future if we have made a smaller, initial connection first.

Harness the power within your social media to form initial connections with customers. Simple things such as a like on their photo or a comment on a post may encourage them to reciprocate and leave them more open to further interaction in the future. Prime customers now and then provide perfectly timed content further down the line and conversion rates will almost definitely increase.


5: Authority

As a thoroughly social species, humans inherently trust figures of authority. This has been nurtured over time through the tradition of a social hierarchy structure of one leader who governs the actions of a larger social group. We are more likely to defer to and trust an authority figure, which can help drive conversions when you have established one within your business.

In the modern world, even if we don’t realise it this is still the case. Authority figures take many forms, politicians, celebrities and experts within a field. If a figure of authority is associated with your business it can draw in customers, who perceive an added sense of worth to your business if they see it to be either the best in a field or associated with a figure they know and trust.

For smaller companies who cannot afford to pay celebrities to become a brand ambassador and endorse a product or service, one way to establish authority within your business is to establish yourself or an employee of your business as a thought-leader within your industry. Include an individual as part of your business marketing and build on their reputation to gain interest from customers who respect them.

Another approach is to nurture strategic partnerships with other business or content creators who are well respected within a field to create mutually beneficial opportunities and an increased presence of authority.

So there you have it. 5 simple psychological principles and how they can be used within CRO for you and your company. If you have enjoyed reading this and would like to find out more about how to increase conversion rates on your website then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today on 0800 111 246 and find out how we can help you to dominate competition with Google Adwords, SEO and CRO.


Disclaimer: All images used under Fair Use for educational purposes. Copyrights remain properties of original owners and no copyright is claimed on images used.

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