People are smart. People are irrational. People are all kinds of things – and even science hasn’t figured us out yet. What is also important to keep in mind is that while internet and technology have changed at a rapid pace, human brain has been pretty much the same for millions of years. And probably will continue to be.
There are some psychological principles we can use to boost conversions that will always work. Mr. Cialdini is undoubtedly the biggest authority in that field. His books are bestsellers and have been on the “must-read” list for marketers and copywriters for years.
Cialdini came up with six scientific principles of persuasion that will help guide you to become more effective at getting people to do what you want. In case you have no idea what those principles are, here’s a summary:
Principle 1: Reciprocity
People feel obligated to give back to those who have given to them.
How to use it: teach your prospect something useful in your copy, give away free stuff and better yet – add value to your prospects long before you even start to sell them something.
Principle 2: Liking
We prefer to say “yes” to those that we know and like.
How to use it: talk/write like a human, connect with the reader, share details about yourself, etc. Show an attractive picture on the landing page. Go for a simple design.
Principle 3: Social proof
People decide what’s appropriate for them to do in a situation by examining and following what others are doing. Nobody wants to be the only idiot subscribing to your offer.
How to use it: show how many others are already using your product or service. Show off your impressive numbers (e.g. 10,000 happy customers). Use testimonials. Display mentions in the media.
Principle 4: Authority
People rely on those with superior knowledge or perspective for guidance on how to respond AND what decision to make.
How to use it: Demonstrate your expertise. Show off your resume and results. Get celebrity (in your niche) endorsements.
Principle 5: Consistency and commitment
We have a deep need to be seen as consistent. As such, once we have publicly committed to something or someone, then we are so much more likely to go through and deliver on that commitment…hence consistency. This can be explained, from a psychological perspective, by the fact that people have established commitment as being in line with their self-image.
How to use it: Web forms is one area where this can be used. Make it align perfectly with the message that brought them to the page (e.g. ad copy) and the whole point of the page, so the form language would encourage consistency.
Example: eHarmony. Take a look at the form, and look at the sequence of form fields.
You’re asked your name, where you’re from and who’re you looking for (commitment).CTA is extremely important: declaring the final intent to find a mate, in writing, up front.
The button copy – “Find My Matches” — is another form of “committing” to the match-making process. What follows is a really long questionnaire, and without the commitment completion rates would be much lower.
Principle 6: Scarcity
Opportunities appear more valuable when they are less available.
How to use it: Use time or quantity limited bonuses. Limit access to your product. Promote exclusivity.
Decision making is not logical, use and inspire emotions
A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions.
They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides—shall I have the chicken or the turkey? With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision.
So at the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion.
The decision making part of the human brain is very emotional
You must create a vision for prospects to bring about decision on their part. In the end, people will make the decision because they want to. Avoid telling people what to think or what’s best. You help them discover for themselves what feels right and best, and most advantageous to them by presenting your case using contrast and simple, tangible language and demonstration.
Their ultimate decision is based on self-interest. That’s emotional. “I want this. This is good for me”. Remember, old brain is selfish. When we’re selling product, we need to make a compelling emotional and rational case.
They should be able to fall in love with it emotionally, and justify it rationally. Lead with emotional and inspirational content: large images, aspirational headlines. Emotional decision making dominates, so it’s critical to lead with that.
Once they’ve made a decision that they want it, people want to be able to justify the purchase. Hence back everything up with specifics, so they could rationalize the decision. Assess website and product copy presentation to see whether emotional and rational decision making both have been addressed.
Now go and add some emotions and psychological triggers onto your landing page!