Psychology for conversion optimization funnel

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

When it comes to buying something, there are many factors that contribute to the final decision on whether to buy it or not. Understanding the psychology of consumers play an essential role in any business and if used effectively, can show significant improvement in all of your business KPIs.

There are many studies and research already done on different areas of human behavior by top universities and research firms.

Following principles of persuasion from the book Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini — Professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona state university can help us understand how the buying decisions take place in consumer’s brains and what can be done to inspire those decisions.

Moving further, We will discuss all the principles one-by-one in a brief manner


People tend to give back if offered something for free or at a discounted price. The principle of reciprocity states that humans are always likely to return the favor.

So if you offer something free about your product or discounted price, consumers are likely to give you at least their email so that you can then keep on following up with them and finally ask them for a sale


People tend to stay consistent once they have started out on something, especially when it is public because everybody wants to be seen as consistent and committed to one thing.

Social Proof

No wonder why we tend to check reviews and ratings before shopping online for any product. We always strive to be less wrong if not correct all the time, we don’t want to be judged by our friends and family.

This principle of psychology suggests that people tend to follow the crowd for safety and hence are easily influenced by other buyers’ opinion on a particular product and this can be best used to boost conversions by adding some badge for social proof that helps buyer decide which products are trustworthy or in case of a single product if the product is trustworthy.

Collecting data from existing buyers and coming up with products that most users prefer to by and putting a badge on them as ‘Buyer’s choice’ or any badge you think would work great can give you substantial increment on conversions as new or hesitant buyers tend to explore these products first.

If you are a B2B product or service provider, you can mention the names of clients who are well known and respected brands. This will give assurance to first-time buyers of your product/services that your product is trustworthy.


Having an authoritative figure to support your brand/ product can significantly change the perception of your product by consumers. Let’s say for sportswear when Ronaldo or Messi are advertised showing that they endorse the product, people tend to believe the product’s quality. whether you like either of these public figures or none, it builds a reputation for your brand.

Falling short of budget or not having a budget to hire such an authoritative figure, an alternative can be to use symbols of authority. For example, show any random sports person using a sportswear brand or you can use media coverage as featured or mentions can also have the same effect.

Liking & Unity

People are very likely to buy from people they like or share some common traits. So if your project brand’s image in a way that shares some common traits with your target consumers, you are likely to get more traction and it also helps in customer retention.

For example, your website’s ‘about us’ page where you will share information about your team members and objectives of your company, make sure it reflects the consumer persona behind the faces of your team members.


Create a sense of urgency by either giving time-limited offer or quantity-limited offers. We tend to desire more when something is being provided in very limited supply. This principle is generally applied on the websites of airlines, hotels and nowadays MOOC( Massive Open Online Courses) Websites. This has proven to increase conversion rates significantly in particular for Airline companies.

Make sure when you apply it in your case, Don’t fake it. Such as if you are selling PDFs online you can’t say, “ only 10 left” as it is a digital resource, and copies can be made abundantly. In this case, you can offer a discount on the current price for a limited time.


This somewhat resembles the liking principle that is mentioned above but it works way superior if used properly in conjunction with other principles and other persuasion methods. In this principle, Cialdini suggests that people tend to have a unique identity or being a part of the community which feels to be special. Just the way apple has created its unique consumer base where people share common ideas and feel like they are part of something very different from the rest. It gives them a sense of uniqueness and a shared identity with select people across the globe.

Don’t stress out, you don’t need to necessarily apply all these principles at once. Applying one principle for the different elements of your website where it will suitably work can get you a better ROI of time spent on the application. Further, you can do research as suggested in my previous blog on conversion copywriting. Also, apart from these principles mentioned in Cialdini’s book, there are many other triggers that if tapped into can lead consumers to convert.

Persuasion tactics

Let’s discuss some other interesting persuasion techniques so that you will get an idea of how different techniques are made to work.

Focus on key elements such as value proposition and other feature titles on the home page, feature page, and/ or pricing page. Let the customers lose focus on less important aspects of the web site.

Keep the context the same across all channels of communication. Creating a consistent context across all the mediums where your business is present can make forgotten customers return on your website. For example, SEO, display sites, Social media, etc.

Humans are emotional hence biased, so do their attention as well. If you know that your product is somehow directly relating to any emotion that can be dominant for consumers then showcase it visually and in the context of product messaging.

Using faces on websites can make a difference if used in the right way. When using faces on a website, make them look towards CTA or feature description which you feel is important to convey to a site visitor. Make sure you keep less important elements aways from gaze direction.

Eliminate ambiguity from all the elements of the website such as be specific about what happens in the next step, mention what happens on clicking the CTA, fixed discounts, etc. Try finding unclear messages or ambiguities in your competitor and make those things certain on your website.

Create a feeling of being a part of the community. Humans have an innate tendency of being part of a group and conform to the common behaviors across the group. When you position your brand uniquely, your users will form a community, foster that community and you will have a loyal consumer base that does incredible marketing for you.

Confuse them with what to buy rather than whether to by or not. People tend to think whether to buy or not if only one option is provided but if you provide them with multiple options they will be dragged towards thinking about what better suits their needs. This is how the paradox of choice works. Make sure you don’t bombard with too many variants otherwise it can bounce them off. Make a good trade-off, generally, 3–5 choices work well so start with that many options and then test further.

These are only some persuasion techniques that I have shared from the course on People and Psychology from CXL Institute. You can check out their website for such a valuable and informative course at affordable pricing.

Social proof

Image by mcmurryjulie from Pixabay

Humans have this tendency to doubt and confirm the claims being made by someone. We always look for social proof whenever we go to buy something either offline or online such as product reviews, ratings, customer interviews on product websites, and even case studies.

As a conversion optimizer, it is advisable that while giving social proof to consumers, if you are presenting ………….

Case studies and Testimonials

Try to empathize with consumers and involve their pain points so that they feel this product genuinely solves their problem. If case studies are being presented then it should be presented in a “before & after” format which enables customers to gauge the value of your product while walking them through experience to solve their own problem.

Customer Interviews

Before approaching customer interviews, make sure the customer fits into your ideal persona for the product and target market. It is really important to know their problems before using the product and at how much extent does your product help them so design a questionnaire in a way that will seek out the answers in more natural ways while making sure that you don’t ask all the questions in a static way, you should improvise as per the response. Also, it is natural that we have a bias for our product, so always avoid direct their answers to what you are expecting.

Positioning your social proof on the website

The main objective of social proof is to get customers past their objection zone to the convinced zone and reduce friction. Taking into consideration that not all of your users will always be checking out your website from laptop/desktop, it’s better to not collect all your testimonials in video format. Also, the position should always be on the landing page where you feel is the right place for testimonials.

Always have the latest social proofs

Social proof needs to be revised with new customers to preserve the perceived authenticity of the product. To keep social proofs always fresh is to follow up with consumers immediately after-sales or purchase to know their entire experience and factors caused the purchase. As this is also very essential to identify the exact triggers that made the purchase successful. Having a separate page for testimonials starting with videos also works well, say, in the case of SaaS products.

Understanding about different types of people and the psychology behind their decision making can help you a lot to make your marketing efforts successful. But in order to do that you will have to do thorough research on who is your ideal target customer, understand their pain points, and address them in your sales copy in their own words.

What’s coming next week

Coming week we will discuss what is neuromarketing — a term used to describe the application of neuroscience studies to marketing. We also take a look into how we can also apply these studies for our products in the landscape of internet marketing.



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