Tag Archives: persuasion


The Ethics Of Persuasion

The Ethics Of Persuasion

Lyndon Cerejo

(This article is kindly sponsored by Adobe.) A few months ago, the world was shocked to learn that Cambridge Analytica had improperly used data from a harmless looking personality quiz on Facebook to profile and target the wider audience on the platform with advertisements to persuade them to vote a certain way. Only part of the data was obtained with consent (!), the data was stored by the app creator (!!), and it was sold to Cambridge Analytica in violation of terms of use (!!!). This was an example of black hat design, a deceptive use of persuasion tactics, combined with unethical use of personal information.

On the other hand, the last time you shopped on eBay, you may have noticed the use of multiple design elements encouraging you to buy an item (“last item”, “3 watched in the past day”). While these design techniques are used to persuade users, they are usually not deceptive and are considered white hat techniques.

A third example comes from Google I/O 2018 last month when the world heard Google Duplex make a call to a salon for an appointment and carry out a fluent conversation mimicking human mannerisms so well that the person at the other end did not realize she was talking to a machine. The machine did not misrepresent itself as human, nor did it identify itself as a machine, which, in my book, puts it in a gray area. What’s stopping this from being used in black hat design in the near future?

examples of persuasive tactics

Large preview

As you see from the three examples above, the use of persuasive tactics can fall anywhere on a spectrum from black hat at one extreme to white hat at the other, with a large fuzzy gray area separating the two. In today’s world of online and email scams, phishing attacks, and data breaches, users are increasingly cautious of persuasive tactics being used that are not in their best interest. Experience designers, developers, and creators are responsible for making decisions around the ethical nature of the tactics we use in our designs.

This article will present a brief history of persuasion, look at how persuasion is used with technology and new media, and present food for thought for designers and developers to avoid crossing the ethical line to the dark side of persuasion.

History Of Persuasion

Persuasion tactics and techniques are hardly new — they have been used for ages. Aristotle’s Rhetoric, over 2000 years ago, is one of the earliest documents on the art of persuasion. The modes of persuasion Aristotle presented were ethos (credibility), logos (reason), and pathos (emotion). He also discussed how kairos (opportune time) is important for the modes of persuasion.

Fast forward to today, and we see persuasion methods used in advertising, marketing, and communication all around us. When we try to convince someone of a point of view or win that next design client or project, chances are we are using persuasion: a process by which a person’s attitudes or behavior are, without duress, influenced by communications from other people (Encyclopedia Britannica).

While Aristotle first documented persuasion, Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is more commonly referenced when talking about modern persuasion. According to Cialdini, there are six key principles of persuasion:

  1. Reciprocity
    People are obliged to give something back in exchange for receiving something.
  2. Scarcity
    People want more of those things they can have less of.
  3. Authority
    People follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.
  4. Consistency
    People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.
  5. Liking
    People prefer to say yes to those that they like.
  6. Consensus (Social Proof)
    Especially when they are uncertain, people will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.

We have all been exposed to one or more of these principles, and may recognize them in advertising or when interacting with others. While that has been around for ages, what is relatively new is the application of persuasion techniques to new technology and media. This started off with personal computers, became more prominent with the Internet, and is now pervasive with mobile devices.

Persuasion Through Technology And New Media

Behavior scientist B.J. Fogg is a pioneer when it comes to the role of technology in persuasion. Over two decades ago, he started exploring the overlap between persuasion and computing technology. This included interactive technologies like websites, software, and devices created for the purpose of changing people’s attitudes or behaviors. He referred to this field as captology, an acronym based on computers as persuasive technologies, and wrote the book on it, Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do.

Captology describes the shaded area where computing technology and persuasion overlap

Captology describes the shaded area where computing technology and persuasion overlap (recreated from BJ Fogg’s CHI 98 paper, Persuasive Computers). (Large preview)

Interactive technologies have many advantages over traditional media because they are interactive. They also have advantages over humans because they can be more persistent (e.g. software update reminders), offer anonymity (great for sensitive topics), can access and manipulate large amounts of data (e.g. Amazon recommendations), can use many styles and modes (text, graphics, audio, video, animation, simulations), can easily scale, and are pervasive.

This last advantage is even more pronounced today, with mobile phones being an extension of our arms, and increased proliferation of smart devices, embedded computing, IoT, wearable technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and virtual assistants powered by AI being embedded in anything and everything around us. In addition, today’s technological advances allow us to time and target moments of persuasion for high impact, since it is easy to know a user’s location, context, time, routine, and give them the ability to take action. This could be a reminder from your smartwatch to stand or move, or an offer from the coffee shop while you are a few blocks away.

Ethics And New Technology And Interactive Media

The use of persuasion in traditional media over the past decades has raised questions about the ethical use of persuasion. With new media and pervasive technology, there are more questions about the ethical use of persuasion, some of which are due to the advantages pervasive technology has over traditional media and humans. Anyone using persuasive methods to change people’s minds or behavior should have a thorough understanding of the ethical implications and impact of their work.

One of the key responsibilities of a designer during any design process is to be an advocate for the user. This role becomes even more crucial when persuasion techniques are intentionally used in design, since users may be unaware of the persuasion tactics. Even worse, some users may not be capable to detect these tactics, as may be the case with children, seniors or other vulnerable users.

BJ Fogg provides six factors that give interactive technologies an advantage over users when it comes to persuasion:

  1. Persuasive intent is masked by novelty
    The web and email are no longer novel, and most of us have wizened up to deceptive web practices and the promises of Nigerian Princes, but we still find novelty in new mobile apps, voice interfaces, AR, VR. Not too long ago, the craze with Pokémon Go raised many ethical questions.
  2. Positive reputation of new technology
    While “It must be true — I saw it on the Internet” is now a punchline, users are still being persuaded to like, comment, share, retweet, spread challenges, and make fake news or bot generated content viral.
  3. Unlimited persistence
    Would you like a used car salesman following you around after your first visit, continually trying to sell you a car? While that thankfully does not happen in real life, your apps and devices are with you all the time, and the ding and glowing screen have the ability to persistently persuade us, even in places and times that may be otherwise inappropriate. This past Lent, my son took a break from his mobile device. When he started it after Easter, he had hundreds of past notifications and alerts from one mobile game offering all sorts of reminders and incentives to come back and use it.
  4. Control over how the interaction unfolds
    Unlike human persuasion, where the person being persuaded has the ability to react and change course, technology has predefined options, controlled by the creators, designers and developers. When designing voice interfaces, creators have to define what their skill will be able to do, and for everything else come back with a “Sorry I can’t help with that”. Just last month, a social network blocked access to their mobile website, asking me to install their app to access their content, without an escape or dismiss option.
  5. Can affect emotion while still being emotionless
    New technology doesn’t have emotion. Even with the recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, machines do not feel emotion like humans do. Back to the Google Duplex assistant call mentioned at the beginning, issues can arise when people are not aware that the voice at the other end is just an emotionless machine, and treat it as another person just like them.
  6. Cannot take responsibility for negative outcomes of persuasion
    What happens when something goes wrong, and the app or the technology cannot take responsibility? Do the creators shoulder that responsibility, even if their persuasion strategies have unintended outcomes, or if misused by their partners? Mark Zuckerberg accepted responsibility for the Cambridge Analytica scandal before and during the congress hearings.

With these unfair advantages at our disposal, how do we, as creators, designers, and developers make ethical choices in our designs and solutions? For one, take a step back and consider the ethical implication and impact of our work, and then take a stand for our users.

Many designers are pushing back and being vocal about some of the ethically questionable nature of tech products and designs. There’s Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist, who has spoken out about how tech companies’ products hijack users’ minds. Sean Parker, Napster founder and former president of Facebook, described how Facebook was designed to exploit human “vulnerability”. And Basecamp’s Jonas Downey ruminates on how most software products are owned and operated by corporations, whose business interests often contradict their users’ interests.

Design Code Of Conduct

AIGA, the largest professional membership organization for design, has a series on Design Business and Ethics. Design Professionalism author Andy Rutledge also created a Professional Code of Conduct. Both are very detailed and cover the business of design, but not specifically ethics related to design that impacts or influences human behavior.

Other professionals who impact the human mind have ethical principles and codes of conduct, like those published by the American Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society. The purpose of these codes of conduct is to protect participants as well as the reputation of psychology and psychologists themselves. When using psychology in our designs, we could examine how the ethical principles of psychologists are applicable to our work as creators, designers, and developers.

Principles And Questions

Using the Ethical Principles of Psychologists as a framework, I defined how each principle applies to persuasive design and listed questions related to ethical implications of design. These are by no means exhaustive but are intended to be food for thought in each of these areas. Note: When you see ‘design’ in the questions below, it refers to persuasive techniques used in your design, app, product or solution.

Principle A: Beneficence And Nonmaleficence

Do no harm. Your decisions may affect the minds, behavior, and lives of your users and others around them, so be alert and guard against misusing the influence of your designs.

  • Does your design change the way people interact for the better?
  • Does the design aim to keep users spending time they didn’t intend to?
  • Does the design make it easy to access socially unacceptable or illegal items that your users would not have easy access to otherwise?
  • How may your partners (including third-party tools and SDKs) or “bad guys” misuse your design, unknown to you?
  • Would you be comfortable with someone else using your design on you?
  • Would you like someone else to use this design to persuade your mother or your child?

Principle B: Fidelity And Responsibility

Be aware of your responsibility to your intended users, unintended users and society at large. Accept appropriate responsibility for the outcomes of your design.

  • During design, follow up answers to “How might we…?” with “At what cost?”
  • What is the impact of your design/product/solution? Who or what does it replace or impact?
  • If your design was used opposite from your intended use, what could the impact be?
  • Does your design change social norms, etiquette or traditions for the better?
  • Will the design put users in harm’s way or make them vulnerable, intentionally or unintentionally (Study Estimates That Pokémon GO Has Caused More Than 100,000 Traffic Accidents)? How can it be prevented?

Principle C: Integrity

Promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in your designs. Do not cheat, misrepresent or engage in fraud. When deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, carefully consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and be responsible for correcting any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.

  • Do you need users’ consent? When asking for their consent, are they aware of what exactly they are consenting to?
  • What’s the intent of the design? Is it in the best interest of the user or the creator? Are you open and transparent about your intentions?
  • Does your design use deception, manipulation, misrepresentation, threats, coercion or other dishonest techniques?
  • Are users aware or informed if they are being monitored, or is it covert?
  • Is your design benefiting you or the creators at the expense of your users?
  • What would a future whistleblower say about you and your design?

Principle D: Justice

Exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that your potential biases, the limitations of your expertise does not lead to, or condone unjust practices. Your design should benefit both the creators and users.

  • Does your design contain any designer biases built in (gender, political, or other)?
  • Does your design advocate hate, violence, crime, propaganda?
  • If you did this in person, without technology, would it be considered ethical?
  • What are the benefits to the creators/business? What are the benefits to the users? Are the benefits stacked in favor of the business?
  • Do you make it easy for users to disconnect? Do users have control and the ability to stop, without being subject to further persuasion through other channels?

Principle E: Respect For People’s Rights And Dignity

Respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, and confidentiality. Special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of vulnerable users.

  • Are your designs using persuasion with vulnerable users (children, seniors, poor)?
  • Does your design protect users’ privacy and give them control over their settings?
  • Does the design require unnecessary permissions to work?
  • Can your design use a less in-your-face technique to get the same outcome? (e.g. speed monitors on roads instead of surveillance)
  • Does your design make your users a nuisance to others? How can you prevent that?


If you have been designing with white hat techniques, you may appreciate the ethical issues discussed here. However, if you have been designing in the grey or black area, thank you for making it all the way to the end. Ethics in persuasive design are important because they don’t prey on the disadvantages users have when it comes to interactive technology. As creators, designers, and developers, we have a responsibility to stand up for our users.

Do good. Do no harm. Design ethically.



This article is part of the UX design series sponsored by Adobe. Adobe XD tool is made for a fast and fluid UX design process, as it lets you go from idea to prototype faster. Design, prototype and share — all in one app. You can check out more inspiring projects created with Adobe XD on Behance, and also sign up for the Adobe experience design newsletter to stay updated and informed on the latest trends and insights for UX/UI design.

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The Ethics Of Persuasion

The Psychology Behind High Converting Sites

We all know the basics by now, right? Create a headline that hooks attention, display value with your CTAs, reduce distractions, simplify your pages so on and so forth. They’re actions well documented on sites like this and something we all know are conducive to better conversions. But there’s a problem, too many CROs are […]

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4 Big Takeaways From A Launch That Did 6x Expected Revenues

A few weeks ago I created and ran a small internal launch for a side-business I’m involved in. When the launch was over we tallied up the results and realized we’d done 6x what we’d originally expected. We also had a few statistics most people would consider “impossible”, such as… 70% open rates… 71% optin […]

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4 Big Takeaways From A Launch That Did 6x Expected Revenues


How to Apply the Psychology of Persuasion To YOUR Business


Robert Cialdini’s famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a staple of any business-oriented must-read list. You’ve read the concepts before and you’ve probably even seen the full list of principles on numerous occasions. Reciprocity, Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, & Scarcity These principles tend to dictate the way we behave in society, and […]

The post How to Apply the Psychology of Persuasion To YOUR Business appeared first on The Daily Egg.


How to Apply the Psychology of Persuasion To YOUR Business


Ethical Urgency: The Conversion Optimizer’s Secret Weapon

Read that tweet one more time. The desire we want to instill in customers and the value we want to assign our products: it all comes down to urgency.

But that’s nothing new. Urgency is one of the core conversion principles relied on by marketers for more than a century. Claude Hopkins was testing it in A/B tests since the 1800s. And it still works.

Bottom line, if you’re not leveraging urgency effectively, you should start now. It’s low-hanging fruit for lifting your conversion rates.

What is urgency?

There are several definitions of urgency. Let’s look at two:

definition of urgency

According to these definitions, urgency can be created in several ways. In particular:

  1. Urgency starts with importance.

Something can’t be urgent if it’s not important.

  1. Urgency deals with time.

Every play for urgency has a time limit. Act before that limit, and you get the goods. Procrastinate, and you lose. This is important because people tend to put off difficult decisions — and that, in itself, is a decision.

  1. Urgency deals with quantities.

Urgency results when people must act now (the time element) or lose something valuable. Your sales copy should raise the value of your product/service, then create a need to act now.

People are incredibly motivated by loss avoidance. By all means, use it.

How to put it to work

Here’s the good news. Urgency is a variable that your copywriters and designers can control to a high degree. Your sales copy, calls to action (CTAs), and images can all be used to create a sense of urgency. You simply need to decide on the tactics that fit your particular promotion.

To help, we’re going to review some of the top urgency plays available today, all of them capable of raising desire and driving action.

Ethical Urgency: The Conversion Optimizer’s Secret Weapon
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But first, let’s review the rules.

Rule 1: Use Genuine Urgency

Urgency can be either genuine or implied.

An offer that expires in 24 hours or so is genuine urgency. If you consumer does not take care of it NOW, they won’t be able to.

Implied urgency is where you use words such as now or today to hint to readers that they ought to take action sooner than later. There’s no genuine urgency, but the language used implies that there is.

Of these two types of urgency, real urgency is more effective than implied urgency since it is attached to something tangible — namely, a time deadline or limited quantity. To get your best results, only use implied urgency if you’ve no other option.

Rule 2: Handle with Care

Consumers can spot promotional urgency (read, fake urgency) from a mile way. How many stores have you noticed that have closing down sales, yet never actually close down? After a while, it becomes a joke, doesn’t it?

Continually using implied urgency without ever delivering is one surefire way to lose credibility. People will grow tired if you promising “50% off for 24 hours” every couple of days.

Why should they act now if the same conditions will arise in a day or two? Trust your value proposition to generate sales rather than habitually using urgency gimmicks.

Continually using implied urgency without ever delivering is one sure-fire way to lose credibility
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You need to approach urgency in a subtle manner. Consumers are too savvy to fall for obvious sales tricks.

Fortunately, you only need a dash of urgency for it be effective, and if you do it right, it will strengthen your brand and add value to the items you sell.

Here Are the Urgency Plays that Work Today

Remind customers of the pain of NOT buying (loss aversion)

As reported by the New York Times, people often buy products or service because they have a problem that’s causing them pain, and they want a solution that will bring about a desired result.

For nearly all people, pain is a greater motivator than pleasure. (Impending loss seems more devastating than the possibility of pleasure or benefits.)

Some tactics you could implement:

  1. Remind people of the discomfort of continuing to live with their pain or problem, and that it can be solved if they only take action.
  2. Remind them how embarrassing it is to have that pain or problem, and that it can be solved.
  3. Remind them about the future insecurity and consequences of not dealing with this pain or problem right now.
  4. Expose the un-confrontable issue most people have about this pain or problem.

You can remind them about these areas anywhere throughout your copy.

A good place to start is in your headline to instantly grab their attention and suck them into reading the next line… and then the next line… and then the next line… until they get to the ‘Add To Cart’ button and buy!

Example 1: Carphone Warehouse’s Site below makes an effective use of loss aversion to create a sense of urgency to entice users to make a purchase.


Example 2: Queen of Free makes effective use of loss aversion (image courtesy VWO)


Example 3: DC Finder implemented a loss aversion tactic to increase urgency and increased conversions by 68% over the former benefit-based copywriting.


Example 4: Terminix’s use of loss aversion is effective.


Raise customers’ fear of price increase

Since price is a major conversion influencer for most products, tactics that offer a reduced price for fast action can significantly increase conversion.

Nobody wants to feel like they were ripped off because they could’ve got the item cheaper, so this plays on a strong psychological chord.

Example: Fast growing Australian retailer Kogan, has created a price-bump model called LivePrice, where the price slowly creeps up every second.


How LivePrice works: kogan.com.au/liveprice/

Use action words in CTA buttons

You can create a sense of urgency by using action words in your CTA like “Now,” “Today,” “Immediately,” “Instantly,” etc.

Leading marketers know how to gain followers and influence people through words. So do the best converting websites. According to Neil Patel, there are 12 time-related words that are known to increase conversions through urgency.

They are:

  • Now
  • Fast
  • Quick
  • Hurry
  • Rapidly
  • Close
  • Approaching
  • Never
  • Seconds
  • Again
  • Over
  • Instant

Example 1: Organizing for America (image courtesy Smashing Magazine)


Example 2: hostgator.com



Example 3: partypoker.com



Example 4: rescuetime.com


Example 5: Demonstrates this idea of adding urgency to a call for action.


In this example, the “Buy Now” call-to-action button has “Intro Price” stamped over it, subtly suggesting that the longer the user waits to take action, the higher the risk of having to pay more later.

A few more tips for your CTA

Put your CTA at the top of the page

Move your call to action above the fold. If visitors can’t see your CTA, they won’t be able to take the conversion goal you wish them to take.

Repeat your CTA several times

If your page is long, repeat your CTA multiple times throughout your copy. Visitors should be able to take action at whatever point they make up their mind.

There’s actually a psychological reason for doing this: Studies have shown that the more often we’re exposed to a stimulus, the more appealing we find it.

By repeating your CTA, you allow decisive people to easily take action right away, and less decisive people to be exposed to the stimulus of your CTA multiple times. It’s a win-win.

Create scarcity

Pressure makes people act. If they think an item will soon become unavailable, they are more likely to buy it. This ‘limited availability’ tactic is driven by either deadlines or supplies, and works well either way.

People simply do not like loss, and are more likely to act excessively, even if they know they haven’t given the matter as much thought as they should. It’s better for them to do that than risk missing out altogether.

You can put limits on anything. As a business decision-maker, you have every right to do so.

If you are a consultant, this is easy. You only have so many hours in the day, so many slots for meetings, and so much energy to expend.


Similarly, if you sell physical products, you can easily run out.


Example: Notice the small print, “Only 500 available”


For digital products, you may need to create scarcity. To do that, you can make the item “rare” or difficult to achieve.

Position it as a rare opportunity

When something is rare, its value exponentially increases. You can leverage this by limiting access.

A coach, for example, may ask prospects to fill out a long form before being considered as a client. A consultant may ask prospects to read his book or manifesto. By restricting access to their services, they make their services seem more elite.

Or what about the webinar you attended because the expert said he would only present it once, and there would be no recording. You might have blown off the webinar if it wasn’t a one-time opportunity,

Example: With events, this is relatively easy, as you can see in this Anthony Robbins ‘Date With Destiny’ seminar, “Held only twice anywhere in the world this year!”


Free shipping

An E-tailing Group study revealed that unconditional free shipping is the #1 criteria for making a purchase (73% listed it as ‘critical’). In another study 93% of respondents indicated that free shipping on orders would encourage them to purchase more products.

This quote from Wharton professor David Bell sums up just how enticing free shipping is:

“For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer $6.99 is more appealing to many than a discount that cuts the purchase price by $10.”

Ironically, you could get higher conversions — even if you made the product more expensive — simply by offering free shipping.

Example: Free postage is offered just above the “Shop Now” button. Once customers have made the purchase decision, they typically want it in their hands ASAP.


Next day shipping

Offering ‘Same Day’ or ‘Next Day’ shipping will help you capitalize on this psychological trigger and thus increase conversions. Of course for digital products, you can emphasize how customer will gain immediate access to the product.



Explain the product won’t be FREE/CHEAP forever

By revealing the product will cost $XX-XXX in the not too distant future, it instantly adds tangible value but will motivate people to sign up or buy now to avoid paying more later.

Introductory offers

When you launch a new offer, new product, or a revised edition of an existing product, having some sort of discounted introductory offer for the first couple of days/weeks or for first-time users of the online e-commerce store can generate a spike in sales.



Use Promotions

When conversion rates have dropped due to slow-downs in the market, consider running a short promotion. Just be careful not to do this too often. If people believe you will reduce your prices soon, they won’t buy at your regular rates.



Use holiday promotions

Sometimes, all you need is a reason for the promotion. Holidays and major events definitely qualify. Since holiday seasons are short term, these promotions have built-in urgency.

If you haven’t been running holiday promotions, give it some thought. 55% of consumers say they expect retailers to use purchasing and behavioral data to offer relevant promotions, according to IBM’s Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report.



Use topical promotions

But you don’t have to wait for holidays. You can also strengthen your brand image by supporting relevant events (e.g., earth day).

What kind of topical events could work? Sporting events, special days/months, or birthday/anniversaries all make great reasons for a special promotion.

Example: Image Courtesy of PRLog


Show how much time left until offer expires

Use a ticking count script to show visitors exactly how much time there is left to take advantage of an offer.



If a user stands idle for 10 minutes on a page, there’s a high chance you’re losing them as a client. A way to bring them back is to create a pop-up offering a discount code (it can be minimal, such as 5% or $5 off)

Use promotional codes for unlogged idle users.

Automate follow-up

When you’re about to leave a website, an exit pop-up will appear asking if you’re sure you really want to leave – and will usually give you a special offer if you decide to stay. To see it in action, check out hojomotor.com

Whilst this tactic does increase conversions, I don’t recommend it because it can damage your brand image by looking desperate in trying to close people on their first visit. After all, most people need to see the offer 7 times before they will buy.

A better strategy is to collect prospect contact details, and use an automated follow-up sequence. This will allow you to get more sales at full price, before resorting to price discounting late in the follow-up sequence. AdWords remarketing is another good strategy to remind prospects about your offer.

If anything, use an exit pop-up simply to collect visitors contact details — and let your follow up sequence take care of the selling.

Use testimonials to create social pressure

A study published in the Washington Post revealed that social proof is one of the most powerful ways to create urgency.

In the study, researchers examined the way in which signs could be used to persuade customers to use less energy in the summer months by relying on fans as opposed to air conditioning.

These are the four signs that were tested:

  • Sign #1: You can save $54 a month on your utilities bill
  • Sign #2: You can prevent the release of 262 pounds of greenhouse gasses each month
  • Sign #3: Be socially responsible — save energy
  • Sign #4: 77% of your neighbors are already using fans as a means of saving energy

The sign that performed best was number four, which was the one that relied on social proof to persuade.

In this instance, positive social proof was more effective than

  • saving money (sign one)
  • saving the environment (sign 2)
  • making responsible choices (sign three)

All three of these are positive behaviours, but none of them could match the power of peer influence.

This is hardly a revelation, and it ties in closely with this study concerning related pricing research on savings, and in particular a Wharton study that reveals that customers today often feel time is a much more precious commodity than money.

The bottom line is that positive social proof should be placed upon your most crucial landing and sales pages. Use social proof at the point at which your customers are close to completing a purchase.

Example: Image Courtesy of KissMetrics


Add micro-donations on checkout

To entice users to make purchase decision is to give more meaning to their action.

For example, you could donate $2 to a charity for each purchase. (Imagine adding a time limit to that offer. That could significantly impact people’s sense of urgency.)




This could also work for product or membership trials.  For example, you could donate $5 for each trial signup within a certain period.


Allow them to see their competition

Think Black Friday mayhem or an Ebay bidding war.

Once people realize that they are competing with other people for limited quantities of [something], their desire to win escalates. That translates into extreme urgency.

As an example, if you are looking to make a booking via Booking.com, you’ll see red text telling you exactly how many people are checking out the same room, in real time.

You can learn more about this here.


Hotels.com even gives you information about how many people are viewing properties in a particular city. A modal box pops opens and shows you your virtual competition/companions.


Urgency Drives Action

Urgency has almost a primal quality. It inspires an unreserved desire to act. As long as you act ethically, it’s foolish to ignore it when creating your promotions.

The key is to understand why people need your offer. How will it benefit them? What do they lose if they don’t act now?

Once you understand what’s at stake, you can select the best urgency tactic(s) for your promotion.

So what are you waiting for? Go back to that low-performing promotion and look for the urgency opportunity that awaits.

Do you leverage urgency in your promotions? What works best for you?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by David Rosenfeld.


Ethical Urgency: The Conversion Optimizer’s Secret Weapon


39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales

Many sites lose conversions due to unnecessary friction on their website.

Friction is defined by Marketing Experiments as “a psychological resistance to a given element in the sales or sign-up process.”


That’s a somewhat abstract definition. Put more concretely, friction frustrates potential customers and causes a decrease in revenues and conversions.

It’s important to note that the definition is widely contested. Optimizers aren’t uniform in their definition. Chris Goward puts it succinctly when he says,

‘…the word ‘friction’ for conversion optimization is unclear and confusing. It’s hard to tell what it really means. I think the underlying problems some refer to as friction are more related to Anxiety-causing elements, or perhaps lack of Clarity, or Distraction-producers…Maximizing the Clarity of your communication, reducing Distraction from peripheral messages and design, and eliminating Anxiety-causing elements can produce massive business improvements in your marketing.’

Oli Garnder of Unbounce says,

“the psychological resistance that your visitors experience when trying to complete an action. Friction is a conversion killer usually caused by unclear messaging, lack of information, or poor layout.”

In other words, if your landing page is—or is simply seen or perceived to be—too overwhelming to complete, you can be sure there’s too much friction on your page. Your landing page’s sole objective is to get someone to make a purchase, offer their information, or optin—then get out of the way.

Reducing friction means making it easy for visitors to take action.

4 Types of Friction

Visitors will experience friction in one of 4 ways:

Information Friction: Information that you omit or commit can bring about friction.

Complexity Friction: This type of friction is making things more complicated than they need to be. The more complexity, the higher your risk of friction.

Time Friction: Time is crucial when considering your conversion optimization. This deals with things such as speed or load time.

Visual Friction: There are many varieties of visual elements that can either bring about or reduce friction: font kerning, video placement, background patterns, button color.

In your efforts to reduce friction, you must be able to identify elements on your website that create friction in any of these 4 areas. Then come up with a plan for reducing that friction.

Of course, your solutions are merely hypotheses at this stage.

You must test to know whether your assumptions were correct. And don’t forget your Crazy Egg heatmaps. They can help you figure out whether the elements on your web pages generate the behavior you expect (e.g., Are people clicking on the button or on something else?).

Start with the 5-Second Test

When analyzing sites for unnecessary friction from a qualitative point of view for, I typically employ the 5-second test.

If your site doesn’t pass the “5-second test,” your site is likely to have friction and thus a high bounce rate.

So what’s the five-second test?

The “5-second test” involves showing your website to someone for 5 seconds. Once the 5 seconds are over, if they’re able tell you what the site’s about, then you’ve passed the test.

Alternatively, if they can’t clearly articulate what it is you do, your website fails the test. A typical problem, amongst others, with sites that fail the 5-second test is that there’s unnecessary friction on the site.

Hence, it’s clear that a site that passes this “5-second test” is more likely to generate higher conversions.

This article is all about making your site as friction-free as possible so it passes this test, and making it pleasant experience, so users come back again and again.

We’ve identified 39 common points of friction, giving you a great place to start your optimization efforts. Ready? Let’s dig in.

39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales
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1. Remove navigation and extra elements

Type of Friction: Complexity

Unnecessary navigation or any redundant elements on your site can cause friction for users, and thus distract them from the primary goal you have for them: making a purchase, opting in or subscribing.

Ideally, on every landing page you want to force the decision between 3 options:

  • Becoming a conversion
  • Looking for further information (but still remaining interested)
  • Providing their email, so you can contact them in the future

Removing the navigation bar clarifies the purpose of that webpage better, and makes it easier for visitors to focus on the task at hand.

Example: MECLAB’s Experiment for Online Retailer.


Removing the top navigation and side navigation allowed this retailer to see a 10% increase in checkout competitions.

You might do better to put non-necessary elements (say, a privacy policy or a cookies policy) in the footer or even in another page.

2. One CTA per page

Type of Friction: Visual

A general principle in conversion rate optimization is only having one call to action per page.

Ideally, you don’t want to want to give the visitor too many options creates overwhelm and often causes them to bounce.

Example: Netflix


3. Improve your pricing page (for multiple packages)

Type of Friction: Information

A poorly set-out pricing page can cause a serious decrease in sales. Here are several ways to improve the layout of various price points and features in order to reduce friction.

Make a comparison table for various features available across packages

Example 1: socialgo.com


Example 2: groupspaces


Show features that are available to all users

Example: groupspaces


Accent aspect of your product or service that matter most:

Users are usually interested in several things: what package is right for me? how much does it cost? can I cancel if I am not happy? and can I try it for free?

Example: See how basecamp.com approaches this:


4. Remove “wish list,” particularly if it’s a feature customers don’t need

Type of Friction: Information

When an online store does not sell commodity products (e.g., books or consumer electronics), it’s unlikely that offering a wish list will increase sales. It’s more likely that it will create a sense of “I can just come back later,” which usually doesn’t happen.

By removing the “wish list” function, the store can be more focused on sales, and there is no super-simple way for customers to postpone the purchase decision.

Reduce Friction: Don’t make it easy for customers to postpone purchase.
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5. Disable copy/paste or remove the “Retype e-mail address” field in signup forms

Type of Friction: Complexity

Some signup form contains a “Retype e-mail address” field. According to Smashing Magazine, “this allows for greater error, because it forces users to type more. They can’t see the characters they’re inputting, making it difficult to know whether they’re typing the right password each time.”

They recommend, instead, asking users to type their password in once, then allowing them to unmask the password to verify they typed it correctly.


6. Make “add to cart” button bigger

Type of Friction: Visual

The “add to cart” button should be the dominant button on the product page; your button should fluidly guide the user toward to the next step — clicking the ‘add to cart’ button.

Example: Betabrand (image courtesy of Lemonstand.com)


Example 2: Kogan.com


7. Make the “view cart” link more prominent

Type of Friction: Visual

People are used to finding the shopping cart link at the top-right corner of the web page. So that’s where yours needs to be. Don’t try to be creative. This link reminds users that they’ve added a product to their basket.

Example 1: Amazon. Here’s the link they use in the top-right corner of their design.


Example 2: Flipkart


8. Add a prominent “checkout” link to all shop pages

Type of Friction: Visual

Visitors should have no trouble completing a purchase once they’re ready to check out.

As with the shopping cart, people are used to finding the link to the checkout process in the top-right corner. The link should be right next to the “shopping cart” link and should be perpetual in its visibility.

Example: Here’s how Kogan displays the checkout button. My only recommendation would be to test a brighter color.


9. Website Loading Speed & Conversions

Type of Friction: Time

Page Load Speed is an important part of conversion rate optimization. There are several formal studies that recognize this connection.

  • A study at Amazon showed a 1% decrease in sales for every 0.1 second decrease in response times. (Kohavi and Longbotham 2007)
  • According to studies by the Aberdeen Research Group, the average impact of a 1-second delay meant a 7% reduction in conversions.

Slow web pages are perceived as less credible (BJ Fogg) and quality. To reduce friction, your page load times should be below tolerable attention thresholds—ideally less than 3 seconds. Friction will be reduced, and you should enjoy higher conversion rates.

10. Break your paragraphs up into chunks containing no more than 3 lines per paragraph

Type of Friction: Visual

Readability studies show that on the internet, to ensure maximum comprehension and the appearance of simplicity, line lengths of 50-60 characters per line, or 500-600 pixels wide, are read faster & more consistently by visitors.

Also, people have a tendency to read through to completion when chunks of copy are broken up into segments of three lines.


  1. Break the current paragraphs up into chunks containing no more than 3 lines per paragraph.
  2. Implement copy that does not exceed 50-60 characters per line, or 500-600 pixels per line.

11. Put the relevant content on the left

Type of Friction: Visual

Since we read left to right, it makes sense to put relevant content on the left and less relevant content on the right or below the fold.

As you can see in this heatmap, most visitors attend to the upper left of the page. That’s where your most important messaging should go.


Google Golden Triangle by Amit Agarwal, on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/amit-agarwal/2052668047

12. Make your competitive advantage clearer

Type of Friction: Information

Returning visitors are likely to be familiar with your brand. But what about new users? To get them engaged quickly, you need to help them understand what your website is about.

Your tagline takes care of this. Making the tagline (or the whole logo) bigger makes it easier for visitors to orient themselves.

Example: Carelogger increased their conversions 55% after changing their tagline from “affordable, easy-to-use web-based contact manager” to “the quickest & easiest way to organize your contacts.”


13. Make your logo clickable back to the home page

Type of Friction: Visual

It is usability standard that the logo in the upper left-hand corner of your website links to the home page. If visitors can’t navigate, they usually bounce.

Don’t make your users think. Make it easy for them to navigate your site.

14. Improve product customization process

Type of Friction: Information

The biggest challenge in selling online is that visitors can’t touch or try on the merchandise. Users are essentially ”in the dark.” Do everything you can to showcase the product visually.

Rather than just putting color boxes, include images of the product in all colors.



15. Offer instant gratification

Type of Friction: Information

Your customers are busy, so you can often reduce friction by offering instant gratification.

If you’re a retailer with more of a bricks-and-mortar presence, you can offer the convenience of ordering online with in-store pickup. Talk about the best of both worlds! Customers can eliminate the shipping period but avoid long lines at checkout.

Example: Walmart.com (courtesy Punchbowl.com)


16. Show products in use

Type of Friction: Visual

By showing the products in use, it becomes easier for visitors to imagine using the products. Emphasize your product’s ease of use, beauty or the end result people will get, and place your image next to the call to action.

Example: Amazon


17. Make order history available for signed-in users only

Type of Friction: Information

Too much information is often distracting, which creates friction.

One way to avoid this is to require users to sign in before being able to see customer-only information such as the customer’s order history. It can be a part your customer drop-down menu when they sign in.

On a side note, this also encourages new customers to register with your site.

Example: see drop-down menu for signed in users on Amazon.


18. Provide the experience your customers want

Type of Friction: Information

Be “human,” not “corporate” when dealing with customers.

Create a “brand promise” that is completely customer-centric. Then publish it where customers can see it.




19. Add links to detailed product pages

Type of Friction: Visual

Sometimes people don’t buy because they need more information. If you rely on short product descriptions to do the selling, you may need to test dedicated product pages with longer descriptions, more images, and even testimonials.

Example: morgan


20. Make reviews a clickable link

Type of Friction: Visual

You may or may not show reviews on the product page. If you choose not to show them, make sure you make it easy to find them.



21. Make navigation menu simpler

Type of Friction: Complexity

Some navigation menus show so many options that the visitor is easily overwhelmed.

Example: Unidentified (courtesy Kissmetrics)


Rather than showing dozens of options, only show the top-level options to make the selection easier for the user.

Put your most important parent pages in your primary navigation bar. Other pages may be shown as child pages or linked to from other pages.

Example 1: Smith Brothers


Example 2: Sweat Vac


22. Increase font size to make the site more user-friendly

Type of Friction: Visual

The smallest font size you should ever use for text 12px. 14 pixels is often better. Anything smaller than that will make many visitors struggle to see the text.

Even the visitors who can read the current text without struggling will appreciate a larger font (without consciously noticing it).

Example:  ClickLaboratory.com ran a CRO test for Numara Software testing font.


The test font (the variation) was larger and had increased line spacing. This simple font change reduced their bounce rate by 10%, dropped the exit rate by 19, and boosted the form conversion rate by 133%. No bad, don’t you think?!

Example 2: whoacceptsamex (image courtesy vwo).



Variation: with a 18 px font size, as opposed to 12 px.

This variation resulted in 32.68% more clicks. See the case study here.


23. Check the speed of the home page slider

Type of Friction: Visual

If you use a slider on your home page, you may be frustrating visitors. Don’t allow the slider to transition so quickly that it’s difficult to read. Allow enough time for visitors to read and click if interested.

But remember, using a slider at all is questionable. People get impatient waiting on sliders and are likely to skip over them. The slider also makes the page unfocused since there is no longer one clear primary message.

If you use a slider, test carefully to be sure they’re optimized for your users’ preferences.

24. Don’t use the same image for multiple products

Type of Friction: Visual

Using same pictures for different products can create a lot of confusion. Visitors typically “read” images before text. Seeing the same image will likely indicate that the message is being repeated as well.

Use different pictures to indicate different ideas and messages.

25. Remove vertical navigation

Type of Friction: Information

For some users, scrolling may cause friction. They want to be able to see immediately what the page is about. Removing vertical navigation allows more above-the-fold space to present your core message. It also makes the page look cleaner and more intuitive.


26. Avoid inconsistencies in your site’s design

Type of Friction: Visual

Inconsistencies make the site feel poorly maintained, which can cause questions about the overall believability of the information.

When the site’s design changes, it creates friction in the customer’s mind. It may be subtle, but any amount of friction can make people leave your site.

Use same overall design on your site’s design to provide a consistent experience across the website. Also ensure those your design is consistent across web, email, mobile devices, online chat.

Example: Jetblue’s Homepage (courtesy NNGroup)


Jetblue email:


Jetblue mobile site:


27. Make your checkout pages’ design similar to main site and don’t redirect checkout

Type of Friction: Visual

About 67% of the people who put a product in your shopping cart will change their mind during the checkout process.

One way to get more people to complete their purchase is to make the design of your checkout page similar to the main site. (Remember the previous point, that design changes create friction?)

Copy the design from the main site to the checkout pages with no sidebar and the navigation bar from the design.

In addition, don’t redirect the checkout page to a new URL. A URL like
https://checkout.onlinestore.com/carts/3459089/b84ef00837934d73216f54db638e0502 creates doubts about where you are taking them.

28. Remove optional, irrelevant or multiple calls to action

Type of Friction: Visual

A guiding principle in conversion rate optimization is to have only one call to action per page.

Make the primary button the only logical next step to take.

Website Conversion Tip: Make the primary button the only logical next step to take.
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29. Make your search bar larger

Type of Friction: Visual

One obvious source of friction is visitors’ inability to easily find what they’re looking for.

To help your visitors find the information or product they want, make your search bar more noticeable. You should offset your search bar with a different color from your site’s color scheme. It should also be more prominent.

Example: This is neatly accomplished in the search bar at theiconic, where the search bar is in the center of the navigation bar.


30. Use intuitive names for navigation tabs

Type of Friction: Information

If people can’t figure out your site, they leave. Period. So don’t be cute with your nav-bar tabs.

Can you figure out what this site is about?


Think about what visitors are used to seeing on websites—both in your industry and around the web in general.

If they’re used to seeing a particular word or phrase, it’s a good idea to use it on your site as well.

For example, many visitors are accustomed to seeing language relating to “Tour” or “How It Works,” when looking to explore more details about a site/product. That being the case, don’t call it “Wrks.”

31. Avoid too much white space in the page

Type of Friction: Visual

White space is good. But too much white space may be confusing.

Too much whitespace between the supporting content and your actionable area can bring about a sense of friction and cause users to see the call-to-action as a distinct and separate element, rather than a continuation for the text. Check this article out for more information.

32. Don’t ask people to see prices before they’ve seen the products

Type of Friction: Time

It is too early to start talking about prices on the home page. You should first let visitors explore the site, review their options and understand the benefits of your products. Only after the visitor wants the product should you start talking about buying (and prices).


33. But DO show your prices

Type of Friction: Information

To avoid people being scared off by your pricing, you may be tempted to hide it altogether. But when visitors don’t see your pricing schedule, they may lose trust.

If you don’t want to link to your prices from the navigation bar, at least put a link in the footer.

34. Allow forward and backward movement in checkout

Type of Friction: Complexity

In your shopping cart, the process  steps  at the top of the page should  also  function  as  navigational  links  for  the  checkout process. Customers often naturally expect to be taken back to the respective step when clicking it, in order to go back and edit previously entered data. (visual)


35. Make it easy to complete checkout

Type of Friction: Complexity

To avoid cart abandonment, make checkout as fast and easy as possible.

On your Cart Review page, put a “Proceed to Checkout” button above the product table as well as below. This will ensure that users will understand what to do next without having to scroll.

Example: Original


Variation: After (“Update” and “Checkout” buttons added)


36. Don’t be too aggressive in cross-selling

Type of Friction: Information

If you cross-sell in the cart, then at least place the extra products below the cart and primary button, and make the products as relevant to the cart’s content as possible


37. Simplify your contact form

Type of Friction: Complexity

Inputting information creates friction. So the longer your optin forms, the more friction you create. What is the least amount of information that still allows you to market effectively? Remove unnecessary fields to make the contact easier and more likely.

Current form:


Suggested form:


Example 2: Obama’s Online Campaign. Shortening the form led to an increase in donations of 5%.


38. Make trust seals prominent during checkout

Type of Friction: Information

Generally you want to place trust seals prominently on your purchase page.


39. Integrate email capture on your homepage as well

Type of Friction: Information

Visitors should not have to click to another page to be able to join your email list. Every additional page-load tends to create friction.

A two-step optin box (a lightbox that appear when a visitor clicks) or embedding the email opt-in form on the homepage itself eliminates extra steps.


Make your site as friction-free as possible

Our list, while relatively comprehensive, it’s by no means complete. The thing to remember is that any element on your website can create friction—and if they do, they likely reduce conversions.

If you want to improve your conversion rate (and who doesn’t?), you should constantly be evaluating your website for those elements.

Begin with the 5-second test. Then start hacking away at the points of friction we’ve listed here. It’s a sure bet that your conversion rate will improve as you do so.

What creates the most friction for you? Would you add anything to the list?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by David Rosenfeld.

The post 39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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39 Tips to Kill Conversion-Blockers and Boost Sales


7 Paths of Persuasion: How to Easily Generate the Buying Impulse

Have you ever been swayed by a good email, landing page, or pop-up?

Do you ever unconsciously take out your wallet because of an enticing offer?

All of us, whether we are aware of it or not, are submitted to marketing and propaganda on a daily basis. It’s estimated that the average adult is exposed to 285-305 forms of advertising a day, 76 of which we notice. It’s also estimated that city dwellers are exposed to an astounding average of 5,000 ads per day and that billboards reach 93% of all Americans.

All of these advertisements are forms of persuasion; they’re a mix of a persuasive copy, imagery, and signals that we inevitably become prey to. The majority of these ads are based on the principals of classical conditioning, where a one-second glance is enough time to associate two things (an attractive person and a product, for example).

We’ve been conditioned—like the animals we are—to keep making these associations until they finally stick. The next time we want to become more attractive we buy that product because it’s top of mind.

coke ad

“People are happy when they drink coke? I want to be happy, I’m going to drink coke.” ~your brain

But when we have more time to invest in advertisements, such as commercials, video pre-loaders, and dedicated landing pages, we can utilize more tactful forms of persuasion.

As marketers, the topic of persuasion is naturally enticing and ends up being our answer to the topic “how are we going to do ‘X’” or “how are we going to increase ‘X’” questions. While there are definitely more than a handful of persuasion tactics, we’re going to take a look at seven in this article.

These ‘paths of persuasion’ work well in both digital and physical marketing formats, making them useful for almost any strategic communication or conversion professional. Below are descriptions of each method, examples of how they work, and advice on how to realistically implement them.

1. Altercasting

Think of your ideal target client — what social role would he or she like to be seen as playing?

Altercasting makes use of people’s natural tendencies to want to live up to others’ expectations.

For instance, if you are attempting to obtain donations for a children’s hospital, you might want to create an emotional headline that essentially encourages readers to adopt a role. Such a headline might say:

You care about children’s health. Make a donation to our hospital today and save a child’s life.”

Using this technique, you’re casting a role (in this case, the caring Good Samaritan role) onto your audience. Psychology tells us that the audience will want to live up to these expectations. Thus, they’ll feel more inclined to agree with the altercasted persona we’ve developed and ‘fulfill’ that role by taking action — making a donation.

Altercasting can be broken into two types:

Manded altercasting – is when a new or existing role is made more prominent and told directly to people. Examples would include “You as a Marketer should…” or “You’re the type of person who values…”

Tact altercasting – is a more passive way of forcing people to accept certain roles through subtle triggers. A good example of tact altercasting would be an advertisement that first depicts an opposite; the people who don’t use our product/service, and then transitions into a message supporting those who do use our product/service.

The KISSmetrics slogan is actually a good example of very subtle tact altercasting: “Google Analytics tells you what’s happening, KISSmetrics tells you who’s doing it.” This instills the benefit of being in a position (role) where we have access to better data reporting on our websites and we might think, “Hey, that would be something we could really use.”

Below is an ad illustrating the altercasting method:

smell like a man


Below is an ad showing how altercasting with reflection can catalyze user behavior:

altercasting reflection


Flaws with altercasting – while inherently good causes are supported well by altercasting, the ‘attractiveness’ of roles can be less effective when the goal and message is not inherently dramatic, profound, or important.

To account for a reduction in importance , the goals and benefits should be toned down accordingly. An app that helps with organization should promise just that; become a more organized person, rather than glorified carpe-diem copy.

2. AAB Pattern

The AAB Pattern takes your readers on a journey through irony. Essentially, you make one statement, make another statement that agrees with the first statement and then add a final statement that contradicts the first two. It’s surprising and, from a marketing standpoint, sticky.

The general flow of the AAB Pattern is kept to a predictable rhythm. Think of it like poetry in motion:

“I love xyz. I find xyz wonderful. But I never buy xyz because they cost too much.”

It sets up your next paragraph nicely, and individuals will tend to read on to find out why you’re being so inconsistent. We’re already predicting ‘B’ to be a continuation of the ‘A’ messages, so this sets the stage for a somewhat dramatic turn of events.

This method is often used in humor and witty ads, where the subject is built up only to have their expectations blown away. Also, the repetition of ‘A’ can be made more than twice to amplify the effect of ‘B,’ along with an ABA Pattern that still uses ‘B’ as the mental tangent but ‘A’ becomes the true goal.

Below is an ad illustrating the ABA Pattern method:

aab example crabs


Flaws with the AAB Pattern method - Using repetition to solidify a variant can backfire due to confusion, overload of messages, and unclear call to action. Even if we solidify the ‘B,’ we can still fall short of persuading behavior.

3. Golden Handcuffs

When you’re fearful a potential buyer or user will leave partway through your pitch, ad, or video, make them a middle-term offer that would be difficult to refuse.

For instance, on a landing page for a retailer, you might tell readers that if they sign up for your email newsletter, they will get a valuable coupon of 25 percent off their first order. This encourages them to take the next step and give you their email address, even if they are unsure. You’ve essentially persuaded them through another part of the sales funnel.

The reason this works is because it’s difficult for people to say no to rewards they deem significant. Conceptualized and often associated with the benefits and pay rates one receives at their company, golden handcuffs are the positive enforcers limiting and/or influencing behavior.

Think about what happens when you enter a typical grocery store. You have a general list of items you need, but along your path to get them, you are consistently exposed to deals — and sometimes they are put near the handlebars of shopping carts for us to take immediate notice. Our journey through the aisles is accompanied by savings, discounts, free-samples, and more.

Managers often use this tactic if they feel they might lose key personnel due to a merger or other change. Instead of having a mass exodus, lucrative bonuses are offered to supervisors in return for longer contracts. It’s a bit like dangling a carrot on a stick.

Here is an example of the golden handcuffs method:

123shrink example


Flaws with the golden handcuffs method - Some people associate discounts with lower quality. For instance, the example above could cause skepticism as well as instilling thoughts of it being a poor product. Additionally, by devaluing our services, we can easily lose revenue by offering too much of an incentive or not putting a limit on the number of discounts/golden handcuffs we offer.

4. Isolation

Isolation may have a negative connotation in a social sense because it can easily come off as manipulative. But if you can isolate a target in your marketing, you have a much better chance of turning him or her over to your way of thinking.

In the physical world, isolation is a technique that can be useful in swaying groups of people. When they are isolated from others who might have contrary positions, they tend to adopt “group think.”

In marketing, isolation is a bit more challenging because, well, you can’t control the sites people visit. Also, it takes a deft hand to instill exclusivity, subtle guilt, desperation, and even uncertainty without becoming obvious. These are manipulative tactics that can turn your prospects off, if noticed.

That said, they can really influenced the attitude and behavior of prospects. For example:

  • black-and-white thinking: “There is no ‘maybe'; you’re either with us or against us.”
  • information control: You only show content reminding visitors of an ‘unfortunate’ situation and content enforcing the benefits of the product/service.
  • emotions and doubt: “The people, facts, and figures you trusted are no longer relevant or true — you may have been lied to; this new information will help you though.”

Here is an example of the isolation method:

isolation ppc

Flaws with the isolation method – A few things can happen if the doubt you create or new information you provide is weak or poorly planned. People might flat-out ignore/not believe your ad, people might see the ‘maybe’ we tried to hide, and people may even call us out on it.

5. Higher Purpose

Just about every person has a natural desire to work toward a purpose higher than him- or herself. Whether the purpose is spiritual, political or social, it drives people to do things they might not otherwise want to do. This can include making substantial donations toward causes or funding start-ups.

If you have a product or service, think about the higher purpose it is serving. Then create a marketing campaign around the higher purpose, a la this campaign to conserve H2O:

Here is an example of the higher purpose method:

save water save life example


Some of the most enjoyed commercials — yes, sometimes people actually enjoy commercials — are forms of dramatic ‘higher purpose’ advertisements that heavily play on our emotions/heartstrings. The goal is to leave viewers with a spark of inspiration to do something. Here’s a great example from Bell:

Flaws with the higher purpose method – The only real flaw with the higher purpose method is in delivery. People can be persuaded just as easily in the opposite direction, especially if our content has mixed messages, controversial topics, and overly dramatic imagery.

6. Thought-Stopping

Distraction is not just just a counter to productivity. It’s a tool, and our ability to be distracted is in our nature. When something new enters our vision it immediately starts seeding attention. However, this only lasts as long as it takes us to figure out if the new subject is actually worth our attention.

This is the reason it’s essential to get prospects to stop all their dissuading thoughts and focus on your marketing. To do this, you need to employ reasons for them to stay on your page, read your content or listen to your video.

Your words and images have to be riveting, and you may also want to add some kind of rewards into the mix.

By giving your audience a reason to stop doing what comes naturally to them, you’re giving your marketing a better chance of success. Consider how Thought-Stopping is used by this marketing advertisement:

Here is an example of the thought-stopping method:

thought  stopping


Flaws with the thought-stopping method – Temporal people place a value on their time; it can be spent and wasted. Spatial people are more ‘in the moment’ and view time as more of an experience. It’s the temporal people who are quick to ward off attempts to disrupt their thoroughly planned days and can easily defend themselves against most types of marketing.

7. Special Language

There’s a reason the word “selfie” has been added to Webster’s dictionary: it’s new, it’s evocative and it’s powerful. The term “selfie” is a brilliant concoction, and it’s changed the way we refer to photographs, as well as the act of taking them and their style. This is a prime example of how a piece of “special language” can take hold and build buzz.

Brands may try to combine phrases and keywords in their industry to entice viewers. Our curiosity to learn more about a new term can easily drive clickthrough traffic. One form of special language many of you may be familiar with is hashtags. They’re essentially mashups of keywords for events, trends, and promotions.

Not sure you have what it takes to create a new word? Try this word generator to spark some ideas.

Here are a few examples of the special language method:

special language examples

Flaws with the special language method – Large brands have the convenience of trend-setting with much more ease than small- or medium-sized businesses. Attempts to create fun or funky phrases can cause confusion and disrupt messages meant to convert visitors into customers.

Final Thoughts

Depending on your industry, business size, and audience, different manifestations of these methods may be best suited to your situation. Look at your competitors and pay attention to the marketing and advertising tactics they use to engage.

Most importantly, for any method you implement in a digital setting, always create at least two versions. Testing with tools such as eye-tracking and monitoring performance in your preferred analytics software will ensure you have better insights to act on.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jesse Aaron.

The post 7 Paths of Persuasion: How to Easily Generate the Buying Impulse appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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7 Paths of Persuasion: How to Easily Generate the Buying Impulse


Should You Change User Behavior on Your Landing Pages?

Many marketers believe that they are supposed to change a user’s behavior.

According to the theory, an effective landing page will challenge a user’s existing behavior and attempt to get them to adopt a new behavior that involves a conversion action.

Most landing pages are attempting to coerce a potential customer to get, do, buy, change! This, I would argue, is a shortsighted strategy. In order to better appeal to the customer, a landing page should not challenge a user’s behavior, but rather should appeal to the user’s existing behavior.

My goal in this article is to expose a landing page fallacy (coercion), and attempt to show you an alternate and more successful way of persuading users.

The big question: Why do people click?

In the world of landing pages, what makes a customer click? Why do they convert? What cognitive processes drive them, motivate them, and coerce them to click and buy?

Obviously, it’s complex. However, that is the question that I’m constantly asking as I analyze landing pages and consult with clients. It is, literally, the million dollar question.

There is, of course, no single right answer. We would do well to dispense with all the conventional “best practices” and focus on the cognitive causes and behavioral cues for each website’s unique audience.

Even though there’s no right answer, there are several things that make people not want to click. One of those is coerced behavior.

If a user senses that he or she is subject to a form of coercion, then he or she will not convert.

Let me step back for a moment and just make a statement regarding this principle. This is one of the underlying psychological factors that is at play in conversion optimization. This has very little to do directly with design, layout, copy, etc.

Of course, there are practical applications to those issues, but coercion goes far deeper. We’re dealing with a subject that is at the very core of a user’s mental processes on a landing page.

What is Coercion?

Coercion, also referred to as “psychological coercion” is “psychological force in a coercive way to cause the learning and adoption of an ideology or designated set of beliefs, ideas, attitudes, or behaviors.” (Definition from The Neurotypical Site.)

Coercion is accomplished through a variety of methods, broadly including all forms of media and communication. In the online setting, the coercive cues are subtle. However, some of the issues can be identified in the following ways:

This coercion is psychological.

Coercion uses psychological force to accomplish its means. Often, because it is so subtle users can’t tell if they are being coerced. The traditional cognitive defenses are sidestepped in such a way that coercion takes effect.

This coercion disrupts normal patterns of the user’s behavior.

In order to be coercion, the user must be predisposed against the behavior that that they are being compelled to undertake. Most humans have customary ways of doing, behaving, thinking, and acting. A coercive force attempts to derail those actions and behaviors in order to instill a habit or prompt an action that the user would not normally desire.

This coercion is authoritarian and unpleasant.

When it is identified, coercion is perceived as authoritarian. Self-aware users know when they are being coerced.

Psychologist Jack W. Brehm made this remark in his monograph on “A Theory of Psychological Reactance:”

A Theory of  Psychological Reactance

“Freedom of behavior is a pervasive and important aspect of human life People are continually surveying their internal and external states of affairs and making decisions about what they will do, how they will do it, and when they will do it. They consider their wants and needs, the dangers and benefits available in their surroundings, and the ways in which they can accomplish various ends.”

Coercion attempts to reverse this innate freedom. The user is forced to act in a way that opposes their natural liberties. For example, psychological coercion is responsible for making suspects admit to committing crimes that they have not actually committed.

It all sounds so sinister and warlike. Is this nefarious technique truly at use in marketing today?

Yes. Douglas Rushkoff makes a strong case for the preponderance of coercive techniques in our culture in his book Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say.

“These [psychologically coercive] techniques are rapidly spreading from the sales floor and the television screen to almost every other aspect of our daily experience. Whether we are strolling through Times Square [or] exploring the Internet…” (Coercion, page 2)

Features of Coercive Marketing

Let me list some of the features of how psychological coercion makes its way into marketing today. This list is by no means exhaustive. I’ve assembled merely a few suggestions of the things that may characterize a coercive approach.

Each of these are from the perspective of the victim of the coercion.

Suspending judgment to higher authorities.

This happens when a landing page refers to some authoritative people, studies, research, or evidence that demands that you do such and such. Just because “scientists say” or “most consumers prefer” doesn’t mean that you should not make your own judgment call.

Rushkoff’s book points to this phenomenon — the omnipresent “they” who control our lives. In a description of the book, the editor writes this:

Douglas Rushkoff argues that we each have our own “theys” — bosses, pundits, authorities, both real and imaginary—whom we allow to shape our lives and manage our futures. Like parents, they can make us feel safe. They do our thinking for us. We don’t have to worry about our next move — it has already been decided on our behalf, and in our best interests. Or so we hope.

Following a seller’s pretense of knowing what is good for you.

Does the marketer really know what’s good for the consumer? They want you to think that they do. The only one who truly has your best interests at heart is yourself. Not the marketer. Coercive marketing techniques, however, make a pretense of knowing, wanting, and desiring what’s best for you.

Responding an emotional frenzy.

Every one of us makes emotional decisions. It’s the way we’re wired. Sometimes, however, a marketer can whip up such an emotional frenzy that the buyer is carried along, not aware of why or how she is doing something. This too is psychological coercion.

Admitting “truths” about one’s self that are not actually true.

One of the most powerful forms of psychological coercion is when you start to tell yourself the lies that the marketer wants you to believe.

  • “Yeah, I guess I am a failure and need this product.”
  • “I am sad! I need this drink.”
  • “I am doing it wrong. I need to take this course.”
  • “Other people do think I’m ugly. I need to buy this cream.”

The Counter to Coercion

Since the coercive approach to marketing is altogether negative, we need to determine what method is actually more motivating and helpful. We’re circling back again to the “why people click” question.

Clearly, if someone senses that they are being coerced in some form or another, they will not click or convert. What, then, will cause them to convert?

Let the user know they are free.

First, there needs to be in place cues that let the customer know that they are free to make whatever decision they prefer.

A user who senses freedom has the cognitive space to be able to make a decision. Whenever someone feels threatened in some way, they are likely to shut down their decision-making mode, and crouch in a defensive posture.

Freedom encourages choice.

Identify the user’s existing behavior.

The key to finding what is going to make the user click is this: Know what behaviors they already participate in.

For example, someone who owns a TV is probably going to watch it. A cat owner gives food to her cats. A gourmet cook uses a gas stove and high-quality pots and pans.

This seems extremely obvious, but the ramifications are profound. Let me explain why.

Make this behavior easier, more efficient, or rewarding.

When a user already does something, then they are many times more likely to do something else that accompanies that action.

The behavior is already in place. Your product or service or marketing effort reaches into that behavioral practice, and encourages, rewards, or otherwise enhances it.

Here’s an example of how this works. The gourmet cook loves his gas stove, but it’s a pain to clean it. He needs to clean it. He just doesn’t like doing it. So, you introduce your product that helps the cook clean his gas range easily. It’s fun, efficient, and it helps him do something that he’s already doing, only do it better.

Let’s take the cat owner. She already feeds her cat. You’re not going to try to persuade her to do anything different. Instead, you’re going to encourage her in her cat-feeding habit, but provide a way for her to make that cat-feeding activity easier, more fun, and even rewarding. Your product introduces the solution.

You don’t have to motivate them to buy your product. They are self motivated by virtue of the fact that they are already participating in the very behavior that you want for them. That behavior will help them buy.

Behavioral Marketing

This introduces marketers to an entirely different realm of marketing. Although “behavioral marketing” has been around for a while, I’m suggesting a variation on the theme.

I’m suggesting that you look at the macro behaviors of users, not just the micro actions that they perform on their web browser or within an ad. Examine instead groups of people who do certain behaviors on a regular basis.

  • Remote workers who collaborate with other remote workers. Behavior: online, real time work collaboration.
  • Working moms who want home-cooked meals for their family. Behavior: quick and easy meal prep.
  • Athletes who engage in performance training. Behavior: Focused intensive sports workout.

As you analyze and understand user’s behavior, you can develop an entire marketing approach that targets their behavior. Instead of trying to change the behavior of a group, you feed the behavior that they are already engaged in.

  • Your headline would grab their attention by commenting and affirming on that behavior.
  • Your subheadline would pique their curiosity by providing a way to do that behavior better, easier, more efficiently, or with reward.
  • Your value proposition would explain exactly why and how their behavior can be enhanced in some way.
  • Your bullet point benefits would solve some of the challenges that they typically face in their behavior.

Examples of Landing Pages that Don’t Coerce, but Instead Encourage Existing Behavior

Let’s take a look at some positive examples of this technique in action.

Direct TV

As sad as it may be, the average American watches five hours of TV per day. Direct TV knows that customers have cable, and that they use it. The behavior? TV watching.

So, here’s what their landing page looks like.

Direct Tv landing page

They are encouraging the behavior of TV watching. The angle, however, is that you can switch your current cable provider to DirectTV. The benefit? Saving money. Plus, there’s all that free stuff, too — a genie, some extra channels, and NFL Sunday Ticket.

By identifying their target audience’s existing behavior, they have settled in on a method that doesn’t employ psychological coercion, but instead encourages the existing behavior, with some modification.


The lifestyle and diet industry has a unique challenge in this regard. Thankfully, however, the people who are interested in engaging in a diet or life-changing behavior have some internal motivation or preliminary behavior that can be encouraged.

DietToGo has a masterful landing page that praises the potential customer’s motivation, while also encouraging them to take it a step further — with DietToGo, of course. Check out these excerpts from the landing page.

Diet to to landing page

Notice how this page encourages the user with “You can do this!” and then affirms “weight loss goals.” It then promises an “easy and delicious way” to achieve those goals.

The “easy” promise is a great hook for encouraging any behavior. Anyone knows that a diet is not easy. If DietToGo makes it easy, then by all means, this is appealing indeed.

landing page  for diet to go


Trying to change the user’s behavior is risky and dangerous. Coercion in any form will be met with resistance.

The alternative is far superior: Understand the user’s current behavior. Encourage it, and help them sustain it with your product or service.

The psychological power at play here virtually guarantees that you’ll be successful. It requires that you understand your user, and then deliver a product in such a way that is appropriate, appealing, and…makes them click.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Jeremy Smith.

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Should You Change User Behavior on Your Landing Pages?


The CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook, Part 2

Yesterday, I shared Part 1 of the CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook. If you missed it, I highly recommend that you read it.

Today, we dig into more advanced persuasion tactics, namely, ways to adapt your Web content and copy to drive conversions. These are the tactics relied on most by highly profitable brands. Use them to drive your profits as well.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started…

magnetically attract placeit 800Source: Placeit.net

How to create compelling Website content

10. Forget about leads – solve problems

Generic Web content doesn’t solve problems. To stand out as a serious problem solver, you need to concentrate your efforts by writing epic content that stands out.

Down and Feather, for example, reworked their home page around their value proposition, resulting in a 145% increase in conversion rates.

pg 15

To do this, your content needs to describe the client’s issues in the opening paragraph and promise to solve it.

Explain with specific details how a client can solve a problem. Remind your Web visitors how much more productive, happier and better off they will be when they follow your advice.

In solving problems consistently, you win clients.

11. Use anchoring

A cognitive bias that influences people is the tendency to rely too heavily or anchor on the first piece of information when making a decision.

Consider ways in which you can reference an anchor that influences your prospects.

pg 16

For example, iContact makes use of anchoring by having one price that’s higher than other price points. Now this may be because it is an option for some clients, but it may also be an smart strategy for making their mid-range price points seem more affordable.

Anchoring experiments and studies have found that introducing one higher price point can lead to people spending more in total even if nobody chooses that option. Once visitors see the higher price point, all other options appear more affordable.

12. Increase likability

Dr Cialdini, Regents’ professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, conducted a study in which pairs of participants conducted negotiations via email.

He found a third of the negotiations failed as the parties involved couldn’t reach agreement. However when the participants first exchanged a few personal details by email prior to the negotiation, the failure rate dropped to 6%.

According to Cialdini, liking is based on sharing something similar with people you like and also on how attractive a person looks.

One of the easiest ways to implement this is to create a great “About Us” page like Wistia does with their team. (Be sure to roll over the images when you look at that page.)

Avon too uses the likability principle on their website. Avon’s business is essentially based on women selling Avon products to their friends and family. After all, family and friends are likely to buy from their friends and neighbors.

pg 17

13. Use seductive words

Use words that have the power to persuade. The following words tend to be more persuasive than others.

You – It adds a degree to personalization, and research shows that such personal references make people trust a message more.

NewResearch suggests this word is a trigger for the reward sensation and gives the perception of a new product. This, however, does not quite work for brands, as people tend to trust familiar brands that they have known for a while.

BecauseResearch shows that people are more likely to accept a request when this word is used.

Free and similar words – A free offer triggers a human response that just feels better according to psychology. Another study also shows that using similar words, like adding a “small” detail, does better for conversions. (Who doesn’t like to get something for free?)

InstantlyStudies show that a sense of quick rewards result when people read this word, and this often drives action.

13. Leverage bullet points

Bullet points make text easy to read and tend to engage skimmers (as opposed to readers). Cook American Express Travel company saw a 48% increase in phone calls with a new layout that outlined benefits as bullet points.

pg 18

Bullet points help break up an idea or concept into digestible chunks. Consider adding some of these tips from Robert Bruce to add greater attraction and persuasiveness to your bullets.

External Fascinations: These types of fascinating bullet points are usually found in sales copy. They create curiosity and work like headlines to prompt a purchase or other action.

Internal Fascinations: Internal fascinations are pretty much identical to external, except they’re designed to persuade people to continue reading the post they’re already reading.

Bullet Chunking: Extracting bullets out of compound sentences helps you drive home a point while also increasing the usability of your content.

Authority Bullets: Authority bullets are used to recite the data and proof that support your argument. As with all persuasive writing, turn dry factual information into interesting reading any time you can.

Cliffhanger Bullets: Cliffhanger bullets tease and foreshadow what’s coming up next or in the near future. You can also use cliffhanger bullets to lay the groundwork for an upcoming promotion, launch, or special content event.

Give-Away Bullets: These are sort of like the lady who hands out cheese cubes at the grocery store. She gives people a little “taste” of food that keeps them alert and shopping—and many times they end up with the thing they tasted in the shopping cart.

Expansion Bullets: These bullets break up the “sameness” of the page (when you have several pages of bullets), and they add more tease, demonstration and curiosity. Plus, they give a nice little “loop” effect to your ad that keeps sucking the reader back in.

 “Can’t Be Done” Bullets: Basically, this is where you say something that is almost unbelievable. Something 100% true, but that is so wacky and “out there” it makes you say, “How in the heck can you do that?”

14. Leverage scarcity

Jeff Paro says:

“Scarcity is a limitation placed on a service or product with the goal of increasing sales through pressure placed on the consumer. The fear of missing out causes people to make the decision to buy. The limitation can be a time based deadline or a limited quantity, often mixed with some kind of perceived benefit for acting quickly, like a reduced price, a bonus item, or an increase in status (you got in, where others missed out).”

The best part is that both these principles can be applied to websites via copy, images, buttons, etc. Case studies prove that urgency and scarcity can improve conversions by 27%.

Here’s how Zappos does it. Just above the “Add to Cart” button, they let customers know there are limited stock quantities. This gives customers the feeling that they need to act quickly to avoid missing out. See the image below.

pg 19

Scarcity can make someone take action even if they don’t have a strong desire for the product or feel they aren’t quite ready to purchase yet. It tends to compel people to make a purchase.

You can achieve this with deadlines and product counts. Here are a few ways to use it:

  • Countdown timers help reinforce when a product becomes available online and when it goes offline.
  • Let your audience know that the special price at which they can purchase your product will end at the designated time or that the discounted price for pre-orders ends at a certain time.
  • Use a value added deadline like: “buy product X and get A and B for free” or “buy product X and get another X for free.”
  • Real-time stock counts involve selling a limited quantity of a product and once it’s all sold, it’s gone for good.

15. Include a decoy

Dr. Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, says most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.

This is where the asymmetric dominance effect or the decoy effect can come into play. Essentially, it entails adding a less desirable choice to serve as a benchmark against which to compare the real product or service you wish to promote and sell.

For example, let’s say you had 2 treadmills, a basic model that sells for $499 and another with features like heart monitors and other accessories that sells for $997. The price difference between the models is quite large, so to minimize the shock of the price difference, you could add a third model that has features very similar to the $997 treadmill but sells for $1299.

Regardless of the visitors’ initial preferences, they will be more inclined to consider the benefits of buying the $997 model by comparing it with the decoy model.

16. Make them feel indebted to you

According to Cialdini, human beings are wired to want to return favors and pay back our debts. The principle of reciprocity says that people by nature feel obliged to provide either discounts or concessions to others if they themselves have received favors from those people.

You can use this impulse to spur your Web visitors to action. By giving away something of value to them, with no expectation of anything in return, you can begin to harness the power of this principle.

pg 20

QuickSprout, Neil Patel’s website, is centered around the blog, which provides its readers tips, advice, how-tos and suggestions on how they can be better marketers.

Neil does also sell his website traffic consulting services and the QuickSprout Traffic System Pro, which is designed to drive more traffic to websites. His free offer is perfect for attracting the people who might want his services. And given the amount of information he provides, they are quite likely to do whatever it takes to become customers.

Consider leveraging this principle by giving useful information to help people solve problems related to your paid products or services. The free information may be in a blog post, webinar, infographics, or something else. They key is that you offer it without pushing your products and or services.

17. Create unexpected offers

It may seem odd to sell products that you don’t expect people to buy, but in using the door-in-the-face psychological technique, this strategy will help sell lower-priced products.

For example you could offer a VIP conference pass with back stage access and exclusive networking for $1500. When the Web visitor indicates their disinterest through leaving the page or clicking on the no thanks link, they are then presented with another offer at a lower price which could be a regular attendance ticket for $500.

The second offer seems quite reasonable in comparison to the first offer and the Web visitor is likely to buy.

18. Say why

People need to know why they should do something, so be sure to give them a reason. Believe it or not, it could increase conversions by 31.54%.

Betting Expert wanted to increase the conversions of their email sign up form. In its former state, it didn’t communicate any value to their Web visitors. By changing the copy on the form, they answered the question, “Why should I fill out the form?”

pg 21

Review your content, especially your headlines and titles, to ensure you tell people why they should heed your call to action.

19. Leverage the hurt-and-rescue principle

This principle first informs prospects that they have a problem, then offers a way to fix that problem. A common way to do this online is through a quiz. For example this health website offers a quiz entitled, “Test your healthy choices—and upgrade your health.”

pg 22

By asking questions about diet, family history and level of physical activity, you can determine readers’ areas of risk. This, in turn, opens the opportunity to sell a diet program or fitness program to suit their needs.

This principle is really about emotion-based selling. Show your audience that you understand their pain points and you’ll be more effective in persuading them to consider your offer.

20. Use action-oriented language

Your copy needs to do two things: follow your Web visitor’s thoughts and drive action. Do this, and you can positively impact conversion rates. L’Axelle changed the tone of its copy from being comfort-oriented to action-oriented and received a 93% improvement in their conversion rate.

pg 23

21. Highlight the benefits for your audience

To establish credibility in the eyes of your Web visitors without singing your own praises, focus on their best interest by highlighting the benefits of your product or service.

This is exactly what MarketingProfs did and it earned them a 27.76% increase in leads.

If you have a list of features listed, revise them so the benefits of using your product or service are clear to your audience.

TaskRabbit highlights the benefits of using their service right on their homepage.

pg 24

22. Anticipate and address objections

Understanding your audience, the way they think and their concerns can go a long way in getting people to buy. By anticipating and addressing objections, Moz was able to improve conversion rates to generate an additional 1 million dollars with changes to their landing page and offer.

AppSumo does a great job of combining design and long-form copy to address their audience’s questions, such as…

  • How can I add a Halloween themed offer?
  • Is adding this going to be difficult and time consuming?
  • Will it add to my traffic?
  • Will it add a difference or personality to the site?

pg 25

23. Use video

The video on the Dropbox homepage has been played a few million times and has resulted in increased sign-ups.

According to this case study, the referral page that people come to when a friend sends them to Dropbox has a conversion rate of 30% when the video is not played; however, the conversion rate increases to 33.2% when the video is played.

Vidyard during its early days managed a 100% increase in their optin rate.

pg 26

To leverage video effectively, keep it the main focus of the page in order to ensure it gets played. Keep in mind, though, that testing is the only way to find out whether your audience appreciates this form of visual media.

24. Increase commitment

Cialdini says that the principles of commitment and consistency are based on the deep need of people to be seen as consistent. In other words, if people have publicly committed to something or someone, they are much more likely to carry through and deliver on the commitment.

Gaining a small commitment from your Web visitors can be as simple as getting them to sign up for a white paper, ebook or guide.

Perhaps we can learn from Copyblogger. Copyblogger sells software and training whilst also running a very popular blog. They use their free membership to exclusive content and marketing course to get people to sign up.

This sign-up is, in reality, a micro-commitment. They are getting people to make a small commitment that helps them see themselves as a customer of the company. It then becomes easier to sell these people one or more of their services.

pg 27

Takeaways that you can apply are:

  • Ask for small commitments from your audience
  • Ensure that each commitment step is backed by generous value for the potential customer
  • Look for ways in which the commitment can be publicized and a sense of community developed to reinforce the commitment.

Over to you

No matter how good your products or services or how brilliant you are at spreading your ideas, you need compelling, persuasive content on your website. Otherwise, no one will see it. There’s simply too much competing information.

To help, I’m offering 5 super simple tactics that you can apply to your content… 100% FREE! With these tips and some hard work, you can create content to woo your visitors and win them over.

Keep in mind, I’m not saying you can become a persuasion marketing sensation overnight.

No, in fact you need to really care about your visitors, be prepared to focus and practice every day. You also need to be prepared for setbacks and criticism.

But if you persevere, if you test your theories and make incremental improvements based on your results, you’ll make more money in the long run.

Set your goals. Keep improving. And let me know in the comments—which of these techniques has improved your conversion optimization rate the most? And which techniques are you going to try next?

The post The CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook, Part 2 appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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The CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook, Part 2


The CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook, Part 1

Is your Web content helping you win clients?

Sure, your website and content can boost authority, drive relevant traffic and generate leads. But is it really working for your business?

We’re talking ROI here, which is the bottom line for CROs.

In most cases, Web pages fail to perform in one of two areas: the headline and copy don’t capture people’s attention, and the on-page content isn’t compelling enough to keep people on the page.

For this Persuasion Guidebook, I isolated 25 ways to make your Web content more enticing, so it actually gets read (and acted on). These are some of the top tips you need to succeed, and I know it’s a lot of digest in one sitting…

So I’ve broken it into two posts. Today I give you 9 seductive tactics to magnetically capture visitors’ attention. Tomorrow, you’ll get 16 ways to create compelling Web content.

Let’s get started, shall we?

magnetically attract placeit 800Source: Placeit.net

How to magnetically capture visitors’ attention

1. Write better headlines

Compelling headlines are critical to improving conversion rates. In fact, simply changing your headline and positioning has been known to increase conversions by 90%.

With 3 seconds or less to capture people’s attention, you risk losing them for good with poor headlines.

How do you write better headlines? A good way to create compelling headlines is to ensure it is useful, urgent, unique and ultra-specific.

By using exact numbers to specify the length of their free trial, 37 signals was able to increase conversions for Highrise by 30%.

pg 1

To write better headlines consider using at least one or more of the following:

  • numbers
  • interesting adjectives
  • unique rational with words like reasons, principles, facts, lessons, ideas, ways, secrets, or tricks
  • words that answer questions: why, what, where, how or when
  • an audaciously valuable promise (if you can deliver on it)
  • a simple headline writing formula: number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise

2. Observe the rule of one

Don’t confuse people by taking them in different directions.

Your headline should bring focus to one concept or idea. The content should also stick to the one point or one position or idea. Take for example the Asana website where the focus is on team work.

pg 2

The Weather Chanel saw a 225% increase in conversions after focusing on a single desired action.

pg 3

3. Focus on loss aversion

What do your visitors stand to lose by not taking you up on your offer? Research shows that a focus on their potential loss can make your conversion rate go up.

Loss aversion is the reason why so many companies offer fully functional free trials for a time-limited period. They base this on the premise that once a person uses the product and gets used to it, they won’t want to lose access. So they’ll be more likely to pay for continued use and access.

The Kapersky free trial offer is just such an example. Once your computer is protected with Kapersky, you’re not likely to make your computer insecure again, are you?

pg 4

To use this principle effectively, use it in cases where the prospect has something very tangible and specific that they are afraid of losing.

4. Set expectations

Be clear about what you offer and why your website visitor will benefit from you offer. This can directly lead to higher conversions. For example, the Sims 3 improved their value proposition and increased game registrations by 128%.

The Dollar Shave Club is an example of a site that makes it clear that their subscription service takes the headache out of replacing your shaving razor. Look at the value proposition to the right of the video. Simple and compelling.

pg 5

5. Add urgency

Urgency is the feeling that something is important enough to require immediate action.

You’re probably used to seeing it in vendor emails:

pg 14

But you can also use it on your website. Urgency can be applied to headlines in the following ways:

a. You need to order this today – deadline or scarcity driven. Something like: “Get Signed Up for the Course Before Price Doubles Tonight at Midnight.”

pg 6


pg 7

b. If you don’t fix X now, then Y will happen. Read this before you put your signature down for a real estate purchase.

pg 8

6. Leverage anticipation

Research shows that most people (in the absence of psychological disorders or negative states of mind) do anticipate future events positively. In other words they automatically anticipate happy outcomes more than they do sad outcomes.

A key step in seducing your visitors is to affirm the anticipation that people have with a headline they can’t help but agree with, like SingleGrain does on their homepage.

pg 9

Create anticipation with headlines by framing them so more questions are asked in the mind of the reader that need to be answered. One of the most popular headlines is “They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play!~”

pg 10 Image source

Readers probably want to know the rest of the story: What happened when the person sat the piano? Did the audience like what was played? What song was played? These questions only increases anticipation and keep the reader engaged.

7. Invoke emotions

Posts with emotional headlines (higher Emotional Marketing Value scores) get shared more according to this analysis. So add to the potency of your content by ensuring your headlines and taglines evoke emotions that reinforce the desire to take action.

Copyblogger Media uses the principle in the copy for their new Rainmaker platform.

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To invoke emotions with your headlines be sure to use power words like urgent, amazing, breaking, strange, insider, etc. Also test your word choice to find a winning combination.

8. Keep it simple

Simple headlines often work better than clever headlines because they are easier to understand. In this test for a Scandinavian chain of gyms, the simpler and boring headline resulted in 38.46% more memberships being sold.

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Headlines, taglines and captions below images are key content areas of a page that get read by most people who skim or scan through your content. Ensure that your copy aids easy comprehension and does not make it harder than it should.

9. Make it useful

Emphasize what your Web visitors will get rather that they must do. In other words make headlines value centric as these tests have confirmed with increases in conversion of up to 10%. Making the headline more useful in this test helped increase conversions by 85%.

James Wedmore for example applies this principle on his homepage.

pg 13

To add the element of usefulness to your headlines consider these tips:

  • Show results your readers get by reading and acting on your content
  • Show the value of saving time off a typically monotonous or arduous task.
  • Show how they can save money or earn more by doing something.

Captured attention = engagement

These 9 tips will help you capture your visitors’ attention. In marketing-speak, we call that engagement. And that’s a great place to start in your conversion optimization efforts.

Tomorrow we dig in even deeper. Tune in for 16 ways to create compelling Web content that not only engages, but converts. These persuasion tactics are a win for every marketer. Until then…

Share your favorite engagement tactic below. Have you found any of the above 9 to be especially useful?

The post The CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook, Part 1 appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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The CRO’s Persuasion Guidebook, Part 1