5 Psychological Techniques You Can Use to Increase Conversions

Conversion is all about encouraging your site's users to complete a specific action. In other words, you need to turn the average visitor into someone who is actively engaged. With so many competitors out there, this can be a tricky proposition.

However, if you understand what makes your audience ‘tick', you can tweak your content and website for maximum appeal. Psychology and marketing have a close relationship, so implementing features of both is a smart way to achieve your desired outcomes.

In this article, we’ll discuss five psychology-based techniques that you can use to increase conversions. Let’s get started!

Psychology’s Place in Conversion

Providing an excellent service isn’t the only way to encourage users to purchase your products and subscribe to your services. Implementing some well-known psychological techniques can improve the chances for conversion – i.e., turning a casual browser into a paying customer.

Regardless of industry, salespeople across the board understand the role of psychology in getting people to convert. In most cases, consumers won’t commit to a purchase without knowing how it benefits them directly. Applying certain techniques can make your products seem more attractive, and still make the user feel like the decision to buy was entirely their own.

For example, consider physical stores that advertise sales with the use of brightly colored signs. Specific colors evoke certain feelings – green is thought to have a calming effect, for example. A company slogan can also be a huge psychological factor in a customer's buying decision. Famous slogans like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ and ‘I’m Lovin It’ by McDonalds have been cleverly crafted to have a desired effect on consumers.

5 Psychological Techniques You Can Use to Increase Conversions

Before we introduce the following psychological techniques, it’s important to note that they are not intended to ‘trick’ customers. As long as your service is of value to them, these strategies are nothing more or less than good marketing practice. Let’s start with one of the most fundamental techniques of all.

1. Foot in the Door (FITD)

The Foot in the Door (FITD) method involves getting a user to agree to a large request, by first asking for a smaller favor. Requesting something minor can put people in a more agreeable mood, making them more likely to agree to the action you actually want.

An example of this in everyday life would be asking to borrow someone’s car for a short journey, and then later asking to borrow it for the entire weekend. The fresh request is influenced heavily by the original one, and builds on a growing relationship between you and the car owner. This is also known as the Benjamin Franklin effect.

You can apply FITD to your website by encouraging visitors to take feedback surveys and leave comments. This will lay the foundation for later, larger requests you may make. Plus, asking your audience for their feedback on your site is a great way to establish a high level of trust.

2. Reciprocity

Reciprocity refers to the process of giving a user what they want first, in order to encourage them to carry out an action. This technique relies on the part of human nature that makes us ask: “What’s in it for me?”

Offering your users free things, whether that's products or services, grabs their attention and makes them more likely to return the favor and convert at a later stage. An example of reciprocity is the use of sampling by supermarkets. A free sample encourages people to purchase the full item, and creates a feeling of indebtedness to the provider.

One of the best ways you can implement reciprocity on your site is by offering exclusive content to your users, which they'll receive when they sign up for a mailing list or fill out a survey. You can also create demos of your product, or offer free trials and/or limited free tiers of services.

3. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

One of the most effective psychological techniques, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) appeals directly to a user’s desire to not miss out on an exciting opportunity. The use of clever advertising can play up the enjoyment a person could be getting from your product, driving sales as a result.

Perfume and other beauty-based advertisements, for example, often sell you the idea that you’ll become as ‘irresistible’ as the featured model if you simply use a specific product. Although we subconsciously know that this is a marketing ploy, our FOMO can still make us buy into the myth.

You can apply FOMO on your website by including soon-to-be expiring offers for popular products or services. The short expiration date can encourage people to make quick purchases, so as not to miss out. The use of 'emotive' (or emotional) language is another smart way to persuade users to convert.

4. Social Influence

Social influence is a tactic used widely across the internet, particularly on social networking sites. After all, another basic tenant of human nature is that we are easily influenced by those around us.

Essentially, you want to prove to potential customers that your service is popular. This technique integrates well with the FOMO method, as seeing our peers enjoy a product or service means we’re more likely to want it too. Social influence techniques encourage hesitant customers to take the plunge and make a purchase.

While there are many ways to use social influence on your site, the presence of positive reviews is one of the best methods for building trust with consumers. Displaying reviews on your site can show your visitors the value of your product, as well as its popularity. Don't be afraid to include some negative reviews too, as this will add credibility to your claims.

5. Anchoring and Decoy Pricing

In marketing terms, anchoring is when a service with multiple tiers or plans includes one option that makes up the bulk of the sales. This will usually be the lowest-priced service available. This option is also an ‘anchor' that helps to determine what seems reasonable for the rest of the prices.

However, you can deliberately include a decoy option – an obviously inferior deal that encourages people to purchase a more expensive option from the line-up of services on offer. The addition of further benefits available on the decoy is designed to draw people in, and make them feel as though a higher price tag is worth it.

Another way to apply anchoring on your site by showing a crossed-out price with a better offer next to it. You can also focus on the difference in percentage between the various prices you display, as this makes the savings seem even greater.


The relationship between marketing and psychology is strong. Therefore, it’s no surprise that understanding what motivates and persuades people can have a positive effect on sales.

In this article, we've covered some of the tricks you can use to maximize your conversion rate, such as:

  1. The FITD technique, which can encourage users to take bigger actions on your site.
  2. Reciprocity – building a relationship between you and users, so they're more likely to do something for you in return.
  3. Expiring offers that spark FOMO, and motivate people to make purchases.
  4. Social influence, or using the power of social persuasion to bring in new customers.
  5. Anchors and decoys, which can lead people to purchase higher-cost items.

How do you use psychology to increase conversions on your own website? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Categories: Marketing
About John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and staff writer.



    John Ajiboye

    January 5, 2019

    Dear John, Thanks for your thought on psychology technique to increase conversion. For me, your article came at the right time. I always look forward for your new posts. Thanks you Regards John

    John Hughes

    January 7, 2019

    Thanks, John!