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Written by Caroline Cox on Feb 23 , 2021

From reciprocity to skepticism, here’s how to leverage a variety of psychology tricks to improve your landing page performance.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Creative ways to make your landing pages more effective
  • How psychology tricks can help you craft better pages
  • What these psychology methods mean
  • How psychology and digital marketing go hand in hand

Being a mind reader would certainly give you a leg up as a professional marketer. (Not to mention how helpful it could be on first dates.) 

Sure, you can ask the right questions during calls and meetings, send out surveys, and request feedback. But knowing exactly what your target audience members are thinking is supremely valuable information that’s often hard to come by. 

Luckily, psychologists and researchers have spent decades studying patterns in human behavior. These findings can be helpful tools when building or refreshing various parts of your marketing strategy — particularly when it comes to landing pages.

Let’s get into the psychology tricks worth exploring to build better landing pages.

1. Opt for a “give” vs. “take” message

In social psychology, there’s the concept of reciprocity. This basically means that people are looking for a return or benefit that’s equal to or greater than what they’re being asked to give. 

That’s why, when it comes to your landing pages, making the visitor feel like they’re getting something in return for submitting their information or taking a certain action can be a big boost for your clickthrough and completion rates. 

For example, you can make an offer like “No onboarding fee, save $300” before asking for the person’s information. This way, they know off the bat that they’re getting something in return.

Tradeshift landing page

Tradeshift uses a simple design with plenty of whitespace to let the image and CTA take center stage.

2. Leverage a minimalist design

There’s a reason spas use warm, candle-like lighting and soft music while dance clubs flash colorful strobe lights and blast thumping bass beats. Visuals and other sensory elements affect our mood and how we process information.

We’ve touched on the importance of avoiding a distracting landing page design in the past. By getting rid of unnecessary elements, you can keep your pages from looking cluttered. This also gives the viewer’s eye a break so they can fully process the message you’re presenting to them. 

Spectrm landing page

Spectrm’s landing page doesn’t bother tooting its own horn — they let their impressive client roster and client testimonials speak for them.

3. Persuade through social proof

You may have heard the phrase “feelings aren’t facts.” It’s a common refrain from therapists and other psychology professionals. It’s also good to keep in mind when you’re crafting messaging for your landing pages.

Rather than relying on flowery terms or self-promotional language, see how you can let the facts speak for your brand instead. Leveraging things like client testimonials and data around results or success rates are great ways to show your target audience you’re the right fit for them, rather than simply telling them yourself.

4. Consider a limited-time offer

Ah yes, the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO. In psychology, this is sometimes referred to as the “scarcity” factor. As the Online Marketing Institute explains, this psych tactic works because humans often value things more “when we know we can’t have them anytime we want.”

This can also be classified as loss aversion. Companies can use the idea of scarcity on landing pages in a number of ways, including:

  • Embedding a countdown clock for when a coupon or offer expires
  • Mentioning that an offer is only available for 24 hours
  • Adding an end date for when a code or coupon will no longer be valid

Pro tip: The psychology trick of loss aversion can also work for remarketing. Consider leveraging this tactic when you’re trying to sweeten the deal and get a page bouncer or cart abandoner to complete an action they started.

PESI landing page

PESI’s landing page uses the deictic gaze theory to draw the visitor’s eye to the CTA.

5. Use visuals as guides

An effective landing page can also use visuals to subtly (or not-so subtly) guide the viewer’s eye towards the call to action (CTA). 

As Instapage points out, this is part of the deictic gaze theory. The theory claims that our eyes naturally follow cues like arrows or wherever someone else is looking. If you want to experiment with a design that creatively draws attention to your CTA button or form, this is a tactic worth trying.

6. Avoid sensationalized language

According to the American Psychological Association’s dictionary of psychology, the concept of skepticism is “the position that certainty in knowledge can never be achieved.” 

It’s also a good reminder that, the more overblown and sensationalist your landing page copy is, the more difficult it may be for your viewer to trust and believe. In the same vein as using social proof and sticking to facts, make sure you’re not crossing the line from an attention-grabbing headline to one that’ll result in an eye roll or — even worse — a swift bounce. 

Adoptimist landing page

Adoptimist’s landing pages appeal to emotion by keeping family at the center of its visuals and messaging.

7. Appeal to emotion 

Using your landing page copy to connect with visitors on an emotional level shouldn’t be looked at as being manipulative. After all, people are at the core of every single business, no matter the industry — and marketing is about connecting with people. 

With this in mind, you can be more intentional about humanizing your message. This tactic can also help illustrate that you genuinely care about your audience and want to help solve their problems with your product or service. 

Even a simple headline posed as a question can show viewers you understand them. For example: “Tired of the constant washing, drying and folding? Get a free week of concierge laundry pickup and delivery on us!”

Want more help with your landing pages? Let’s talk.

The takeaway

Landing pages often serve as someone’s first impression of your brand. They can also be the turning point that helps them decide whether or not to take the next step towards becoming a customer.

Thinking about your ideal client persona’s mindset and what we know about human behavior are great factors to keep in mind when looking to improve your landing pages. These psychology tricks can help you be more intentional and thoughtful about the elements you choose.

The result: a more targeted message, stronger copy, and higher ROI.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Dec 4 , 2020

It’s easy to fall into one (or several) of these landing page traps — let us help you avoid them. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Best practices for landing page copy
  • Why landing page design matters
  • How to avoid snooze-worthy CTAs
  • Ways to make your pages stand out

Landing pages can be game-changers when it comes to your conversion rate. But that doesn’t mean the path to success is easy. At best, landing pages have a variety of thought-out elements that come together to create a seamless user experience. At worst? They confuse or turn off the reader, causing them to bounce. 

One way to be sure you’re on the right track: Don’t fall for any of these common landing page mistakes.

1. Not testing your forms

Each element of your landing page factors into your conversion rates, but your form can be the ultimate deciding factor. With that in mind, crafting your form shouldn’t be a one-and-done endeavor. Rather, take the time to A/B test your forms to see which ones result in the most completions.

While experience has shown us that shorter forms often get more completions, this certainly isn’t always the case. It’s wise to test a few different form lengths, and even multiple-page forms, to find the sweet spot that your prospects respond to best. As long as you’re getting the key info you need from the form, you can play around with various questions and wording.

common landing page mistakes

Sometimes, the most out-there CTAs are the ones that get the most attention — and clicks. (Image via Unsplash)

2. A distracting design

When it comes to your landing page design, there’s a delicate balance to be struck between not underwhelming or overwhelming the visitor. After all, you don’t want to put all this work into creating the best click-worthy ads that end up leading to boring landing pages. On the other hand, it’s just as important that you don’t send them to a page filled with in-your-face graphics, multiple calls to action (CTAs), a header and footer, pop-ups and more. 

A well-designed landing page design will be consistent with the rest of your website, but with an overall clean aesthetic that thoughtfully uses visuals to draw the reader’s eye to your CTAs. These visuals could include things like a photo of someone using your product or service, a specially designed graphic, or color blocking that falls in line with your brand’s current scheme. 

Pro tip: Often, landing pages don’t feature the usual headers and footers that the rest of your site does, to keep the look as minimal as possible. You can experiment with including pared-down versions of your navigation menus, or just a link to your homepage.

3. Boring CTAs

If the thought of a “click here” CTA makes you want to hit snooze, you’re not alone. Not only do generic CTAs not impress site visitors, but it often lacks context about why the person should click. Are they requesting a consultation? Being taken to a page where they can learn more about a product or service? This is one of the easiest landing page mistakes to avoid by making sure your CTA is clear and to the point.

CTAs are another great landing page feature to A/B test. Brainstorm a handful of attention-grabbing CTAs that align with your brand’s voice and tone, then start trying them out to see how your audience reacts. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box: Sometimes, the most out-there CTAs are the ones that get the most attention — and clicks.

4. Sluggish page speed

Of course, healthy page speed is crucial for all pages of your website. But it’s particularly make-or-break when it comes to your landing pages. That’s because landing pages often serve as the first impression of your business. You want everything to be in tip-top shape.

Luckily, there are usually quick fixes for slow site pages. First, test your current speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. From there, you can work with your team or developer to address any issues that come up, such as too-large image files that may need compressing. 

(Page speed promises to become more important when it comes to rankings when Google officially rolls out its Core Web Vitals metrics in 2021.)

Need more help getting landing pages in tip-top shape? That’s one of our specialties.

5. Not optimizing for mobile

Around here, we talk a lot about the importance of having a mobile-friendly site. That’s because we’re seeing more and more people using their smartphones over desktops for things like searching, shopping, and visiting websites. And it’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down soon. 

Before launching your landing page, conduct tests to make sure the page and each of its elements renders well on mobile. That doesn’t just mean it loads. It also means imagery is properly sized, CTAs and buttons are easy to click on, and copy is easy to scroll through and read. This should be the case whether someone is viewing your page from an iOS, Android, or tablet device. 

landing page mistakes to avoid

Consider crafting an automated message upon form completion that reiterates what the user can expect as far as next steps. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Spending too little time on copy

Another one of the biggest landing page mistakes we see is creating a compellingly designed page with lackluster copy. If you’re just copying and pasting the same copy from your ad to your landing page, we hate to say it, but you’re doing it wrong.

While you don’t need to pen a novel, you do want there to be a consistent and clear message, from your headline to your CTA. Your landing page copy should match what your ad mentioned or promised. Moreover, it should focus on the value you can provide the user, not just info about why your brand is so great. In just a few sentences, make it clear that you understand the person’s needs or pain points, and highlight how your brand’s offering can help them. 

7. Failing to provide next steps

Sure, you can get by just fine with a simple “Thanks!” message that pops up once someone has completed your landing page form. But why stop there? Maximize each visit to your site by being thoughtful about what comes next.

Consider crafting an automated message upon form completion that reiterates what the user can expect as far as next steps, whether that means an email or a phone call. You can also add value and start guiding them further down the funnel by offering them a piece of content that’s relevant to the ad that originally brought them there.

Even a funny quip, joke, or GIF paired with your “thank you” message can help make for a memorable and positive first experience with your brand. 

The takeaway

Don’t panic if you’ve fallen prey to any of these common landing page mistakes. Some are easier to detect than others, but all can be fixed. 

Letting your landing page sit stagnant can lead to the issues above, along with others, so prioritize periodically testing new elements and making sure everything is as optimized as possible for best results.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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