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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 Sam Yadegar on Jan 21 , 2021

Here’s how digital marketers can leverage psychology tactics to improve campaigns, conversions, and more.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How psychology plays into marketing
  • Ways to use psychology to create better campaigns
  • Tips for objection handling through psychology
  • How marketing psychology can help foster brand trust

Marketing is all about human behavior. As marketers, we’re always trying to get inside our target audience’s heads. What do they want, what are their concerns, and what will inspire them to act?

Encouraging people to think or act in a certain way involves a good deal of the science behind the mind and human behavior, known as psychology. It makes sense that having a strong understanding of this subject could help improve the way we approach marketing.

For example, plenty has been written about what constitutes a successful website user experience. Easy navigation, appealing design, a secure online transaction process, and crisp content all make a difference. But if you really want to beat your competition? Having a strong understanding of user motivations and behaviors can go a long way. 

Below, we break down nine marketing psychology tips that can help turn window shoppers into converted customers.

HawkSEM Psychology Tips to Improve Your Digital Marketing

Tailoring to someone’s interests can make them feel more valued, which in turn gives them a more positive impression of your brand or offering. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Address pain points

The human mind looks for reasons and patterns. When giving people a reason to choose your product or service, highlight how it will minimize the issues they’re facing. 

For this to work, though, it’s crucial to understand your customers’ pain points and motivations. Creating ideal client personas through research and surveys can help you do just that.

2. Focus on the positive

Once you’ve addressed pain points, focus on the positive outcome your target audience is seeking, whether that’s saving money, streamlining a process, or making their lives better in some other way.

While Psychology Today reports that our brains are more sensitive to negativity, it’s the small positive acts that matters most — in a ratio of about five to one. They add that “it takes frequent small positive experiences to tip the scales toward happiness.”

This is where remarketing comes in. Leveraging repeated messaging through remarketing can create a pattern that may inspire someone to finally “add to cart” or request a consultation. 

3. Personalize to make your point

HubSpot highlights a University of Texas study that claims “we can attribute our preference for personalized experiences to two key factors: desire for control and information overload.” Adopting the marketing psychology tactic of tailoring your message to someone’s interests can make them feel more valued. This, in turn, can give them a more positive impression of your brand.

“Customer-centric marketing” is a phrase repeated ad nauseam. But the fact remains that, these days, customers want to know you created your business or offerings with them in mind. 

Building custom landing pages and ads that are specific to certain audience segments is one of the most effective ways to do this. When creating these campaigns, make sure that:

  • The message is clear
  • The design is consistent
  • There’s a strong call to action (CTA)
  • Everything is optimized for mobile

4. Save customers time

While we have tools that save us time and help us get more done, our lifestyles and business challenges have many of us still wishing we had more time. That’s why the promise of time savings often has more impact than the assurance of cost savings. 

As the New York Times reports, “In our pursuit of happiness, we are constantly faced with decisions both big and small that force us to pit time against money.” Part of this reason, according to experts, is because most people have far less free time than previous generations.

If it makes sense for your business, emphasize the time you can save customers. Back it up with testimonials. You could also provide a curated list of your product options or service add-ons to customers to drive the point home.

5. Be honest and transparent

We’ve mentioned before how today’s customers favor the brands they consider authentic. A study from Label Insight showed that, “if your brand isn’t transparent, consumers will hunt for information elsewhere,” according to Inc

Your ad copy should not only get to the heart of customers’ problems while illustrating empathy and kindness (without coming off as condescending or insincere). That means no sensationalist language or over-to-top claims that stretch the truth. Sticking to the facts is always best.

HawkSEM - Marketing Psychology

Colors can trigger specific feelings, particularly when purchase intent is high. (Image via Unsplash)

6. Leverage color psychology

There’s a reason why a certain popular fast-food chain uses a lot of red in their restaurant interior and packaging design. The same goes for why hospital rooms are often painted calm, soothing colors like light blue. 

Research shows that colors can influence how marketing messages are interpreted. This is especially true when it comes to persuasion and your brand’s impression. In fact, they can even trigger specific feelings, particularly when purchase intent is high. 

You can use the principles of color psychology to:

  • Run better-informed A/B tests
  • Create recallable and impactful brand logos
  • When planning a website redesign 
  • Create engaging social media and content posts

7. Understand the fear of missing out (FOMO)

While the psychology behind FOMO is a newly studied phenomenon, it’s known to affect a variety of age groups, according to experts. 

The simple fact is that fear can prompt actions. This means it’s worth exploring as part of your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy. This is particularly true during times of blowout sales, discounts, and when you’re trying to maximize leads or purchases over a short time period. 

Pro tip: Studies show that limited-time offers entice shoppers to buy. Knowing that a good offer will only be available for the next 24 hours or so is likely to have the most impact on customers. 

8. Include testimonials and social proof

Speaking of authenticity, it’s human nature to question things. In fact, skepticism can be a key part of critical thinking. While skeptics aren’t always cynics, acknowledging that all of your marketing claims need to be backed up and credible can help strengthen your campaigns.

For example, you could attach a name, face, and job industry or title to each testimonial on your ad or site. This provides context that helps the reader trust what’s being said. Videos showing how your service has made a difference to customers can also win you loyalty and encourage people to explore your company further.

9. Prepare to overcome objections

To appear as an authentic brand, it’s important to showcase the merits of your offerings without overlooking contrarian ideas. That means that, psychologically, it’s possible to raise credibility by pointing out your product’s shortcomings, as Fast Company explains.

Seasoned marketers know that paying attention to common objections from prospects and customers is crucial. It’s not only beneficial for overall brand feedback, but it can help inform how your company projects itself through avenues like ads and content. 

Sure, a similar business may offer a few more bells and whistles, or come at a lower price. Objections like that are the perfect opportunity to highlight the value that comes with opting for your brand. That could mean fostering a true partnership with your client, a CX team that goes above and beyond, a core value of giving back, or something more.

The takeaway

Whether you look at the side of the marketer or the audience being marketed to, humans are at the core of both. 

The more you expand your knowledge of marketing psychology, the better positioned you’ll be to drive up your conversion rate and attract a loyal customer base. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in January 2020.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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