6 Psychological Design Tactics to Increase Conversions

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6 Psychological Design Tactics to Increase Conversions

Increasing conversions is the core goal of every entrepreneur. A high conversion rate means that you’re making the most out of every visitor to reach your site. It indicates that your design isn’t just pleasing to the eye, and also compels people to become an email subscriber, lead or customer. What’s the difference between a site that converts and one that doesn’t? A site that converts walks a delicate balance that takes place on the Venn Diagram where psychology and conversion optimization intersect. Operating strictly off of conversion optimization best practices will only go so far; you need to bring in some psychology to really compel your readers. Every entrepreneur will benefit from learning some psychological principles that can guide site design to boost the overall conversion rate. I’m about to explain six key principles that have greatly improved my business.

We Avoid Pain and Wish to Gain Pleasure

At the root of all human behavior is the desire to gain pleasure and avoid pain. It’s why we ran from predators with sharp teeth and procreated prolifically. These two complementary instincts underlay every action people take throughout the day. Screenshot 2015-12-28 01.37.06 People on your website are looking to get from where they are now to where they wish to be. The goal of your website is to reduce friction and provide the answers before asking for anything in return. Over time, they’ll start to associate your business with the pleasure they’re seeking, or the help avoiding pain.

We Are Excited By Novelty

Studies have shown that being exposed to something new and unfamiliar releases a burst of dopamine. People feel like a reward is right around the corner, and that motivates investigating the situation further. Screenshot 2015-12-28 01.38.38 Why do Apple and Samsung release new phones every year with only incremental improvements? Most consumers know that the differences between the latest model and the previous incarnation are minimal, yet millions upgrade with every new phone. Apply this to your design by creating new products or services and highlighting them with design. Even if it’s only an incremental change, you can repackage and rebrand it as the latest release – just like Apple. Regularly updating your site’s look and feel, even with minor changes, also capitalizes on this tactic. New colors, logos and graphics trigger the same dopamine release that propels this practice.

We Unite Against a Common Foe

Your target market has a foe that they believe is preventing them from getting whatever it is they want. Sociologist Georg Simmel pointed out that nothing unites a nation, or any other group of people, quite as effectively as a common enemy. Screenshot 2015-12-28 01.39.39 Using this principle in your design and marketing message is risky. You don’t want to pick the wrong enemy and alienate people – then you become the foe! Apple turned their competition into the foe, while CareerBuilder turned a boring job into the foe. What’s the enemy of your industry? Think back to avoiding pain; what source of pain is your target market avoiding? Make that source the foe.

We Love a Compelling Story

Storytelling is the oldest form of communication. When our ancestors painted on cave walls, they were telling stories about how to survive to the next generation of cave dwellers. 6a00e54fd9f059883301a73d60d781970d You don’t have to turn your website into a novel to tell a story. The colors, fonts and photography style you employ all tell your story. The Minimalists enhance their story with black and white photos and a -  well - minimalist design. A key storytelling element is having a protagonist, the hero or heroine. Your business isn’t the protagonist; your prospective readers are. Using images of people that they identify with to place them in that role. If you know your target audience, hire models who exemplify them.

We Respect Authority

Have you heard of the Milgram experiment? In this psychological test, subjects were asked to keep pushing a button that electrocuted another unseen subject. They heard screams (faked, of course), but a scientist in a white coat assured them to keep pushing the button. Guess what? Most people kept pushing the button because of the authoritative scientist. People respect authority, plain and simple. Your design should highlight every element of authority you can muster. If your product has scientific backing, underscore it throughout your design. If you’re preserving an age old artisan craft, make the history behind the craft illustrate your authority.

We Don’t Want to Miss Out

I hate missing out. You probably do, too. The fear of missing out is why sales exist. Black Friday is fueled by the fear of missing out on a great deal. Screenshot 2015-12-28 01.41.44 You can incorporate this within your content on your site or elements that imply a need to take action while they can.. This can be accomplished within your headlines or call to action, such as “act now” or “don’t miss the next release”.. Your design will benefit from compelling the visitor to take action quickly. Each of these psychological principles are interrelated and be employed throughout your design to compel people to convert. Free Ebook: Establish a Winning Brand

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Josh Coffy

Josh has an exhaustive understanding of technology and a creative marketing approach that drives client results. In his free time, Josh does CrossFit and travels with his wife.