10 Ways to Use Psychology to Convert More Customers [Infographic]

10 ways to convert more customers using psychology

Landing page conversion psychology, when used properly, can increase your conversion rates by interacting with your customers in a more intelligent, and almost subliminal way. Read the 10 techniques below to learn how to apply some science to your marketing.

1. Help Customers Break Through “Action Paralysis” by setting minimums.

There are several approaches to make your potential customers aware of free trials. Most companies opt for copy such as “Sign up for a 30-day free trial”. But a good alternative is to use a soft approach such as “No payments for the first month”. Same purpose, but potentially a different result.

You can also use subtext to reinforce your CTA. Examples of this include:

  • Cancel your account at any time
  • No risk access to full product features

These are the perfect type of copy changes/additions to use for an A/B test experiment.

2. Embrace the Power of Labels

Making your customers feel special can be a great retention tool, and turn them into ambassadors for your product. It’s also a great acquisition method, given how many highly qualified new customers come via word-of-mouth recommendations.

Example ways to label customers as part of a superior group are:

  • Adding a label inside their account/product that gives them a higher status level (perhaps after they’ve been a customer for a certain length of time, or performed certain actions)
  • Send them something tangible that they can wear or use
  • Provide digital badges that they can place on their website to say they are certified members or have a gold status etc.

3. Understand the 3 types of Buyers

Neuroeconomic experts (i.e. smart people) have defined three types of buyer: tightwads, spendthrifts and average spenders. Tightwads (which make up 24% of buyers) are what I’d call fence-sitters and they need to be communicated to differently to push them to the correct side of the metaphorical fence.

Examples of how to do this include:

  • Re-framing product value ($100/month vs. $1,200/year) – where the cost is the same but it’s broken down into a more easily digestible number.
  • AOL (yup, I went there) switching from pay-per-hour Internet service to pay-per-month. A reverse tactic to the first one, that creates the feeling that customers are not having to constantly keep an eye on their usage.
  • All-inclusive resorts provide the safety of knowing that once you’ve paid you won’t incur additional costs.
  • The Netflix model of paying a monthly fee for unlimited access to movies, instead of paying per movie.

4. Highlight Strengths by Admitting Shortcomings

There have been many examples of catastrophic failures over the years (including a lot of oil spills), where companies have waited until it’s too late to issue an apology (either due to poor management or external pressure to admit to their mistake). One of the most recent being the Japanese power company Tepco waiting a year and a half to admit what they did wrong during the nuclear meltdowns on Japan’s coastline.

If you use an online product, you’ve probably received emails admitting to something the company did wrong, this is the right way to do it, and can even strengthen the perception your customers have of you – as long as you don’t consistently make the same mistake. Twitter going over capacity every few days anyone?

An example of companies openly admitting to failure, the lessons they learned, and what they intend to do about it can be seen on the Admitting Failure website.

5. Use Urgency the Smart Way

In a test study by Howard Leventhal he concluded that people tend to block out urgent information if they don’t receive follow up information containing specific instructions on how to deal with it. People persuade themselves that they don’t need to worry, “this won’t affect me,” but when given follow up instructions, they take the matter more seriously. The test in question saw an increase of 25% of people getting flu vaccinations after receiving follow up information.

6. Make Their Brain Light Up ‘Instantly’

People tend to stress about things like late arrivals when purchasing online (especially around times like Christmas). This can have a strong effect on your conversions. To remove your customer’s pain points, use terms that reverse anxiety.

Good examples are:

  • Amazon’s same day shipping, and order by x date to guarantee delivery on y date
  • Domino’s 20-minutes or less pizza guarantee

7. Make An Enemy

This doesn’t really mean being abusive to your customers or another company, it’s more connected to labeling (from point number 2 above). People will become more loyal if you pit your company against another in a fun way.

Some examples are:

  • The Mac vs. PC commercials which helped increase the fanboy/girl attitude of Apple consumers
  • Drink companies using segmentation by making statements such as “we don’t make wimpy light beer”, to appeal to the more macho consumer
  • And then there’s the classic war between Coke and Pepsi where Pepsi used the taste text challenge to convince people that their product is superior

8. Stand for Something

If you stand for something (such as a charitable cause) then consumers with the same values will be more likely to become customers. In fact, 64% said their purchasing decision was based on this psychological factor.

Tom’s shoes is a perfect example, where each pair of shoes you buy is matched by the company donating a pair of shoes to someone in need.

It’s nice (and effective for conversions) to be nice.

9. Devil’s Advocate

Research shows that people will be more likely to purchase when they have their assumptions questioned by your company. To do this well, you need to address their concerns and dismiss them with well researched information and examples. A whitepaper or case study is an excellent way to establish your authority in this regard.

10. Keep ’em on Their Toes

Surprise your customers with unexpected treats and you’ll build brand loyalty and a higher likelihood of receiving thank-you’s in the form of testimonials. Zappos is a classic example. By having a free return policy and great customer experience, they have amassed a whopping 9,570 customer testimonials on their website. They surprise their customers and it works.

10 ways to convert more customers


Here’s a bunch of great stats from the infographic for you to share on Twitter. You can also edit the text before posting it.

  • There are 3 types of buyers: 15% Spendthrifts, 24% tightwads & 61% average spenders
    » Tweet this «
  • People labeled as ‘Politically active’ are 15% more likely to vote. Takeaway: Embrace the power of labels
    » Tweet this «
  • Customers trust companies more when they admit to their mistakes
    » Tweet this «
  • 64% of Customers have a strong relationship with a single brand because they shared the same values
    » Tweet this «
  • Customers value consistency, but they also like surprises. Zappos is the Perfect example
    » Tweet this «

How do you use psychology to engage your customers?

— Oli Gardner

About Oli Gardner
Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He’s obsessed with identifying and reversing bad marketing practices, and his disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary, resulting in landing page rants that can peel paint off an unpainted wall. A prolific international keynote speaker, Oli is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike. He was recently named the "The 2018 Marketer to Watch," in the under 46 category, by his mother.
» More blog posts by Oli Gardner


  1. Tyler

    For anyone interested in reading the details of the study mentioned in point #1 of the infographic, it’s in Chapter 3 (Commitment and Consistency) of Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

  2. Robbie

    I absolutely love this concept. I studied psychology throughout my undergrad with the sole purpose of using it for marketing means. I’ve always wanted to put a post like this together, but you’ve beat me to it!

    I truly believe that they psychology behind marketing is being lost among the massive amount of random information that’s being shared in this new age of “content marketing.”

    A marketing strategy that’s founded an proven psychological principals is clearly the way to go. Get that right first, and then build on top of it and you’ll be successful!

    Thanks so much for this – keep evolving on this concept for us. We all need your help.

  3. Bryant Jaquez

    This is exactly why I think the next big wave of marketers are going to be phycology majors.

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  6. Pam Aungst (@PamAnnMarketing)

    Great post. I especially like numbers 1, 2 and 5.

  7. Belinda Summers

    Psychology plays an important role in every aspect of our life. In business, of course it is an ingredient success. Business owners must understand prospects’ behaviors in order for them to formulate strategies to turn these prospects into real deal.

    Great tips Oli! What I like most is number 8 – Stand for Something. Sounds so effective. I admire companies that have Foundations / Institutions that they have supported and I always believe that if you do good deeds to others, blessings will follow.

  8. Angela

    Totally true! Personality is a big thing for marketers to look into, and psychology is the best approach. Learn more from the psych scientists at TipTap Lab: http://hub.am/YyJV5g

  9. Gabe Wright

    dope post; edward bernays would be proud.

    i think far too many marketing firms and ad agencies focus on generating out-of-the-box content that they subsequently label “creative” instead of focusing on the major elements of effective marketing communication: communication, psychology and business. you can have the most creative content in the world, but if it doesn’t resonate with the target audience, then you’ve completely missed the point. at the end of the day, it’s about generating more revenue, right? the best way to do that by knowing your customers’ motivations, and then tailoring your messages accordingly.

  10. Rakesh

    thanks for great info. This is exactly why I think the next big wave of marketers are going to be phycology majors.

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  13. Krishna Soni

    Never thought like this. Great info about customer psychology.