Published on September 28th, 2015
Inbound or Outbound, Marketers are in the art of seduction.
No matter how you slice it, we're all trying to seduce, or persuade, our target audience to give our product or service a shot.
In Inbound Marketing, it all starts with your website. So put aside those roses, chocolates, and slow-jams; here are 13 psychology-backed copywriting and design tricks to make your website more persuasive.
1. Use the Word "You"
The word "you" is one of the most hypnotic words you can use in your website content.
The reason it's so powerful is because it directs your message right at the reader and makes the message feel more personal.
The human mind automatically places itself in the context of a message that includes the word "you", so including it is an easy way to make your audience envision themselves using your product or service.
2. Disrupt, then Reframe (DTR)
Research in psychology has found the DTR technique extremely useful in social influence. The idea is to disrupt the way people normally perceive a message, then you reframe it -- or redefine its value.
To illustrate, take this example of a local charity selling note cards from the study.
- The original message: $3 for 8 cards
- After applying the DTR technique: 300 pennies for 8 cards... which is a bargain!
The second variation sold twice as much. Although the amount of money is the same, pennies have less value than dollars and we automatically assume that anything priced in pennies to be cheap.
They also reframed the message by adding the statement about it being a bargain, which further emphasizes the lower value of pennies.
3. Speak Your Persona's Language
To persuade your audience, you need to get inside their head and use words that will resonate with them. When you speak the same language, your message is more likely to stand out and your buyer persona is more likely to feel "understood" by your brand.
For example, whenever Encyclopedia Britannica introduced new copy that had featured descriptions pulled straight from their customer feedback, they saw an increase of 103% in conversion.
4. Capitalize on Fear of Missing Out (FoMO)
No one wants to be left out.
Fear of missing out is so common and powerful, that the acronym "FoMO" has become a part of mainstream culture, but more formally, it is known as loss aversion.
Loss aversion is a technique where you choose to focus on what your persona will be losing or missing out on by not purchasing, as opposed to focusing on what they will gain.
Try one of these simple ways to incorporate it into your Marketing:
- Focus on the time and money they lose by not purchasing
- Add a countdown timer or limited availability to your sales page
5. Tell the Right Story
By now, I'm sure you know that storytelling is a great Marketing tool to engage prospects to your higher mission. However, the type of story matters and telling stories just for the sake of doing so misses the point.
In the most underrated copywriting book that isn't about copywriting, Made to Stick, the Heath brothers describe three types of stories that have the most stickiness:
- The Challenge Plot: A story of the underdog, rags to riches or sheer determination to overcome the odds
- The Connection Plot: A story about people who develop a relationship that bridges a gap, whether racial, class, ethnic, religious, demographic, etc
- The Creativity Plot: A story that involves someone making a mental breakthrough, solving a problem that has plagued them or resolving an issue in a new way
All you have to do is plug your ideal buyer persona into the hero role of one of those plots and you're golden!
6. Share a Secret
Humans love secrets. Whether it's a FoMO or just an opportunity to gain a competitive edge, promising inside information is one of the most persuasive techniques in Marketing.
However, you can't give away your "secrets" to just anyone or it obviously wouldn't be a secret. To really entice people, you have to make them earn your secrets by subscribing to your email list, downloading an eBook, or gaining exclusive access once they are a customer. Their curiosity will get the better of them.
7. Remove Your Sidebar
Sidebars are distracting and take away from the conversation that's being had in your content. Many businesses are removing the sidebar from their website and seeing a positive response (including us.)
Persuasion requires engagement from your persona and it's difficult for them to stay engaged when there are too many things on the page competing for their attention.
8. Be Concise
With your web copy, you want to get your point across in the least amount of words as possible. Concise copy is powerful and persuasive, while long ramblings can quickly lose your reader's attention. So, force yourself to choose words that have richer meaning and a greater impact.
This case study saw a 62% increase in sales by reducing the copy length.
9. Keep it Simple
Similar to being concise, your copy should be simple and easy to understand.
Big words might have impressed your college English professor, but in the real world, they can often be intimidating or alienating.
Persuading your persona is more than just impressing them, it's about connecting with them and people can be easily confused and even turned off by corporate jargon or "buzzwords."
Depending on the nature of your business, simplicity is also something to keep in mind when it comes to your design. If the look of your site is too busy or difficult to navigate, you're likely to lose your audience's interest before they've been read a line of copy.
10. Be Conversational
How do you seduce someone in real life?
You have a conversation with them. You ask questions to get them engaged, you tell them enough about yourself to spark their interest, but not enough to bore them.
Conversation in real life has a natural flow of back and forth communication. That's what you want to create with the copy on your website.
11. Provide Proof on the Page
Case studies, testimonials, and statistics are absolutely crucial for persuading your persona.
Can you get by without them if your copy is great and you have a beautiful design? Sure, but you'll be missing out on a lot of sales.
People actually want to be persuaded, but they only want to be persuaded into buying something valuable. We've all made purchases that we completely regret because we were misled. Providing proof shows helps prevent this from happening.
12. Add Elements of Trust to Your Design
The language you use can instill trust in your persona, but simply adding symbols and logos associated with trust can have a big impact on conversions as well.
Here are several examples of what you can do:
- Add a "verified" badge from a trusted industry watchdog, such as Angie's List or BBB.
- Post trust seals such as TRUSTe or McAffe Secure on your checkout page.
- Add a "guarantee" badge that you create in-house on your sales page.
13. Create Urgency
The more time your persona has to weigh their options, the less persuasive you become. Seduction happens in the heat of the moment, people!
By adding urgency to your copy, you force your personas to make a quicker (more emotional) decision.
If you're not convinced, here are several examples of how Marcus Taylor from ConversionXL increased sales by 332% by creating urgency.
14. Use the Right Colors
Color has emotional connotations.
Depending on what you want your audience to do or think about your brand, you can use color to help get them into the right state of mind to click or even convert.
For example, if you want to create a sense of calm and trust, you can opt for blues. If you want to draw attention to a call-to-action or pique someone's interest try making it orange.