How do you try to get conversions on your website?
You may use some of the normal approaches, like keyword research, marketing through social media or even paid advertising.
These approaches can all be effective – but chances are that you are overlooking one key component.
We often assume that the visitors to our sites make decisions logically and rationally, but actually, this isn’t the case at all. Instead, the psychological influences of consumer behavior are highly significant, and these can strongly influence how popular a site is and the rate of conversions.
Psychology is important because there are many factors that define and influence behavior and these factors are not obvious.
If you can take advantage of these psychological influences of consumer behavior, then you have the potential to significantly increase the success of your website.
So, where do you start?
For any website, the most obvious form of commitment is when someone actually buys your product or service.
However, people are funny about commitment, and there are ways to prepare a person to commit to buying your product, which makes the sale more likely. One approach is to make them commit to something else less significant – or at least, make them feel as if they are committing.
Some sites achieve this by using a little blurb and a check box (already checked) that makes people feel like they agreed to something, even though they didn’t really.
Surprisingly, this little change has the potential to significantly increase conversions, because it makes people more likely to commit to the actual sale.
Use Benefit to Your Advantage
Many people assume that being a good salesperson involves being manipulative.
That’s not really accurate though.
One of the best ways to sell to anyone is to simply have a good product to start off with. If you are selling something that people actually want to buy, the sales process becomes so much easier.
Plus – if you are selling a bad product or manipulating your audience in any way, you will probably only get one sale per person. In contrast, if you are honest and sell a good product, you will end up with people coming back time and time again.
This means that the best way to sell any product is to focus on the benefits that it offers.
Talk about every benefit you can as you promote your product. After all, people choose to buy things because it offers them an advantage. They won’t know what this is unless you tell them.
The psychology of benefits strongly relates to what problems the product solves.
How are people better off with this product than they would be without it? That is the question your audience will be asking themselves, and it is one that you need to answer.
There are so many different ways to show off the benefits of a product.
One way is to list the benefits in a bullet-pointed list and another is to put it in an infographic of some form.
You can also use ways of proving or illustrating the benefits of your product.
Testimonials are one good approach, as are endorsements. Likewise, your own credentials often provide support for the benefits that you discuss.
Talking about the benefits of a product puts the focus really strongly on your audience.
They are the ones buying and they are only going to if the product offers something they want.
So, don’t be afraid to let them know every benefit. Just don’t be misleading. Don’t start talking about benefits that aren’t actually there and don’t try to make some benefits sound better than they actually are.
A related component of this is creating the perception of losing out.
People are more likely to make a purchase if they feel they lose something by not making the decision.
This is why you see so many sites with timers that (supposedly) count down until an offer is no longer valid. This approach combines the concept of losing out with pressure to make a decision fast. However, it is also a highly manipulative approach.
Focusing on customers losing out could be as simple as talking about how people might be missing out on a way to get ahead of their competition or of a way to be more desirable (after weight loss).
People hate the idea of missing out on something, so this is a particularly effective way to convince them to do something.
The Progression of Sales
In many ways, your content is like a story. You have to hold your audience’s attention throughout and you have to have some form of progression.
This means that you have to build towards a sale.
You might start off by talking about a problem, progress to talking about a possible solution and end with challenging people to take up that solution (which is your product).
As a person reads through an article, they become interested in what you are saying. Most people won’t finish the article, but the ones that do are the ones that you care about.
When a person finishes an article, they are looking for some indication of what to do next.
As a writer, it’s up to you to provide this.
One of the most effective approaches is a call to action (CTA) at the end of the article. This tells your readers what they should do next.
Maybe your CTA involves a specific link that you want people to click or maybe it is an opt-in form where people can leave you their email addresses.
The important thing isn’t really what your CTA is, it’s that you have one.
If you don’t give your audience that direction, many will leave the site.
You should also resist the temptation to offer more than one direction at the end of an article. Giving users multiple options actually decreases how many of them make the choice – so it’s less effective overall.
Throughout the sales process, it’s important to make sure everything is convenient for the visitor.
One of the key reasons that people shop online is that it is faster and easier than going to a physical store. You want to be taking advantage of this.
A huge thing for sales is the amount of choices you offer.
You might think that offering lots of choices is a good thing, because it lets people pick exactly what they want.
However, having many choices actually reduces conversions.
This happens because there are too many options – so people find it easier to choose not to do anything, rather than try and figure out what the best option is.
Too many options makes things complicated, and that’s something you don’t want.
With one or a few offers, the audience knows what to do and you don’t have to try and focus in multiple directions at once.
Don’t Leave the Audience Hanging
If you’re trying to sell anything, people will have questions.
Sometimes they will ask you the questions, other times they will simply leave if your content doesn’t answer the questions for them.
This means that you have to write your content with those questions in mind. You need to think about what people are likely to ask, and try to answer as many of those questions as possible.
And they need to be good answers.
For example, one service that I promote heavily is Wealthy Affiliate.
I need to be able to tell people what it is that makes this service different that everything else out there, and why I think it is worth the money. I also need to tell people exactly what it is and why it is interesting.
If I don’t, no one is going to believe me that it is worth the time.
You will often see scam sites ignore this approach entirely.
Instead, they will oversell and overhype their product to the point that you don’t know what you are buying or how it is supposed to work.
So, how do they make sales?
Most of their sales are from people who are gullible and desperate. They don’t get many repeat sales because most people are disappointed.
The only reason they make money to start off with is that there are always some people out there who believe them, and they can always do the same thing all over again when that source of income dries up.
But for every sale that sites like that make there are hundreds if not thousands of people who leave the site immediately because they recognize it for what it is.
If you are developing a website as a serious long-term business, then the last thing you want to do is act like a scam site. You want and need your audience’s trust and this involves working for it.
So, take the time to answer questions within your content, and also within the comments if anyone ever asks you directly.
This makes it much more likely that people will stay on your site, and this alone will improve your success.
An additional approach to this is to be honest about who your product is and isn’t for.
There are very few products out there that are equally good for everyone. So, there will probably be a group of people that the product doesn’t really suit.
If you make this clear as part of your content, then you establish a significant amount of credibility.
For example, this approach is very important in the niche of making money online, because of the number of scam sites out there. When people realize that you are being honest about who the product is for, they start to realize that you aren’t one of the scam sites.
Tenses and Wording
The way you word things can make a huge difference in your sales.
One example of this is I/Us versus You. When you are writing copy, it’s easy to focus on yourself.
So, you might say I did this, I believe this or I think you should.
Sometimes this is important, but most of the time you want to be focusing on the person who is actually reading your content.
For example, I would want to talk about how being careful about the wording on your site can significantly increase your conversions or profits, rather than telling you how it did increase mine.
Clearly there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, I might talk about myself if I wanted to use a personal anecdote to help you connect with me more or to show that I actually know what I am talking about.
Another interesting trick with wording is to write your copy as if the person has already actually made the purchase. This means talking about how a product will help a person, rather than how it may help them.
Marketers for weight loss products often do this, by telling you how much better you will feel when you have lost the weight.
The marketers are assuming that you will get their product and will lose weight from it, although this is far from guaranteed.
By doing this, the readers are actually more likely to make the purchase.
This may be because talking about the future in that way helps the reader to actually picture them purchasing the product, making them more likely to go through with it.
Pricing is weird. You would think that the cheapest products would sell better than the most expensive ones, but it really doesn’t work that way.
If you were interested in a tablet and found one that was roughly $100 cheaper than all the others, what would be your first thought?
Mine would be: what’s wrong with it?
In general, low-priced products are associated with low quality.
If you’re selling your own product, it’s very tempting to price it low. After all, who is going to want to spend more than $100 on an online product?
A lot of people actually.
It really depends on what your product is and how you present it.
Are people going to pay more than $100 or even more than $200 for an eBook?
No, probably not.
What about an online course?
If they thought the course was likely to be good, then yes, some people would.
What about a live seminar or even one-on-one training?
Those are valued high, and they sell well.
The thing is, all of these examples could use the exact same content. The difference isn’t really what you are selling, it’s how you are presenting it.
This actually makes sense. In every case, the user gets a different experience. Most people would learn much more from a seminar than from an eBook, even if the content was literally identical. Likewise, an online course lets people learn at a specific pace and lets them ask questions, which partly accounts for the increased value.
In fact, if you tried to sell an online course for the same price as an eBook you would have trouble.
A lot of people wouldn’t buy the product because of how low the price was. They would think there is something wrong with it.
So, never price something below what it is worth.
However, you can price it higher, if you are careful.
After all, ‘premium’ products are often nothing more than expensive versions of normal products that are simply relabeled.
Finding the right price balance for your product will always be challenging, and you will probably get it wrong at least once. As you learn more about your audience and your competitors, you will find I t easier to get the price point right.
Logic and Its Limits
When you are selling anything you have to understand the limits of logic.
Have you ever tried to prove something to a person who was adamant about their perspective?
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much proof you have, a person will believe what they want to.
A classic example of this is the debate over whether gluten makes you sick or not. There are a lot of people who think that cutting gluten entirely out of their diet is good for their health and makes them feel better.
Likewise, many people believe that taking as many vitamin supplements as possible is a good idea, without even looking into which ones of them are likely to be successful.
If you have someone who is stubborn in their beliefs, you probably can’t change their mind. In fact, you may convince them to hold onto their original view more strongly.
I don’t know the science surrounding gluten sensitivity, but it’s clear that there are many people on both sides of the debate who believe what they want to – logic be damned.
In fact, even if you could prove to someone without a doubt that you were right, all you would manage to do would be to embarrass them – and they would probably stop visiting your site altogether.
What does this mean for internet marketing?
It means you will always have some people who adamantly disagree with you.
It also means that you have to persuade people emotionally before you attempt to persuade them rationally. If you can touch their emotions, sometimes the rationality of your argument doesn’t even matter.
Have you seen the advertisements for scam internet marketing products?
They ply you with the dream of a fast car, a luxury lifestyle and never having to do real work again. It’s completely unrealistic, but it's surprisingly compelling. In fact, these marketers trick so many people who don’t normally get tricked like that, simply because they play on people’s emotions.
Finally, if you are selling something that people are averse to emotionally, expect to do a lot more work.
You can’t argue them out of their belief, so you have to take a step back and figure out why they believe that to start off with. You also want to work out what it is about your product that is so unappealing, and what makes some people decide to buy it anyway.
Once you’ve worked that out, you can use the information to write your content.
Your content needs to focus on the emotional appeals that are likely to work and on the arguments that people would use against your product.
Images, Formatting and Navigation
The impact of psychology doesn’t just apply to what you say.
The way that your page (and your site) looks can have a major influence on how legitimate you appear – and this plays a huge role in whether you are successful at sales.
There are a few key psychological effects in play here.
When people first visit your site, they get an overall impression from your site’s appearance, long before they read your content. You have to make sure this first impression is good. Otherwise, people will leave again before you have the chance to convince them of anything.
This means that you want your site to look good.
You want to make sure it has no spelling errors, no formatting issues and is easy to read and understand.
That might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people just don’t take this into consideration.
Another thing to look at is what your site looks (and feels) like when people first visit it.
Psychologically – there are some things that appeal to audiences and some that don’t.
Having a site that looks professional is a good start. This can help to increase your authenticity, which also plays a role in how successful your message is.
However, there is a flipside to this too.
If you end up making a site that looks very clinical or a lot like a corporation, you may find that it has a negative impact on traffic and profit.
With a website, one of your greatest advantages is who you are as a person. This plays a huge role in your sales and in how interested people are in your content.
Realistically, most people don’t like large companies, and they also don’t trust them.
So, if your site looks like one of those companies, they aren’t going to trust it.
Something else to consider in terms of psychology is images. Images help to break up a page, making it easier to read and more interesting. This can help to keep an audience engaged.
It’s always worth taking the time to find good images to use and making sure they are of high quality. This can take time and it can cost, but it is always very worth it.
In reality, the visual appearance of your page and your site will have a huge role in your success.
Interestingly, color choices can play a role in sales.
People tend to associate specific colors with specific emotions. You can tap into this a bit and match the colors towards the type of product you are selling or the image you are trying to sell.
For example, here are some of the major color associations for the United States:
- Pink: Either feminine or romantic. This color is commonly used to market products to females and girls although it can cause offense to some feminists.
- Blue: Inspires trust and confidence. Blue is frequently associated with businesses and banks.
- Red: A color of urgency or in some cases danger. Often used for clearance or for grabbing attention.
- Black: Often associated with luxury items and can imply that a product (or site) is of high quality)
A final aspect of the appearance of your site to consider is navigation. This relates to both appearance and functionality. When you have good navigation, people can get around your site easier – which is important.
You want to make sure that people can find the content they are looking for. This means that your navigation has to be good and it has to be obvious.
Audience Specific Approaches
Psychology really focuses on the way that people behave and what drives this behavior, but this isn’t the same for everyone.
This means that some techniques will be effective for all audiences, but others will only be effective for some audiences.
An example of this is the approach of making the audience work harder to actually buy the product. This is a very common approach in internet marketing products. For example, the author might claim that there are a limited number of spaces left, or force a user to watch a video to get the chance at buying the product.
Now, this technique will generally work for non-sophisticated audiences. Many people will believe that the extra work they have to go through means that the product is good. So, the technique will increase conversions.
However, for more intelligent audiences, the technique will have the opposite effect.
The reason is that people with more sophistication and experience will be able to tell that someone is trying to manipulate them, and this will annoy them.
For example, I immediately get frustrated when I see a site try this technique and I am much less likely to purchase because I recognize what the site owner is trying to do.
In particular, there are three main types of personalities in your audience, and these personalities will favor different types of content.
Some people will want as much data as possible when making a decision, which often includes long and detailed posts that reveal as much information as possible. Other people look for actual numbers or charts to prove to them that the product actually does what it is supposed to. Finally, others will look for social proof, such as through testimonials.
This is one reason why having multiple types of content on your site is important. With different types of content you can appeal to different parts of your audience.
So, if you want to use this technique for increasing conversions, you want to test it carefully and consider whether it is likely to work for your specific audience.
Realistically, this is true for every technique I talk about here.
After all, what works for one audience simply may not work for another.
Whatever approach you take, it is really important that you focus on creating content that is specifically geared towards your audience.
This includes using language and approaches that are relevant to your specific audience and the problems they are experiencing.
This means you have to look at what your audience actually wants and how best to appeal to them. This will differ depending on your audience, but finding it out is very realistic and achievable.
The more you know about your audience, the better you can sell to them.
As you can see, there certainly is a lot to think about when it comes to selling products and being effective. However, the process isn’t actually as difficult as it first appears. For one thing, you can slowly tweak things over time, rather than trying to get everything perfect right at the start.
Another useful trick is getting feedback from others in the field.
There are a lot of people out there that work on making money online and their perspectives can be especially useful for figuring out what you’re doing right and what you’re not. One particularly relevant place for finding out more about your approaches is a training site called Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is useful in this area because it has such a large community of members, who are active and interested in the field of affiliate marketing. At the same time, the site is the perfect place to learn more about affiliate marketing and get going in making money online.