Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process of increasing and optimising the number of customers that convert after landing on your web page. It’s an essential step for making sure you net sales and achieve a greater ROI for your business. We’ve rounded up five simple psychological principles which you can utilise in order to increase conversions on your site.
What exactly is CRO?
CRO is not about generating more traffic or leads – instead it’s about increasing how many of your site customers take a specific action on your page, such as purchasing a product or adding their name to a mailing list.
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A ‘conversion’ can be mean a different end result for different people. For example, an online retailer may want customers to convert by actually buying the items they have added to their shopping basket. A content creator, on the other hand, may want the customer to sign up to a mailing list or download their software.
Why is psychology relevant for CRO?
The basic concept behind CRO is understanding the human behavioural trends that drive interaction on the web, and then applying this to your own site to promote interactions and therefore conversions.
This means that understanding the psychology behind people’s actions is essential for devising digital marketing techniques, including CRO. Understanding key psychological principles is vital to gaining an understanding of customers’ behaviour on your site. This can help to explain why your conversion rates have dropped, and shed light on how to optimise your site (using psychology) to increase these conversions.
However, your chosen conversion rate techniques will different depending on what that means to you, so remember that ti all has to be tailored to the individual marketer, advertiser or content creator.
In this article we’ll cover the 5 basic psychological principles that can shape your understanding of the best optimisation techniques to use for an increase in conversions.
The Five Simple Psychological Principles
1: Social Proof
Social proof refers to the positive influence that others’ participation or enjoyment of a product or service can have on an individual. In the case of marketing, we’re positively influenced by 5-star reviews or other positive words, especially from influencers and celebrities. The individual is then more likely to view the product or service in a positive light than if they had no prior knowledge of it. Basically, it is proof from our peers that something is valuable and worth our time or money.
Social proof can be used to improve conversion rates by tapping into social pressure. Humans simply don’t like to feel left out by their peers. By encouraging people to share how they are benefiting from your product or service, you can exert a certain amount of social pressure upon others, hopefully encouraging others to also partake in or purchase the product or service you offer.
You can harness the power of social proof in a number of different ways, such as through reviews, testimonials, celebrity endorsements, god ratings and social follower counts among many more.
For example, McDonald’s would show off the number of customers they’d served around the world on their restaurant signage. This suggested a quality in their products and service which kept drawing people back.
2: Loss Aversion
Humans are terrified of loss, always trying to minmise the chances of us losing something of value to us. In fact, psychological studies have shown that humans feel the pain of a loss almost twice as strongly as the pleasure we feel from a gain.
Whether this be an evolutionary psychological response to the historical scarcity of resources during the hunter-gather existence of our ancestors or whether we are just predisposed to value goods and resources, we’ll go out of our way to avoid losing out.
This is a powerful psychological response that can greatly improve conversion rates for your business if harnessed correctly. You can do this by making customers feel that they will potentially lose out if they do not carry out the action that you are wishing them to.
One of the most common ways to create the impression of potential loss is by limiting the number of items being given away in an offer or by limiting the time frame a certain offer runs for, as this creates a sense of scarcity that will have people flocking to take action. Clearly tell your audience what these limitations are, and create a sense of urgency so that they feel they must act now or lose out for good.
The anchoring effect is when our brains unintentionally take the first thing that we find out (or what we perceive as the first thing) about a subject as the ‘anchoring’ point. We tend to compare any subsequent points of information that we discover about a product or service to the first thing we initially heard about it, this ‘anchoring point’.
Our brains are wired to draw comparisons between things to help with our decision making, as we live in an incredibly complicated world where we are constantly bombarded with information, facts, opinions and various versions of products and services. Our brains create and sort through a tangled web of options, scenarios and outcomes, and will compare subsequent information to our anchor point to make the right decision for us.
You can utilise this effect to improve your conversion rates by making it obvious when you have changed an initial price or offer for a better deal. Even if you were planning on it all along, a perceived better deal will draw customers in.
You can also provide a bonus if customers take the action that you want them to take. If you want them to buy a product, give away a freebie, or provide some bonus content if you want them to download an e-book. If you want them to sign up to a mailing list, enter them in to a prize draw as a reward! Whatever your chosen tactic, advertise it clearly as an improvement to the initial deal.
Another tactic for increasing conversions is the ‘foot in the door’ method for engaging with existing customers over social media.
Social connections are powerful, as humans are always wanting to nurture existing social relationships and form new ones. Once formed, social connections wield a lot of power, as we feel a compulsion to honour connections these connections. Even if we don’t consciously realise we’ve formed these connections, we are more likely to develop deeper connections later on from the initial seed first planted.
Use social media to form initial connections with your customers. Even liking their photo or comment may encourage your audience to reciprocate and be open to future interactions with you. Customers may even provide perfectly timed content further down the line and conversion rates will almost definitely increase.
As a thoroughly social species, humans inherently trust figures of authority. We can see this from the traditional social hierarchies where one leader governs the actions of a larger social group. We’re naturally inclined to defer to and trust an authority figure, which can help drive conversions when you have established one within your business.
Even in today’s day and age, this is still the case. Authority figures can be in the form of politicians, celebrities or industry experts. If you associate an authority figure with your brand, you’re more likely to draw in customers, who perceive an added sense of worth to your business if they see it to be either the best in a field or associated with a figure they know and trust.
For smaller companies who cannot afford to pay for celebrity endorsements, one way to establish yourself as an authoritative brand is to literally become the authority yourself by being a thought-leader within your industry. You could try focusing on an individual in your team, and building upon their reputation to generate interest among your customers.
Another approach is to nurture strategic partnerships with other business or content creators who are well respected within a field to create mutually beneficial opportunities and an increased presence of authority.
Tap into these five psychological principles and how they can be used within CRO for your company’s benefit. If you have enjoyed reading this and would like to find out more about how to increase conversion rates on your website then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today on 0800 111 246 and find out how we can help you to dominate competition with Google Adwords, SEO and CRO.
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