The first six tips below come from Robert Cialdini. He is a psychologist and university professor who wrote a book in 1984 called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, in which he outlined the six principles of influence: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
We'll explore each, and we'll also look at some other key psychological tips that you can use in website copy.
This is about offering something for free. The person you are selling to will return the favor by purchasing the product or service. This happens in all sales environments. For example, think about the food manufacturer that sends people into stores to give out free samples. Consumers reciprocate this gesture by making a purchase.
The copy on your website can do something similar. For example, buy this product and we will give X free, worth X; plus, we'll throw in free delivery and a free t-shirt-you get the idea.
Commitment and Consistency
This is about getting the customer to say yes lots of times. It helps with getting an initial sale, and it also helps with generating repeat business. The principle is based on the fact that people don't like reneging on commitments-if they say they will do something, most people like to follow that through.
You can use this in your copy by getting people to say yes often. For example, would they like to sign up to your newsletter? When they say yes, it moves the person closer to making a purchase.
Any salesperson will tell you that people buy from people, not companies. In other words, people buy from people they like. How can you do this with the writing on your website? Here are three ways:
Tell a story : Instead of just listing features and benefits on your website, tell a story. An example is how the product was developed or why you are proud of it. Your About page is also an important place to tell a story and make a connection.
Offer help : Write a blog or produce videos that offer genuinely helpful and useful information. Don't be afraid to let your personality come through.
Admit mistakes : Admitting mistakes not only encourages people to like you but it also builds trust. Show them you really know what you are doing because you have made mistakes and learned from them.
This one is easy to understand because you see it every day; celebrities advertising perfumes, sports stars advertising clothing, and dentists advertising toothpaste are just some examples. Companies do this because it works-people respond to those they recognize as being an authority on the topic.
Something similar should be worked into your copy as much as possible. Of course, it doesn't have to be an A-list celebrity. Instead, you can use key influencers in your industry that you have a good relationship with. Another idea is to use your larger and more well-known clients. You don't have to say they endorse you-simply saying they are (or have been) a client is enough to trigger this principle, just like this example from Buzzsumo.
This is about demonstrating that people your customers can relate to also use your products. This means including testimonials, case studies, endorsements, etc. Here is an example from Sprout Social.
If something is difficult to get, we want it even more. As a consumer, you will see brands and companies put this principle into action all the time. Television shopping channels have time limited or stock limited offers. Groupon, Amazon, Expedia, and many more all do the same.
You can use similar tactics, plus you can tweak your copy to play on the driving force behind the scarcity principle: fear of losing out. Making your offering scarce or giving it the appearance of exclusivity will make it more appealing.
Here is an example from Beach Body:
Other Psychological Tips
Decide emotionally, and justify with facts : Most people are motivated to make a purchase by emotion. They then back that decision up with facts. You should therefore structure your writing in this way-start with emotion, and follow it with facts.
Egos rule : Everyone has an ego, so play to your customer's when writing website copy.
Everyone is a value hunter : Always offer value. This doesn't have to be monetary value every time though. Value can also be more features, better quality, or improved service.
Selling is okay : Have you heard people tell you they don't like being sold to? This is not true-everyone wants to be sold to. They want to find new products, they want to improve their lives, and they love it when people play to their egos.
Trust is essential : Trust is essential in all sales situations, but it is particularly important on the Internet. You should therefore use statistics, data, testimonials, video, images, and more to build trust and authenticity.
Trigger the imagination : Because you are on the web, your customers can't hold, taste, or smell the product before they buy it. Your writing has to do that for them. You have to make the customer imagine using your product.
Use newness as a positive : New is good as everyone loves the novelty factor, and everyone wants to be ahead of the curve. Play on this when you can.
Use time instead of money : If your offering saves people money, consider presenting this in terms of time. Most people value time more than money.
Here is one final tip for using psychology in your website copywriting to increase sales: Test everything, measure the results, and improve. This will give you the best chance of success.