The Importance of Psychology in Landing Page Optimization

Emotions have a fundamental role in the choices we make. In the 1990’s, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio began a study of people with brain damage that led to revelations in numerous fields– including marketing. He found that people with damage to the part of their brains that controlled emotions, even if the rest of their reasoning skills were intact, had trouble making good decisions. In other words, emotions are not some volatile reaction to overlook – they have a fundamental role in the choices we make.

Psychology and landing page optimizationAs humans, we like to imagine that we are above instinct and emotion when it comes to decision making. We think that we make purchases based upon pure logic and reason. In truth, however, emotion has a very strong influence over what we buy and the brands with which we decide to work. Our brains can be persuaded by a variety of psychological principles and how these rules make us feel.

As marketers, this means that we can take landing page optimization to the next level when we take the time to study these principles and incorporate them into site design.

Bandwagon effect and social proof

According to the bandwagon effect, people are more likely to join in activities or buy from brands that they see others in their peer group using. In other words, more customers trust your brand when you demonstrate that others just like them have already made the decision to purchase from you.

Using the bandwagon effect in your landing page optimization.

Images will play a strong role in your ability to put the bandwagon effect to work for you and your landing page optimization efforts. For example, you can carefully select landing page images that contain models or real customers that fit with your targeted audience’s peer group. Images of them using your products and experiencing a pleasant outcome can help the visitor view you as trustworthy.

landing page optimization element

You can also build on the bandwagon effect by including testimonials and reviews on your landing pages. It is important to be careful here and only use the words of real customers. Making things too generic or faking the language will detract from your credibility.

Using numbers in your social proof– such as advertising the number of subscribers– can be challenging. Although many brands experience success when they include testimonials, customer images, and social media, there have some brands that saw poorer performance when they started to include information about the number of subscribers. Audiences can be very critical of numbers, the same number can seem too high or too low to different people. Those that have success often present their numbers as a community, framing the promotion as, “join a community 10,000 strong”. If you are going to include numbers as a social proof, it is critical that you test your assumptions and how you present the information.

Loss aversion and framing

People are wired to avoid loss. In fact, we are more likely to care about avoiding loss than we are to seek a benefit. Thus, how you frame your offer can have an enormous impact on your conversion rate.

One study looked at how college students responded to an email about registering for a course. The information sent to the students provided people with the same time frames and costs, but one phrased the message as students receiving a discount for registering early, while another said that they would have a penalty for registering late. The experiment found that only 67 percent of the students in the first group took advantage of the discount while a full 93 percent registered to avoid the late-fee penalty.

Using loss aversion and framing in your landing page optimization

As you design your landing page, you should be consciously phrasing your content to offer readers the opportunity to avoid a potentially disappointing loss. This loss might come in the form of avoiding late registration fees, an expiring offer, or the chance to gain immensely valuable information from an industry-leading brand.

Cost avoidance

Your brain is also perpetually looking for ways to avoid costs while still receiving the maximum benefits. Keep in mind that cost does not always have to mean high prices, although it can. In evolutionary terms, consider that the brain was designed to help humans find the food and shelter they need without placing themselves at too much risk from attack or disease. In modern society, we are not likely to be out hunting with bows and arrows while trying to avoid wild animals for survival, but that does not mean that our brain has changed all that much.

When making purchases, the brain is still wired to maximize its gain while minimizing its cost. That means when people look at your offers, they are trying to decide the value of what you present and if that is worth what you are asking in return. Even if your item does not require any money, chances are you are asking for information about the person, and the brain will also see that as cost. One study even found that a decrease of just one field in your form will increase conversions by 50 percent.

Using cost avoidance in your landing page optimization

Make it as simple and straightforward as possible for users to convert on your page. Balance the cost with the offer you make. If you item costs money, do not raise prices unnecessarily and make it clear why your offer is worth that price. If you only ask for a registration from your users, keep the fields to a minimum. Remember you can always get additional information about the person as you build the relationship.

Serial position effectMinimize form length for landing page optimization

When recalling points or items on a list, people commonly remember the ideas that come at the beginning or end while being less likely to remember the bullets in the middle. This is known as the serial position effect. This has been tested several different times, with participants being asked to memorize lists of words and recall them later for experimenters. It is important to note that recall is highest for the first items on the list, followed by the items at the end.

Using the serial position effect in your landing page optimization

On a landing page you want to present your value clearly to your users. Lists offer a fantastic format for this goal, as you can create bulleted or numbered lists presenting your ideas about why this particular offer is so valuable for users. When you create these lists, you want to put your strongest points at the beginning since they will be the easiest for prospects to recall. The next most important idea should actually be placed at the end of the list, with the weakest arguments in the middle.

Your landing page puts your marketing efforts to the test and you get the chance to see how well your material has built a relationship with prospects. You want to make sure that your page has been built to maximize your opportunities to convert your users. Remember that landing page optimization and driving conversions depends upon the emotions you elicit. Keep the psychological principles in mind and help make your page tell a convincing story.

 

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