Sales psychology in online marketing to increase your conversion rate

Sales psychology in online marketing to increase your conversion rate

In online marketing, sales psychology is often used because it can influence the buying behaviour and decisions of the users and thus increase the conversion rate. Therefore the correct use is a basic requirement. The psychological methods can be used in a wide range of areas, from pricing to the design of websites and shops to online communication.

1. The Call-to-Action and its design

The Call-to-Action (CTA) describes the trade request that is made to the user, i.e. the “Buy Now” button or the “Read More” link. To get as many Internet users as possible to click on this button, several psychotricks can be used in online marketing. The colour design and placement as well as shape and size and of course the invitation itself have a great influence on performance. Red buttons, for example, are hardly ever clicked, as they symbolise danger. Better colours for buttons are blue or green. It is also important to always place the button in the visible area of the website. This means that the user should not have to scroll first, but should be able to see immediately what he is supposed to do on the website. Rounded corners are advisable for the shape, as these are “nicer” in the eyes of the user and therefore prefer to be clicked.

2. Convince with Social Proof

We encounter the phenomenon of Social Proof every day in our everyday lives. If someone crosses the street at a red light, the other people waiting usually follow. If someone stands in the main square and points upwards, all passers-by look up. All this is social proof and also comes from the series of psycho tricks in online marketing. We do something because that’s what the others do. This phenomenon can also be observed well on the Internet. If a friend recommends a product to us, we are more inclined to buy it. This also applies online. That’s why large online shops like Amazon or Ebay use a number of social proof functions and tools, such as:

    • “People who bought this product also bought…”
    • Customer reviews & comments
    • “425 people have already purchased this product”
    • “874 people have already looked at this offer”
    • Social media profiles of the provider (“58 friends like it”)
    • Social media functions such as Liken & sharing of offers

These page elements help users to feel safe and comfortable, because after all, their friends are also shopping on this site and some friends may even have written product reviews or comments. Social Proof elements can therefore be used specifically on websites in order to increase user confidence and subsequently the conversion rate.

3. Creating exclusivity & artificial scarcity

That which one cannot have automatically exerts a great attraction. Therefore many brands rely on artificial scarcity to create exclusivity. A famous example is Red Bull. Red Bull was only allowed on the market after some delay. At first it was only available in Austria, but not in Germany. However, due to this and clever marketing in the youth, club and extreme sports scene, it was totally hip and Germans drove their cars to Austria to buy the “forbidden” Red Bull in masses. Even today many companies still work with the scarcity principle. This includes the following tactics:

    • still 4 pieces in stock
    • only this week in special design
    • exclusively for Facebook fans or newsletter subscribers

The scarcity can be related to several factors (a limited number of products per se, specially designed products, discounts etc.) and can be tested for effectiveness with A/B tests in order to specifically increase the conversion rate with this psychotrick.

4. Use the decoy effect and encourage decisions

If you have a luxury coffee machine for 800€ in the online shop and a cheap alternative that costs only 159€, the decision is difficult. Why? Because the two products are not really comparable. But if one has a third coffee machine in the Onlineshop, then the decision is suddenly easy. Because this alternative helps to decide between the other two. This is called the decoy effect (=decoy effect).

The decoy effect was discovered by the American marketing professor Joel Huber. He asked the test persons the following question: “Would you rather eat in a nearby 3-star restaurant or in a distant 5-star restaurant?” The decision was difficult for the test subjects. Now Huber offered the third alternative: one could also eat in a 4-star restaurant, which was even further away. This alternative is not really an option, but it still serves its purpose: suddenly all the test persons easily decide to eat in a 5-star restaurant, because the third alternative gave them a benchmark they could use as a guide.

So sometimes this simple trick can be used, just create a third (albeit unnecessary) alternative to increase the conversion rate in a targeted way. Companies such as The Economist or The New York Times use the decoy effect for their subscription options and most telecommunications or insurance providers also usually have three options to choose from.

5. Building trust with two-way messages

“Our new strawberry-vanilla-nut ice cream is rich in calories, but has a more intense taste. And the sensation of ice cream melting in your mouth is well worth it.” – This statement inspires confidence among shoppers. Because anyone who voluntarily admits weaknesses in their product (even if obvious weaknesses such as little space in a sports car or a lot of calories in ice cream) can only be honest. That’s why the positive characteristics are taken more seriously than with 0815 advertising texts “Our product is the best”.

6. Customer voices & testimonials

As already mentioned in point 2, customer testimonials often lead to an increase in the conversion rate. This does not refer to social plugins that show the user how many friends have already looked at and licked a certain jacket, but rather quoted customer voices of testimonials, private persons and companies. This is why customer voices are often used in B2B communication, such as online tools like Talkwalker. Even famous people as testimonials are often used by companies to strengthen the credibility of the brand. One of the most popular psycho tricks in online marketing.

7. Seal of approval & Trust certificates

Seals of approval and trust certificates can also be found among the psychotricks in online marketing. One already knows cachets from the food industry. The BIO seal of approval, the AMA seal of approval and the Fairtrade seal of approval are supposed to pay for the trust of the consumer and thus increase the turnover of food. But not only for food, there are also cachets for webshops, which should increase the trust of the website visitors in the shop. Serious certifications can have a positive influence on the customer’s buying decision.

Probably the best known seal of approval in online shops is the Trusted Shops certificate. Further seals of approval for online shops are for example the Secured Shop seal of approval, the TÜV Süd s@vershopping certificate or the EHI Geprüfter Online Shop certificate.



Digital Marketing Coach (2020): 11 Psychotricks im Onlinemarketing zur Erhöhung der Conversion-Rate: