6 Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Effective copywriting should speak directly to a specific audience. Great copy cuts through the noise and resonates with the reader. But understanding the reader is deeper than just an appreciation for what they’re searching for; it’s also a detailed grasp of their cognitive bias and the psychological levers that impact their decision-making.

To really speak to a reader and get them to perform an action or conversion, a copywriter must understand: 

  • What are the reader’s morals, beliefs, and attitudes?
  • What grabs their attention, and what turns them away?
  • What are the thought processes that lead your audience to make decisions? 

To discover the answers to those questions, the copywriter or marketer who’s writing the copy should get a firm grasp on the audience’s psychology. It can be really difficult to unearth the right psychological levers to pull, so in this article, we’ll cover the core ones that directly impact conversions. Let’s get stuck in.

What’s in this guide:

Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

How Does Psychology Affect Sales and Conversion

Selling and psychology are completely intertwined. Marketers with a good grip on the different psychological states of a buyer are more likely to design a website and content that converts.

But why does psychology affect sales and conversions?

It’s all down to our cognitive bias. And the good news for marketers is this: despite the global population differing in every conceivable taste, style, and substance, one thing remains consistent with all humans, and that’s the shortcuts our brains try to take.

Ultimately, our brains are busy organs, leading them to get lazy. They constantly look for ways to spend less energy on decision-making. This has only been heightened by dwindling attention spans and the rise of short-form (6s – 10s) media. Cognitive biases are so strong that even the most intelligent buyers, who are fully aware of their mental shortcuts, can’t resist falling for them time and time again. This is why marketers constantly lean on the tropes of cognitive bias to bring prospects into their sales funnel and out the bottom with a conversion.

The trick to harnessing cognitive bias is through powerful copywriting and smart UX. To get under the hood, copywriters should get familiar with these three terms:

  • Rational: Also known as the new brain, this part of the brain deals with things like language and facts.
  • Emotional: The emotional or middle brain handles processes related to memory and emotions.
  • Instinctual: Otherwise known as the reptilian brain, the instinctual brain controls survival instincts and motor skills.

With the tips and tricks in this post, you’ll supercharge your conversions and boost click-through rates.

How Does Psychology Affect Sales and Conversion

The decoy effect

This is a blend of website UX, UX design, and clever copy. Effectively, the decoy method is a pricing strategy, but unless it’s positioned and poised in the right way, its power will be lost on your website visitors.

What is it?

The decoy effect harnesses the cognitive bias we all have around price. Money impacts us all, whether rich or poor, and it’s because of this we are so heavily influenced by the price of our purchases. Deeper still, we’re influenced by the perceived value. The decoy effect harnesses this through the deliberate placement of a ‘worse offer.’

Starbucks - Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Where is it used?

The decoy effect is a bottom-of-funnel technique used either in paid media that is focused on acquisition or in product and pricing pages. It’s a technique that tips a prospect into a purchase and is used for upselling to a more expensive option.

Eliminate analysis paralysis

One of the biggest mistakes we see across many sectors is clients getting over-excited with the number of products and services they want to push. Studies show that customers don’t want too many options; they don’t like making hard decisions. This becomes even more relevant in categories where there is ‘low consideration’ and plenty of competitors. If the prospect is made to work too hard, they’ll bounce off the site and find another offer.

What is it?

It’s clear and concise copywriting that reduces the analysis paralysis for your website visitor. Your copy should give a singular narrative backed up by compelling testimonials, which nudge the buyer towards purchase. Weigh up all the possible objections, or better yet, find out what they are by speaking to your existing customers. Then, combat these objectives through clear and clever copywriting.

Choices - Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Where is it used?

This should be used above the fold and below the fold on your homepage but also in product pages. Anywhere conversion copy is needed, look to eliminate analysis paralysis.

Build trust through your copy

In marketing, trust is everything. And trust with search engines is first earned through trust with the site visitor. Your copywriting is there to build trust. The messaging must instantaneously make your site visitor feel comfortable enough to proceed further down the sales funnel.

Here are some surefire ways to weave trust into your copy:

  1. Back up every claim you make with results or testimonials.
  2. Data talks when you’re building trust; it fast-tracks authority and integrity. 
  3. Client testimonials build trust, write them and email them for approval to fast-track. 
  4. Case studies for building trust and authority. 
  5. Make bold and sticky guarantees (that can be backed up).
Girl - Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Create curiosity

Curiosity is actually the product of attention. There are many tried and tested copywriting frameworks out there, and most of them start with a hook or a way to get the prospect’s attention. After this has been engaged, curiosity can be fostered. The most famous copywriting framework is AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action), where the interest and desire build such a high sense of curiosity that the prospect performs an action or conversion.

What is it?

The AIDA framework is based on our cognitive bias’, its all about hooking the reader and creating a cognitive dissonance in them (i.e., a need) that can then be solved by your product or service. When using AIDA, the curiosity gap is essential. This means teasing readers with a hint of what’s to come without giving away the answers.

Framework - Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Where is it used?

The AIDA framework is predominantly used across your homepage and landing pages and can be split across the fold (i.e., above and below where the device screen ends). Above the fold, consider grabbing the user’s attention with powerful and inspired language and hooking their interest by backing it up with facts. Then generate desire by showing how others are using your product or service, then deliver a CTA to drive action.

Release Happy Hormones

This is all in the choice of language, all in the structure of sentences. The copywriting must appeal to the reader on a deeper level, pulling the right psychological levers at the right stages of the sales funnel.

What is it?

It’s likely your prospect has a problem, a pain point, which is why they’ve been brought to your website via an organic route (social, email or search) or a paid route (PPC, paid social). Either way, they need a problem-solving, so the stress hormones are high. The job of your copywriting is to swap that stress hormone (Cortisol) with the happiness hormone (dopamine), as you satisfy their need with a compelling price point.

Smiling Face - Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Where is it used?

Good copywriting will carry leads through the full sales funnel before reaching a sale. Analysis paralysis must be nowhere in sight at this point so that your customer’s brain can release serotonin and oxytocin, feeling confident that they have found the perfect solution to their problems (you). There might also be a use for this happy hormone copy in long-form product content.

Sell Solutions not Features

This is a common issue we see across a lot of the sites we audit. Clients default to singing the praises of every feature of their product or service. But the truth is, only you care about the features. The customer doesn’t. What the customer does care about are the benefits and solutions those features can offer to remedy their problems.

What is it?

Try this exercise, map out all your products and services, and instead of writing out their features, write out a list of benefits and solutions they offer to your target customer. This list should then form the basis of a bank of messaging you use across your website to pitch and persuade your site prospects. This classic Apple iPod ad is an example of a master copywriter at work, spinning the features into mind-boggling benefits:

iPod - Psychology-Based Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversions

Where is it used?

Believe it or not, the product pages would actually be too late to surface the benefits. By that point, the buyer will be focused on the final price and order details. The benefits for your product should be written higher up the funnel, showcased on the homepage, and unpacked in written content.

Consult an expert on conversion copywriting

The truth is, business owners are busy and they can’t be masters of everything. Conversion copywriting takes an extensive understanding of the current site structure and more importantly, the needs and desires of the target customers.

Get in touch with us today for a FREE conversion copy consultation. 

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About John Kramer

I've been working in digital for a number of years. Please see here for more information https://johnkramer.marketing/about/

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