10 Persuasive Techniques to Increase Conversion Rate

Why do some funnels convert like crazy, and others fail to move the needle?

While there are many factors in the conversion optimization equation, you can boil a lot of it down to this: does your experience convince people to take the desired action?

One of the classic books in this field is one you’ve probably heard of. Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” the ideas in the book being heavily influential in how we copywriting and advertising today.

Over the years, many other marketing experts have built upon his work, and today, there are dozens of persuasive techniques from the field of persuasion psychology that have been proven to be effective in helping you create compelling copy that gets people to take action.

You can integrate this type of content into your website, blog, social media, email, ads, product promotion landing pages, and other marketing collateral.

Table of Contents

1. The Principle of Reciprocity

First, let’s look at the principle of reciprocity.

People love to return favors.

This is why reciprocity is a widely used persuasion tactic to help increase your conversions.

When you do something for someone, they feel obligated to reciprocate. You can use this in your own business in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Giving something away on social media
  • Offering coupons to your email subscribers
  • Presenting exclusive offers on your website, etc.

The best part is, the things you offer don’t have to be costly. But, when you give someone something at no cost, they are a lot more likely to comply with your future request for making a purchase, joining your list, following you on social media, etc.

KlientBoost, a performance marketing agency, offers a “free marketing plan” as part of their sales process:

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2. The Scarcity Principle

The scarcity principle is another common persuasive technique you’ve probably seen.

Studies have shown that people value things that are rare. The less there is of something, the more people want it.

From diamonds to limited Nike editions, they will flock toward anything that seems to be in short supply.

A lot of popular eCommerce businesses like Amazon, Etsy, Booking.com, etc., make use of this persuasive technique to get more people to make instant purchases on their sites, and you can too.

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Here are a few ways you can leverage scarcity to increase your conversions:

  • Show the number of items left in stock (e.g. “Only 4 items left in stock”)
  • Sell limited editions (e.g. “Get one of 50 pieces available”)
  • Show a countdown timer to add urgency (e.g. “Get 30% off in the next 60 minutes”

Thalita Ferraz, owner of popular fashion and beauty site HerBones.com explains, “When I sell my eCommerce fashion products via social media, I always create a limited run of items to sell and embrace scarcity.  This is an amazing tactic and due to this, I’ve sold out of all product every product launch I’ve ever had.”

The scarcity tactic works whether you are selling experiences or material products, and by reducing availability to create a sense of scarcity, you will be able to increase your conversion rates.

Just avoid fake scarcity, which is a duplicitous dark pattern and can often backfire.

3. The Authority Bias

People have a tendency to put more weight on the opinion of someone in a position of authority. They also ascribe greater accuracy to (and are more likely to be influenced by) whatever that person says. The lab coat bias, if you will.

This is the authority bias. It’s something that was drummed into us from a young age when we were taught to respect authority, and it’s something you can use to compel more of your audience to convert into paying customers.

Here are a few persuasive writing tips to enhance your content using the authority bias:

  • Include quotes from niche/industry subject matter experts
  • Support your ideas with data and evidence
  • Reference source material for any stats you quote
  • Make yourself appear like the authority by using an online course platform to create eLearning content that frames you as the authority-educator in your niche
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This “authority by association” method is very effective, but an even better approach is to work on building your own credibility and authority.

When you become known as an expert in your field, your ability to influence readers will rise significantly.

This also applies to trusted 3rd party review sites and analysts. Pretty much every B2B company has G2, Gartner, and Capterra logos on their site:

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4. Commitment and Consistency

People tend to stick with whatever they have already chosen.

For the most part, they are consistent in their opinions, decisions, and actions because they want to believe they’ve made a good choice.

This means they are likely to continue along whichever path they have decided is the right one, which is great news for marketers because it means that if you can get a potential customer to agree to a small request, it will be easier for you to get them to agree to another, larger request later on.

You can put the principle of commitment and consistency to work in your own business in a number of ways.

For example, whenever someone first signs up for your email newsletter, you can send an automated email with an opt-in button to confirm that they want to receive your newsletters.

Additionally, you can embed an external link within the opt-in button that takes subscribers to another page with an actual opt-in form where they can fill in more information so that you know how best to market to them.

By navigating subscribers away from their email inbox, you make it more likely that they will complete the action, giving you valuable information to consistently show your commitment to your subscribers.

In this email from shoe-brand Greats, subscribers are able to easily isolate the opt-in button and click on it without having to navigate through a bunch of unnecessary text:

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For maximum effect, Greats could use this opt-in button as a way to also navigate subscribers away from the email to a form where they can provide more information to the company about how they want to be reached and what they’re interested in being updated about.

You can also use pre-launch pages with a compelling call to action asking visitors to agree with a statement (e.g. “Yes, I want to increase my conversions. Let me know when [product/service] becomes available!

5. The Liking Principle

If you have ever purchased a product just because one of your favorite celebrities endorsed it, then you understand the “liking” principle which states that the more people like you, the more likely they are to agree to your requests. This is a great way to increase conversions on your website, email, or social media.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help increase the likelihood that people will comply with your requests:

  • Use a friendly and conversational style in all your copy
  • Include friendly photos of you or your team members on your homepage or landing pages
  • In addition to persuasive writing in your copy, add a photo of yourself in your email signature

The liking principle is a bit more ambiguous in nature because it also precludes you from discovering which specific target audience you’re marketing to and appealing to their interests and tastes.

Generally speaking though, B2B brands can add more personality and humanity to their copy. Think about Mailchimp’s colorful design, copy, and imagery. It just seems friendlier than a stodgier enterprise Mailchimp competitor:

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6. The Social Influence Factor

Also known as social proof, social influence is all about how people’s opinions, emotions, and actions are affected by others.

For the most part, when people that we admire, or those who are similar to us think or do something, we consider that behavior or thought pattern to be “normal” which makes it likely that we will think or act in the same way, as well.

In other words, people tend to look around to see what others are doing before making up their own minds, and this is something you can leverage in your business.

Here’s how:

  • Add reviews and ratings to your landing pages or product pages
  • Include testimonials with real people’s names and photos
  • Feature short client stories, testimonial videos or case studies on your home page
  • Showcase user-generated content in your advertising campaigns

You can also show the number of people who have used your product successfully (e.g. “Enjoyed by over 28,000 happy customers.”

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Alternatively, showcase social shares for your content to show how good your content is and entice others to share it, as well.

7. The IKEA Effect

Named after the popular furniture retailer, the IKEA effect was first described in 2011 and states that self-assembly has a huge impact on a customer’s evaluation of a product.

Simply put, this means that when someone builds something for themselves, they tend to value it more than if someone else had built it for them.

Here’s how you can put this concept to the test to help increase your website conversions:

  • Allow visitors to choose content downloads by industry, category, or another factor that pertains to them
  • Let customers “build” custom products before placing them in their cart

Check out Copyhackers’ blog search function, for example:

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The idea of adding a more laborious process to get customers to value products more is a long-established marketing tactic. When used in content marketing, the IKEA effect can be a great way to subtly influence your readers and convince customers to love your product.

8. The Ellsberg Paradox

Named after Harvard economist Daniel Ellsberg, the Ellsberg Paradox came about after decision-making experiments showed that buyers are wired to prevent risk and would, in fact, go to great lengths in order to avoid it.

For you, as a marketer, it means this is something you will have to work on overcoming in your landing pages if you want to increase your conversions.

Here are some ways you can achieve this:

  • Use your persuasive writing skills to spell out your offer’s guarantees and warranties in detail
  • Be specific about what customers will receive from your offers, coupons, discounts, and deals.
  • Add detailed descriptions to your copy so readers know exactly what to expect after downloading your checklist, signing up for your online course, etc.

The more you can get visitors to understand your offer, the easier it will be to overcome the objections which means you’ll ultimately increase your conversions.

This is crucial in B2B, especially for product led companies – what specific platform do they get to access? For how long? Many companies are vague on these details, leaving a question mark in the mind of prospects. “What’s the catch?”

Zapier does a great job with clarity and specificity on their pricing page:

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9. The Mimicry Principle

As humans, we respond more positively to anyone who looks, acts or sounds like us. This is mimicry, and it has been shown to increase liking, rapport, and positive feelings.

You too can use the mimicry principle in your business to compel more visitors to take action on your site.

Here are a few genius ways to try:

  • Write your copy in the same way your customers speak. Match their tone and voice, jargon, etc. For example, if they use emojis, use them in your copy, as well. This requires customer research and using the voice of the customer in your copy.
  • Use images that look like the people you’re targeting. So, if your target customer is a 35-year-old yoga mom, then use those types of images in your marketing materials.

10. The Anchoring Bias

Also known as focalism, anchoring refers to the common tendency people have of relying too heavily on whichever piece of information was presented to them first whenever they have to make a decision.

Once an anchor is set, people then have a bias toward that value.

For instance, say you are shopping for a Ford Bronco with an MSRP of $30,800. You will feel great if you negotiate the price down to $28,000. But, if you first discovered that the car had an average selling price of $28,000, you would not feel so great, although you paid the exact same amount for your car.

Here are some ways to use the anchoring effect to persuade visitors and boost your conversions:

  • List your highest price first. So, if you have three pricing packages (as an example), present your most expensive one first.
  • Focus your content on the benefit your customer should measure you by (or your competitors) as a subtle persuasion technique.
  • Show “discounted from” prices in your emails in order to convince visitors to convert

The last tip is particularly effective because when customers first see a much higher price, they then tend to feel that the other, lower-priced offers are a more appealing deal, as shown in the example below from MailChimp:

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8 Best Practices for Persuasive Writing

Your ability to influence human behavior depends on how well you can understand the way people are wired and what drives them to take action.

There are also some best practices to keep in mind with regard to persuasive writing. Below, I’ve listed some of the best tips (from my point of view) to help you hone your persuasive technique.

1. Create a Dialogue with First & Second Point-of-View

This is one of the most effective persuasive techniques.

Create a dialogue in your content by talking to your readers directly. Blending a first-person point of view (e.g. “I”) with a second-person point of view (e.g. “you”) creates a dialogue and is one of the best persuasive writing techniques for building trust and familiarity with your readers.

2. Integrate Third-Person Point of View for Authority

If you’re not the authority on a specific subject, you may want to use a third-person point of view to ensure that you are maximizing the authority bias in your persuasive writing.

While your high school teacher may have told you to stick with one point of view when writing essays, content writing is different. It’s only to blend different points of view in your writing to ensure you build familiarity and trust with your audience while also using persuasive authority effectively.

3. Sell the Outcome

Instead of talking about yourself, your company, or your product’s features, let your readers know what’s in it for them.

Persuasive writing allows you to do this by positioning your product as the solution to their problems, needs, or goals.

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4. Appeal to Emotion

Your persuasive writing should appeal to the reader’s emotions and senses. Use tastes, feelings, colors, and memories as a way to enhance your copy and make it resonate with your target reader while finding a way to connect this sensory language to emotions.

The point is that you want to make the readers feel something. It’s easy enough to say you have the “Latest X” or the “Greatest Y” and explain why. But this logical, rational approach is only so effective.

To really get people invested in what you’re selling, you need to make them feel something. This means you need to ensure that your copy appeals to emotion.

While the writing you use should aim to do this, the most effective way to appeal to the emotion of your site visitors, social media followers, and email subscribers is with images and videos. Even otherwise innocuous images and bland text can be paired together to generate maximum emotional impact.

This can be seen clearly in this advertisement from McDonalds:

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While the words “happiness in a box” aren’t very emotionally moving, placing them next to an apparent mother and son smiling and cuddling creates helps to not just generate a random emotional impression but direct it exactly in the direction McDonald’s wants.

While the image itself might bring happiness to a lot of people, the fact that the words next to it explicitly include “happiness” tells you exactly how you should feel not just about the image but also about the McDonald’s brand and it’s Happy Meal products.

In other words, McDonald’s is strategically using images and text alongside its branded content to appeal to your emotional happiness and to direct that happiness toward McDonald’s’ and the items it wants to sell to you and your child.

5. Be Specific In Your Writing

The fewer open questions there are, the more likely you will be to convert someone into a paying customer. So make sure you find out your customer’s concerns and then create content to explain everything through blog posts, FAQ pages, etc.

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6. Use Everyday Language

When crafting your copy, make sure you use human language in order to build stronger connections with the audience. Write as if to a friend in a tone that puts your readers at ease.

In a lot of fields, jargon is often used. For example, if you’ve ever been to the doctor for a checkup, you’ve probably heard a lot of long, scientific-sounding words that you had never heard before and could probably only half-understand.

But a good doctor knows how to translate their medical jargon itno everday language you understand so you clearly understand the cause of any medical symtpoms and how best to treat or cure them.

When attempting to create conversions, you have to act like that doctor. Don’t just speak in a formal jargon that only people in your niche would understand. Not everyone is a doctor or lawyer or realtor or marketer, and they’re not going to understand the specialized language that is used by people in those professions.

For example, if I’m trying to sell you a subscription to a piece of email marketing software, I can tell you that integrating third-party email marketing plugins to automate the marketing processes can increase conversions and profit margin.

But if you’re not a digital marketer, that might all just sound like a foreign language. Instead of converting the lead, you might just end up confusing them.

It might be best to use everyday language and say that you can make more money by using this software and then offer reviews from normal everyday people who’ve used it.

The technical language only goes so far, but communicating with people as people while incorporating real social proof is usually the better and more persuasive route.

7. Include a Call to Action

This is table stakes, but your readers should know exactly what to do next and be able to find that CTA.

The art of writing a CTA goes beyond the scope of this post. But it should be prominent, relevant, and motivational. “Submit,” for example, is typically a bad CTA. It’s vague and uninspiring.

Look at Copyhackers’ CTAs, though – super-specific and inspiring:

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8. Increase Readability

One of the best ways to make your copy more compelling is to increase the readability score of your content. You can use content writing tools like Jasper to rewrite your content to be more readable, or you can gauge readability with something like Hemingway.

This includes writing shorter sentences and paragraphs, making content scannable, avoiding the use of industry jargon, etc. This will help persuade readers, increase your ranking and ultimately boost your conversions.

A Brief Summary the Best Persuasive Techniques to Increase Conversions

There you have it: 10 persuasive techniques to increase conversion rate and a series of persuasive writing best practices to help increase conversion rate across all platforms that you and your brand are using.

Use each persuasion technique strategically to enhance your copy and get more people to take the appropriate action on your website, landing pages, social media, and across your entire digital marketing mix to ensure the highest ROI across all channels. .

What other persuasive writing techniques are you currently using to convert more visitors to customers? Share your thoughts below!

Author bio:

Ron Stefanski is an online business expert and owner of OneHourProfessor.com, which has over 100,000 monthly visitors and helps other create an grow their own online business.

You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.

Ron Stefanski

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