How to Use Marketing Psychology to Create Landing Pages that Convert

We, marketers, cry out for the same pain:

Conversion rate optimization.

After all, if our marketing endeavors don’t turn site visitors into customers, why the heck do we spend all the material and human resources for landing pages with super-duper design and copywriting? 

But the question remains:

How much conversion is enough? 

Numbers have it, 2-5% is up to scratch. Especially if you were able to jump from 2% to 5%. But what about 11% conversion and higher?

Some would say it’s impossible, yet they heard the stories of brands like WishPond:

Those guys were able to increase conversion by 14.5% by a single change of their CTA button color to yellow from green. And do you know what happened to their conversion rate after they had made two links contrast with color?

A 60% increase!

Any logic here?

The #1 problem of most marketers is they are too rational and logical. When planning landing page designs or content marketing plans, we rely on well-considered evaluations rather than emotions.

But the truth is, there’s no logic behind decision-making: when people visit your landing page, logic is the last force they consider to decide whether to buy from you. Dozens of psychological factors, including internal biases and external pressures, influence their reactions.

And now, for the most interesting part:

By understanding how human brains react to certain stimuli, you can tailor landing pages accordingly to influence visitors’ decisions and provoke a positive response from them.

Here’s a quick preview of psychology hacks to consider for sky-high conversion of your landing page:

  1. Choose the right color palette of your landing page.
  2. Consider the shape of your logo.
  3. Don’t forget about fonts.
  4. Make sure your landing page has information scent.
  5. Remember about the marketing psychology behind your visual content.
  6. Text psychology: how people read online, what words to choose.
  7. Consider proven persuasion principles for killer conversion.

So, first things first:

The Color of Your Landing Page

Here goes the question for you:

What is the most popular color for CTA buttons? LeadQuizzes gives a tip:

leadquizzes landing page

Or, let’s take one of the most popular instruments for digital marketers — Ahrefs:

Why have they chosen orange? It’s a color of action: bright, warm, inviting to click. When you know the emotional stress and psychological properties behind colors, you can use them consistently to influence visitors’ decision-making.

The proven fact is, we are 90% visual beings, and that’s is why colors matter so much. The stellar combination can help your landing page stand out, as well as poor color choice can negatively change your message. Also, don’t forget about the gender of your target audience: men and women react to colors differently.

The infographic from Kissmetrics illustrates it best:

Kissmetrics infographic

Did you know that more than 33% of top brands use blue in their logos to make the most out of it?

With blue as a favorite color of both genders, it becomes clear why its combination with orange is so powerful. But it doesn’t mean you should drop everything and change your landing page palette like mad: test your colors, learn what works for your audience best, see which colors make them click on your content more often — and tailor the design accordingly.

Another crucial factor to consider is contrast, or how one color stands apart from another on your landing page. 

High contrast is most readable, so it works best for highlighting important content on your landing page. But when everything is high contrast, nothing stands out there and becomes tiring on the eye. 

Low contrast is a choice of most designers because it makes a landing page look beautiful. Yet, beautiful doesn’t necessarily equal readable; that’s why you need to find the balance for optimal clarity. 

To adjust the right color-contrast ratio to your website — it should be no less than 5:1 — try instruments like GitHub.

Your Logo Shape and Fonts

Researchers at MST had made it all clear for marketers:

A visitor needs less than two-tenths of a second to form a first opinion about your website. And it’s not by colors alone.

Shapes convey information and evoke emotions, either.

When it comes to shapes in marketing, we speak about logos as well as fonts we use to represent a brand and communicate a message to our consumers. Here are psychological associations behind each of five fonts categories:

  • Serif: tradition, authority, respect.
  • Sans-serif: clean, universal, modern.
  • Slab serif: strong, bold, solid.
  • Script: feminine, creative, elegant.
  • Modern: stylish, sharp, intelligent.

Depending on your brand’s voice and tone, decide on the right font to elicit particular associations from the audience and imply required meanings to your message. Don’t forget that a human mind responds to different shapes in different ways, too.

Circles are about friendship, unity, and stability (check Pepsi, Virgin, Plagiarism Check).

Horizontal lines suggest calm and community (consider LeadQuizzes, IBM), while vertical ones are about strength and aggression (take a look at Honda, Cisco).

Choosing triangles and squares, get ready your audience will see that as efficiency and professionalism (it’s about Adidas, Lego, Google Drive).

Number and Size of Fonts to Use 

Do you know the magic behind three?

Our brain is in love with this number! It’s persuasive, and a human mind grasps threes best. So, do your best to use no more than three different fonts on your landing page for better conversion.

Need another tiny yet fundamental detail to influence conversion?

It’s font size.

14px is the minimum for easy-to-read content, and some experts still argue about 16-pixel font as the most appropriate one. But whatever size you choose, maintain line height and length accordingly. 

  • Larger fonts require higher line heights.
  • The perfect line length for a column is 50-60 characters because longer ones look like more work for readers to do, while shorter ones break a rhythm.

Long story short, combine three typographical dimensions (length, width, and height) in a way they would look pleasing to a human eye. Consider the golden ratio (1.618), and use tools like Typography Calculator to establish it for your landing page.

Why bother?

All these manipulations influence people’s perception of your brand and message. Colors, sizes, contrast, fonts, shapes — all they improve the reading experience and create a sense of trust, allowing you to attract and engage future customers.

Once your landing page gets the positive first impression, it’s time to consider the psychology behind the message it communicates to visitors.

Marketing Psychology Behind Your Text and Visual Content

“Wow, it looks nice. I’ll take it!”

Isn’t that a reaction you would like to evoke with your landing page? For that, make sure it has a strong information scent.

What the heck is that?

As you know, reading online is 25% slower than from print. People don’t read but scan content, and they need only five seconds to decide whether to examine it. No personalization, tons of distractions, and no visual clues — these factors prevent visitors from “smelling” the helpful information they could find on your landing page. In other words, it doesn’t have any information scent.

How to change that:

  • Demonstrate contrast: grab visitors’ attention with RAS in mind.
  • Don’t overload your page with CTA buttons: one page = one message.
  • Use visuals: one image can drastically influence conversion rates.

Power of visuals

Numbers say it all:

People are 80% more likely to read your content and 85% more likely to buy your product if you represent it with colored visuals and videos. Why? Because the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. 

Imageries affect a person’s mood and increase a perceived ownership of the product, that is why you need to choose them carefully if want to give visitors a sense of your brand. 

Forget about stock photos, and use real ones instead: they are proven as significant visual content, while those from stocks have no influence on users who see them.

Power of words

Marketers often underestimate the role of words, but it’s text what influences decision-making by bell book and candle after visuals have attracted visitors and engaged them to read your content. 

When it comes to a landing page, its message should be clear, concise, and consistent. 

What rules do work here?

  1. Users pay attention to menu and navigation: it works better when on the top of a landing page.
  2. Users commit to headlines: make them short, urgent, and explaining the value of your information.
  3. Users don’t mention huge blocks of texts, but lists hold their attention for a longer time.
  4. Short sentences and paragraphs, bolded words, and interesting subheadings are what you need to influence the visitors of your landing page.
  5. The one-column format is better than having several columns.

Think of your text as the interface navigating readers through a landing page. Let’s take SEMrush by way of example:

When visitors come to your page, they need to understand where they are (1), what they will find here that could help to solve a problem (2), and where they can get more information about you (3). Headings, subheading, and hyperlinks are your best instruments to navigate people and answer the perennial question every marketer struggles to deal with:

“So what?” 

It’s about the surplus value of your content, as well:

In the age of content shock and information overflow, people don’t trust one single source. They visit a minimum of three websites — remember the magic behind the number three? — before they find the information to verify their choice.

What’s so specific about your product? What makes visitors want to turn into your customers? Why do they need to choose you?

Tell about the surplus value with the help of customer testimonials and comments from influencers in your niche. Many people look for reviews before deciding to buy, so trustworthy recommendations can boost the conversion rate immensely.

For instance, if you add a real photo of your customers to their reviews, you might increase conversion by 102%! 

The words you choose to communicate a message matter, too.

Words to Use and Avoid in Your Copy

Generalization and gobbledygook are your worst enemies while crafting texts for landing pages.

Avoid copywriting cliches and marketing fuzz words, and consider power verbs instead. Cliché marketing taglines should go to your rubbish bin, too. 

What are power words? 

They are language patterns that make us feel a certain way about content. Appealing to desires and fears, such words are persuasive.

And they are many!

Thus, Jon Morrow shared the list of 317 power words; Henneke Duistermaat spoke about 172+ magic words to persuade readers, and Mary Fernandez kicked it up a notch and wrote the article where he shared 700+ power words to boost your conversion.

Choose the words that correlate well with your marketing message, but remember:

Your text should be clear and readable.

Don’t make visitors grab dictionaries to understand what you wanted to say. As Apple PR Cameron Craig recommends, keep texts simple so even 11-year-old kids could understand you.

For that, try tools like Readability Score. Make sure you speak the same language as your audience. That’s easy:

  • Stick to words everybody knows.
  • Don’t write long words.
  • Don’t write long sentences.

And don’t be afraid of humor, if it correlates with your brand’s voice and tone.

And What About Persuasion Psychology Principles?

If you haven’t yet read the classic book of Dr. Robert B. Cialdini on The Psychology of Persuasion, you are lucky! Because you have a chance to discover several new tricks to apply to your marketing campaigns for killer conversion.

In particular:

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Commitment and consistency
  3. Social proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

In her article for Jeff Bullas, Nancy Christinovich reveals the secrets behind using these psychological tricks to improve content and influence decision-making of your audience.

Sure thing, persuasion is not by Cialdini alone.

Marketing psychology hacks to boost your landing page conversions are many, and different experts might give different names for them. For instance, the principle of authority is called regalia sometimes, while some call the principle of scarcity a limitation or a principle of urgency. Some hacks appeal to lexical patterns, others go to basic instincts… You are welcome to use them all, but don’t overplay: much of a muchness will not work to your credit.

Just to name a few, you can try the psychology of mirroring. It’s when your content imitates tones, slang, and visual preferences of a particular audience; so when visiting your landing page, they fall under the impression that they look in the mirror.

Or, consider the psychology of assurance, when your landing page “screams” about your confidence, fortified with facts. Users prefer buying from assured brands, so eliminate all signals of hesitation from your website, but don’t cross the line between assurance and fancy talk.

In a word…

Your landing page is a proven powerful weapon for lead generation and conversion rate optimization. For it to work, remember: you make it for people, so you need to understand the human brain’s default settings which rule their behavior and determine their buying decisions.

In plain English, you need you understand the psychology of decision-making.

By tailoring a landing page that captures the attention, highlights compelling offers, and correlates with people’s internal biases, you will win more leads, making your conversion rate sky high.

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This guest post was written by Lesley Vos, a seasoned web writer and contributor to publications on business, marketing, and self-development. Get in touch on Twitter.