Marketing psychology: 21 ways you can use it to gain new leads

October 22


Let me tell you a story (I will rather show you).

Do you see, how easy it is to manipulate someone?

Psychology has been one of the most important aspects of marketing.
After all, every trick in the marketing is based on the human psychology.

And you know the most interesting part.
It literally works on everyone.

It is because of the similarities (99.9%) in their genetic makeup.

Companies like Apple, Dominos, Walmart are using psychology every time to manipulate you into buying different kinds of stuff.

So why should you be left behind?
Below I am showing 21 most effective ways, you can use psychology to gain leads, generate sales or anything.


1.) Path of least resistance

Admit it; We are lazy.

We like to find the easier way of everything we do.

That’s why we buy a whole lot of services, software, and products to make our task easier.

Same is the case in the online world.

Our minds are designed to do so.

That’s why, if you want to gain new leads, make sure that the visitors don’t have to work much to locate your CTA link or buttons.


2.) Illusion of choices

When people are prompted with more choices, they tend to overthink, resulting in confusion and end up not taking any action.(also called analysis paralysis).

There is also a popular study by psychologist Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper.

They conducted an experiment in the year 2000 by using Jams.

They created a large and small selection of jams and switched between those every few hours.

By doing so, they found out that people showed more interest in the larger selections of jams.

But here’s the twist!

When it came to deciding to choose or purchase just one flavor among those, people with the lower selection of jams presented to them were 10 times more likely to make a purchase.

So, try to keep your website as minimal as possible, with no any extra link to divert your visitor's attention.

I have always loved Apple website. Their design is so minimal and captivating.
Just take a look at it.

Apple minimal look

Also, check out this interesting article by Conversion fanatics where the conversion rate increased by 37% by removing the distraction.


3.) Use Curiosity effect

Curiosity is one of the prime motivators for clicks and conversion.

Just by teasing your audience, you can create a gap which they have to fill absolutely.

You must have seen it in effect in sites like ViralNova.

In fact, this site gets over 100 million visitors per month and curiosity is the prime driving factor in this site.

Just take a look at these posts from Viralnova.

ViralNova_Curiosity Effect

Who could resist that?

So, wear your thinking cap and think of any creative way, like these guys at Copyhacker did (it resulted in increase in click by 927%).

4.) Make it like a game

Our brain loves patterns, and when we break them, we go haywire and remember them better.

That’s why we tend to remember things if we see, listen, or do something that breaks the pattern.

For example: You drive every day to your work but if you saw some celebrity and had to slow down,
I bet you would have remembered that day better than anyone else.

See, how easy it is.
Break your Audience pattern.
Gamify your Opt-in. Offer them Sweepstakes.

Give them points when they continuously visit your website.


5.) Scarcity

Scarcity is one of the powerful psychological ways marketers use it to gain new leads and sell their products.

It relies on the fact that the rarer the product, the more appealing it feels to us.

I received an Email from Digital marketers, where they put Scarcity effect to good usage.

DM scarcity effect
If you had even a tiny probability of buying the above product, then the Scarcity factor would have done nothing but to increase your chances to buy this product.

So, use this Scarcity factor to gain new leads, sell your products (just like Amazon deals).


6.) FOMO(Fear of Missing Out) or loss aversion

People hate to lose and miss out.

They will work harder to avoid losing something than to gain something.

In short, the fear of loss is twice as greater than excitement to gain.

That’s why we hold onto things such as clothes we don’t wear, books we don’t read, or any web subscription we don’t use.

You must have seen companies putting their phrases like “Last Chance” or “Hurry” in their marketing campaign.

You can also use this Psychological principle to your advantage.

Show your Audience what they will miss if they don’t sign up or subscribe to you.


7.) Reciprocity

We have always been taught in our childhood to always return the favor.

It has been itched to our brain so deep that we consciously or unconsciously feel obliged to return the favor done to us.

Do you know that there was an experiment done where waiters increased their tips by 3%

Guess how?

By showing reciprocity gesture by giving mint to customers and

It increased by 20% when they paused, looked into the customer’s eyes and gave them mint by saying that these were especially for them.

You can also take its advantage. Offer your Visitors something valuable for free.

This could be anything such as eBook, tutorials video, coupons or free trials.

See how Copyblogger gives Risk-free trial for 30 days.


8.) Benjamin effect

Well, I told you about reciprocity.

Why not reverse it?

What if I told you that you could make your Audience your loyal customer just by asking them a favor.

Benjamin Franklin found out about this and used this method to turn his hater into a friend.

His story is interesting.

He was a book collector and ran a library.

Around 1938, he ran 2nd time for the position of clerk and had to deal with the hatred of an opponent.
The opponent was rich, powerful and well educated.

So, how did Franklin turned his opponent's hatred to friendship?

The Opponent had a library he was proud of.

So, Franklin sent a letter to him complimenting him on his library and asking him if he could borrow a book from him, which was a very rare book.

The opponent was flattered, and he sent the book to him.

After a week, Franklin returned the book to him with a thank you note.

Guess… what happened?

When the next time they met, the opponent approached him and spoke to him for the first time.

And Eventually, they both turned out to be a great friend.

So, Just ask a favor from your audience, and see the magic.

How can you use this in effect?

Ask favors from your Visitors to like, subscribe or share your articles.

Believe me. It works.

See how Ramsay of Blog tyrant asks his Audience to share his infographics.

Blog tyrant Benjamin effect

Even the Mighty Wikipedia used Benjamin effect for Fundraising.

9.) Serial Position effect

You must have noticed that when you watch any videos or read any articles, you would have often remembered the beginning and last of the videos or articles.

This is our default psychological behavior and called as Serial Position effect.

It was first discovered by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus.

It has two parts– Primacy and Recency.

Primacy is the inborn tendency to recall the beginning, and Recency is the ability to recall the ending.

Anything in between has the least recall ability.

Serial Positioning_graph

There was also a study conducted by Hofacker and Murphy in Southeastern US hospitality site to see the how the Serial Position works.

It was found that the top location was clicked most(9.2%) followed by bottom location(7.7%).

The middle location was the worst performing.

Serial Position Click
So, try to place your link on either top or bottom of the page. You will get more clicks.

This is also one excellent article about Serial Positioning.


10.) Novelty

Who doesn’t like new experiences!

In fact, Neurologist had proved that exposure to new experiences increases memory and helps in releasing Dopamine (Our happy feeling hormone)

That’s why we get excited when some new products come into market.

You must have seen companies like Microsoft and Apple releasing their products and updates and even though the change is minuscule,

We get excited to try it.

Marketers use this psychological principle all the time.

For example: Suppose you wrote a blog post which received huge share and ranks in top 10 for the keywords.
But after sometime, the post becomes outdated.

So you take the old post, modify it a little, add the updated tag and then again, circulate to people who shared or read your old post.

See how Digital marketer did it.

DM Novelty effect

11.) Social proof

We are a Social animal.

We tend to look to others for ideas, inspiration, credibility, and actions we take.

That’s why many SAAS companies, marketing agency or other put logos of top companies of the world they worked for.

And that’s also the reason we first check reviews before buying the product.

Try to use the logos and testimonials of the companies or people you worked with.

It will increase your visitor's trust and will let them know that they are in right hands.


12.) Smiling face

Didn’t anybody tell you smile is contagious?

In fact, it is rated with the highest positive emotional content.

There is an interesting theory behind it.

When we smile, our face contracts and our brain receives a positive feedback loop and stimulates our feeling of joy.

Even chocolate doesn’t have authority to match its power.

The same happens when we see smiling and laughing faces.

It is because it affects our autonomic nervous system and releases endorphin to our system.

That’s why we reply someone with a smile who smiles at us (unless you are mad at him/her).

There was also an A/B test conducted by Alwin hoogerdijk, where he found out that sign up increased by 1.3% and sale increased by 9.9% when he used a smiling picture of his.


13.) Zeigarnik effect

We, humans, are really uncomfortable with an unfinished task.

Take the example of your favorite show only to end at a cliffhanger, and you have to wait a whole week, maybe a month or a year for the next episode.

We get an uncomfortable feeling when things are left unfinished.
That is called Zeigarnik effect, and it was discovered by Bluma Zeigarnik.

That’s why we tend to complete the things we started.

Use progress bar in your opt-in form to show the stages of completion.
It will remind them of how close they were to getting what the CTA promised.

See how leadpages uses progress bar to increase its opt-in by 19.05%.

leadpages progress bar

14.) The bandwagon effect

It’s Human’s natural tendency to copy others without even realizing it.

We like to belong or get associated with the communities and tend to follow what that social circle does.

It feeds on the human emotion of "if everyone has one, I want one too."

You must have seen many blogs stating that they have X amount of subscribers and also prompt you to join them.

See below how Brian Dean of Backlinko uses the bandwagon effect to lure others to join his list.


15.) The Decoy effect

Suppose you go to eyeglasses shop to buy eyeglasses and see that they are running 3 offers.

Eyeglasses Decoy example

Which offer will you choose among these three?

Yes.. You guessed right.

It’s offer 3. Isn’t it?

Now, here's a twist.
The company also wanted you to buy their Offer 3.

So to increase their chances of selling, they introduced another offer so that you have something to compare to.

And When you compare every offer, you will find the offer 3 to be of more value.

Offer 1 and Offer 2 acts as a price decoy to make offer 3 as the best.

And you know the plus point.

They also get to earn when someone buys their offer other than 3.

Below is an interesting video from Nat Geo, of how you can use the decoy effects to change someone's mind.


16.) Visual Salience

See the picture below.

Visual Salience

Where are your eyes attracted towards?

I bet it will be the red one.

Friends, I just showed you an example of visual salience and how you can use it to your advantage.

Our brain loves patterns, and whenever it sees something that breaks the pattern, it tends to remember it clearly than others.

Same is the case in above image.

The Red triangle broke the pattern in the green infested triangle image.

Now let’s explain to you what Visual salience is.

It is the distinct subjective perceptual quality which makes some items in the world stand out from their neighbors and immediately grab our attention.

It was developed as a part of our evolution to spot contrasts in the environment.

How can you use it?

You can use it to make your button or CTA links stand out from everything else.

Give a contrasting color to elements in your web page where you want your Audience attention.


17.) Instant Gratification

We have become impatient.

And the current age technology is to be blamed.

We want it and want it now.

We want to experience the desire of fulfillment without delay.

You must have seen articles or ads like “ Earn $1000+ in 5 days” or “Build your abs in 10 days”.

We are attracted towards these types of articles or ads.

Who wouldn’t?
After all, we all want the immediate result.

Let me give you one more example.

Suppose you bought a SAAS product.

And you write an email to customer care and received a reply from them within 5-10 minutes.

What will be your reaction?

You will be happy and amazed at their customer support and will likely be using their service.

Now, what will happen if they reply in 2 days or a week?

You will be furious and will probably click on the refund button or unsubscribe option.

You see the difference?

Use this to your advantage.

Make a way to give Audience what they want and NOW.

You can also use words like Get NowAccess Now or Watch Now.

See the below image, how copyblogger uses this trick to lure you.

CopyBlogger Instant gratification

A word of caution: Instant gratification is a good trick, but it also has its demerit.
Don't try to lure visitors by claiming fake words or lie.

Initially, it may work, but when your visitors come to know that it's a lie, they will report you as spam, but most importantly, they will never trust you and possibly ignore you when they see you next time.

So, unless you plan to roll back your website in coming months, it's a bad idea.


18.) Anchoring Effect

Suppose, you wanted to buy a course, which was too expensive.

One day, while browsing the internet, you saw the same course is at 50% discount.

What do you do?

I think I would have immediately bought the shirt.


Because I considered it as a bargain when I compared it to the Initial price.

This is the Anchoring effect.

According to Harvard law school, Anchoring effect is a “cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions.”

That's why there's an epidemic rush to buy the products on Black Friday.

Appsumo is an expert in using Anchoring effect.
See the below image how Appsumo gives us mouth-watering deals.

AppSumo Anchoring effect


19.) Conformity

Earlier I told you that we humans are social animals.

We are influenced by others to some extent and tend to follow the crowd.

We yield to group pressure and are more likely to give the wrong answer just because everyone was giving it.

Solomon Asch conducted an experiment to determine the effects of social pressure.

He made a quiz where his students have to answer the question.

But he also hired a group of actors among his students who were told to give the wrong answers.

He noticed that majority of the people confirmed the answer, although it was wrong.

Isn't it interesting?

If social influence can cause people to reject the most obvious truth, then it would be fair to say that it has an effect on how people assess your business.

So, try to attach more social proof. It can be anything.
From company logos to testimonials.


20.)Visual Cue

Visual cues are one of the best ways to direct our eyes towards CTA links or button.

It helps us to process important parts of your page where you want your visitor’s attention.

ConversionXL performed an experiment using heatmap, where they found that Arrows works best for making visitors look at something.

See how Freshbook used the hand to direct our eyes to opt-in form.

Visual cues


21.) Mere Exposure

The more we are exposed to something, the more we like them.

Did this ever happen to you?

You listen to a new song and don't like it.
But after listening to it number of times from here and there, you found yourself humming the same song.

Robert Zajonc first discovered this theory.

He did an experiment where he showed different Chinese characters to peoples from 0 to 25 times and then asked participants to rate how pleasant the images were.

He founded that the more they were exposed to the images, the more they liked it.

In 1885, Thomas Smith wrote a very famous guide called Successful Advertising.
Below is an excerpt from it.
You can clearly see how Mere Exposure theory works and people's journey from stranger to a customer.

“The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad; they buy what is offering.”


Whoa! It's been a long post.
I am really glad that you finished it.

You now know how you can use it to gain new leads or increase your sale.
But before going, Remember one thing.

You will not get the result immediately.
It takes time and experiments, and a bit of trial and errors.

You will have to experiment to see, what suites you the best.

If you need help, you can comment below, and I will do my best to reply you.

Now, Friends, Do I missed out any other ways?
Write and tell us in the comment below.
We might learn a thing or two from you.


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