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Updated by Barry Feldman on Mar 17, 2014
Headline for Psychological Triggers to Increase Conversion
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Psychological Triggers to Increase Conversion

Neil Patel's top ideas for having your way with prospects by capitalizing on what makes people tick.



Explain why

Explain why

We’re wired to want answers. We always have been. We want meaning even when there is none. As simple as it may sound, explaining the reason why the reader should take advantage of something makes the offer remarkably more compelling.

“A lot of people don’t understand exactly why they should buy something or take action. When you explain the ‘why,’ in a lot of cases, a light bulb goes on. They think, ‘Oh, that makes sense. I should do it,’” Neil said.

“We sometimes take our customers for granted by assuming they know everything we want them to. Reiterating and restating some basic things actually helps maximize conversion.”

As a blogger and online marketer, I’ve found this insight is powerful not only for conversion, but for getting people engaged in the first place. Though “how” is a far more popular word choice for headlines, I’ve discovered headlines I’ve written that include the word “why” have contributed to some of the top performing articles of my career.

Now you understand why.


Simplify your solution

Simplify your solution

If there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. ~ Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winning psychologist

“I love the quote by Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.,’” Neil told me. He went on...

“People who create the simplest solutions, with the least amount of barriers, tend to win. Dropbox does well because it’s easy to use.”

“Look at Google. It’s very complex, but not for the user. Type in some words and boom, you get a response. In the end, if you can make things dead simple and easy to understand—your product, your messaging, everything—you’re more likely to succeed.”

Neil’s going to share examples of conversion tactics that take advantage of the simplicity trigger.


Create a common enemy

Create a common enemy

Now we get into the really good stuff. I don’t mean to say the triggers covered thus far aren’t winners, but the two we’ll look at next are less understood and therefore less used.

Sociologist Georg Simmel put forth the idea that humans create common enemies because it unites us with people we believe to be like us.

Here’s an example that took place just today. My curiosity led me to Neil’s “about” page on QuickSprout where he presents glimpses into the Patel personality. Apparently Neil has an affection for chapstick and Taco Bell and I’m not inclined to care one way or another, however at the bottom of the playful caricature, I learned Neil is a fellow Lakers lover.

It follows we have a common enemy, the evil Boston Celtics, the NBA’s only franchise to have hung more championship banners than LA. I feel a bit of a bond with my buddy Neil now. In fact, it was the first thing we talked about.

You’ll find the “enemies” strategy effectively played out in advertising. There’s no better example of Mac vs. PC. The story dates back to early 80s and evolved to become a hilarious series where the two camps were actual characters.

Remember? Mr. Cool, Mac, who saw things so simply. And, of course, the enemy, nerdball PC, who never quite measured up.


Build controversy

Build controversy

“Study the top stories at Digg or and you’ll notice a pattern: the top stories all polarize people.” ~ Tim Ferris, author and entrepreneur

I love this trigger, which is kind of a relative to #3, “enemy.” However, the idea at work here is controversy is immensely engaging. It may trigger anger, which just so happens to be the most effective emotion for creating viral content, according to Jonah Berger, author of Contagious.

Neil put it this way: “The idea is piggybacking on what's out there. For instance, a statement like ‘SEO is dead…’

“People will react to this. They’ll want clarification. They might say. ‘What do you mean? You're the one selling online services and you tell me SEO is dead?’ Well, if that's me responding, I’ll say SEO has changed and is evolving. I could cite examples of companies getting penalized by trying to game Google.”

Neil said his SEO example works because it’s something you might not have expected, so it makes you want to keep reading.