Every design element on your website should be taking your visitors by the hand and leading them into taking action. Whether it be to make a sale, opt-in to a mailing list, or connect with your company on Facebook, if a visitor leaves your site without doing anything, it has failed in its job. Here are five key elements of persuasive site design and how each component makes up a vital part of the anatomy of your website.
- Social Proof
1. Establish Social Proof
Social proof is the buzzword marketers use to describe a “follow the crowd mentality.” Consider an empty restaurant; nobody is eating there, so you conclude the food must be terrible. Now consider a restaurant that is consistently booked out. People will wait in line for hours just to get a table. That’s social proof in action.
Testimonials are an excellent source of social proof you can use on your website to establish credibility in your product or service. People will also check out other sources such as Google and Yelp, to determine if you are trustworthy and reliable. It’s the age-old word of mouth advertising, just in digital form. Testimonials can be just as powerful as word-of-mouth, if not more so because of their broader reach.
Color can be used on a website to do more than just make it look good. You can tug on people’s emotions with color, and create an environment conducive to them following through on your CTA. Strategic use of color can help your message hit home and strengthen your brand.
For instance, white is the color of purity and cleanliness, but it can also foster feelings of sterility and elitism. Black is often used to convey corporate sophistication, glamor, or efficiency. Brown is the color of nature and reliability, while pink is energetic and fun-loving.
Understanding your demographic is the key to knowing which colors will foster the feelings you need your website to convey. According to Vandelay Designs [* https://www.vandelaydesign.com/the-psychology-of-color-in-web-design/], color influences between 62% and 90% of CTAs, so it’s an important design consideration to keep in mind while developing your website.
3. Tell a Story
Your visitors will instinctively know if you are too pushy with your CTA, so you need to lead them into it through intelligent use of storytelling. Humans have been telling stories since we could paint on cave walls. It’s a deeply ingrained part of our psyche, so we all love a good tale or two.
Of course, you’re not going for an epic saga; otherwise, you could fall victim to TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) and scare your readers off. However, you do want your visitors to get to know your business and develop some trust.
Tell them who you are and why you do what you do. Enlighten visitors about your motivations for starting your business (because you wanted to solve a problem). Above all, be authentic, and more of your visitors will relate at a personal level and click through to your offer.
4. Create A Sense of Scarcity
Incorrectly using scarcity as a sales tactic can make you look scheming and desperate. However, if you can convey a genuine sense of urgency, then you are well on your way to creating more sales.
Here are just a few ways you can generate real scarcity on your website and inspire your visitors into buying:
You sell physical products, have a limited number of items in your inventory, and won’t be able to restock for some time
You hold an online class and keep the numbers low so you can be attentive to everyone’s needs
You have a limited number of hours in the day and can only serve so many customers
You are heavily discounting a product to make way for a new model
Generate market interest by creating a limited time offer to get the ball rolling and introduce a product or service to the marketplace
Amazon uses scarcity to great effect by showing visitors stock levels are at one or two units, and they should order now to prevent delays. This tactic can also capitalize on people’s fear of missing out (FOMO – what if the product never gets restocked).
5. Reciprocity Marketing
Reciprocity is all about making small gestures to inspire bigger sales. In short, people may feel an obligation to support a business that has given them something for free.
Reciprocity is often used to attract prospects into a sales funnel. An opt-in form provides value for free in exchange for an email address.
Once the lead is in the system, a series of emails continues to provide value, create trust, and build credibility. When a prospect receives a ton of value for free, they can often be inspired into trying out a paid service, because the free one has proven so useful.
If your website has been failing to achieve the results you dreamed it would, it may be time to consider how persuasive is its design. Strategic and creative use of social proof, color, storytelling, scarcity, and reciprocity will inspire your visitors into clicking on, and following through with your CTA.
Guest article written by: Robert James Kubaiko is the owner & lead designer & Phoenix Premier Creative Media. He’s been helping businesses get success with their website design and digital marketing for about 10 years .