6 Persuasion Marketing Tricks to Boost Your Online Conversions

Last Updated on

January 28, 2023

Looking to increase conversions on your website? Persuasion is a powerful tool that every digital marketer needs in their arsenal. In this post, we’ll share 6 persuasion marketing tricks to boost your conversions.

How do people decide to do anything online? How do you prime the pump so that somebody will buy, especially when you can’t see them face-to-face?

Online interactions are very brief. In today’s world, a split-second is all that separates swiping left from swiping right, and that split-second decision is made from a very quick assessment of whether something is worth a consumer’s time to go further.

The process of how consumers decide to keep going, along with what ultimately shapes their desire to buy, is what persuasion marketing defines.

What is Persuasion Marketing?

Now you may be wondering, what exactly is persuasion marketing? Here is the definition:

Persuasion marketing is marketing that involves the use of psychology to influence a target audience’s emotions in order to guide them to a preferred decision. If done right, the audience’s behavior will lead to a purchase.

With a disconnected psychology, you can easily produce marketing content that fails to resonate with your audience. 

With persuasion marketing, we begin to understand that an accurate grasp of the human way of thinking is essential to understand, particularly when trying to entice our customer to act on impulse and convert to a sale.

Let me ask you: would you be more willing to buy something with a base sales price of just $20, or would you be more likely to purchase something that was $19.99? The penny difference is negligible, but to most consumers, the lower price signifies something that is a great deal.

There are several "tricks" like this that we can employ to influence your audience, and begin to understand their psychology. In this post, we'll cover 6 of them...

Persuasion Trick #1: The Reciprocity Principle

The Reciprocity Principle is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to return good deeds. In other words, we all need and tend to want to give something back when receiving something.

Everything in life follows the reciprocity principle. In any relationship— personal, workplace, or marketplace—reciprocity is critical to all of our interactions.

Just as you feel the need to pay for items at the grocery store in exchange for taking them out of the store and bringing them home, there is also a need and want to pay for actions that someone is doing for you.

That feeling of indebtedness is easily settled when there is a price on an item or service, but what about a gift given without any expectations of return? That’s where the need to reciprocate is strongest, and is the secret to any of your successful interactions.

If you’re the first to act and initiate a gift without a perceived need to receive anything in return, then your buyer will likely feel the need to give you something back, possibly in the form of giving you their business.

How to Use the Reciprocity Principle in Your Marketing:

Give away incredibly useful, free content before asking visitors to buy.

Write blog posts that are useful, thorough, entertaining, or better than other blog posts on the same topic. Always choose quality over quantity.

Create a download (aka "lead magnet"), like a PDF cheatsheet, and give it away for free in exchange for your website visitor's email address. When they opt in, send them even more valuable information to their inbox.

Include your lead magnet/email opt-in form at the bottom of blog posts, and/or in a slide-in scroll box throughout your site so that visitors can enjoy your blog content before you ask for their email address.

Persuasion Trick #2: The Path of Least Resistance

The Path of Least Resistance is the human tendency to take the easiest path from Point A to Point B.

There is more than one way to market a business, and for your particular business, you need to find your own unique path. To make both selling and marketing easy, you should always keep in mind the path of least resistance, as we’re all lazy to some degree.

Not only do you want to make it easier for your buyers to buy from you, but you also want to make it so that you can keep up the sustained effort and enjoy doing it!

You should let go of everything that is unnecessarily difficult. Use marketing strategies that fit your own personal style. Engage in business with those you like, and who like you back (remember reciprocity?). Target the low-hanging fruit of people who are most receptive to your message, and target within those the ones most willing to pay the price at which you’re selling.

This is definitely a two-way path, so it’s important to listen to your audience so that you can find that happy medium of the path that’s easiest for both them and you.

How to Use the Path of Least Resistance in Your Marketing:

Make sure that your desired end result (e.g. subscribing to your email list, or purchasing your course) is the easiest path through your website. It helps to place your "call to action” or "CTA" (e.g. an email opt-in form or "buy now" button) in multiple areas throughout your site.

Draw the eye to your CTAs by placing them in highly visible areas and using contrasting colors. Use low contrast in other areas of the screen.

Label buttons with dynamic copy. For example, “Grab the eBook Now!” is far better than “Submit” (bor-ing!).

Make buttons large and colorful so they stand out on the page. Use fun hover effects to encourage interaction.

Break up your paragraphs so that your website copy is easy to skim. Don’t overwhelm visitors with large blocks of copy!

Persuasion Trick #3: Specificity/Predictability

Specific/predictable offers perform better than vague offers because people dislike uncertainty.

When we talk specificity and predictability, we’re not talking about writing a scientific research paper, but we’re going to borrow from the empirical nature of scientific research and ensure that our marketing content is focused in scope, defined in its end result, and based on reproducible facts and figures.

This gives your buyer the confidence that, as long as they are able to follow the suggestions you’ve laid out, not only has the process worked for someone else (it’s definitely valuable to provide those successful real examples that support your claims), but they will be able to measure the end product and decide if it’s worth buying.

How to Use Specificity/Predictability in Your Marketing:

Your content should promise a very specific end result. For example, "How to Improve Your Blog" isn't a very specific promise. "How to Grow Your Blog Traffic" is better. "How to 3X Your Blog Traffic" is even better. "How to 3X Your Blog Traffic in 30 Days" is best.

When naming your lead magnet, use a list-style headline to increase predictability. For example, "12 Proven Ways to Explode Your Blog Traffic” or "13 Tools that Will Skyrocket Your Blog Traffic". There is a reason why list-style PDF cheatsheets/checklists perform the best out of ANY other type of lead magnet– they work because they are specific (I know what is the end result) and predictable (I know it will be easy to consume).

Cite facts, figures, statistics, projections and examples in your blog posts, emails and sales copy to support your claims. You don't need special credentials, experience, or testimonials to sell an online course... all you need to do for prospects to trust you is to show them that your method works by backing up your claims with facts and figures.

Persuasion Trick #4: The Curiosity Gap

The Curiosity Gap is the space between what we know and what we don’t know (we desperately want to bridge that gap!).

Curiosity killed the cat, right? Well, it’s also what made the other cat fat.

Though curiosity can be a double-edged sword, it is the spark that any potential buyer experiences, the craving that a buyer has to satisfy their curiosity.

They know they don’t know something, and they want to experience something that they potentially want. This is what gets them to click through and read a little further, and hopefully your content is both engaging and respectful of your buyer’s needs that their needs will be satisfied by what you’re offering.

And if you’ve sold them, hopefully your call to action is so irresistible that your buyer will bridge the gap for you and buy your product!

How to Use the Curiosity Gap in Your Marketing:

You can use the Curiosity Gap in your blog post headlines, email subject lines, and sales page copy by providing just enough information to induce curiosity, but withholding the punchline. For example, “Why You Don’t Want to Drink the Pool Water” or “10 Stories That Will Make You Believe in Fate”.

In your blog introductions and at the beginning of your emails, use short, vague, curiosity inducing paragraphs that entice the reader to keep going.

Persuasion Trick #5: The Zeigarnik Effect

The Zeigarnik Effect says people who initiate a process are more likely to finish that process.

Bluma Zeigarnik was a psychiatrist and psychologist, and she observed the effect that’s named after her while she was dining at a restaurant in the 1920s. She noticed that as long as diners were in the process of being served, the waiters serving them could keep track of various and complex orders, and unpaid dining checks. But once orders and checks were settled, the waiters were unable to recall any information about the orders they were filling (even the simplest ones!).

What this means for marketing content is the following foundation: 1) spark your buyer’s interest (use that curiosity gap to get things started), 2) allow your buyer to interact, 3) don’t allow them to fully satisfy their curiosity so it gives them an opportunity to pursue you (as cruel as it may sound, we promise you’ll get them to satisfy the curiosity when the time is right). Then 4) put them out of their cognitive misery by inviting them to finish the process.

If all goes well, your buyer will be so ready to click through to your call to action and press that buy button!

How to Use the Zeigarnik Effect in Your Marketing:

Instead of a using a traditional email opt-in form to ask visitors to subscribe, use a 2-step optin. A 2-step optin doesn’t display the actual form right away– instead, the visitor has to click on a button first. Then the form will appear, and they can finish the process by entering their email address.

(This has been shown to boost conversions by as much as 785%, without A/B testing!) 

Persuasion Trick #6: Foot in the Door 

Foot in the Door is the phenomenon where people who perform a small favor are much more likely to perform a larger favor in the future.

There’s an old metaphor based on the fable of the boiling frog—you can’t get a frog to stay in a pot of water that’s already boiling, but if you put the frog in tepid water, and then slowly turned up the heat, eventually the water will be boiling and frog stays in the pot.

We’re not trying to boil any frogs or potential buyers, but the effect is the same in marketing: after somebody has bought into your marketing, even at a “free” level, they’re more likely to buy your more expensive products.

It’s essentially the foundation of brand loyalty—if something has been working for a buyer, other products from the same seller are much easier to consume rather than going to a completely alien seller with whom they don’t yet have a relationship.

And if we couple that effect with a shortened timeframe between when they buy into the first step, and when you offer the next level almost immediately after, they’ll be much more willing to buy in... even if they wouldn’t have even considered buying in at the next level in the first place.

How to Use Foot in the Door in Your Marketing:

Ask subscribers to make a teeny tiny purchase (a.k.a. "tripwire product") before asking them to buy your complete product. It doesn't matter how small that initial purchase is... even a $1 purchase will greatly increase the likelihood that they will buy your entire product!

Consider offering a video or another resource from your product at a super low price, like $1-$7.

Make the offer limited time only, and offer it immediately after someone opts in for your lead magnet. This is the time when your prospect is the most excited, so now is the time to ask for the first purchase!

Right after someone purchases your tripwire product, present them with a one-time-only offer ("OTO") to purchase your complete offering at a discounted rate, or with a special bonus.


As you can see, people make decisions based on emotion. Therefore, it is our job as digital marketers to spark the desired emotions in the consumer.

Persuasion marketing is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. But you may be wondering... is it too powerful? Is it even ethical to persuade people to buy stuff?

Well, the answer depends. It depends on what you are selling, and who you are selling it to.

You see, like any tool, persuasion marketing can be used for good or for evil. You can either persuade someone to buy stuff that makes a positive difference in their life, or you can persuade someone to buy stuff that adds no value to their life whatsoever. So if you're wondering which side you're on, ask yourself, "Does my product serve my target audience?"

You should always strive to create products that meet the needs of your customer. Never try to sell something to people just because you created it. Aside from being the right thing to do, your business will be far more successful when you have the attitude of a servant rather than a snake oil salesman (goodness knows the world doesn't need more of those!).

So what persuasion marketing tricks have you used on your website? We'd love to know– please share them with us in the comments below!