illustrated brain with trigger words written all over it

How To Use Psychological Triggers To Get More Sales

Businesses put a lot of effort into acquiring leads, sometimes, even spending thousands of dollars to do so.

Here’s a reality check for you: All the leads in the world mean diddly squat if you’ll fail to convert them into paying customers.

That’s not to say that generating leads are worthless or inconsequential. After all, they are a part of your conversion funnel. However, if you want your business to generate profit, you have to find ways to make sure that your leads are always being led down the conversion path.

So how do we do that exactly? How do we give our leads the push necessary to make them buy our products?

The answer is to employ one of the oldest tricks in the sales playbook — use psychological triggers that drive their purchasing behaviour.

Here are some of the best psychological triggers you can take advantage of to start converting your leads into paying customers.

1. Invoke the Fear of Missing Out

The fear of missing out or “FOMO” is an innate psychological response that you can use to your advantage in your marketing efforts.

The fear of missing out is deeply rooted in our history as a species. In the ancient days, back when humans used to hunt in tribes, staying alert for food resources is a matter of life and death.

This is why invoking the fear of missing out is a sound marketing strategy. And to pull it off you need to play the scarcity card well.

When faced with the threat of scarcity, customers tend to fall over themselves in buying a scarce product for fear they might regret not acquiring it while it’s still available.

In other words, the threat of scarcity brings a sense of urgency that causes consumers to spring into action.

There are two main approaches in “scarcity marketing”:

  • Offering products at a limited number.
  • Promoting products using limited-time offers.

Come to think of it, brick-and-mortar businesses regularly employ the above approaches in promoting their products and businesses.

Below is a good example.

sales offer
Image source:

2. The Power of Reciprocity

Everyone is familiar with the old idiom, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”

The idiom is overused because people reciprocate all the time. We have this innate tendency to return the favour to an individual who has provided us something of value, whether that something is tangible or not.

In scientific circles, the term “reciprocal altruism” is often used. These acts are often found among various animal species, suggesting that the behaviour has strong evolutionary roots.

penguins reprocitity sketch
Image source:

The rule of reciprocity is just as effective when applied in online sales. This springs to mind an age-old adage in sales: by providing customers value, you are likely to receive something valuable in return.

Offering a free-trial subscription is one perfect example of how to invoke the law of reciprocity in sales. If “trial subscribers” are enjoying the trial subscription, chances are they won’t have any qualms about signing up for a paid subscription as soon as the trial subscription expires.

That said everyone provides free-trial subscriptions these days, so you have to offer more than that if you want to acquire your customers’ undying loyalty.

Pro tip #1: Offer meaningful gifts

Customers love gifts. Give them one, and they’re likely to go out of their way to show you their appreciation.

That said if you want to establish a stronger relationship with your customers, you have to give them meaningful gifts.

Dr. Robert Cialdini, a social psychologist, explains in his best-selling book Pre-Suasion that the most effective gifts are the ones that are meaningful, customized, and unexpected.

Pro tip #2: Exceed customers’ expectations

You can build a meaningful and value-driven relationship with your customers by exceeding their expectations in all areas of their customer journey.

By being proactive in your approach to customer service, you can go a long way to showing customers that you value their experience with your brand.

Do this and your customers are likely to keep buying your products and services. Better yet, they might become your brand’s best ambassadors as well.

3. Leverage Colour Psychology

According to one study, 87 percent of our sensory perception comes to us through colour. Considering that perception has a profound effect on our purchasing behaviour, it only goes to show the impact of colours in driving sales and conversions.

The colour blue, for example, has a calming effect on most people. Is it any wonder why some people stare out at sea to relax their nerves? Have you ever wondered why we feel a bit alarmed when we see a red stop sign while driving?

colour emotion guide
Image source:

Colours not only evoke emotions, but they also inspire a mood or a feeling. This is why colours are so useful in brand marketing. To be successful in business, you need to have a unique brand identity, which can be anchored by a unique application of colours or a colour motif.

Before choosing a colour motif for your brand, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What makes you stand out from your competitors?
  • What are the emotions you want your brand to evoke in your prospects and customers?
  • How do you want them to experience your brand?

When it comes to designing an effective landing page, the general rule of thumb in combining colours is to use the 60-30-10 rule.

60 percent of it comprises the background colour of the webpage. Neutral colours like grey and white and the like are often suggested to convey spaciousness.

The 30 percent is the base colour, which is meant to support and provide contrast to the background colour.

The 10 percent part, the accent colour, is perhaps the most important part of your colour motif since it’s used for call-to-action purposes. Usually, the accent colour used is vibrant (red, blue, etc.) in order to draw the eye of the consumer.

Of course, you don’t have to follow the 60-30-10 rule strictly. As long as both the background colours and the base colours serve to highlight the message of your brand and draw the eye of your visitors towards your call to action, then you’re doing an excellent job.

call to action using colour
Image source: Delhi School of Internet Marketing


In the final analysis, these psychological triggers can help improve your conversion rate by improving your user experience. The tips work best when paired with conversion rate optimisation strategies such as A/B testing, latency reduction through CDNs, clutter removal, and more.

There are many other mental or emotional triggers you could use to drive more sales to your website; the points shared above, however, are deadly enough if you do them right.

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About Marc Sullivan

Marc SullivanMarc lives and breathes writing. He writes about marketing, business, sports, cyber security, or just about anything and everything under the sun.

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