50 Weird Psychological Tricks to Increase Your Conversion Rate

Leveraging psychology is the most effective way to increase conversion rates.

We, humans, are psychological and emotional creatures, rather than logical ones. When making decisions, we let many day-to-day elements influence us on both conscious and subconscious levels. Why do we feel obligated to repay someone who has done good things for us? Why do we sometimes order too much food even though we know it’s too much?

That’s why it’s important to understand human psychology to avoid creating undesirable outcomes, as well as take advantage of it to make your life better.

No matter you’re starting a blog, doing affiliate marketing, or starting a dropshipping business, below is the list of the 50 most relevant psychological tricks and biases to help you significantly increase your conversion rate.

Table of Contents show

1. Animate Your CTA Button – Action Bias

The action bias is a human tendency to favor action over inaction. We tend to consider a lack of activity to be wrong and compel to respond with action as a default, automatic reaction.

Applying this innate tendency, you can try animating your CTA (Call-To-Action) button to increase the chance people click on it. Thus, increase your conversion rate.

2. Use Emotions To Sell – Affect Heuristic

According to the affect heuristic, we rely on our emotions when making decisions, which allows us to reach a conclusion quickly and without much effort.

This psychological bias might not come as much of a surprise. However, people often forget to think about it all the time.

Suppose you and your friends have booked nonrefundable tickets to go on a long vacation. Unfortunately, right before the vacation day, you caught a terrible cold. The rational behavior here is to call your friend and cancel the plan. However, you still decided to go because you regretted the money you have put in and you didn’t want to break the promise with your friends. The vacation turned out to be a disaster as you had to sleep in the hotel room most of the time. This is the affect heuristic in place (and also closely related to the sunk cost fallacy).

The trick to leveraging this psychological bias is to focus on evoking emotions in your sales copy. For example, instead of simply saying, “This product can relieve your back pain,” say something like, “Anyone that has suffered from back pain knows how painful it can be, and this product can quickly relieve it.”

Use emotional tricks to Improve your conversion rate

Using emojis is also a great method to quickly trigger certain emotions. For example, it’s a cold day outside 🥶, isn’t it?

3. Remove All Doubts – Ambiguity Effect

The next way to increase your conversion rate is to answer all questions that might come to your customers’ minds. For example, shipping times, payment methods, order tracking, returns & refunds policy, and other FAQs about your products and companies. It’s a straightforward thing to do, and there is a scientific reason behind it.

The ambiguity effect is our tendency to avoid options that we consider to be ambiguous. We hate uncertainty and are therefore more inclined to select an option that a certain favorable outcome is known.

Remove ambiguity as a way to increase conversion rate

4. Set A High Sticker Price – Anchoring Bias

The anchoring bias said that we rely too heavily on the first piece of information we are given about a topic. Before we estimate something, we interpret newer information from our anchor’s reference point instead of seeing it objectively.

Suppose you go shopping and find a pair of sneakers that cost $200. “It’s too expensive!” – you said yourself. After putting it back, you find another for $150 – hey, it’s kind of cheap!

A trick to apply this bias is to set a high sticker price for your product. Then, you can discount it back to the price that can earn you a good margin. It’s important to note that the difference between the sticker and discounted price should look reasonable. Otherwise, your customers might smell something fishy here.

High sticker price as a trick to increase conversion rate

Another way Amazon uses to strengthen the anchoring effect further is showing prices of similar products from other sellers or even not-so-relevant products. Below is how the platform applies the effect for a $41.88 hair dryer.

Anchoring bias used on Amazon

5. Remind Customers About Their Carts – Attentional Bias

The next trick on the list is to leverage the attentional bias. We tend to focus on certain elements while ignoring others. When making decisions, this can cause us to fixate on a small subset of data points and ignore the rest.

For example, after a week of trying to improve your diet, you go shopping and find an elegant box of chocolate. Then, the attentional bias kicks in. Despite trying your best, you cannot stop looking at it and end up throwing it into your cart.

By reminding customers about their abandoned carts, you make them think more about your products and less about their budget. Thus, increase your conversion rate significantly.

Abandoned cart reminders to trigger attentional bias and increase conversion rate.

6. Vividly Describe Your Product – Availability Heuristic

The availability heuristic is our mental shortcut of using emotional cues and vivid images when making decisions. This tendency happens because those memories come to mind quickly and easily, whereas others take effort to be recalled. 

Knowing this tendency, when optimizing your landing page or product page, you should try to describe your product in a way that can easily spark your customers’ imagination.

For example, Method Home uses “marshmallows and puppies” as references to describe how “foamy” their product is.

Vivid product description to increase conversion rate

7. Display The Number Of People Using Your Product – Bandwagon Effect

Human beings are social creatures that dislike being excluded from communities. Thus, as an idea or belief increases in popularity, we are very likely to adopt it. This is called the bandwagon effect, our habit of following certain behaviors or beliefs because many other people do the same.

For example, people begin voting for a political candidate as they see others vote for him/her.

Although reviews are effective ways to stimulate this psychological tendency, it sometimes doesn’t show the popularity of your product. That’s why it’s a good idea to also show the number of people successfully using it.

Shopify uses Bandwagon Effect to increase conversion rate

8. Personalize Product Recommendations And Messages – Barnum Effect

The Barnum effect refers to when individuals believe that generic information applies to themselves. In fact, the information is general enough which could apply to everyone.

This effect is widely used in tarot readings and horoscopes, which trick readers into believing that a particular horoscope was meant for just them.

Similarly, you can increase your conversion rate and improve customer loyalty by suggesting related products based on their shopping behaviors.

Amazon personalized products to boost sales

9. Promote Your Product At The Right Time – Bottom-Dollar Effect

Imagine that at the end of the month, you have $40 left in your budget and still decide to go out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. Yet, at the end of the dinner, you feel less satisfied with the meal than you normally do. Your negative experience is caused because you associate the dinner with running out of money.

That feeling can be attributed to the bottom-dollar effect, our tendency to dislike things that exhaust our remaining budget.

Although the effect is not directly related to how you can increase your conversion rate, it gives you an indication about the right time to promote your product. For example, it might not be a good idea to over-promote an item at the end of the month. People would still purchase it. However, they might associate it with a bad experience. Thus, initiate refunds or less likely to purchase from you again.

10. Use Homophones – Bye-Now Effect

The bye-now effect refers to the scenario where the reading of the word “bye” causes us to think about its phonological twin, “buy.” When we think of the verb “buy,” it might increase our incentive to buy something.

To apply this psychological effect, consider adding the words “goodbye” at the end of your checkout page or emails. It might help reinforce the idea that your product is a good buy, thus increase your conversion rate.

Here are some other good homophones: Buy/By/Bye, Purchase/Per Just, Cheap/Cheep.

You might want to avoid these homophones: Poor/Pour, Expensive/Expansive.

11. Stimulate Purchase Behavior With Credit Card Logos – Cashless Effect

Next, we have the cashless effect. It’s our tendency to spend less money when there is physical money involved in a transaction.

On the contrary, when we see credit card pictures or logos, we tend to spend more as our brain associates them with spending money.

It’s relatively simple to apply this trick. Just add some Visa or MasterCard logos to your e-commerce store and enjoy an increase in your conversion rate.

Credit card logos to increase conversion rate

12. Watch Out For The Difference Between 500k And Half A Million – Category Size Bias

What is the difference between 500k and half a million?

The answer is the category they are in. 500k and half a million are mathematically equal to each other. However, half a million feels larger because it belongs to a larger category.

The effect is caused by the category size bias, our mental error to assume outcomes are more likely to occur if they are part of a large category, even if each outcome is equally likely.

Using this small trick in your product description, you might be able to leave a stronger impression on your customers when they land on your store.

13. Provide Fewer Options – Choice Overload

As a product owner, you might assume customers would be happier if they have many options to choose from. However, research has shown that this actually has an adverse effect when they make the final decision.

The choice overload (or the paradox of choice) describes how people get overwhelmed when there is a large number of options to choose from.

The most famous example of this effect is the jam experiment. On one day, psychologists set up a display table with 24 gourmet jam varieties in a food market. On another day, shoppers saw a similar table, except that only 6 varieties were on display. The large display attracted more interest than the small one. But when it came to purchasing, people were 1/10th as likely to buy from the large display as people who saw the small one.

So, the lesson here is to provide your customers with just enough options to avoid overwhelming them. In this way, they will be able to close the deal faster, thus increase your conversion rate.

Less product options leads to a higher conversion rate

14. Lead Customers From Small Investments To Bigger Actions – Commitment Bias

The commitment bias is our tendency to remain consistent with what we have said or done in the past.

Go back to the vacation with your friends as an example. Although you caught a terrible cold, you feel obligated to go because you have already invested your money into it. And, it’s the result of commitment bias.

E-commerce platforms use this bias all the time. First, they let customers make small commitments like adding products to the cart, entering basic information, and selecting payment methods. Finally, customers make the biggest commitment, which is purchasing the products. If they don’t make the payment, they feel bad for the time they have wasted.

Ecommerce checkout process uses commitment bias

However, we think if you could break those steps into smaller ones, you might be able to increase your conversion rate even more.

This psychological trick can also be applied to landing and squeeze pages. For example, KillerBoost guides you through a series of simple questions first before asking for your email address.

KillerBoost uses the commiment bias to effectively email leads

15. Show Reviews And Testimonials – Confirmation Bias

As humans, we actively seek information that can support our judgment and help us make quick decisions. It’s attributed to the confirmation bias, our underlying tendency to notice and focus on evidence that fits our existing beliefs.

To apply this effect to your store, the easiest way is to include reviews and testimonials. They serve as immediate evidence to help your customers decide whether to buy your products.

Amazon customer reviews to strengthen the confirmation bias

16. Quickly Summarize Unique Selling Points – Bounded Rationality

Bounded rationality is a human decision-making process in which we attempt to seek a decision that will be good enough, rather than the best possible decision. We are not inclined to find out all the necessary information required to make a rational decision because of our cognitive limitations.

For example, when deciding which types of cereals to buy, you might choose one that says on the front cover “sugar-free cereal,” even though others like Oats might be more nutritious.

Remember, you only have more or less 3 seconds to impress your customers. Therefore, when writing product descriptions, you have to quickly summarize its unique selling points to overcome the effect of bounded rationality.

Below is an example of a skincare brand putting its product unique selling points inside square brackets.

Key selling points to overcome the bounded rationality effect

17. Compare Things With The Past – Declinism

Declinism is our tendency to see the past in an overly positive light and view the present or future with a negative bias, making us feel like things are worse than they used to be.

Consider turning on your TV and seeing all the news is about violent stories and pandemics. You might probably think that the world is constantly getting worse and there is no help. However, let’s think back a little bit further. Would you rather be in this current world or going back to World War II? We overestimate how great the past was and overestimate how negative the present is.

This effect is beneficial when writing strong headlines or sales copy. For example, instead of saying “quickly relieve your back pain,” you can write, “Make your back strong like when you’re 18.” This triggers customers to think about how great they used to be, and hopefully, helps you close more sales.

18. Throw In A Third Option – Decoy Effect

The decoy effect is the phenomenon where we tend to change our preference between two options when a third option is presented.

Take buying popcorn at a movie theatre as an example. There are three options: the small costs $3, the medium is $6.50, and the large is $7. Without much thought, you go ahead and buy the large one because it’s a much better deal than the medium.

In the above case, the medium works as a “decoy,” an additional option added to nudge you towards the target, which is the large one. If there were only two options (the small and the large) presented, you would be very likely to think hard about them and end up buying the small one.

Amazon sellers also use this technique quite frequently to increase their average order value. Looking at the below image, you can see that the 40-Inch TV works as a “decoy” to incentivize customers to purchase the large 43-Inch instead of the small 32-Inch.

Decoy effect used by Amazon sellers

19. Add A Comparison Table – Distinction Bias

Let’s say you’re on your way to a supermarket to buy a television. “I’ll buy one that’s below $300. Anything above that is too expensive!” – You said yourself. Arriving at the supermarket, you see two models: one costs $250 without voice control. Another is $400 and works with Alexa. After thinking and comparing the two for a while, you decide to purchase the $400 one despite your original plan being $300. On top of that, you don’t even have an Alexa device at home.

The distinction bias is our tendency to overvalue the differences between two options when we examine them together. Conversely, we don’t pay much attention to these differences when evaluating the two separately.

Leveraging this psychological effect, you can add a comparison table below your product, comparing it with other similar brands. This would help strengthen the distinction bias and improve your conversion rate.

Product comparison table to increase conversion rate.

20. Create A Sense Of Belonging – Endowment Effect

Have you ever hesitated to let people freely try your product or service for a few days before purchasing? You’re afraid that you might end up wasting time and money because your customers just immediately return the product after the trial period.

If so, you don’t need to feel like that anymore. With the endowment effect in place, people tend to assign more value to items that they own than those that don’t belong to them. It means that when people feel a sense of belonging with a specific item, it’s not easy for them to just give it up.

Mattress brands are the best examples when it comes to leveraging this bias. They allow customers to try their mattresses for up to 180-might at home. If customers don’t like it, they can just return the products and get their money back. However, this rarely happens because of the endowment effect.

Endowment effect used by mattress brands to increase conversion rate

21. Reframe The Way Your Information Is Presented – Framing Effect

The framing effect refers to the way our decisions are influenced by how the information is provided. The same information can be more or less attractive depending on how it’s framed through different wordings and settings.

For example, would you rather have a surgery with 90% chance of survival or 10% chance of death?

Mathematically, they’re the same. However, a 90% chance of survival sounds much better because our fear of death is strong.

Another example in retailing is the way we offer discounts. For instance, what sounds better – a $500 laptop gets a 20% discount or a $100 discount?

Again, they’re the same. But, a $100 discount sounds much better. This is a commonly used strategy, known as ‘the rule of 100’. It goes like this: Any value under $100 is more appealing as a percentage and vice versa. So, 20 percent off a $500 good is not as appealing as $100 off.

Framing effect used in retailing to boost conversion rate

22. Create A Great First Impression – Halo Effect

Do you feel good-looking food tastes better than ugly food?

Most of the time, you would feel like that, even if you know it’s not 100% true. There are ugly-looking foods that taste amazing, like Kiwi or Oysters.

That feeling is attributed to the halo effect, a cognitive bias occurring when positive impressions of people, brands, and products in one area positively influence our feelings in another area – the “judge a book by its cover” effect.

It’s pretty straightforward to apply this trick to your website and store. Beautiful design, high-quality images, catchy product names, and consistent branding are factors that you need to pay close attention to in order to leave visitors with positive impressions.

Beautiful store design to apply the halo effect

23. Buy Now, Pay Later – Hyperbolic Discounting

Hyperbolic discounting is our tendency to choose immediate rewards over ones that come later in the future, even when they’re smaller.

Imagine you win a competition and get two ways to receive your prize: you could either claim $1000 now or wait for a month and receive $1100. The second option is obviously better. However, you’re very likely to choose the first one as you would like to have your prize right away. It’s the effect of hyperbolic discounting.

Leveraging this tendency, you can increase your store’s average order value by offering different shipping options. If customers really want your products, they will choose the fast one.

Amazon same-day delivery to strengthen the hyperbolic discounting effect

You can also implement a buy-now-pay-later model into your store. Because customers are excited to own a specific item, they’ll be more willing to make the purchase (immediate reward) without thinking much about the money (later pain) they have to pay later.

Buy Now, Pay Later model to strengthen the hyperbolic discounting effect

24. Implement Product Customization – IKEA Effect

The IKEA effect, named after the famous Swedish furniture company, is our inclination to value something more if we make it ourselves.

This psychological bias somewhat explains why parents love their kids so unconditionally. They have put so much effort into raising their children. Therefore, it just seems natural for parents to be that way.

As a seller, you can capitalize on this tendency by allowing customers to personalize your products. It’ll both increase your conversion rate and makes them love the products more.

Product personalization to improve conversion rate

25. Create A Sense Of Control – Illusion of Control

As humans, we love being in the driving seat. We want to control our own luck and destiny. It usually leads us to the illusion of control, a belief that we have greater control over events than we actually do. Even for something random, we often feel like we’re able to influence it in some way.

For instance, you might feel like you get luckier when wearing a certain T-shirt or bringing a lucky charm.

Because of this tendency, it’s a good idea to make your visitors feel they’re in control of everything. Factors like a clear returns & refunds policy, delivery time, and contact information are necessary to strengthen the effect.

Additionally, simple sentences like “You have full control over the payment process at all times” or “You decide how you pay” are also great contributors to create the illusion of control and increase your conversion rate.

Illusion of control used in an e-commerce store

This effect also explains why some “Pay what you want” and crowdfunding business models are even more successful than normal pricing models.

"Pay want you want" business model

26. Repeat Your Key Message Multiple Times – Illusory Truth Effect

The illusory truth effect describes how, when we hear the same misinformation repeated again and again, we’re very likely to believe that it’s true. Troublingly, this even happens when people initially know that the misinformation is false.

Take the common English phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” as an example. It’s widely spread among people when they were a kid. Growing up, they tend to believe that the apple is a magical fruit that can cure many diseases. However, there is no scientific evidence that eating an apple a day has any significant health effect.

As a product owner, it means that if you repeat your key message often enough, your customers will be more likely to believe in your product. Either you repeat it multiple times throughout your product description or through a retargeting ad campaign.

Illusory truth effect example

27. Provide A Free Gift – Incentivization

This next trick is also a pretty straightforward one. It’s incentivization, the use of rewards and punishments to encourage people to act in a certain way.

By offering free gifts when people check out, you can increase your conversion rate significantly.

Free gifts as incentivization

28. Space Out Key Information – Lag Effect

The lag effect is our cognitive bias to retain information better when there are longer breaks between repetitions of that information.

For example, you might find yourself not remembering a new second-language word the next day even if you repeat it 10 times in a row the day before.

The human brain cannot encode the second repetition of information at the same level as the first one if they are too close together. Therefore, to better deliver your product information to your customers, instead of clustering all key features and benefits in one place, it’s better to space them out.

Lag effect example

29. Focus On The Loss Rather Than The Gain – Loss Aversion

Imagine a friend offers you to play a coin-flip game. If it lands on heads, you win $10. Conversely, if it’s tails, you lose $10. Would you play the game?

It’s an experiment conducted by Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. He says that most participants expect at least $20 for the winning outcome to take part in the game. That is twice as much upside as the downside.

Loss aversion is our cognitive bias to feel the pain of loss twice as intensively as the pleasure of gaining. As a result, we tend to avoid losses when there is no significant benefit.

Knowing this tendency, when writing sales copy, it’s usually better to focus on describing the loss of not using your product rather than what your customers can gain from it. For example, “Earning $100/day with this secret system” is a good headline. But, “you will lose the chance of earning $100/day not using this secret system” is much better. The second headline focuses on the loss and makes people more willing to act.

30. Expose Customers To Your Brand Regularly – Mere Exposure Effect

The mere exposure effect describes our inclination to develop preferences for things simply because we are familiar with them.

Suppose you intend to buy a gaming laptop. After taking the time to research which one is the best for your budget, you still decide to go with Alienware. It’s a little more expensive than an equivalent Asus model. However, because you see a lot of Youtube videos about Alienware, you develop a preference for the brand.

This effect gives you an indication that the more your brand appears in front of your customers, the more likely it is for them to purchase from you. This can be done through ad campaigns, email marketing, or social posts.

Below it’s an example email to re-engage cold customers.

Email marketing to trigger the mere exposure effect

31. Leverage The Unknown – Motivating Uncertainty Effect

Humans are all curious creatures. We’re often more motivated by unknown rewards than by known ones. This effect is called the motivating uncertainty effect, a tendency caused by the excitement that we think uncertainty can bring to us.

For example, you win a competition, and there’re 2 types of rewards: $10,000 in cash and an unknown prize. Even though $10,000 is huge, you’re still motivated to take the second reward.

However, it’s important to note that the motivating uncertainty effect occurs only when we focus on the journey towards the uncertain result and not on the result itself. When we focus on the result alone, like taking $10,000, we no longer feel motivated. Then, the ambiguity effect may kick in.

Because of this psychological bias, using words like “unknown,” “secret,” “hidden,” or “weird” can help you increase your conversion rate.

An example of leveraging the Motivating Uncertainty Effect

Another example to leverage this bias is offering an unknown gift for customers who order over $50.

32. Give Back To The Community – Noble Edge Effect

Have you ever developed to like a company because you see them doing charity work?

If so, you’re affected by the noble edge effect. It refers to when a company demonstrates social responsibility that is perceived as genuine, it earns increased respect from customers, thus leading to greater profits.

A prime example of companies using this effect is TOMS shoes. its motto is “We’re in business to improve lives.” The company always strives to give back to the community in one way or another.

An example of a company leveraging the Noble Edge effect to increase conversion rate

33. Evoke Nostalgia – Nostalgia Effect

Another technique that can be used to increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaign is the nostalgia effect. By evoking feelings of nostalgia, you can increase people’s willingness to spend money.

Takes the success of Candy Crush and BBTAN games as examples. They incorporate old and new elements of the game genres so well that people cannot help but feel both nostalgic and fresh when playing.

A product that evokes the nostalgia effect

34. Save The Best For Last – Peak-end Rule

The peak-end rule says that the way we remember and judge a past event is based on how it felt at the peak moments, as well as how it felt at the end.

For example, you might feel like an exciting movie with a boring ending is not as great as a bland movie with a great ending.

This bias implies that you should always try to end your copy on a high note. In that way, it stays longer, stronger, and more positive in your prospect’s mind.

Apple uses peak-end rule

35. Use Subtle Cues – Priming Effect

The priming effect refers to when we expose to certain stimuli, they subconsciously influence our action later. These stimuli are often related to words or images that we see during our day-to-day lives.

In an experiment, researchers gave two groups of participants different lists of words. The first group was given: BEACH, HARBOR, and SHIP. The second group was provided with: NIGHT, MOON, and BLACK. They were then asked to complete the word: D_ _ K. As you might have guessed, most participants in the first group wrote the word as DOCK, whereas it was DARK for the second group. It proves the effect of priming.

Knowing this bias, you should take advantage of your site’s color, font, logo, design, and images to prime customers into certain moods or taking specific actions. For instance, green should be used for health and nature, red is for love, and blue calms your mind. Credit card logos can prime customers to spend more.

Priming effect example

36. Forecast The Future – Projection Bias

We talk a lot about how the past can influence customers’ behaviors and increase conversion rates. So, What about the future?

According to the projection bias, we often overestimate how much our future selves will share the same beliefs and behaviors as our current selves. This can lead us to make suboptimal decisions.

For example, researchers found that in cold and snowy weather, four-wheel cars’ sales increase because consumers overestimate their future utility of the car, not realizing that the weather is a temporary problem.

When constructing your landing page or product page, besides leveraging the past, you should also mention how useful your product or service can be in different scenarios in the future.

Look at the example below and notice how this product mentions, “You can enjoy quality spa facial care in your own home and while traveling. This kit will take up little space in the bathroom or travel bag.” It’s rare for a person to use this product while traveling. However, it’s the use of the projection bias and an effective way to boost conversion rates.

An example of project bias to boost conversion rates

37. Introduce Time Limits And Quantity Limits – Regret Aversion

Regret aversion occurs when regret is factored into the process of decision making, leading us to favor options that minimize potential discomfort.

A well-known form of this bias is FOMO (Fear of missing out), a social anxiety stemming from the belief that we might not have a second chance and regret our decision later if we miss out on an opportunity.

To evoke regret aversion, you can introduce time limits and quantity limits to your website and store. They’re like the last straws that encourage your prospects to act fast and can massively boost your conversion rate.

Using regret aversion to boost sales

38. Make Your Brand Stand Out – Salience Bias

The salience bias is our inclination to focus on items or information that stand out while ignoring those that lack prominence.

To be honest, it’s easier said than done to leverage this bias. There are already too many brands out there with different products, shapes, sizes, and styles. Therefore, your room to create a real impact gets slimmer and slimmer.

Besides trying to create a new feature, here are some simple methods we suggest you should think of when trying to differentiate your brand: attractive packaging, using words such as “exclusive,” “unique,” “weird,” offering exotic gifts, or combating the norms (Like, what do you think about a vegan restaurant writing a blog post about eating meat the right way?).

An example brand that uses salience bias

39. Focus On The Beginning And End – Serial Position Effect

We’ve already talked about the peak-end rule and how important it is for you to end on a high note. The serial position effect mentions a relatively similar concept. However, it stresses more on how you should structure your landing page or message.

The serial position effect relates to our tendency to remember items at the beginning or the end of a series and find it harder to recall information in the middle.

Thus, it’s important to remember this effect when designing user interfaces for your landing page or constructing your message. You want to put easy-to-digest and most relevant information at the top of the page, technical and potentially non-intriguing stuff in the middle. Finally, end on a high note with core information and actions customers should do.

Look how Shopify structures its landing page.

Serial position effect example

40. Trigger Social Standards – Social Norms

Social norms are “unspoken” rules about what kind of behavior people should behave in a given situation.

For example, in France, it’s a social norm to kiss each other on the cheek as a means of greeting. In contrast, you’re not allowed to do so in other countries.

By saying something as social norms, you can trigger your customers to try your product and use it more frequently.

Social Norms example

41. Offer Insurance – Zero Risk Bias

If you had ever bought insurance for an electrical device, you’re likely a victim of the zero-risk bias. It refers to our preference to opt for situations where we can completely eliminate risk over alternatives that may actually offer greater risk reduction.

In one study, people were asked if they preferred to decrease a given risk from 5% to 0% or decrease it from 50% to 25%. Most people opted for the first one, despite the latter being a far greater risk reduction.

In e-commerce, including a free return policy, 100% money-back guarantee, and trust badges are great methods to satisfy the zero-risk bias. Warranty packages can also work exceptionally well as upselling.

Warranty packages to trigger the zero risk bias

42. Tell A Story – Narrative Fallacy

Let’s talk about Tesla. We love the brand not because of how great the Model S is, but because of how interesting Elon Musk is. He is a phenomenal person with an abnormal mission, an appreciable passion, an unusual personality, and a great story. We want to follow his journey towards the greatest. That’s why we love Tesla.

The narrative fallacy is our limited ability to make optimal decisions because it links with a story. We rarely seek logical and comprehensive reasons to evaluate information objectively but often let stories guide us.

This bias happens on a regular basis, and almost every famous brand has a great story attached to it. So, try telling a story about your own brand. It’s very likely that your customers will develop a liking for your products.

Brand storytelling example

43. Rhyme Your Words – Rhyme-As-Reason

The rhyme-as-reason effect is a cognitive bias that makes us more likely to remember and believe statements that rhyme than those that don’t.

For example, many people believe in statements like “Fake it till you make it” and “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Because they rhyme, they’re so easy to remember and repeat. In accordance with the illusory truth effect, those statements are judged as truthful and accurate.

Here are some great rhyme-as-reason phrases to improve your conversion rate: “The best ahead,” “The best price you’ll find. guaranteed,” or “Get paid the easy way. By card or contactless.”

Rhythm-as-reason example to increase conversion rates

44. Be Careful With Technical Jargons – Curse of Knowledge

The curse of knowledge refers to the situation that when we communicate with other people, we unknowingly assume that they have the background to understand.

In an experiment, participants were divided into two groups: tappers and listeners. Tappers were told to tap out the rhythm of well-known songs such as “Happy Birthday” on the table. The group of listeners had to guess the song’s name. While the first group expected the listeners would recognize the song 50% of the time, out of the 120 songs, the second group only guessed 3 songs correctly. This is because the tappers know about the song, causing them to think that the listeners would know about them as well.

The curse of knowledge gives you an indication that when delivering your product or service, think twice about the words you use. Do your prospects know about some of the technical terms? Do you explain your product clearly enough? Is your site structure easy to follow? Those are some questions you should ask yourself.

Look how Trello explains its product clearly in a few sentences.

Trello avoids the curse of knowledge

And here is the Jira landing page. It’s not bad. However, it requires a certain level of knowledge to understand what its product is about.

Jira landing page with the curse of knowledge

45. Get Famous People To Talk About Your Brand – Authority Bias

Do you feel more inclined to buy a product when a famous person talks about it? For example, you love Nike because Tiger Woods wears it.

It’s the authority bias, the tendency to be more influenced by the opinion of an authority figure.

If you could get authority people or companies to talk about your brand, it would significantly boost your conversion rate.

Authority bias example to boost conversion rates

46. Utilize The Incompleteness – Zeigarnik Effect

The Zeigarnik effect, named after Russian psychiatrist and psychologist Zeigarnik, says that people remember unfinished tasks better than completed ones.

This effect was discovered while Zeigarnik was dining at a restaurant. She noticed that waiters could keep track of complex orders, but only for unpaid meals. Once the orders were paid for, the waiters couldn’t recall detailed information about them.

By utilizing the incompleteness, you can create cognitive tension in your prospect’s mind to make your message more memorable. Eventually, they’ll come back and finish what they’re supposed to do.

Zeigarnik Effect example to boost conversion rates.

47. Provide Outstanding Customer Service – Reciprocity Bias

The reciprocity bias describes our tendency to repay others who have done something for us. For example, you feel obligated to come to a friend’s birthday party if he/she has gone to yours before.

To trigger reciprocity in sales and marketing, the easiest way is to provide great customer service to your visitors. For instance, listen actively, respond fast, be helpful, or personalize your message. In that way, customers feel like they are being respected and more willing to try your product.

Outstanding customer service example

48. Introduce Innovative Features – Pro-innovation Bias

People love innovative features, even if it’s tiny or a silly one. It’s the pro-innovation bias, a belief that society should adopt innovations without the need for alterations.

Using simple words like “state-of-the-art,” “innovative,” “creative,” or “original,” you can trigger this bias and get people to remember and talk about your products more.

Pro innovative example to boost conversion rates.

49. Don’t Be Afraid To Brag A Tiny Bit – Placebo Effect

The placebo effect is a phenomenon where we experience an effect from a “fake” treatment if we were told it has that effect.

For example, a patient would recover faster if he/she receives a fake pain medication telling that it has a powerful pain treatment effect. On the contrary, if that person were told that the treatment would cause a headache, even though it doesn’t, he/she would be very likely to have a headache.

The placebo effect is a powerful tool. However, you should use it with extreme care. Don’t overstate things that your product cannot offer. And, brag just a little bit about what your product can do. If done right, it can help you deliver a more powerful message to your customers.

Using Placebo Effect to increase conversion rates.

50. Test, Test, Test – Blind Spot Bias

Finally, and probably, the most important bias on this list, the blind spot bias. It says that we can recognize the impact of biases on the judgment of others, while we fail to see the impact of them on our own judgment.

Because of this bias, don’t be afraid to test everything you have learned from this post. Even if a bias like regret aversion is too familiar with most customers, it’s still worth your time and effort to test and see how things turn out.

The opposite is also true. Sometimes, not applying any bias can help you increase your conversion rates. That’s the way the human brain works. And, there is no precise way to know except to test all of them.


At the end of the day, bias is bias. There is no guarantee it would work 100% of the time. And if it did work all of the time, we would have been quite boring creatures.

The most important thing to take away here is understanding how to apply human psychology for conversion rate optimization and test them strategically. Over time, you would be able to create an outstanding product that no one can resist.

Cohee Truong
Blogger | Website

The rightful owner of The Clever Business. I review & curate the leading suppliers so you don't waste time scouring the internet.