CXL Conversion Rate Optimization : Persuasive Psychology Review

This week, I was able to learn a lot about how psychology influences our buying decisions, and therefore conversions.

Yes, it’s my Week 3 of studying lessons in CXL Institute’s Conversion Rate Optimization Program. And it’s been really insightful.

Let’s dive in together, shall we?

People and Psychology

Peep Laja, CXL’s founder, is the instructor for this course. He starts off this course by discussing Cialdini’s 7 principles of persuasion, which I already tackled in my previous post. You can learn more about it here.

Fogg Behavior Model 

He then presented BJ Fogg’s Behavior model which shows three principal elements, namely: motivation, ability, and trigger working to influence changes in someone’s behavior.

For a change in behavior to happen, you want people to have high motivation, ask things that are easy to do, and set up triggers.

Now, let’s examine each element.


First, we have motivation. This is why people do a certain action. In Fogg’s framework there are 3 core sources of motivation with opposing sides: pleasure/pain, hope/fear, and social acceptance/rejection.

When we talk about pleasure and pain, these are primitive motivators. A lot of marketing and advertising is either geared towards pleasure or avoiding pain. 

Next, hope and fear. Hope, according to Fogg, is the most powerful motivator. When you have hope, you’re anticipating a good outcome for your action. I mean, to be honest, I got a lot of the courses because they made me feel like being part of their course can help me get through a slump. Don’t we love things that make us feel hopeful?

I think that’s the reason why there are so many dating websites around too. What do you think?

The last of these core motivators is social rejection and acceptance. Just think of this, being a part of an elite group of copywriters. Isn’t that something? Or maybe an exclusive fitness group?

We all want to be part of a group. So, it’s really important that we think about it when we consider marketing and conversion strategies for our business.

Remember, you can increase someone’s motivation through persuasive copy but they have to have something there or else, it’s going to be very difficult for you to convince them to make the change.


Now, let’s talk about the how. Ability corresponds to whether something is easy to do or now. After all, we don’t want our would-be customers to feel frustrated. Simply put, let’s make it easy for them to do what we and they want to do. (hope you got that).

They want single clicks and easy forms to fill out. Believe it or not, it’s actually easier to make things easy than to boost motivation from your customers.

Trigger or Prompts

As the word implies, the trigger is what calls people to action. It’s that little orange “get this now!” button at the end of a sales copy or a “follow me on my social accounts to get more stories like this” spiel at the bottom of a post.

Even if the first two elements are through the roof, changes in behavior won’t happen for the customer without triggers.

With the right timing, people will even thank you for these prompts. Otherwise, you will come off as annoying.


Types of Triggers: Hot and Cold

Hot triggers are those that compel you to do the action now. For example, “get this now!” or “buy this.” On the other hand, cold triggers are advertisements all around. They don’t really push or persuade you to do an action instantly. 

Fogg says it’s better to use cold triggers for people that have high motivation.

Persuasion Techniques

CXL has a huge list of persuasion techniques but I’ll just share a few that I feel we all need to know as marketers. Moreover, they share several tips to use these techniques to optimize conversions

Focusing Effect

This technique states that we can only focus on a few things. So, when trying to sell a product, you need to focus on your unique selling proposition (USP) (3 at most). In addition, emphasize what makes you different from your competitors.

Context-Dependent Memory

Have you ever gone to the bedroom and as soon as you got there you forgot what you were looking for? But as you go back to the living room and see your daughter, you remember “I’m looking for her headband.”

This s because you now have a context of what you were looking for in the first place. It’s now easy for you to remember.

You can apply this to your website by making your logos, colors, and fonts consistent throughout your site. These contextual cues make it easier for people to recall your brand.

Another useful tip is retargeting. If someone abandoned a cart, it would be helpful for you to remind him or her about it via email, making use of the same images in the site.

Facial Distraction

Have you noticed that a lot of big brands make use of faces as you land on your site? This is because we love looking at faces, especially those of celebrities.

Now, are you taking advantage of this? 

In addition, you can use gaze cueing especially on your landing page. Make the face look at your most important element. And for sure, your potential customers will also pay attention to this.

Attentional Bias

This means we give our attention to those that affect us emotionally. So, you need to use phrases and words that highlight intense emotion – pain, fear, happiness, etc.

I’ll share with you next time insights on how to use emotional content and triggers throughout your site.

As for the things that don’t persuade, such as privacy policy and terms and conditions, place them away from the center of attention. 

Forer Effect

Last but not least in my list is the Forer effect. This means that we relate to generally positive traits mentioned. It’s like the page is talking about us.

You can apply this to your brand by highlighting that your product is perfect for a certain group of people. And be sure to use an authority figure to back this up.

Final thoughts

I didn’t realize how huge the impact human psychology has on persuading people and ultimately driving conversions. I’m excited to learn more about neuromarketing, social proof, and emotional content strategy next.


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