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Consumer Psychology for Conversion Rate Optimization #semrushchat

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Consumer Psychology for Conversion Rate Optimization #semrushchat

Liza Perstneva
Consumer Psychology for Conversion Rate Optimization #semrushchat

Psychology and conversion rate optimization have a lot in common. Conversion rate optimization can increase the proportion of your visitors who convert, as well as your customer retention and customer value. 

What’s beautiful about CRO is that it’s grounded in human psychology and behavior. Using psychological insights, you can make more data-driven decisions and achieve great results. If you understand human psychology, you can leverage the power of influence to delight and convert your visitors. But this is easier said than done. Some marketers understand that CRO and psychology go hand in hand, but they don’t know how to put a theory into practice.  

Therefore, we decided to discuss consumer psychology as it relates to CRO during our weekly SEMrush Chat. To figure out how to use the power of psychology to improve your CRO, we invited Talia Wolf to be our chat guest expert. Talia is a conversion optimization advisor, a speaker, an author and the founder of Banana Splash.

Q1: What are the key elements of landing page A/B testing?

A/B testing enables you to make the most out of your existing traffic. This technique actually allows you to make data-driven decisions regarding your CRO strategies. Your webpages and landing pages in particular should be tested periodically in order to ensure your marketing campaigns are helping you achieve your business goals.

We asked our chat participants to name the key elements of A/B testing for your landing pages. Below you will find five tips on how to correctly A/B test your landing pages.

  • Test your strategies

First of all, our special guest suggested that you should test your overall strategies, rather than your page’s elements. One of the main goals of any landing page is to help people understand what your company stands for. A/B testing enables you to identify how you can modify your page to achieve your desired results. If performed correctly, it helps you better understand your customers and grow your business.

  • Set goals first

Where you should begin your testing will depend on your goals. You should clearly understand your major objectives that you you want to achieve with your landing page. Once you’ve set your goals, you can test the appropriate elements on your page in order to identify which variation of your landing page performs better for a certain conversion goal.

  • Have a clear hypothesis

When it comes to A/B testing, a hypothesis is a statement that proposes that changing this variable for that reason will have this impact. In other words, a hypothesis is a prediction that you create before testing that states what is being changed, what you believe the result will be, and why you think it will happen. It’s a solution for improving your landing page.

“Make sure your landing page gets quality visitors [visitors with the right intent], gets into their minds and tests following those hypotheses,” advised Arnout Hellemans ‏@hellemans. By formulating a strong hypothesis, you can evaluate how likely your assumptions are to influence the decisions and actions of your visitors.

Test small changes, not complete webpages

Some of our chat guests also suggested testing some minor elements of your landing page, rather than your entire pages. Otherwise, you will have a lot work to do, and it will take much more time to get results.

  • Test some important elements

Finally, you can test some important elements on your landing page according to your goals, such as different landing pages’ copy, calls-to-action, images, colors and other things. Sometimes even a small change, like switching an image on your landing page, can bring about major improvements. Also, impact of simple changes is usually easier to measure.

You can find more on this topic in Ryan Lynch’s article published on HubSpot: “5 Landing Page A/B Tests (And Their Surprising Results).”  

SEMrush Chat Q1 Recap

In the long run, A/B tests can save you money, time and effort, if done correctly. Even small changes can have a significant impact.

Q2: What role does emotion play in marketing and optimizing websites?

Every day, we experience a wide range of emotions that influence our decisions. People often rely on their emotions when making various decisions. Long ago, marketers started using various psychological tactics in order to influence consumer behavior and encourage people to purchase the products they’re promoting.

Our chat participants shared their opinions on the role that emotions play in marketing and website optimization.

Talia Wolf believes that people actually don’t care about products or features; they care about the value that products and features provide. Marketers should ask themselves what kind of actual value their product or service can offer their customers.

“Remember, you’re not the hero of the story. Your customer is,” said Talia. Your entire marketing strategy should be about your audience.

Ryan Johnson provided a great piece of advice on how to put yourself in your users’ shoes. Many business owners admit that it can be quite challenging to think like their customers, but this is actually one of the most effective and practical ways to understand how your clients think and feel about your product.

How you will accomplish this largely depends on how your business operates. Nevertheless, there are some useful tips that can help you “become” your customer:

  • Call your customer service line to evaluate how your support agents work. Are they really helpful?

  • Visit your website and see if you can find all the important information you need and if you’re satisfied with how your website performs.

  • Talk to your users more: use various social media channels to interact with your audience, get their feedback and create surveys.

SEOcial pointed out that people make emotional decisions, which leads them to buy products when the right emotion is stimulated. Indeed, different emotions influence our decisions.

Courtney Seiter described this principle in her article “The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide What to Share and Whom to Trust.” According to science, people are only capable of four “basic” emotions, such as happiness, sadness, fright/surprise, and anger/disgust. Courtney Seiter takes a closer look at each of these emotions and describes what actions they can motivate us to take.

You have probably heard about the concept of emotional design. Today more than ever it plays an important role. Bruce Temkin of the Temkin Group even declared 2016 to be “The Year of Emotion.” He writes that emotion is a component of the customer experience that has the largest impact on loyalty.

People are attracted to things that capture their hearts. UX designers can use this fact to improve their website’s design. “UX has a lot to do with emotion – empathizing with the user and identifying their pain points,” explained Miles Technologies ‏@milestech.

Our emotions trigger us to make purchases. Often we buy not what we need, but what we like. People’s wants are driven by their emotions. These wants can be termed “emotional needs.”  

ThinkSEM ‏@ThinkSEM also believes that emotions play a major role in marketing: “Why do we (as consumers) choose one thing over another? Because we like it.” If you can identify your customers’ emotional needs, you can push them towards your desired actions.

Semrush Chat Q2 Recap

Marketers can play on people’s emotions in order to make them take desired actions. You need to offer your customers something of real value and stimulate the right emotions.

Q3: How can companies craft emotional strategies and triggers?

Every decision we make is based on various emotions – both conscious and subconscious. Today many business owners understand that the key to success is understanding human psychology. But how can companies use emotional triggers and craft an emotional strategy to enhance their marketing?

Our special guest advised going far beyond looking at quantitative metrics by talking to your customers, identifying their emotional triggers, building a brand persona and testing your unique selling proposition.

All the information you can get from this will help you formulate a strong hypothesis and conduct meaningful A/B tests. “Research your customers and build out personas to find out what makes them tick,” recommended Rachel Howe ‏@R8chel_Marie.

If you identify your customer’s pain points, you can reach out to and attract people who will truly want your product or service. You need to understand what they’re struggling with and prove to them that you actually care about their problem and can solve it.

Dawn Anderson recommended using the “help-hub-hero” framework in your content strategy. “Help” content is about audience engagement. It helps you understand who your core audience is and build a loyal community of followers. “Hub” content is designed to appeal to your existing audience and provide them with genuine value. Finally, “hero” content is intended for a broader audience. Businesses create hero content when they want to attract a lot more attention to their companies.

Dawn reminded us about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This fundamental psychological theory explains what motivates people, and it is used in sociological and management studies. But today, marketers also find this theory very useful for planning marketing strategies.

Once you understand what attracts your visitors, what they empathize with and how they feel about your company, you can create psychological triggers to make them take the actions you want them to take.

Andy also suggested testing different triggers and using UTM tracking codes to better understand which triggers sit well with your visitors and result in clicks.

What’s more, you need to understand how your brand or product makes your customers feel. Does it make them feel good about purchasing your product or service? Tailor your message to better address your audience’s needs and wants.

Arnout Hellemans offered a good piece of advice about using testimonials and social proof, which can dispel any doubts your visitors have about your product. But we’ll return to this point a bit later.

Let’s see what we have so far.

Semrush Chat Q3 Recap

Talk to and research your customers; try to find their pain points and test different emotional triggers to find the best solutions.

Q4: What are some specific ways marketers could use social proof to convert leads?

Some marketers utilize social proof as an effective marketing tactic to attract more customers and convert them into leads. People tend to trust other people’s recommendations and customer feedback – even more than any information that they get from manufacturers.

But there’re several important things to take into consideration when leveraging social proof in order to convert leads. Below we shared some tips from our chat guests on how to do this effectively.

  • Third party reviews

You can build your company’s credibility by providing third-party testimonials and reviews. By doing this, you’ll show your confidence in the materials you present. Third-party reviews allow you to showcase your company’s benefits and gain trust.

  • Social proof on your landing page

Using social proof on your landing page can be a powerful marketing tool. You can add short reviews or quotes from your happy customers and boost your credibility by including additional information about your them (e.g., their names, job titles, associated companies or even their photos).

Besides customer reviews, you can showcase other types of social proof, like case studies and social sharing buttons that show number of shares.

  • Authentic social proof

The social proof you provide should look trustworthy and authentic. Your reviews and testimonials shouldn’t appear polished. Otherwise, your visitors may doubts about their credibility. ”Don't just have five-star reviews, but also three-star reviews with great replies. Show the ones that are also showing doubt,” advised Arnout Hellemans‏.

“People like the familiar. We choose products used by people who are similar to us. Use authentic images and quotes in your reviews,” recommended Talia Wolf. She also suggested not including the same social proof on all of your webpages. Instead, you should spread your social proof throughout your website in accordance with your content.

  • Different testimonial formats

You can use different formats to make your testimonials more appealing and compelling. You can use images, videos, success stories and case studies to name a few.

Human voice and expressions convey more information and, more importantly, emotions than words. This is why video testimonials are a powerful tool for marketing. But if you’re going to use videos as social proof, you need to make sure that the people that appear in your videos look trustworthy and reliable, so your visitors will believe that they have the same problems they’re facing.

  • Social proof that shows off

We have already said that your social proof, whether it’s customer reviews, testimonials, case studies or anything else, should appear trustworthy. Nevertheless, if you have something genuinely great to say or showcase, say it or showcase it! Share your subscriber counts and number of downloads, your social network connections and number of social shares. You can also show or cite the news media that has featured or mentioned your company. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell people about all of these things.  

You can also show how many of your Facebook friends have already purchased your product or service:‏ “Show your Facebook friends that also bought your product,” advised Arnout Hellemans.

Semrush Chat Q4 Recap

Social proof can be a powerful way to increase conversions, if planned appropriately and skillfully incorporated into your other marketing efforts.

Q5: What tools could SMEs use for consumer behavior analysis and CRO?  

Finally, we asked everyone about useful tools for analyzing consumer behavior and converting customers.

Our special guest recommended using heatmaps and statistics to analyze consumer behavior. To test different emotional triggers and your unique selling proposition, you can do research and A/B test.

Orun Bhuiyan suggested looking at internal search to identify what people want to find on your website that doesn’t exist yet.

Below we’ve shared some useful tools that our chat participants mentioned.

Optimizely. This optimization platform provides website and mobile A/B testing and personalization for companies. With Optimizely’s visual editor, you can easily and quickly make changes to your website without programming and check the results of your tests.

Hotjar. By visually representing your visitors’ clicks, taps and scrolling behavior on your website, Hotjar heatmaps help you understand what your users want and care about.  

Rachel also advised Crowd, a business software review platform for comparing different CRO tools.

Banana Splash. This company describes its main mission as bridging the gap between what visitors are searching for and what website owners have to offer. By identifying your mobile visitors’ geolocations and their behavior on your site, you can optimize your emotional strategy and use the right triggers.

Google Analytics. Google’s analytical services provide detailed statistics about your website’s traffic, conversions and usability, as well as your sales. These services help you gain insights and feedback about how your site is performing. By using this information, you can improve your CRO and other marketing strategies.

Kissmetrics. This service tracks individual and group visitor behavior and provides you with statistics and useful metrics to use for analyzing and optimizing your CRO campaigns. With Kissmetrics heatmaps, you can analyze your website and understand what your visitors are doing on your site in order to improve your webpages for better conversions.

VWO. Visual Website Optimizer enables you to test all the changes you want to make to your website and easily check your results. The tool equally divides your website traffic among the variations and tracks which one works best for you.


Also, Reva Minkoff ‏@revaminkoff made a fair point, saying that you should ask your users the right questions on a regular basis: “Don't forget to actually ask your users questions. Focus groups and interviews – there are some things analytics won't show.”

Semrush Chat Q5 Recap

With all the analytical tools available, it’s important to clearly understand how to apply the information you gather to your overall marketing campaign. “The key to any tool you use is being able to track and analyze your results and apply them to optimize your customer journey,” explained Talia Wolf.

That’s it for today!

When it comes to conversion rate optimization, the secret to success is to understand consumer behavior and what your clients want from your company. With the right tactics, tools and knowledge, it will be much easier for you to get into minds of your users.

We would like to thank Talia Wolf and our other chat guests for sharing their experience and knowledge!

Liza Perstneva

SEMrush employee.

Liza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at SEMrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.
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