8 Psychological Tricks to Increase Conversion Rates for SaaS Startups

January 13, 2021 7 min read

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Does growing a new startup feel hopeless and impossible? We agree that the competition is getting really fierce, and it seems like every few minutes, a new app launches. But all you need is to understand what influences consumer psychology and be open to unique and creative solutions. 

Offering the product that best meets your customers’ needs, having impeccable customer service or optimizing all profitable acquisition channels already allow you to increase your turnover rate. But, to optimize your rate optimization (CRO), some techniques appeal to consumer psychology.

Here is a list of the most unique, profitable and actionable psychological tricks to increase your conversion rate.

Related: This Is How You Build an Effective Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy

1. Eliminate distractions to minimize the effort

Too many distractions hinder conversion. Each page must fulfill a unique objective with a clear and immediately identifiable call-to-action, only the that will allow the conversion to appear.

Undoubtedly, the best example in terms of websites is . One of the strengths of their design is to allow the user to grasp the purpose of the page immediately and that only the essential information is present (product information and purchase information).

When we visit a website, we often take part in an interesting exercise. Try to realize how many “cycles” it takes to understand where we are, what the site is for and what the services are behind it. We try to measure the associations of ideas that we must make to understand how the site works. For that, you will notice that the effort on the Apple site is minimal.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, every element of the page is analyzed by your visitor’s brain, and the more information they have to process, the more likely they are to leave your site. 

Eliminating distractions, therefore, allows your prospect to focus on what matters most and converts. Do not place unnecessary images or banners, avoid multiplying colors and try to desaturate your background images. Don’t be afraid to leave white spaces. It helps showcase your product.

2. Use simple forms

If you observe a shape on the left, you will find that it is more difficult to perceive than the one on the right. The reason is that it requires less intellectual work by the brain to represent the lines of each subform. It is easier to see a black shape as a single block, rather than trying to identify the three blocks that individually make it up.

Instinctively, the brain goes for the simplest and the easiest way, and this principle of simplicity has a direct impact on conversion rates. While this principle derives from the psychology of form (Gestalt), the physiological point of view indicates that the human eye has a strong preference for simple forms that are immediately and easily recognizable.

It has long been known that the more information you request from your visitors in a form, the fewer people will fill it out because it will require more effort and the brain always tries to keep it simple. Marketo, for example, increased their conversion rate by 30% by going from nine fields to just five fields in their registration form. And Imagescape increased its conversion rate by 120% from 11 fields to four fields.

The simpler your form is, the more conversion you will get. So try to see what you can remove from your form and then perform an A/B test. This will make sure you have found the right optimization.

3. Offer fewer choices: The Hick’s Law

Hick’s Law indicates that decision time increases with the number of possible choices. To prevent your visitor from leaving your site because the purchase decision has become too complicated to make, reduce the number of choices.

A study was conducted placing six varieties of jams on a supermarket stand and noting the number of customers who passed by, stopped and browsed and those who bought a jar. Researchers repeated the same experiment a week later, but this time with 24 varieties of jam.

In both cases, the number of customers who walked past the display was almost the same. But when they offered six varieties of jam, 40% of the people stopped, and 30% of them bought a jar of jam. The result … 260 people walked by the stand, 104 stopped and 31 bought.

When they offered 24 jam varieties, 60% of the people stopped, and 3% of them bought a jar. The result … 242 people walked by the stand, 145 stopped and only four made a purchase.

When we are given a number of choices, we seek to find the product that perfectly matches our expectations, tastes and needs, so the choice becomes more difficult. 

On the other hand, when there is less choice, we expect less from the product, the search for perfection is not as difficult and the choice becomes easier.

4. Focus on the psychology of pricing 

It is well-known that prices ending in the digit nine sell more. If a product was at $19.99 and the same at $20, unconsciously, we are going to compare a price whose number starts at one and the other at two. 

Researchers at the University of Chicago went even further, as they experimented by offering a dress at three different prices: $34, $39 and $44. And the best-selling dress was the $39 one, while it was $5 more expensive than the $34 one.

When our brain sees a price of $39, it compares it to $40, and therefore, considers it a good deal because the price is lower. On the other hand, when the product is set at $34, the brain compares it to the nearest 10 — which is $30 in this case — and will consider it a higher price, therefore not a great deal.

Related: Why Some Prices Are More Right Than Others

5. Introduce a “third” product

Researchers experimented on the choice of subscription to the magazine The Economist. Initially, the magazine offered two types of subscriptions: A web option at $59 and a print and web option at $125. In this case, the web subscription represented 68% of sales, and the print and web subscription just 32% of sales.

Then, a third type of subscription was introduced: A web option at $59, a print option at $125 and a print and web option at $125. The print subscription at $125 seemed useless since it is at the same price as a more advantageous subscription. However, in this case, the sales increased to 16% for the web subscription and 84% for the print and web subscription.

When you introduce a third option, your brain will tend to focus on the two closest options.

Large format sales are becoming the majority. The introduction of the medium format has made it possible to focus on the choice between the medium and large formats. As the difference between the medium and large formats seems minimal compared to the difference between the small and medium formats, customers inevitably chose the large format in the end.

6. Add an anchor price

What’s the best way to sell a ring for $2,000? Offer another ring, but at $10,000. The $10,000 product creates an anchoring phenomenon in the customer’s brain. It becomes easier to buy an expensive product when it is compared to a much more expensive one. (See: Steve Jobs’ example of The Anchoring Effect when launching the iPad.)

7. Use better wording for your promotions

A $10 product with a 50% discount is $5. Advertising a 50% discount instead of “$5 off” will get better results. However, consider a product at $300 with a 10% discount — choosing “$20 off” instead of “10% discount” will get you better results. 

Choosing the higher number between the reduction percentage and the discounted amount has a stronger impact on consumers. 

8. Increase quantities rather than reduce the price

If you offer 50% more product or a 33% discount, the offer will be the same. But, your customers will feel like they’re getting a better deal by having 50% more products. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found a 73% increase in sales of a hand lotion when they offered an additional bottle rather than a reduction on the equivalent price.

Related: 5 Key Tips to Improve Conversion Rates

Test and adapt these hacks to your products and services; they can turn out to be powerful psychological techniques to boost conversions.


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