UX Persuasion Tactics

There is a whole field of psychology dedicated to learning how to get a “Yes”.  On top of that, there’s the experience of thousands of entrepreneurs and businesspeople.  Add all this together, and you get solid, actionable principles that you can employ on your site to boost your conversions.  Here are the best techniques.


Things seem more valuable to us when they are scarce.  This taps into loss aversion – people are often more motivated by losing something than by gaining something of equivalent value.  A classic implementation is to have a limited time sale, but make this salient on you site, with a countdown timer, or an egg timer, for example.


Competition for a scarce product further increases the desire to buy.  So you could have a limited number of sales at a discount price, rather than limited time.  Check out Amazon Lightning Deals for a great implementation of this.

Social Proof

We assign greater value to things that other people like.  Make your products seem popular by showcasing high sales figures, and using testimonials.  Try to get testimonials from high-status people in your niche — a doctor endorsing diet pills, for instance.

The Decoy Effect

Say you have two products of a certain kind that are basically equivalent in value: a holiday to Madrid, and a holiday to Rome.  Now, introduce a third option – the same holiday to Madrid, except the hotel is 2 star instead of 4 star.  This “decoy” will push people towards the Madrid holiday.  The act of judging it as better than another option – any option –  makes it feel more valuable.


You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours – people feel a psychological pressure to return a favour.  You can use this by having excellent support, replying to emails and blog comments promptly and thoroughly, and by giving away free content on your site.

Endowed Progress

People feel a strong urge to complete tasks that they have started.  So if you’re selling a book, give the first chapter away free, if you’re selling an online course, give the first lesson for free.  Coffee shops often give you a free first stamp on their loyalty cards for this reason.

Hyperbolic Discounting

This refers to the human tendency to “discount” the value of things in the future, so £14.99 now feels more valuable than the same amount in the future.  The application of this is simple: delayed payment.  Netflix uses this well – you sign up now, but your payments start next month.


You might not be able to use all of these techniques in your business, but implement any that you can, and track the impact on your conversions.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.