The Psychology Behind High-Converting Landing Pages


So you have built a landing page for your site that observes the best practices to maximize your conversion rate. After having the page published for a period of time, you must be asking yourself – Are visitors clicking on that big button slapped on your page? Are they filling out your sign-up form? How are they behaving towards your page? Are they reading from top to bottom or do they bounce off after reaching a certain part?

Such are the questions that marketers ask themselves when developing the perfect landing page. It involves testing different page factors until you get the best results, which can take much time to track, measure, and implement.

To drive more customers and sign-ups to your site, you need the elements in your landing page to form an organic unity. Therein lies the psychology on how visitors perceive landing pages as a sum of all parts, which creates a positive impression about what you are offering through your landing page.

In this post, you will learn how to:

  • Utilize storytelling that allows you to make a compelling case about your landing page offer
  • Test which calls to action deliver the highest results
  • Leverage social proof from customers to help visitors relate with your landing page offer
  • Develop an opt-in bribe that will help you convert visitors into buyers or subscribers much quicker


Tell your story

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…”

The former rings true to SEOMoz (now Moz) as they published a case study on how they made $1M by optimizing the landing page to drive more subscribers to their (then) SEOMoz PRO tool.

Among the many takeaways from that study, one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is how they were able to increase subscribers to their tool by rolling out a long product page. This may seem to be against the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) principle, which suggests keeping information compact and easy to digest so readers could understand the ideas you are trying to communicate to your audience.

However, this does not necessarily apply to landing pages, which require you to flesh out information and roll out the details so your audience will have a better understanding of what your offer is all about.


(Image source: Conversion Rate Experts)

What SEOMoz did was to strategically include key elements from the video presentation made by CEO Rand Fishkin about the product into the landing page design. It helped the page to flow much, much longer than the original design, but it ended up performing much better.

By making a compelling case on why people should use SEOMoz PRO through storytelling, they were able to fill in the gaps about their tool and left no stones unturned.

What you should do: Lay out the storytelling framework of your landing page so you can determine which elements go where on your page. Seeing the bigger picture also helps you compose a tighter story which helps you draft a more persuasive case for your offer.


Make your CTA stand out

Within your landing page is the call to action, which is an art within an art.

Whether it is getting visitors to check out your sales pages from your landing page or getting your subscribers to opt in, an optimized call to action requires you to consider the following factors as identified by Conversion XL:

  • Design – How your CTA is located as part of the overall design of your landing page is critical to boosting your conversion rate. Ideally, you want to place it “above the fold” and surrounded by negative space.
  • Color – Regardless of your branding, you need to use the best colors for your landing pages that will help increase your conversion rate.
  • Text – You need to ditch “Download Now,” “Click Here,” and “Submit” from your CTA vocabulary. You want a copy that packs a punch for your CTA buttons for them to become noticeable on your landing page.

Ultimately, there is no precise rule to the kind of CTA you must use for your page. What you need to do, however, is to conduct A/B testing for different versions of your CTA and see which among the versions you created performs the best.


(Image source: VWO)

In the example above, adding three simple elements near the CTA button improved Overtoom’s conversion rate by 24%.

What you should do: Establish a CTA button for your landing page and create variations for variables that you can test. You must test one variable only for every A/B testing so you can pinpoint the factors that caused the spike (or decrease) in conversion rate. Do not test different variables simultaneously.


Use social proof

When choosing between an unknown product, do you tend to go for a product that the consensus likes?

If yes, you are not alone.

Including social proof on your landing page allows you to influence and ease people’s doubts by displaying positive experiences about your offer such as reviews, testimonials, and others. Visitors then find someone from the social proof that they can associate with before making an informed decision.

An excellent example of social proof as a way to relate to your audience is seen on the Codecademy Stories landing page.

Codecademy Stories Codecademy

(Image source: Codecademy)

A section of the page shows you stories from different people who used Codecademy to further their professional lives. For example, if you are into coding and want to learn how it works, so you can change careers, you may want to read the story of Saadika Alard on the page, who answers questions on how she successful transitioned from her retail job to become a programmer.

This type of social proof allows Codecademy, or any product or service for that matter, to appear much more functional and useful to visitors. Even if you are not a potential buyer at the moment, testimonials and other forms of social proof help form a positive experience of your brand, which could later result in a sale or sign-up.

What you should do: Email your customers for testimonials and reviews about your landing page offer and feature them on your site. If you do not have customers yet, send your offer for a free trial to a group of trusted people and ask them for a review that you can use on your landing page.


Create an irresistible opt-in bribe

The most efficient way to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list is to offer something of immediate value for free. I am not referring to the actual emails subscribers will receive after signing up, as they offer value in and of itself.

I am referring to opt-in bribes.

Popular among email marketers, opt-in bribes brings something extra to the table to sweeten the deal. If people are interested in signing up for your mailing list but have reservations, then the opt-in bribe should close the deal with them.

Opt-in bribes are rampant among list building campaigns, which is why you need to be creative to offer something useful and refreshing to your audience. E-books, white papers, and cheat sheets are great ways to get you started with opt-in bribes, but you will have to eventually up the ante if you want to get more subscribers to your list.

An excellent example of upping the ante is’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

30 day blogging challenges

(Image source:

The concept behind the blogging challenge is to write a blog that will help you increase your visibility. Considering the advantages of blogging regularly in business, the site has a clear value proposition that is unlike most list building tactics.

Also, the blogging challenge is a 30-day long e-course and not a one-off email. Within the 30 days of signing up, you will receive daily emails of blogging tips that you can apply to your blog entries and will help become a better blogger in the future.

To make your efforts sustainable, the blogging challenge will help you connect with other challengers through a private Facebook  Groups so you can share your blog posts and learn tips from others to help you achieve online visibility.

What you should do: Brainstorm for opt-in bribe ideas. As mentioned, you can start with e-books to build your email list. Eventually, you need to come up with sustainable and scalable opt-in bribes that your target audience will want to sign up for like e-courses, free trials to your products and tools, and others.



While most of the tips mentioned above approach landing page from the psychological perspective to increase your conversion rate, these are not one-size-fits-all types of advice.  Not only audience from different industries share the same preferences, so you need to test eventually whether the factors above contribute to the increase in signup or CTR.

Therefore, when building landing pages, religiously use the A/B testing feature of your chosen landing page builder. Doing so allows you to gain insights on what works and what does not so you can make the necessary adjustments to your landing page.

Got any thoughts or points to add? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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