What is Online Sales Psychology?

Discover the 7 Principles proven to improve website conversions.
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It's not about design

Online Sales Psychology is proven* to boost your websites sales and conversions, in some cases, as quickly as overnight. A stage further than "Conversion Rate Optimisation" (CRO), Online Sales Psychology takes into account more principles and processes with testing being at the very foundation. If you aren’t testing your website on a regular basis then you are losing sales & conversions.

There are 7 main principles to Online Sales Psychology:

  • The irresistible characteristics of your Call to Action
  • The psychology and use of Colours
  • The 3 second Rule
  • The "F" pattern
  • Simplify, Friction, imagery
  • The Trust Elements
  • Testing, Testing, Testing
[ Read more ]

Everyone knows that having just simply having a website is not enough to generate you new business. Ensuring that your website is designed and built for conversions is often a painful process, your designer will want to add bells and whistles to your website, your programmer will want to add functionality and not pay close attention to the finer pixel perfect positioning created by your designer.

The greatest websites are those that are always constantly tested day after day, these are the ones that never stop testing, think Amazon, always striving for that extra percentage increase in sales. The success comes from one simple understanding: that your website is a living, breathing, sales & marketing tool that needs constant testing to perform at its peak performance and generate you the best possible ROI.

Through years of our own testing, running hundreds and thousands of split tests, we have acquired a deep understanding of what core elements make a website convert. I wish to share this understanding with you to empower you throughout your online journey.

Having a beautiful and fancy looking website does not guarantee you sales or conversions. Design is a very small aspect of Online Sales Psychology; in fact some of the highest converting websites that we have created are visually scaled back and focused on a core call to action.

The most important element of the 7 principles is without doubt testing. If you're website is converting at an average 0.5%-1.5% then why not test improvements that could make your website convert at 2%-3%?

What would this increase in conversion rate do for your bottom line?

These small percentage point increases compound over time and within 12 months it's not unusual to see results such as conversions improving 3-4 fold if the 7 golden rules of Online Sales Psychology are followed.

The 3 second rule is the second most important element of Online Sales Psychology. This is all about getting your message across, to your (typically) impatient website visitor. Keep in mind how people browse these days... Opening multiple tabs in their browser from the comfort of their own home, on the move, or even on the back of the bus with poor 3g signal! Does your website load in 3 seconds and hit the visitor with a clear Value Proposition that makes them think "This is the right website for me" and then do you take them by the hand and guide them to the next action/page you want them to take?

Taking your visitor by the hand is all about having powerful, compelling headlines and a clear, bold Call To Action (CTA). This is what's known as "The irresistible characteristics of your Call to Action" Typically in the classic "button" style, your call to action should be bold, use a colour that makes it jump off the page and include a clickworthy title such as "Click Here To Download The 7 Principles of Online Sales Psychology" as opposed to just "Download".

A strong call to action will:

  • Focus on your sites primary goal
  • Provide a clear directive to your website visitors
  • Allow you to measure and track your websites success

Also – Does your website load within 3 seconds? For each 1 second it takes your website to load, you will on average lose 7% of your visitors.

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Online Sales Psychology In Numbers

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It's about testing, testing and testing!

Testing is without doubt the most important element in Online Sales Psychology. There is no "one size fits all" solution. What works well on another website may not work as well for you, but the core principles apply and simply changing colours, text etc. and testing will result in a winning formula for your website.

When looking for double digit growth you need be testing 4-5 different versions of your pages and driving thousands (ideally tens of thousands) of people to your website on a weekly basis. To really hit the big time and get conversion rates of 5%+, you will need to be looking at testing 10+ versions of your page.

[ Read more ]

When testing variations of your pages we don't mean, for example, changing the colour of your button, although this does help. With testing on such a big scale (5+ variations of a page) some third party software such as VWO.com is a great place to get started. This easy to use software will ensure that you know which elements and variations of your page are converting the best. Having thousands of people visit your website on a daily basis will enable to make conclusions much quicker, however if you only have small traffic to website, say less than 100 visits a day, it will be difficult to run such large split tests.

Reducing friction should always be your main aim, especially on an ecommerce website. Friction is anything that stops and makes your website visitor think, whether it be too many clicks to get to where they want to be or putting up barriers such as pop up boxes or even having too many form fields to fill out during the checkout process. This is all about creating a website that does not involve your visitor having to think too much about what they should do next – Think about Apple products that do not come with instructions – That’s how easy and clear your website should be.

Some examples of friction would be having your visitor make any more then 3-4 clicks to get to view what they want on your website and clicking the “Buy now” button. Having your visitor take the long way around to get what they want will only reduce your conversions. Friction at checkout is one of the biggest reasons for poor conversions. The first point of friction is typically forcing your visitor to register at checkout, rather than letting them checkout as a guest – This can lose you anything north of 12% in conversions. The second most common point of friction during the checkout stage is hidden delivery costs. Up to 56% of people who actual reach your cart (not counting the traffic you have already lost before this stage) will abandon if your delivery charges were not previously made clear to them, (i.e at the basket stage) or if your delivery charges are considered to be unreasonably high.

Did you know that when our eyes see colours that they communicate with the brain which then communicated with different glands which in turn release hormones that finally cause a fluctuation in mood, emotion and behaviour?

Colour psychology isn’t an exact science and has been shown in studies to be down to each individual perceives the colour.

The colours you use should also be representative to your audience as an example Women prefer Blue, Purple And Green and dislike Orange, Brown and Grey, whilst men on the other hand prefer Blue, Black and Green and dislike Purple, Brown and Orange.

If you think about magazines targeted at women then you notice that they use earthly colours and typically have logos in shades of blue and purple and use a lot of green. Taking a look at men’s magazines you will notice that it is not unusual to see dark covered magazine with the use of lots of blue and red.

Colours not only appeal to certain sexes, but they also hold psychological values. For example tests have shown the colour Blue to represent trust and loyalty. The colour blue is also associated with feelings of tranquillity and security.

On the other hand the colour Yellow is often associated with warning, just like you would see at the side of a road or to alert you to a wet floor!

Some further examples would be the use of green, particularly if you have a business related to the outdoors or environment. Green is also used a lot on Call to action buttons as it typically stands out on most web pages. Green is also associated with "Go" and so has that psychological element to back it up when used on buttons. To convey luxury use blacks and dark "midnight blues".

As with call to action buttons, you must remember not to go overboard with colours and use them for a reason.

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Disclaimer: * Proven to increase conversions over a sustained 12 month period of testing