Psychology and the Call-to-Action Button

June 19, 2015 • By



If you are a business owner, then you need to understand how to turn customer clicks on your website to actual sales for your business. This is a process known as conversion, and all it takes is a little understanding of basic human psychology. You may be thinking that you know nothing of psychology, and you do not understand how it could possibly benefit your business. We’ve discussed how creative advertisements drive interest and engagement however, in this article, we will discuss who Robert Cialdini is, why understanding psychology is essential to business, and the six influential techniques you need to convert clicks to customers.

Robert Cialdini and Persuasion

Robert Cialdini is considered an expert in both psychology and marketing. In 1984, he wrote a best-selling book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. This book discussed the six principles you need to understand to influence potential customers. His work became so successful that it resulted in countless other books, workshops and conferences based on the techniques, and billions of dollars in profit for countless companies across the world.

Psychology and Your Business


So, how can understanding some basic principles of psychology benefit your business? The ability to influence others has to do with understanding the human mind. Once you understand how your customers think, you will be better able to understand which marketing techniques are going to be most effective for your target market. Understand that under the right conditions, any person can be influenced. The key, therefore, is knowing how to create the right conditions. The six techniques that you can (and should) use to influence your customers include social proof, commitment, reciprocation, liking, authority, and scarcity.


One fundamental key to converting customers is the natural desire to reciprocate. When someone gives you something, it is a natural desire to want to reciprocate by offering something in return. The psychology behind this is that humans feel indebted when receiving something, and we hate to feel as if we owe somebody something. Now that you understand the principle of reciprocity, here is how you can use it.

To use this principle, you can do something as simple as run a blog on your company website. In your blog, it is critical to provide customers with informative and practical information, essentially, the type of information that can actually benefit them as they go about their daily lives. Eventually, to show appreciation for this information, the readers of your blog will be called-to-action and purchase your goods or services because they feel obligated to return the favor.


The commitment technique works with consistency, because humans have a natural psychological need to be consistent. Therefore, once a public commitment has been made to a company or cause, we must follow through with support. For a company, this means that the customer will feel obligated to commit to your company — by purchasing your goods or services.

You can use the commitment technique for persuasion by offering something that is small, usually free of charge. This could be a marketing guide, a free online course, or something else that relates to your business. Once they have committed to the free guide or course, it raises the likelihood that these people will see themselves as customers of your business. Eventually, as customers, they will feel the need to purchase your products or services.

Social Proof


Social proof is based on the psychological principle that safety is in numbers. Therefore, if someone sees another person doing something, they want to do it as well. This can apply to wanting to work late because your coworkers do, or trying a restaurant because you see that it is always full of people.

There are several ways to use this method on your website, however, one of the most powerful is known as wisdom of the crowds. You can use this technique by having users vote on the best products or services that you offer, providing information about your top-selling items, or doing other things that show potential customers what other people are doing.


You may have noticed that people have a tendency to obey figures of authority. There have been countless psychological studies done on this phenomenon, and all it boils down to is human nature. This means that individuals with job titles or uniforms have the ability to influence people- more so than others.

To effectively use authority to get a call-to-action from your potential customers, you need to understand your target market and your business. If you offer technical services, for example, you are going to want to be authoritative about your technical knowledge on your business site. If you are a man trying to sell shoes to women, you would have a much easier time converting customers if you pair up with a female who can market your shoes.


Have you ever refused to listen to someone’s opinion, just because you didn’t like the person? When you do like someone, it works the same way. Likeable people are more likely to persuade others. The same is true when you are trying to convert by calls-to-action.

There is a very simple way to become more likeable to customers — add an About Us page to your company website. When people see that the employees of your company are people just like them, they will be more likely to be influenced by your company. Remember; make this page friendly instead of focusing on the business-aspect of your company. A relatable About Us page is a key to becoming more likeable.



The final psychological principle you need to understand to increase your conversion rate is scarcity. When an item is less available, humans have a greater desire for the item. After all, they do not want to miss out!

You can use this on your website in several ways. If you sell goods, then you can install a ticker that notifies customers when there is a limited supply left. You could also offer a discounted price for a limited time, complete with a clock that counts down the seconds until the end of the offer.

You can apply these principles to every aspect of your marketing campaigns, from how you brand the storefront signage you design through Quality Sign Designer, to designing a television spot, to engineering your ecommerce sales and promotions. Understand your customers, and you will understand your business.