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Pretend You Are a Mute Salesman and 3 Other Tips to Help Your Landing Page Convert

by Demian Farnworth

We all love to see a beautiful landing page. The design, the colors, the grid.

But beauty alone isn’t going to make that landing page sell.

In fact, a beautiful landing page may actually suck at converting visitors to subscribers or paying customers.

To make it sell you need something more. You need to use some old-school marketing tricks. You need good old-fashion psychological triggers.

Let me show you four that have proven themselves.

1. Sending a subtle message with an image

It all starts with an image. Your visitor lands on your page and the first thing he or she sees is an image. And it’s critical you choose an image that resonates with the feeling you are trying to communicate.

For example, life insurance companies know that to sell life insurance effectively you need to sell on two emotions: pride and guilt. Pride that you have taken care of your family when you die, and guilt if you don’t provide.

Which image do they tend to use? Someone at a gravestone. That image sends the shock of a death in the family, and they’ve just primed the reader into the emotion they want.


Airbnb, a site that allows you to sublet your space to people around the world, uses a slide show of images that create a feeling of adventure and culture.

It’s pulling on people’s sense of pride. That sense that we want to do something exotic–and then brag about it.

2. Limit the choices

One camp of marketers thinks that once you have someone’s eyeballs you should throw everything you can at them. This is your only chance at their attention–don’t waste it.

This is the bazaar mentality. The outside market hustle.

While that may work on some European streets, unfortunately, that kind of attitude on a landing page will only cause paralysis.

A visitor sees twelve choices. Which one should he pick? Your job is to choose for him, and steer the prospect toward that choice with visual highlights.


SEO Scribe nails this with their design.

They’ve got four choices, but what are your eyes immediately drawn to? The professional version. You almost have to pull yourself away to look at the other choices.

Furthermore, this technique appeals to your sense of authority. These guys must know what they are talking about. So you’ll probably feel a little sheepish looking at–let alone getting–one of the other versions.

3. Pretend you are a mute salesman

Imagine you are trying to sell a car online. You write up some killer copy for it. Include a list of mouth-watering benefits. Add an irresistible offer…but forget to show a picture of the product.

Next imagine you are a car salesman. And for someone reason you can’t speak. But you listen closely to what a prospect is saying, and then show them the car that best fits that description. They slide inside of it, and take it for a test drive.

Now, who do you think will get the sale? My money is on the mute car salesman. Why? He showed them the product.

See, people will decide on a product based upon how it looks. If they can see it, smell it, taste it–drive it–they’ll want it.

This is easy with physical products. Not so easy with digital products. Yet, you can still do this with digital.  Just provide a screen shots.


SEOmoz gets this right.

Smack right in the middle of their semi-crowded landing/home page is a screen shot of what the product looks like. It’s a dashboard that helps you manage your SEO efforts and monitor your social media.

Click on the arrows and you’ll see additional screen shots, each one intending to build upon their desire of using and, hopefully, buying the product.

4. Take it for a test drive

My example with the mute salesman isn’t really fair because he added one other psychological tricks to his bag: letting the customer get in the car and drive it. That will sell a car just about any day.

The same is true for your products. So how do you do this online?

Simple. Give people a free trial.


MailChimp gives it’s product away–as long as you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. But that is enough to get nearly two million people in the door. And once they are in, people are hooked.

Of course it helps that Mail Chimp has some pretty stout clients: TED, Gawker and Smashing Magazine. This is a superb use of endorsements–one of ten idiot-proof ways to generate trust with your landing page copy.

Your Turn

Got any psychological marketing tips up your sleeve you’d like to share? Have you had any success using any of the above techniques? Can you share any other good examples of landing pages employing these techniques?

Would love to hear from you.

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Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is a freelance writer who hustles the finer points of web writing at The CopyBot. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.


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  1. Bryant Jaquez says:
    July 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Definitely provide social proof. Put logos of brands that you’ve worked with, or who have purchased from you and write a catchy social proof sentence like:

    “I’ve dramatically increased traffic and revenue to 20 major brands and hundreds of other businesses” –Neil Patel

    “When Startups, Billionaires and INC 5000 Companies Need SEO, this is who they call” –BrewSEO

    “Watch this video to find out why the likes of Apple, Sony and Google turn to us when they need help increasing their website conversions” –Conversion Rate Experts

    Once you’ve created your social proof “statement” put a call to action next to it, and track it’s clicks.

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