The Persuaders – Design with a purpose.

Persuasive Design is not about manipulating users into doing something they don’t want to do. Instead, the goal of Persuasive Design is to get users to make the right decision. Designers can accomplish this by doing their best to ensure that users get all of their questions answered.

Persuasive design is about understanding the readers needs and their decision process and providing the information and tools to help facilitate a decision. We need to provide the information to allow this to happen.

If your selling a product, the design must have at least one photo of the product and full details of the reasons why its the right choice. Why should the reader choose one product over another? What are the key features? What do other people think about the product? Similarly, if you sell a service, then why should people hire you? What makes you a credible provider?

Persuasive design also focuses on getting a dialogue going between you and the reader. This usually involves some form of e-mail newsletter to keep in touch. With such a newsletter, it’s important to keep two objectives in mind. The first is to provide some value within the newsletter, so that there’s a reason for users to open it up and read it. The second is to provide a reason for them to link through to your website site – this is when you can persuade them to purchase or get in touch with a special offer or with new information or advice.

Persuading people to buy uses techniques that psychologists and marketing men have known for years…

It isn’t rocket science. Persuasion involves understanding aspects of human nature that are often automatic and work at a subconscious level.
Here are 5 simple ways to persuade people…

1. Show and Tell…

People look to others and will do what they’re doing, especially when uncertain about something. This psychological phenomenon is called social proof. People feel reassured and often make decisions based upon what other people are up to – the assumption being that those who have made the leap possess more knowledge or are better informed than they are.

You can increase social proof online by showing:
  • Most popular items
  • ‘Customers who bought this also bought’
  • Top sellers
  • Testimonials
Additionally, people will do what people that they like do (peer pressure)…. User-generated reviews can have a massive influence on peoples’ buying decisions. Social media is becoming an essential part of website design. Allow your site users to write reviews, comment and express ratings for products and services on your site or link into independant review sites like Trip Advisor. It’s free content for your site and web users are more inclined to trust what people like themselves say. Reviews are especially critical in sectors like travel and electrical goods, but they’re rapidly being adopted across all areas.
People generally want user generated reviews and if they can’t find them on your site, they’ll simply look elsewhere. There’s no hiding online so you might as well keep them on your site. We have used TripAdvisor on The Pheasant website, and it works well. The Pheasant is a great Hotel and restaurant – they have nothing to hide and have won awards for the number of good reviews which only goes to reinforce the brand.
Don’t be scared of bad reviews – people can smell sites that have been ‘edited’ a mile away, forcing them to simply not trust anything you say. Instead, be prepared to act quickly on your customers’ feedback, reply to the negative comment honestly and effectively. If the review is unjustified, appeal against it, explain to the review site and they may remove it if your explanation is upheld.

2. A Call to action…

Scarcity generates demand and encourages people to buy sooner. People want what they think they can’t have and social psychology would indicate that loss is a more powerful emotion than gain. So, a person who loses £1000 is estimated to lose around twice as much satisfaction as another person will gain from a £1000 windfall.

You can show scarcity online by displaying:
  • ‘For 1 week only’
  • ‘2 items in stock’
  • ‘Sale ends today’
  • ‘Out of stock – Add to wish list’
  • ‘This offer ends in 2 days 4 hrs 3 mins 17 secs’ (Count down timers)
Research on decision-making indicates that people value something more so if they felt they lost out on it, rather than if they never had it in the first place.

3. A picture is worth a thousand words…

Imagery is a very persuasive tool in increasing product sales especially for high value and luxury goods, so be sure to provide the best quality images of products possible. Images go a long way to reassure people about what they’ll be getting. We are expert in retouching and pulling the maximum out of any given image while maintaining it integrity.

Images should:
  • be professionally shot and/or retouched
  • offer different views where possible
  • show scale and context of use
With increased bandwidths, video content is accessible. YouTube is now the second largest search engine. Watching videos requires less effort than reading and offers a richer experience, so if its possible and feasible to show it in video format – do it!
Let us show you how …

4. Cross sell, up sell, sell, sell, sell.

“Would you like fries with that?”, “Two for one?”, “Buy one, get one free” etc etc. Once people have committed to a purchase, persuading them to buy more becomes easier – they already have a basket/cart with an item in it.

Don’t underestimate the potential profits to be had by up-and cross-selling. Display related items, extras, impulse purchases by the ’till’ makes it quicker and easier for people to buy more items – a clever tactic to persuade you to buy more.

5. The voice of experience…

We’re easily persuaded by those with authority. You’re more likely to act on advice on your golf swing from the club pro rather than the same advice from your best mate, wouldn’t you? Websites with lots of relevant information, expert advice and tips  show that they know what they are talking about and are trusted more. This is particularly important for B2B sites.

You can show authority by:
  • Showing you’re an expert
  • Backing up facts with links to 3rd party sites
  • Referencing governing & authoritative bodies
  • Displaying symbols and imagery of relevant authority

And then, before they finally commit to purchase, your customer needs to know you’re going to be there if there is an issue. What if they need to return an item? Are there any hidden costs involved? Customers WILL have concerns, they will have issues sometimes. You need to demonstrate that you have seen it all before, and dealt with it all before, if you want to persuade people to do business with you.
Answer their concerns upfront, quickly, simply and honestly – it will positively influence people.
Always make sure there is a contact name, address and phone number – preferably a dedicated number specifically for issues.


Persuasion in its simplest form is just giving users the information they need to make an informed choice. It helps them to trust you and allays any concerns they have. It’s not manipulation, its not unethical and persuasion will only get you so far. You still needs to provide a good product and a good service to guarantee success.

Why not give us a call and we can discuss your company’s needs?

We’re ALWAYS keen to talk about new projects and ideas

or via social media if you’d prefer…


  1. Vesh

    Thumbs up to this post! This is giving quite informative tips for selling things. Definitely a must read for anyone interested in creating a business online.

  2. Vesh

    I have been following this blog since a few days. I am happy to see loads of quality information coming up here regularly. Thank you for the articles.

    1. Miss Sunshine

      That is great, thanks for following our blog. We feel appreciated. We are happy that you enjoyed reading our posts and we will be happy if they help you in your endevours.

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