The Emotional Trigger That Works Every Time & Improves Conversion Dramatically

Nov 19, 2013

In the early 70’s psychologists Kahneman and Tversky had defined the term “anchoring”.

Anchoring is basically the tendency of people to rely on the first piece of information they receive and use that to make their anchor in decision-making. Once the anchor is set, all decisions are made according to it, regardless to whether it makes sense or not.

There are many emotional triggers that can be used to motivate users into action, anchoring is one of the most common marketing hacks used worldwide.

One of the most well known anchoring hacks was by Steve Jobs himself who presented the iPad for the first time.

While presenting the iPad he discussed its pricing and said it should cost $999 (note how long the number $999 is presented while Jobs keeps on talking). And then he says:  I am thrilled to announce that the iPad pricing starts not at $999, but at just $499” (and the crowd goes wild!) and the $999 on screen was crushed by the $499 price.

It worked. It didn’t matter if $499 was actually expensive, because it was lower than $999 – the anchor.

Anchoring, Anchoring Everywhere

You’ve seen these anchors everywhere:

  • At the supermarket where they have 2 pricing labels showing (as if “by mistake”) the older price and the current one.
  • At a clothes store when the salesperson offers you an extremely expensive suit for $799 and the tie to go with for “only” $199.
  • In online stores – “Was $119, now free with only $25 shipping fee”.
  • When buying a car – The initial price offered being the anchor.



Use Anchoring To Increase Conversion

  1. Pricing pages – have one pricing module dramatically higher than the other. This way any price lower than the initial anchor price seems more reasonable, even if the pricing is still high (additional hacks for pricing pages)
  2. On Sale – Try and have at least one product “on sale”, show the price of before and after and make sure to emphasis it.
  3. Limiting – You’ve definitely seen these at the supermarket: “on sale but with a limit of 8 packets per person”. This hack has proven time and time again to motivate customers into consuming more than they really should. This could be used online for example, with: “Invite up to 6 friends only”.

Numbers are powerful. Our brains hold on to them, sometimes for no apparent reason and use them for decision-making s start using them to your advantage. I’ll end this post like all others – test, test, test! The key to success.

Have you tried any of these anchoring methods?



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Talia helps businesses build and execute their conversion optimization strategies, using emotional targeting, consumer psychology and behavioral data to generate more revenues, leads, engagement and sales . Tweet to her at @taliagw