5 Ways to Leverage Psychology to Grow Online Businesses

Written by Zac Johnson
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I’ve been following the marketing niche for a few years now, and one thing that surprises me is how little attention is paid to psychological process and how they can help a business grow.

If you visit your favorite marketing blogs you’ll find various articles telling you what to do, without any behind-the-scenes reasons or explanation as to how they work.

For example, do you know why offering incentives as a part of your business can help it grow? Do you also know that comparing people/products to one another can be a good motivator when it comes to making decisions?

All these, and more, are what I’ve been implementing on my CPA Study website, and this article will be sharing 5 ways my CPA Study website leverages the human psychology to grow.

Before you continue reading, I’d like you to note a few things.

1. This isn’t in the marketing/blogging/make money online niche: For a few reasons, I don’t know why, people hardly seem to believe case studies from the marketing or make money niche. The CPA (Certified Public Accounting) niche is one a lot of us are not that familiar with, so I believe using it as an example will be a more concrete proof that the tips in this article works.

I’ve seen these tips implemented on other marketing and make money online blogs, so I’m confident they’ll work in other niches aside mine.

2. Not all these tips will be applicable to you: Two or more of the listed tips should be applicable to you irrespective of your niche, but depending on your niche and how you implement the listed tips, not every tip I list will be applicable to you.

I’ll make sure to explain each tip listed in this article, and I’ll try backing them up with link to psychological studies if necessary.

3. It’s all in the implementation: These tips might very effective at bringing in business, but it won’t work for you just by reading the article. I try to be as accurate and practical as possible, but the key to success is implementation.

Now that we’ve gotten the 3 important things above out of the way, below are the 5 tips for your use.

Tip #1: Use Comparison to Stir Action

When trying to get people to take action, do you know that comparison can be a very powerful motivator?

In business, effectively leveraging the power of comparison won’t only help you get customers, it will also help you create raving fans.

Comparisons can be used in various ways, and both ways are very effective.

Compare Products to Help People Make a Decision: This is important if you offer multiple products on your website, or if there are other websites offering the same product as yours. The solution in this situation is to compare your products to showcase the best one, or to compare your product with that of your competitors to let your potential customers see how you’re better than them.

Compare Results to Create More Dedicated Fans: The first approach is to get people make a decision about which of your products to choose, and this approach is to help people become more involved in using your products.

This is one of the reasons why having a study group is important, or why having a mastermind group can be very effective. People want to be better than others, and there’s a feeling of satisfaction they get from being better.

By comparing the results your users are getting with each other, you can get them to strive to be better, and as a result get them to be more involved with your product.

It is important to be careful with your use of comparison, though. By reading this article you will find out that people are usually resistant to negative comparison, so make sure you factor this in when making your decision.

Tip #2: Use Incentives to Inspire Action

According to data by Eisenberger & Shanock, 2003, offering incentives that emphasizes creativity rather than the incentive itself can be of major influence at getting people to complete a task.

Depending on your business model, this could be by giving them incentives to complete a task, to subscribe to your newsletter, or to make a purchase.

When doing this, though, it is important to make people realize the end goal; that the purpose of the incentive is to help them get your product that will help them get better. Your incentive shouldn’t be made to look like you’re bribing them, otherwise you’ll end up having a negative effect.

It is important to make sure your incentive doesn’t look cheap or like something that can be found elsewhere, but that it is of great value.

For example, at FastForwardAcademy.com, we give people an iPad for signing up to any of our classes, and since an iPad can’t be downloaded online, I believe this is a powerful incentive to motivate people.

If possible, make sure your incentive is physical. People always appreciate what can be felt and touch in the kind of world we live in today.

Tip #3: Use Social Proof

As humans, we’re designed in such ways beyond our understanding, which is why we end up doing some things despite our desire not to do them.
We want validation for all our actions, and we don’t want to be alone. Even if what everyone is doing isn’t the right thing, we’re more likely to do it because of the crowd, and it isn’t our fault; it is how we’re designed.

Social proof is a huge factor in getting people to take action, and it can be the greatest tool in your arsenal if properly leveraged.

There are various ways to use social proof online, and you’ve probably experienced one or more examples online before.

If you take a look at the header of this blog, you’ll notice a small chicklet showing that tens of thousands of people are subscribed already; that’s a great example that shows that a lot of people are involved already, and that encourages others to join. Believe me, it works, or it wouldn’t be there!

Social proof is also used on our CPA study website in the form of testimonials. There are dozens of testimonials that rotate automatically, and these testimonials help others see that they’re not alone in wanting to join; it helps them validate their thoughts, and as a result encourages them to make the right decision.

Also, social proof has been in use, and very effective, since the creation of the world. This article shows you how powerful social proof is, and why it is one of the top 10 timeless influencers ever.

Tip #4: Let People See How they Fare

This is especially important once you get people to commit and want them to take action.

The common fallacy out there is that people will do more when obsessed about their goals, but the reality is that this can be very overwhelming and as a result cripple people’s desire to really act.

What other solution can there be aside from getting people to set goals? Well, it’s simple; let them know how they fare.

Yep, don’t tell them to set huge goals and visualize their success. Show them the process they’re going through on their way to success, and encourage them to keep it up.

Letting people see how they fare on their journey to success will serve as a more powerful motivator than setting goals.

This fact can be confirmed by this study by Pham and Taylor (1999).

Tip #5: Leverage Feedback

Another key to success that we leverage that is often ignored is feedback.

Feedback is a very powerful tool that a lot of business owners ignore.

Most people are only concerned with getting customers, and then ignore the whole process after that.

Customer acquisition isn’t all there is to business success; letting people know how they fare is equally important.

There is nothing worse than working hard without knowing where you stand.

Feedback is important and giving people feedback as to where they stand and how to improve can be a very important motivator as far as success is concerned.


If you want to succeed in business, whether you’re a blogger, a website owner, or an internet marketer, you need to realize that successful marketing isn’t just about driving traffic. It is about getting customers and making them happy.

What better way is there to make your customers happy than to give them the results they desire before joining you in the first place?

The above are 5 psychological process involved in growing my business; I hope they can be of some help to you.

This guest post was written by John from Fast Forward Academy.

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5 Replies to “5 Ways to Leverage Psychology to Grow Online Businesses”

  1. Awesome post. I like using the comparison tactic for the same product. For instance you can offer inclusion in a business directory for $10 per year, or $20 for lifetime. Most people will then jump at the $20 deal, and feel they have got a really good bargain.
    My recent post Comment on Article Marketing Vs Guest Blogging by jonrhodesuk

  2. Like Jon said love the comparison tactic. You gave a lot of great info. I like your other site also. By the way do you plan to go to the Blog World Las Vegas show this fall ?

  3. I believe in social proofs before, but the problem is getting the numbers. Like you have stated on your article, you have more than 10,+++ subscribers. It is very hard to get that number and most people who had succeeded online are those big shots who can generate enough money to pay for some marketing for their sites.
    My recent post Healthy lifestyle helps a person to get out of that depressed state

  4. I believe that bargaining some of the products helps you to gain more buyers. But all of business people must include too how trusty your company is and your relationships with them. And this is one of a good example tips that we must apply when you're on those track.
    My recent post help with my realtionship

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