Use pressure tactics to motivate users

Business benefits

Improve your conversion rate and decrease time to decision.

Review your website’s UX and messaging for errors and problems that induce stress. Remove these to focus the user’s attention and hit the right stress levels.

For most people, too little stress equals a lack of action. However, too much stress can do the same thing. A person who’s overanxious struggles to concentrate and focus, so they’re not receptive to learning or doing a specific task.

The happy medium is called eustress, where the level of cortisol in a person’s brain provides just enough stress to motivate them to action.

Use time limits to increase your audience’s sense of urgency.

In this pressure tactic, the negative consequence of missing out causes users to act. Examples include limited-time sales and a countdown clock to register before the start of an important event.

However, false or dishonest time pressures can cause your audience to become resentful and reduces brand credibility significantly. For example, if a sales timer resets when a user switches to incognito browsing online, that user will be less likely to believe messages from that seller in the future.

Use quantity limiters to increase your users’ perceived need to act quickly.

For example, show how many items are left in stock on a product page to motivate users to buy the product rather than taking time to consider their purchase.

Use purchase updates to put your audience in a competitive situation when making a buying decision.

People act faster when they think that they are in a direct competition with others for the same products. For example, Zillow’s number of saves on a property, or a travel website’s X people booked this hotel in the last 48 hours can put positive pressure on the audience to act quickly and decisively.

Check that your pressure messaging is honest and can be shown to be based on real data.

People get resentful when they realize that a company is using fake pressure to push them into a decision. You can end up losing not just the sale, but the whole relationship.