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9 psychological triggers that convert your SaaS visitors into customers

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

December 16, 2014
Last modified on December 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Three steps that lead to a sale? Grabbing your customers attention, making them remember your brand and nudging them to take action. Sounds so simple – until you realize it isn’t. Online competition is fierce and people are just a few clicks away from a variety of solutions to every problem imaginable. That means excessive noise, loads of advertising and special offers.

So how come some SaaS companies prosper in these conditions and others don’t? Well, as all commodity markets realize sooner or later, when customers are overrun by facts and the market is saturated, the emotions come to play.

Tweet: “It’s time for SaaS companies to learn how to use emotional triggers. Here’s how.” to Tweet

An emotional trigger is something that creates interest and appeals to things that people are hard-wired to notice. These are the things that appeal to all of us, because of the way our minds work.

Here are 9 triggers that science proved irresistible.


Stories are very deep in the human nature. We use them to explain, teach, remember and to entertain. We are programmed to respond to stories, as they immediately draw our attention. Stories light up the brain, activating areas that correspond to the perception of sight, sound and motion.

Stories go directly to the part of the brain responsible for emotions. This means that we respond emotionally to narratives – and the emotional part of the brain is also the one connected to our buying decisions.

Vero homepage

Stories go directly to the emotional part of the brain – the part that is connected to our buying decisions.

Vero, an email marketing software, used story instead of just listing the facts on their homepage – a very nice example of selling your service through emotions instead of being overly factual.

Tweet: “Your brain works against your wallet.” Discover 9 psychological triggers that make us buy.Click to Tweet

Sense of belonging

Human beings are hardwired to belong. It can only take moments to establish a group. People will prefer it over others, even if the group was formed over something completely arbitrary. This means that if the person feels like a part of a group associated with a brand or a business, they will show a stronger loyalty towards it.

Mixpanel website

When people feel like a part of a group, they are more likely to take action in favor of it. Mixpanel works with this trigger when emphasising the good company you’ll belong to once you sign up.

Instant gratification

People like getting things now. This is why words and phrases like “instantaneous”, “one day delivery”, “within 24 hours” have a magical effect. The promise of having something now activates the emotional systems in the brain and can push the person towards an impulsive choice or purchase.

Outbound website

Instant gratification is a powerful motivator, because it appeals to something basic in all of us. In fact, the whole SaaS industry was built around instant gratification – around an opportunity to try something for free, right here, right now. Example taken from

Tweet: “The whole SaaS industry was built around instant gratification. Try something for free, right here, right now.”Click to Tweet

Easy solutions

The option that requires less effort almost always wins. If something is easy and doesn’t require much effort, it’s more likely to draw people’s attention. Even one extra step in the buying process can make a person change their mind. Offering quick and easy options for buyers makes it more likely that people will follow through.

Segment's install tracking

Getting something without effort is an attractive perspective. One of Segment’s top sales arguments is “Install tracking for the last time”, significantly reducing effort for any analytics buff or a web admin out there.

Promising experiences, not just objects

It has been proven that people tend to feel more positive and get more satisfaction from the purchase of experiences, not objects. A powerful trigger turning a customer around is a promise of an experience. That can give the person stronger, more positive feelings of anticipation and help them feel more positive about a product they are buying.

Mixpanel's experience description

Mixpanel promotes itself by describing experience you’ll have after using their service, not features they have built.

“A powerful trigger turning a customer around is a promise of an experience, as illustrated in this article.”Click to Tweet

The unusual and the non-familiar

People see tons of information daily. The brain usually examines the new information through patterns to save effort. Most information fits with what we know and are used to. It’s the unfamiliar that draws our attention. Novelty acts upon the reward system of the brain. Seeing something new is rewarding in itself.

Appeal to negative emotions

Not all triggers need to convey positive emotions. Sometimes, an appeal to fear or guilt works just as well. There are different types of fear that can be used as triggers. Especially fear of failure or fear of losing something – opportunity, status, leadership. An appeal to fear can be effective when combined with a sense of urgency, a limited window of opportunity to avoid the feared situation.

However, the person shouldn’t feel too much fear or they will feel paralyzed. People should see a clear series of steps to take action. It can help them deal with the negative emotion. Guilt is often used by charities that appeal to the personal responsibility of an individual. Mostly done by portraying negative images of people suffering.

Mousestats website

Mousestats lets you see which part of your website is confusing according to your customers, so you can fix it.

Scarcity works as a trigger for several reasons:

  • It portrays the commodity as desirable.
  • It implies there is a limited chance of getting it.

Scarcity leads to a certain competition among people for the product or service, and a desire to attain it. The feeling there are few resources can be done through:

  • establishing a limited time frame
  • giving a deadline
  • putting a countdown next to it
  • by providing a limited amount of products
Route homepage
Email from Route

Scarcity can boost the ego of your customers too. Route to a marketing automation software says in an email it chose our colleague as one of the 156 people to beta test their product.

SaaS startups, want more customers? Read this.Click to Tweet


A little controversy can draw people in. It’s interesting to see something that challenges previous assumptions. This is a trigger that needs to be used carefully.Too much controversy can be unappealing and lead to unproductive or aggressive discussion – and push customers away.

Unified Social homepage

Unified Social pokes fun of other social media analytics tools simply by adding “seriously” to their headline.

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Growth Marketer

Andy is Growth Marketer at LiveAgent. Previously, he studied International Relations and Business Diplomacy and was active as a volunteer in the world's largest student run organization, AIESEC. Running, music and reading books are his favourite free-time activities.

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