design tip

Mention scarcity, trigger “loss aversion

Humans are not efficient cost/benefit calculators. We tend to overvalue losses and undervalue gains. In other words, losses are more painful than gains are pleasurable. This is true online and offline and explains a lot of human behavior. This article explains it well: Applying Behavioral Economics And Cognitive Psychology to the Design Process. This aversion to losses can be useful to web designers and copywriters. Here are some tips for writing copy with loss aversion in mind.

  • Emphasize the costs of not using your product or service.
  • Group costs together, list benefits separately.
  • Emphasize immediate gains.
  • Create urgency with limited time offers. If the product is scarce, say so.
Gently remind your visitors what they’ll miss, risk or lose by not taking action right now.