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Mirroring Psychology and How It’s Used in Marketing & Design

By Tim Brown
Updated December 17, 2015
Psychology Hacks in Web Design - Mirroring Effect
Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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The Mirroring Effect is the behavior in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. The concept often affects other individual’s notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others.

Remember when Andy from show ‘The Office’ is talking about personality mirroring and he goes to annoying levels? That’s not what we’re talking about here. I don’t think intentionally mirroring someone else’s quirks is going to get you more business. But wielding their subconscious desire to mirror human behavior around them IS something we can utilize within a website design.

Psychology Hacks in Web Design - Mirroring Effect

Show unique photographs of positive interactions on your website

By giving them an idea of what an ideal interaction looks like with you and your company through high quality photography, you can increase a subconscious desire to have that kind of positive interaction with you. You can see from my home page as I help people with web design in Minneapolis, I’ve actually filmed a positive interaction with me and a web design client. This is 100% authentic interaction here, notice I didn’t use stock video or photography, but instead opted to include someone in the business (me,) and a really customer/client. That’s how it should be, this gives people a real view of the value you provide.

  • Center it around a key value proposition.
  • Make it something you can provide that’s generally different from a lot of your competitors.
  • Don’t use stock photographs or video.
  • Show close up smiling faces and communication, to really get a visceral reaction/make the mirroring effect highly instinctual.
Show close up smiling faces/positive engagement to provoke a mirroring effect Click To Tweet

Share positive stories of previous interactions with ideal clients/customers

Don’t talk about the low value clients or customers that you use to sell to if you can help it. Feature ideal customers/clients that will help get you the kinds of jobs or customers you want.

This draws people in and allows them to imagine working with you and how the engagement might go. Whether you’re a lawyer, a financial advisor, or a realtor, testimonials are no joke. And give the people you reach out to full permission to be 100% genuine with their feedback. Of course if it isn’t all positive you don’t have to share it on your site, but generally this kind of unabashed description of working with you can do wonders for helping someone imagine they were in the person’s shoes – wrapping up a positive experience, or in the middle of a successful relationship with you.

  • Ask for genuine feedback you’d like to share on your website.
  • Build asking for a testimonial into your process once the engagement has been successful.
  • Provide links to your Google +, Yelp, and Facebook page and ask them if they’d take 10 minutes and drop the feedback in there as well.
“Sharing feedback from past ideal clients is crucial to help visitors trust your site.” Click To Tweet

Overall, display the trappings of a highly successful professional or company within your niche

Yes, I understand you might think you’re new or don’t want to overall over-sell yourself, but remove the “aspiring” from your Twitter profile and reach out and guest post on some blog’s in your industry niche. Join professional organization’s who’s badges you’d be proud to display on your site, apply for awards within your industry and do work that you’d be proud to enter, or be proud to tout as the best. If you’re new you may think that big dog’s have control over top spots, but with a bit of time and persistence you – fellow hustler – can outwork, outsell, and out hustle them.

Hard work consistently beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. - Web Design Psych hacks - Click To Tweet

So anyways, just as the person coming to your site wants to be successful, they want you to be successful as well. So show them past successes so they can determine you are the right fit for the job. As a restaurant this could mean showing your “Best of Minnesota” award on the site, prominently displaying raving reviews from Yelp, or any write ups you’ve had.

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Prominently display any of the following at your disposal:

  • Awards,
  • Offsite reviews from raving fans
  • Editorial mentions
  • Blog post features on other sites
  • Any other media mentions

Sell Products, Have a Book, Speak at a Events.

You’re an expert right? What does an expert do? You’ve got that right… they speak at industry events and use that notoriety to sell products, many time books on the same subject matter that they are offering a service in. Don’t sell yourself short, if you aren’t writing a book in your niche right now get at it. Start with a blog series in the arena of where you want to go and then start mapping posts as if they are chapters. Maybe you don’t need to do the full book this way, but it’s a huge opportunity to start building the content.

  • Write a book sharing your experience within the niche you want to be considered an expert in
  • Build a blog series to build up the content to include in a book
  • You can use this as an opportunity to write an “employee handbook”, of sorts as well if the book is instructional
  • Start a podcast to learn and share everything you can in your niche
  • Speak at any events you can get first, then build up ideal speaking engagements to establish your expert status

Feature as much of this as is tasteful on your site, showing your position as an expert within your industry. Don’t be overwhelmed if you’re not doing this, it’s about intentionally creating a strategy and moving towards it. No-one is instantly considered an expert it takes hard work and time.

This is all about showing expertise so that other people who want to be, or are experts in their field, or who in general want success will feel drawn to you. Effective web design is all about trust factors and creating a comfortable rapport with ideal customers and clients. One of the psychology hacks in web design is knowing how to wield the mirroring effect.


Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:


Psychology Hacks in Web Design - Mirroring Effect Click To Tweet



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Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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Zenna Healing
Zenna Healing
4 years ago

I don’t find it good to mirror others. I prefer to be genuinely myself.

Tim Brown
Tim Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Zenna Healing

Thank you for commenting Zenna. Yeah I’m not talking about that type of mirror effect – I’m referring to presenting a visual of people enjoying your product or service so that people will imagine themselves in that scenario.

Jon Schear
Jon Schear
4 years ago

Presentation is everything and this:
Don’t use stock photographs or video.
Though I try to avoid stock photography, using one for filler I think is never a bad idea.

Tim Brown
Tim Brown
4 years ago
Reply to  Jon Schear

I wish I had a business confidant that was amazing at photography for a decent rate, because I always need someone like that.

Jon Schear
Jon Schear
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim Brown

It is nice to have that as an option. I have a semi fancy camera myself, but even then you need to have a setup, edit the photos, etc. etc…so time consuming.

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