The Psychology Behind Lead Generation Quizzes: How to Build Trust and an Email List at the Same Time - Chanti Zak - Copywriter & Funnel Strategist

Let’s daydream for a sec — if you could travel back in time and fill your twelve-year-old self in on your current career, what would they say? Would they do a happy dance à la Snoopy, maybe offer you half their Capri-Sun as a heart-felt congrats?

Or would they save their excitement for a friend’s upcoming birthday party and serve you some seriously underwhelmed side-eye instead…

Little girl looking confused because she just found out Chanti writes lead and sale generating quizzes.

Yeah if that last bit resonated, you’re definitely not alone.

On finding out that I make my moolah writing lead-generating quizzes for rockstar businesses, pre-teen Chanti would probably throw her sparkly butterfly clips and Watermelon Lip Smackers at me 🙅‍♀️

Then she might flop down on her fuzzy pink carpet, pout a bit, and say something like “ugh that doesn’t sound half as fun as being an ultra-famous celebrity — way to let down the team.

Okay, harsh, but I kind of get the frustration…

I don’t admit this often, but as a tween, my professional goals involved a record deal, paparazzi, and a sea of adoring fans, which might explain my ongoing fascination with Paris Hilton (if you missed that ride of a blog post, catch yourself up here).

But confident as I was in my forthcoming glory and fortune, my parents weren’t 100% convinced. They told me I was just full of myself. That I had a big ego. That I couldn’t sing (jerks). Whatever *cue eye-roll and a shrug.*

Maybe a sibling or elementary school bully told you that as a kid, too. Or maybe you’ve had friends who can’t get enough of gossiping about one another’s big egos. Or your current partner’s ego. Your dog’s ego. 

Ego, ego, ego — the word gets thrown around a lot, and usually it’s not meant as a compliment…

But saying someone has an ego is just basic psychology. After all, humans are wired to have a sense of self — neurologists have even narrowed down the parts of the brain responsible for this unique ability: the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the medial prefrontal cortex.

And, at the risk of sounding like Bill Nye the Science Guy, I think that’s pretty darn mind-blowing.

Bill Nye the Science Guy gesturing that his mind is blown by the psychology behind ego and how it can help entrepreneurs generate qualified leads and sales.

Maybe you’re sitting behind your screen with a chilled glass of La Croix thinking something like Slow your roll, Chanti, you still haven’t said anything about how I can use all this ego stuff to score qualified leads and sales.

I hear you — here’s a quick bit of reassurance: once you understand what a huge role ego plays in your audience’s decision-making process, you’ll be able to pick your lead magnet with total confidence because there’s only one real, psychology-backed option: a quiz.

But before we get into that juicy stuff, I’ve got a question for you:

🎶 Swing it, shake it, move it, make it — who do you think you are? 🎶

The Spice Girls’ 1996 song was a certified platinum hit, so they deserve some credit here, BUT they were far from the first ones to ask this sort of existential Q…

Who am I?

... What is my real nature or identity?

... What’s my purpose in life?

Those big, burdensome questions have been around just about as long as humankind, and there are a gajillion different answers to them floating around out there.

If you’ve ever taken a university-level psychology course (or watched A Dangerous Method) you’re probably on speaking terms with this guy:

Sigmund Freud hypnotizing a cat with a pocket watch to introduce ego and its role in generating qualified leads and sales.

Though Sigmund Freud didn’t (as far as I know) hypnotize cats with pocket watches, he did do some other pretty interesting stuff – like write a book that transformed the way thousands of peeps thought about their own identities… Okay, not bad.

To break it down, Freud believed the self is made up of 3 parts: the id, ego, and superego.

The id refers to our supposedly animalistic impulses for sex, violence, and lots of snacks. That urge you get to throw your phone when you read a headline about the island of plastic between California and Hawaii? That’s the id.

And if the id is the devil on your shoulder, the angel is your superego. It’s a stickler for society’s rigid codes of conduct and wants you to follow the rules whether or not you actually agree with them 24/7. 

Between these polar opposites is the humble, much hated-on ego, who has the hefty responsibility of balancing your impulses for chaos and order and making sense of your reality.

According to Freud, our egos are the only part of our consciousness we’re ever aware of — it’s the part of ourselves we refer to when we say “I.” Fun fact: despite its negative connotations, ‘ego’ is just Latin for ‘I.’

By the mid-20th century, though, ego became pretty much synonymous with self-centeredness. And that’s sort of how I took it when my parents stepped on my celebrity aspirations, but my perspective shifted after reading Eckhart Tolle…

“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. ‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that.” — Eckhart Tolle

In A New Earth, Tolle writes that ego is a projection of everything — positive or negative, desirable or disadvantageous — that we believe about ourselves: our judgments, conditioning, and beliefs based on our experiences and social programming. 

And you don’t have to be super into new age spirituality to believe in that version of the self, either because it’s backed up by narrative psychologists. 

They view identity as a collection of tales we tell about ourselves. Whether or not they are objectively true, our stories offer us a sense of order and purpose (for more, check out this article from The Atlantic). Plus we get a nice little boost of self-assurance from positioning ourselves as heroes…

Man saying "You're my hero" because your about to start generating qualified leads and sales.

Speaking of which, you just made it through the most factoid dense section of this article 🙌 If that isn’t heroic, I don’t know what is! 

Pour yourself another glass of that La Croix *or whatever bevvy you may be sipping* and get comfy because we’re about to go a bit deeper into the ego and why it’s key to creating a lead generation quiz that connects and converts…

The confirmation bias and why it’s so hard to stop pigeonholing yourself

That big, beautiful brain of yours wants more than anything to streamline your sense of self. It tends to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information or memories that align with your existing beliefs. This phenomenon is called the confirmation bias, and it’s somewhat of a double-edged sword.

Par exemple, if you believe you’re a fundamentally good person, you’re likely to hold onto previous experiences that support that, but the same applies if you’ve got a negative self-image, too.

Say you consider yourself a socially-awkward person, it might be easier to remember flubbing your end-of-term speech way back in high school than how suave you were at that boujee dinner party last Saturday.

Thanks your posterior medial prefrontal cortex for that one…

So what’s the takeaway? We’re constantly searching for evidence that proves the positive and negative things we hold true about ourselves. If you can already see how a lead generation quiz perfectly compliments that psychological trait, kudos, but there’s one more thing to take into consideration.

Digital disconnection and why we’re more hungry than ever for a sense of self

Here’s the thing — with so much of our life moving online, it’s difficult to find genuine confirmation of our true identities. 

The big tech companies *cough cough Facebook* want us to believe that social media fosters our sense of community, but it often feels like it does the exact opposite (if you want to know more, watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix).

This is partly because while we may be gaining followers and subscribers, the connections we make online are rarely authentic.

“Connecting with others is a sense of being open and available to another person, even as you feel they are open and available to you.” — Sheri Jacobson

And although Instagram and Facebook mean we’re constantly being seen, your customers and clients likely don’t feel seen. Part of this is because so much of the marketing out there is disingenuous.

Because it’s not personal, it’s one size fits all and doesn’t often speak to their unique qualities, desires, and struggles as a human being.

I’m not here by any means to hate on the Internet. As someone who built her biz entirely online, I owe a lot to the digital world. And while it can be used in unhealthy ways, I think a lot of good can come from it, too…

Speaking of which, I think it’s time to switch gears from psychology to how it influences your ability to build an audience that loves you.

First, here’s a little recap of what we’ve talked about so far: humans have a built-in need to see ourselves in a positive or negative light, and we seek evidence to confirm that. We’re also looking for genuine connections in an online world where most marketing feels inauthentic, cookie-cutter, and blatantly self-serving. 

This cocktail of needs and environmental shortcomings helps explain why quizzes are the superstars of lead generation.

How a lead generation quiz can connect you with your ideal customers and clients

If you’ve read this far, I probably don’t need to tell you just how popular online quizzes are. Back in 2014, a few media outlets interviewed psychologists about the recent surge of BuzzFeed quizzes, and they linked their M&M’s level addicting quality to many of the topics we chatted about above. 

As Dr. Robert Simmermon told the Huffington Post ” into our own ongoing developing narrative and it gives some credence of ourselves as heroes of our own story.” 

But while those kinds of viral quizzes are a fun way to kill time, they still fall into the category of anti-social media — they don’t foster a connection that feels authentic. 

Because their questions don’t often correlate with their results, they offer strange, seemingly random insights (which is a quick way to lose your audience’s trust). On top of that, they’re rarely longer than a sentence or two.

They don’t help you solve problems or offer curated resources like what I recommend using quizzes for and they barely connect on a personal level.

So how do you actually win over your ideal customers and clients and generate leads and sales using a quiz?

One way is to engage your quiz-taker’s ego and confirmation bias by framing their results positively and reinforcing what they already believe to be true BEFORE ever trying to convince them of something new.

Maybe you’ve heard of the hero’s journey before… If not, it’s a literary trope where a character goes on an adventure, is victorious in a crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.

Both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are pretty iconic examples. 

Bilbo excited because he's about to set out on a lead generating adventure.

👆 After reading their results, you want your quiz-taker to feel like Bilbo, ready to set out and slay their dragons.

So maybe you’re wondering how to put that into practice and start leaning into those psychological nuances… Well, your quiz results pages can do a lot of heavy lifting in that department.

3 results page must-haves for your lead generating quiz 

  1. An ego boosting section 

Okay so remember when we talked about the confirmation bias? It can go both ways in terms of positive or negative beliefs, but in the case of your quiz stick with the positive. Make your quiz takers feel good about themselves, remind them why they’re awesome. 

Cognitive bias isn’t the only psychological phenom at play here, there are other biases we have that encourage us to seek out evidence when someone shares something positive about our character. 

Imagine taking a quiz and being met with the result that tells you all the ways you’re failing. Those negative emotions your quiz taker feels when their character is called into question will become associated with your brand. That’s not to say you can’t eventually go there and help, but start with the good stuff and build trust first. 

As Maya Angelou said: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  1. Accuracy 

This is where Buzzfeed quizzes often go wrong. Because their questions feel disconnected from the quiz’s topic, they never add up to an accurate picture of the quiz-taker. 

You can combat this in your own quiz by choosing your results and working backwards. Instead of crafting questions without knowing where they’re leading, pick ones that feel in line with your topic and outcomes.

  1. Actionable steps 

Okay so you’ve made your quiz taker feel happy and understood now how do you move them forward? You can start adding value by including resources or offering steps forward.

In my quiz What Type of Quiz Should You Create to Grow Your Online Biz, I teach the quiz taker a little bit about their number 1 pick for the types of quiz they should create. I also fill them in on building a business strategy, which helps them move toward their end goal… Not to toot my own horn, but that’s a lot of value.

There’re so many different options for extras to include, it could be a Spotify playlist or a downloadable palette with colours for their brand. The most important thing is that they come away feeling strong in who they are and like they’ve spent a bit of their precious time and energy and got a return.

Those three tips can go a long way in winning over your audience’s trust…

The belief bridge you need to cross *I’ll hold your hand*

When potential customers and clients first come across your content, they’re predisposed to not believe you. Why should they? Every day they’re barraged with ads out the wazoo. Mix that with the Internet’s sketchy data collection practices, and basically everything on the Internet should be taken with a big bag of salt.

Your result pages have the power to begin transforming these dynamics. Why? Because your content is catered to your audience on a deeper level than most lead magnets. Rather than getting a one-size-fits-all solution, you’re getting advice literally written for you.

You’re meeting them where they are, and saying I see you for whatever struggles you may be having and I see you for how amazing you are regardless. 

By doing that you win over their trust. They know that you don’t have to be perfect for you to care about them and what they’re doing.

This is what empathy marketing is all about. Instead of treating people like numbers, you cater your offerings to what they’re truly experiencing. Since it can be hard to imagine what folks from different walks of life may be feeling in any given moment, psychology offers a helpful suite of guidelines.

By creating marketing content that’s sensitive to your audience’s unique needs, you can be part of making the Internet’s ecosystem a healthier, happier place.

Maybe if I explained all that to little Chanti, she’d be a little bit more understanding about why I chose to forgo my dreams of superstardom.

These days I couldn’t be happier with the work that I do… Although if there are any records labels out there looking for someone to sing Lizzo covers, let me know ASAP.

Drop me a comment below telling me your biggest take away from this article and what quiz funnel topics you’d like to hear about next 👇

Welcome to my corner of the internet where you’ll find no shortage of real talk and proven growth strategies for solopreneurs, professional creators, coaches, and service providers. Grow forth and make it rain in your business, I’ve got your back every step of the way.

Hey superstar! I’m Chanti. 

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