According to Nielsen, 90 percent of buying decisions are made by the subconscious mind. Do you know whether your marketing is reaching that level among your target audience? If not, it’s not going to be effective. Simple as that.
The good news is that by understanding how your audience’s brains function, you’ll be in a better position to connect on a deeper level and in a way that resonates. Enter neuromarketing: the application of neuroscience to marketing. Through effective neuromarketing, you can drive site visitors to action more consistently.
To that end, here are six ways to apply the principles of neuromarketing to increase your Web site’s conversion rates.
1. Evoke An Emotive Response
Through his studies of people with damage to the area of the brain that triggers emotions, Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, found that lack of emotions made it nearly impossible for them to make a decision because they didn’t feel strongly enough about one option over another.
From a conversion optimization standpoint, you need to evoke an emotive response from your target audience if you hope to maximize conversions. If you instead focus solely on the logical presentation of your products, many of your site visitors will lack the emotional state needed for decision making that leads to a purchase.
Think of the hugely successful Nike “Just Do It!” campaign, or Apple’s “Think Different.” Neither campaign reveals what the product is. Instead, they are a 100 percent assault on the heart to get you emotionally invested in the power of each company’s mission.
Psychology Today points to advertising research that shows emotional response to an ad is more influential on purchase intent than an ad’s content by a 3-to-1 margin for TV and 2-to-1 for print ads. Web sites offer your company the same opportunity to evoke emotions in order to generate greater conversion rates.
2. Make It Easy
Site visitors are generally known for doing the least amount of work to achieve their objectives. The cognitive issue at work here is “processing fluency,” which is the ease with which information is processed. The higher the processing fluency, the more likely people associate having a positive experience. Even the change of text on the page to an easier-to-read font can influence a site visitor into perceiving the messaging to be more trustworthy.
Take the case of Expedia. When the company removed one optional field from a sign-up form on its Web site, profit increased by $12 million annually. It didn’t matter that the field was optional. From the site visitor’s perspective, that one field presented enough friction in the process to substantially impact conversions.
To make your site easier to understand and use, make important elements on your page, such as calls-to-action (CTAs), buttons, and headlines, stand out. Make them big. Use contrast. If your design is made up of various shades of blue, then test CTAs in red or orange.
Another critical method for making your site easier to use is to make it visual. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Whereas people remember only 10 percent of text they read after 72 hours, they remember 65 percent of images they see and a whopping 95 percent of video they watch. The more visual your marketing, the more powerful a conversion-driver it can be.
3. Make Use Of Mirror Neurons
Making use of mirror neurons is yet another way to use neuroscience to increase conversions. This assertion is based on the work of scientists in Parma, Italy, who implanted electrodes in the brain of a monkey so they could map the neurons that were controlling the monkey’s movements. One day, one of the researchers entered the lab with an ice-cream cone. When the monkey watched him bring the cone to his mouth, there was a spike in the monkey’s neural activity.
What makes the event remarkable is that the neurons that were set off were the same ones used to move the monkey’s own body. In other words, the monkey felt the experience of eating ice cream merely by watching someone else do it.
In terms of your Web site, what your site visitors see happening in others makes them feel it themselves. It means you need to stop telling and start showing. You can accomplish this through stories, videos, demos, success stories, and tests against competing products.
Think of the Blendtec blender and the company’s “Will it blend?” series of videos, in which they showcase the power of its products by blending everything from a solar lamp to an iPhone 6 Plus. In Blendtec’s marketing, the focus is on the healthy child or on the triathlete benefitting from its products. Its social media feeds provide a stream of nutritious drinks and recipes. All of this works to get your mirror neurons in motion, helping you to experience a Blendtec even if you’ve never been within a mile of one.
4. Employ The Principle Of Reciprocity
When someone receives something from someone else, they naturally feel a sense of appreciation and desire to reciprocate. This happens when your neighbor brings you a souvenir from a vacation because you got his mail. It also happens when businesses offer you something for free while you are on its Web site.
A good example of this is Kaspersky Lab’s free suite of security tools, including Kaspersky Security Scan and the Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool. Through the computer security software firm’s free tools, it is able to earn trust with prospective customers by proving the value of its products while concurrently engendering a desire to reciprocate in users. This approach seems to be working, with a client base of more than 250,000.
5. Reduce Options To Avert Paralysis
To increase conversions, consider reducing the number of options you are giving your site visitors, thus averting analysis paralysis. Sheena Iyengar of Columbia University and Mark Lepper of Stanford University conducted an experiment about choice and its repercussions on the brain at a grocery store in Menlo Park, Calif. In the study, they posed as store workers and displayed varying numbers of fruit jam for shoppers to taste. Half of the time there were six varieties, and the other half of the time there were 24 (four times more options).
Of the shoppers who tasted the jam when only six kinds were displayed, 30 percent made a purchase. Of those who tasted the jam when 24 kinds were displayed, only 3 percent made a purchase.
In the end, displaying 75 percent fewer options lead to approximately six times more sales.
6. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
If you want more conversions, repeat yourself. And then repeat yourself again. And again.
The mere-exposure effect, put forth by Robert B. Zajonc of the University of Michigan, states that the more often we’re merely exposed to a stimulus, the more appealing we find it. Zajonc’s findings pointed to an experiment in which an unidentified student at Oregon State University attended class in a large black bag, with only his bare feet showing. At first, the other students were hostile to the stranger, but over time their feelings transformed into curiosity and then friendship.
The advertising industry has known about the benefits of repetition for a long time. That’s why you hear the same jingles in TV and radio ads over and over again. The same principle applies to Web sites.
Bottom line: The subconscious is all-powerful. By leveraging neuromarketing, your Web site can be more effective in driving conversions and the growth of your business.