May 16, 2022

Neuro Marketing for Improving conversions

CXL Institute comes through again with amazing top-notch instructors. The ‘Intro to Neuromarketing’ course is taught by Roger Dooley, author of popular books ‘Brainfluence’ and ‘The Persuasion Slide’. The ‘Applied Neuromarketing’ course is taught by Andre Moreys who’s a co-founder of a global optimization group.

Let’s explore some ideas of Neuromarketing that you can use to improve your conversions.

Content Break Up

Roger Dooley’s Framework for Increasing Conversions

Dooley created a framework to resolve decision making for optimization by creating a ‘Persuasion Slide’ analogous to a children’s slide. It incorporates persuasion psychology and has four elements. Each element has both: a non-conscious and conscious component to it.

Gravity

It represents the customer’s initial motivation, needs, wants and goals. Just as a child can’t slide down without gravity, a conversion can’t be made without motivation. This is what the customer comes with, not something we create in them. Try asking yourselves, why the customer has come to you? We should focus on how we can help them and align with our customers’ needs and wants, i.e. work with gravity! Our aim is to enhance the natural intrigue in our product.

Nudge

It is the initial step of encouraging the customer towards conversion. The two key elements of a nudge are: it has to be seen and it must start the process. For example, with pop-ups, CTAs, etc. Always remain focused on the customer’s needs as a nudge without motivation will be ineffective.

Angle

The angle of the slides is what brings the movement in the child. Similarly, it is the external conscious and non-conscious motivation we provide to further encourage the conversion. Conscious motivators can be discounts and gifts, and nonconscious motivators can be the trigger of emotions and biases. 

Friction

The friction in a slide works against the movement towards conversion. It can be a real or perceived difficulty in the conversion sequence. Minimizing friction always costs less than increasing motivation.

Are You Still Optimizing for Conversion?

Though eventually we want to see our conversions improve, it isn’t what we should direct our focus at when optimizing. Consider this common conversion sequence:

Traffic to a website —> Perception —> Limbic System —> Behavior —> Conversion

It is the change in customer behavior that results into a conversion change. So, it is the behavior that we must focus on and optimize to result into favorable conversions.

When optimizing for customer behavior, it is imperative that the changes made should be perceived by the customer. When people perceive differently, they will think differently and consequently, behave differently.

Which part of the customer’s brain are you appealing to?

As I discussed in my previous blog, our brain can be seen as two systems. System 1, the automated emotional part of the brain and System 2, the conscious, logical part of the brain. 100% of the decisions are made by the non-conscious, old brain – but some decisions will be ‘post-rationalized’ more than others using the conscious, new brain. So as marketers we need to ask ourselves what part of the brain are we marketing to. Since, behavioral decisions almost always are made by the emotional brain, we need to improve our communication with it.

The question you need to ask yourself is:

What is the most important thing my customer needs to know?

Your answer must include both logical and emotional motivators.

Customers Can’t Control Their Attention, But You Can!

Attention of the customer isn’t something  that they can control but something that you can control. By controlling the attention, you control what people perceive and what they think about you. You can only change the behavior of customers if you are able to control the attention and make sure the right message is perceived.

Draw attention by using the following graphical principles: contrast, space, people/faces, movement, breaking rules, directional cues, user’s name or image.

Optimize for Customers’ Emotional Relevance

Beyond the visual aspects, you also need to identify what resonates with and motivates your target customers on an emotional level. We have to aim for relevance in content, value propositions, implicit codes and provide emotional resonance. So how do you explore and understand different emotional systems to appeal to them?

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How to Create Context of Your Price and 5 Strategies to Improve its Perception

This is the eighth in a 12 part blog series, where I review CXL Institute’s ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree. This week I took two new courses: i) Psychology of Communication, and ii) Psychology of Pricing. In today’s blog we will discuss how you can create a favorable context for your price and effective strategies to improve its perception.


One will easily pay $80 for 5 items at Whole Foods, but that same amount seems to be a lot when spent at a regular supermarket. The acceptable price of a beer at a local grocery store will be different than what one is willing to pay at a bar on the beach. What causes this difference in acceptable prices? The answer is in the context!

Context shapes the perception of a price. This is how the same product can have wildly different prices across different markets. Lets discuss few ways to shape the context of your price.

Create the Context of a Price

Price of a product is more than just the input cost, value of the product and its list price. It also depends on how your customer thinks about it, how much they value the product and how much they are willing to pay for it. All these factors can be shaped by creating a context. A context is essentially a scenario of the purchase. Let’s take a look at few ways we can create the context of a price.

Comparisons

A proposed price should be linked to the customer’s point of reference. Comparisons are generally made with similar goods in the market and can be done either by the customer on their own or can be stated by the marketer.

1. Implicit Comparisons

When consumers compare products themselves it is known as implicit comparison. Research and evaluate the implicit comparisons your customers could be making:

  • Who are the competitors to a product? What do they charge?
  • Have these customers used similar products before? What did they pay?
  • What price ranges do they normally pay for services or products? Are they price sensitive (i.e. Wal-Mart shoppers)  or value-sensitive (i.e. Whole Foods shoppers)?
  • What type of budget do they have for products like this?

2. Explicit Comparisons

When comparison is specifically stated or brought up by the marketer or advertiser, it is known as explicit comparison. Use this to highlight the comparisons you think the consumer should be making and demonstrate why your product is of a higher value.

Research and evaluate the explicit comparisons you could make:

  • What other products are consumers considering when choosing your product?
  • What do they charge? How can you differentiate value?

Perceived Benefits

A product’s benefits, both conscious and subconscious, define its value to the consumer. According to Leigh Caldwell, in The Psychology of Price, there are certain drivers that helps us access the price of a product:

  1. Primary Drivers: A product’s features;
  2. Level 2 Drivers: Benefits of the feature;
  3. Level 3 Drivers: Emotions or goals the benefits satisfy;
  4. Basic Drivers: Biological drivers behind emotions or goals, they are: avoidance of pain, pleasure, time and money.

Research an evaluate the perceived benefits of your product:

  • List the drives that determine the perceived benefits of your product:
  • For each of those buying reasons, who are the competitors? What is their price spectrum?

Strategies to Improve Your Price’s Perception

Price perception is one of the leading variables in a consumer’s buying decision. It can either be determined by a logical assessment of the price or can be shaped by employing various psychological strategies. The essence of price perception lies in its subjectivity, that is, the customer’s perception of the price doesn’t need to match the actual price level.

A brand should aim to create a desirable price perception that brings in revenue profitably and at the same time satisfy customers with the value they receive at that price. Lets discuss a few psychological strategies that can help in improving price perception and encourage the customer to take a desirable action:

1. Decoy Effect

This is the phenomenon whereby the consumer changes their preference between two options when presented with a third one – the “decoy”. The decoy is not intended to sell but is introduced to make the other options look more attractive. It is usually used to nudge the consumer to purchase the more expensive option.

2. Centre Stage Effect

Research shows that when faced with a range of products arranged vertically or horizontally, the consumer is most drawn to the options in the middle. This effect is even more pronounced when choosing for someone else. We can use this bias to almost assure that the items placed in the middle are noticed favorably.

3. Anchoring

It is a cognitive bias which refers to the tendency to heavily rely on the first piece of information offered when making a marketing decision. Placing premium options before the standard ones will make them appear as a bargain in comparison. This can also be used in reverse. First position a lower priced option with less features followed by a slightly expensive option with more features, to nudge the customers into your preferred direction.

4. Social Proof

Using social proof is a proven strategy to increase order value and conversions. It can be used in a variety of ways: using “Recently Sold” notifications to justify prices, providing “People Also Bought” to cross sell or upsell items or tagging popular products to eliminate choice paralysis and guide the consumer to make a desirable purchase.

5. Free Trial/Freemium

It is the practice of offering a basic set of services for free and enhanced features for a fee. Suggest the plan with the least amount of friction. Get them to sign up and see how great your product is (and that it’s worth the upgrade!). This might, however, result in a large number of users using your services for free and only a small number of users upgrading to the paid offer.


Price context and perception are key factors in driving buying decisions in consumers. The above discussed biases and strategies can help in guiding the customer in a desirable direction. This can help them in crafting pricing strategies that ensure market competitiveness and also bring superior financial returns. Ultimately, always test different options. Never blindly follow any principles. It is best to research and interview your audience to understand what will work best with them.

Next week, I will further discuss my learnings and opinions from the next few courses I take in the Minidegree. To stay updated with my weekly blogs and explore the ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree with me, subscribe to my blog.Subscribe

Until then, explore the various programs offered by CXL, by clicking on the link below:Explore CXLPOSTED ON

What is Value Proposition and How to Write It Effectively | CXL Minidegree Review

This is the seventh in a 12 part blog series, where I review CXL Institute’s ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree. This week I took two new courses: i) Psychology of Products, and ii) Psychology of Websites. In today’s blog we will discuss value proposition that improve conversions and marketing.


What product are you selling? Who should buy your product? Why should the customer buy your product over your competitors? What value will your product provide to the customer?

A value proposition answers these questions and moves your ideal customer closer to purchase. It has to be the first thing a visitor sees on your page and strike curiosity in them to explore more. Presenting your product in a compelling way will improve conversions and help with marketing strategies across channels.

What is a Value Proposition?

A value proposition explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.

Simply put, it summarizes why a customer should choose you.

What makes a Unique Value Proposition?

Also known as USP (Unique Selling Point), a UVP is the value you promise to deliver to your customers.

Clearly state these three things to captivate your ideal customers:

  1. Pain-focused: How will your product address customers’ pain points and improve their life?
  2. Relevance: What specific benefits will your product deliver?
  3. Differentiation: Why should they use your solution over your competitors?

A value proposition should always be benefit focused. Instead of dwelling on features of your product, use UVP to explain which pain points your product will address, how it will improve their life and how that will make them feel.

Transform these into a distilled insight into your product, roughly as:

We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z).

Lastly, you don’t need to be unique in the whole world, but just in your customer’s eyes.

What the Value Proposition is not!

It isn’t a slogan: Wheaties – The Breakfast of Champions.

It isn’t a positioning statement: America’s #1 Bandage Brand. Heals the wound fast, heals the hurt faster.

Although slogans, taglines or positioning statements are essential brand accessories, they don’t encourage your potential customers to make a purchase. Mission statements don’t help the customer in differentiating different businesses, but value propositions do.

How to Write a Value Proposition?

Start with the following formula:

  1. Headline. What is the end-benefit you’re offering in one short sentence? It can mention the product and/or customer. Make it an attention grabber.
  2. Sub-headline or a 2–3 sentence paragraph. A specific explanation of what you do/offer, for whom, and why it’s useful.
  3. 3 bullet points. List the key benefits or features.
    Visual. Images communicate much faster than words. Show the product image, the hero shot, or an image reinforcing your main message.

Use the Correct Language to Write Your Value Proposition

How your product is discussed within your business will be much different than how your customers talk about it. A value proposition should always be written in a language used by the customers. If you don’t write your value proposition the way your customers would talk about it, there will be a gap between what you say and what they understand.

Interview or survey your customers to understand how they speak about your product. Identify common words and phrases used then write them into your UVP to attract new customers.

Process of Creating a Value Proposition

Step 1: Identify customer benefits.
Make a list of all benefits your product offers to customers.

Step 2: Link Benefits to value offering.
Identify what value your products bring to the customer.

Step 3: Differentiate and position yourself.
Make it clear who your target customer is, what you offer to them and how you are different.

Tactics for Developing Effective Value Propositions

  • Clearly explaining the value of products and services
  • Clearly explaining why the ideal customer should choose your solution over the competition.
  • Developing unique value propositions for separate products or services
  • Targeting specific value propositions for specific buyer personas
  • Competitive research
  • Testing value propositions through various media.
  • Clarity! It’s easy to understand.
  • It communicates the concrete results a customer will get from purchasing and using your products and/or services.
  • It says how it’s different or better than the competitor’s offer.
  • It avoids hype (like “Never seen before!” or “Amazing miracle product!”), superlatives (“best”) and business jargon (“value-added interactions”).
  • It can be read and understood in about 5 seconds.

Also, in most cases, there’s a difference between the value proposition for your company and your product. You must address both.


“While the value chain focuses internally on operations, the value proposition is the element of strategy that looks outward at customers, at the demand side of the business. Strategy is fundamentally integrative, bringing the demand and supply sides together.” – Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness

Your value proposition has to be the first thing visitors see on your homepage, but it should also be visible at all major entry points to the site. Although it’s often found above the fold on the homepage, you should be aware of other common entrance points (e.g. a landing page, category pages, blog posts, and product pages). Finding a unique value proposition usually involves a new way of segmenting the market. It is a cost vs benefit equation that shows your prospect’s motivation.

Next week, I will further discuss my learnings and opinions from the next few courses I take in the Minidegree. To stay updated with my weekly blogs and explore the ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree with me, subscribe to my blog.Subscribe

Until then, explore the various programs offered by CXL, by clicking on the link below:Explore CXLPOSTED ON

Design Tactics for Behavior UI | CXL Minidegree Review

This is the sixth in a 12 part blog series, where I review CXL Institute’s ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree. This week I took two new courses: i) Influence and Interactive Design, and ii) Digital Psychology & Behavioral Design Training.


There are different cycles of communication between a source and audience. It can be a one-way cycle, where the source sends a message to the audience. In a two way cycle, the source and audience are engaging in a communication back and forth. When it comes to digital relationships, it is called mediated relationship. The audience doesn’t interact directly with us, but the communication takes place over a mediated form like websites, social media, email, texts, etc.So our apps, websites, products in many ways become a mediated persona, and that’s what a brand is. A brand is a humanized abstraction to which the audience ascribes a personality to. This is why branding is important, that is how the audience understands who they are dealing with.

Popular ways to define a brand’s personality is through i) editorial guidelines (fun, casual way of communicating “yay! You’re back”, and  ii) visual components.

People Conceptualize Things

People think about the world based on concepts, these are called – schemas, mental models or representations. We form concepts based on our experiences, it’s not just what we saw but also what we felt, smelled, tasted, and all other sensory experiences. These emotions get tied up with our mental model.

So when it comes to help someone understand the world what it means is to play on their pre-existing concepts. When we introduce something new, it can become a bit hard because we have nothing to latch onto. We know that logical reasoning is the least persuasive. So when it comes to persuading someone’s intellect, we must influence how they conceptualize the world and help them build a mental model that makes sense to them. We can achieve that through the framing, which is the art of how you represent something. We present our digital product in a way that allows people to conceptualize it and help them understand it faster. The ultimate aim is that no user should leave the product page without an understanding on what is being offered.

Motivation

Neurobiologists have expanded on Maslow’s Hierearchy of Needs as a concept of hierarchy of motivation. We can use this motivational framework to understand the incentives, so those opportunities that drive behavior, and loss-aversion, so those insecure emotions that also drive behavior.

Any time we promise people that we’ll give them something that is one of these motivators, that’s what we call the incentive. Anything in their stress quadrant that we use for loss-aversion, it’s a motivator. If you just threaten people without an opportunity for them to act isn’t loss-aversion, it’s fear mongering. Fear mongering does not motivate people, in fact, it might lead to learned helplessness. Loss-aversion is about fear message, but fear messages don’t work on their own, it needs to be followed with an incentive.

Loss-aversion vs Motivator

Emotional impact of loss is felt greater than the same value of gain. This means humans are more loss-averse. Motivators that drive us tend to be more short-lived, whereas stress response tends to linger and our safety depends a bit more on it.

Motivational model from the point of view of one neurotransmitter and one hormone. 

Dopamine: It is a neurotransmitter. It plays a role in our motivational circuitry, in activating curiosity, interests where a person will move towards a reward, engagement. It also plays a role in getting someone curious, motivated or moving them forward in taking action. Then if the expected rewards aren’t found, it teaches them disappointment and reinforces them to not be interested in the future. This is why we must always under promise and over deliver. When we talk about incentives, we are talking about triggering a dopamine response and getting someone to pay attention.

Cortisol: It is one of the many stress responses. We can use pressure techniques and different things to trigger a little bit of loss-aversion, that stress response also motivates people at the same time. The trick is to keep them at the right level, because too much stress without consequence, wouldn’t motivate people.

Pressure Tactics

Try to reduce accidental stress inducers, such as errors, because we don’t want to build them up. Pressure can motivate people, but after a point they might not take any action if they feel tremendous stress.

Never use false pressures because people hate lies based on false pressure rather than the lie based on false incentives.

Use pressure tactics like: time limits, quantity limits, scarcity techniques, competitors.

Social Influence

It is what happens when it’s not just about the relationship between the source and the audience but it’s more about the third party in the audience. To turn on social influence we just need to make people aware of the presence of others. They have to watch what others are doing or feel that others are watching them. The source can never have full credibility. We will have to rely on social influence to help people figure out whether they should get something or not.

Deciding

This is where you help your users make up their minds.

One main design tool for decision making is pricing tables. They aren’t transparent lists of pros and cons, but a persuasive design pattern. It is as much a self contained design pattern architected to get someone to make a very specific choice. A decoy is a product that is not designed to sell. But if you sell them well and good, because they are a total rip off present to make other offers look far more attractive.

Reinforcer

It is anything that increases the odds that our audience will take action again. It can include rewards or even punishments given to the audience. Every time to reward someone after an action we are reinforcing the odds that they will do it again. Showing appreciation or gratitude is another great way to add positive reinforcement. Victory graphics. It strengthens motivation in the long term and also creates a good and positive user experience.


Next week, I will further discuss my learnings and opinions from the next few courses I take in the Minidegree. To stay updated with my weekly blogs and explore the ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree with me, subscribe to my blog.Subscribe

Until then, explore the various programs offered by CXL, by clicking on the link below:Explore CXLPOSTED ON

How to Build Habits and Loyalty in Your Customers | CXL Minidegree Review

WEEK 5 Banner

This is the fifth in a 12 part blog series, where I review CXL Institute’s ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree. This week I took two new courses: i) Building Trust, and ii) Building Habits and Loyalty. In today’s blog we will discuss how to engage and retain customers.


Once we get people to become our first time customers, our goal is to make them stay and build a long lasting relationship with them. Customers will keep coming back to you if they like your product, but the real way to retain them is by creating habits. A habit is a behavior done with little or no conscious thought. Let’s discuss some ways we can shape the customers’ preferences and form habits.

Get Them Hooked!

Nir Eyal proposes the “Hook Model” in his book ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’. The hook is an experience designed to connect the user’s problem to your solution, with enough frequency to form a habit. The hook works in a loop and involves the following phases:

The Hook Model by Nir Eyal
The Hook Model by Nir Eyal.

1. Trigger

A trigger nudges the customer to take an action, It can be of two types:

i) External Trigger:

It can be in the form of a notification, email or ad. It should tell the customer what to do and also provide the ability to do it. The goal is to, over a period of time, internalize this behavior so that external triggers are no longer required.

ii) Internal Trigger:

It arises from an emotion in the customer. External trigger is no longer required but comes through an association in the user’s memory, the user already knows what to do. Once  a user starts using your products from internal triggers, you know you have become a habitual product.

2. Action

A successful trigger results in an action, where the user actually does something. For an action to take place after the trigger, the customer should have two things: motivation and ability to do it.

3. Reward

Once the user takes the desired action, they will get a reward. Rewards are not given instantaneously and are variable to keep the novelty and anticipation alive. The anticipation of the reward is more powerful than the reward itself, which is further heightened by stimulating variability. The behavior that results into a reward should be the simplest possible task so that it can be done frequently.

4. Investment

Investment into a product is when users store some value while using it and hope for some return in the future. This is the final phase in the hook, and it should be able to load the next trigger keeping the process going in a loop. This increases the likelihood of the next return and helps in shaping user habits.

All Customers Like Receiving Rewards

62 percent of customers don’t feel like the brands they’re loyal to do enough in return. What better way to make your customers feel valued than to reward them. Since, rewards redemption increases reward-seeking behavior, this simultaneously acts as a way to encourage them to return consistently. Professor of Psychology Jack Mearns explains, “The likelihood of a person exhibiting a particular behavior is a function of the probability that that behavior will lead to a given outcome and the desirability of that outcome”.

You should structure your reward programs in such a manner that they bring value to both: you and your customers. There are two types of reward systems:

1. Fixed Reward

Also known as reinforcements, these rewards are awarded when the customer reaches a fixed threshold. The basic idea is when you reward a certain behavior, you encourage them to exhibit more of it. For example, a cafe can reward their frequent customers by making every tenth cup of coffee free. Predictable fixed rewards as these, where they know when to expect it, encourages customers to put in the effort to reach the reward. Customers who successfully attain a reward exhibit increased effort and drive in subsequent attempts to reach the goal. “The rewards need to come often enough so that there is reinforcement. At the same time, it can’t be too close. Then it wouldn’t be meaningful”, says Xavier Dreze, Professor of Marketing at Wharton and UCLA.

image 6
Starbucks offers a fixed reward to its customer after they earn a specific number of stars.

2. Variable Reward

Variable rewards are the random and surprising delights awarded to customers in forms of a offer, discount or freebie. Although random, these rewards should be desirable and result into customer engagement and retention. Surprise reward makes the customer feel special and creates a positive association with the brand. They are more likely to return to experience that positive emotion again.

Variable or surprise reward by McDonald's
McDonald’s offers a surprise reward after a good Raptors game.

Win Your Customer’s Loyalty

The kind of loyalty we want to generate is the one that comes from true emotions and experience. Getting people into rewards programs does not convert them into loyal customers. Just 13 percent of customers are complete loyalists who never shop around.

Rewards ≠ Loyalty

Rewards programs are best to be used as an incentive to encourage people to come into your environment and give them a great customer experience. Then, overtime the combination of rewards and good customer experience will win you their loyalty.

Rewards + Great CX = Loyalty

Goal Gradient Effect

Pioneered by Clark Hull, it states that the tendency to approach a goal increases with proximity to the goal. A study by Columbia University researchers studied the effects of the goal gradient effect in relation to real reward programs and found that members purchased more frequently the closer they were to earning a reward; and a stronger tendency to accelerate toward the goal predicts greater retention and faster reengagement in the program.

What this means for us is that the closer the customers feel to reach the reward, the more likely they are to increase to their efforts to achieve it. Similarly, the farther they feel the reward is, the lower is the desirability and motivation to achieve it.

Endowed Progress Effect

Reward Proposition A
Which reward proposition looks more promising?

Dreze and Nunes further documented a phenomenon which they call the endowed progress effect. They found that it wasn’t just the proximity to the goal that induced additional effort, but the perception of progress toward the goal. In other words, as long as customers perceive that they are making progress towards a goal or reward, they will increase their efforts as a result.

Favorable ways to employ this effect would be to show customers their progress and give them a “head-start” at it. The psychology behind this is that nobody likes starting at zero, and can be very demotivating. So a “head-start”, even if illusionary, gives a notion of progress and encourages customers to make efforts to reach the reward.


Once you acquire a customer, the next step is to find ways to retain them. Building habit forming products, a good reward program and great customer experience is what makes customers loyal. Ensure the reward proposition is desirable and achievable.

Next week, I will further discuss my learnings and opinions from the next few courses I take in the Minidegree. To stay updated with my weekly blogs and explore the ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree with me, subscribe to my blog.Subscribe

Until then, explore the various programs offered by CXL, by clicking on the link below:Explore CXLPOSTED ON

What is Social Proof and How to Use it | CXL Minidegree Review

What is Social Proof

This is the fourth in a 12 part blog series, where I review CXL Institute’s ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree. This week I took two new courses: i) Nonconscious Motivation, and ii) Cognitive Biases. In today’s blog we will discuss how to use social proof as a nonconscious motivator and how it creates a bandwagon effect.


Your Customers Don’t Trust You!

Historically, marketers and advertisers aren’t trusted by people and more often than not, are considered liars. This might bring up uncertainty and fears in your customers regarding your product or services.

When humans encounter fear or uncertainty they instinctively look at others for guidance and safety. Consumers trust other consumers’ word 12 times more than the brand description. This is why we must employ social proof effectively: to remove any doubts and fears a customer might have and to influence purchase behavior in them.

Add a little bit of body
Marketers and advertisers aren’t trusted by people!

Social Proof is More than Just Reviews

Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, gave seven principles of nonconscious motivators. One of them is social proof, that is, “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it”. Psychologists call this conformity, herd behavior, or the bandwagon effect. Simply put, people tend to do what other people are doing.

Be it customers’ doubts, fears, uncertainties or any other source of friction, social proof is frequently used to alleviate any pain points and guide customers towards the best product choice. It is evidence of or from others, like us.

6 Types of Social Proof

1. Case Studies:

It is referred as a longform social proof, a data-driven, in-depth analysis of the product or service you provided a current customer with. Use this to highlight success stories of your customers.

Trello Case Study
A case study on Trello

2. Testimonials:

Testimonials are one of the most persuasive form of social proof. These are simple, short-form recommendations from happy customers. Make sure to complement a testimonial with a good quality customer picture, as it increases “truthiness”. Testimonials are more likely to be believed when it has a corresponding picture.

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CXL Institute uses testimonials from students on the Digital Psychology Minidegree.

3. Reviews:

BrightLocal found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Use this social proof to display positive feedback from actual users. One interesting tidbit of information from BrightLocal’s survey is that people don’t just trust the first review they see. On average, consumers check 2-3 different review sites before making a decision about a business.

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Customer reviews and ratings on Amazon has helped it grow as the largest online retailer.

4. Social Media:

Praise from current customers and/or brand advocates in the form of tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram comments, shares, follow counts, engagement counts, etc. Endorsements from influencers on social media is also picking up pace at a rapid rate. Influencer marketing has been considered the fastest-growing consumer-acquisition channel.

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Social shares is one of the popular ways to use social media for social proof.

5. Trust Icons:

This can include: badges, seals, certifications, awards won, mentions in media outlets, etc. It is a popular approach to establishing credibility, which is usually as simple as displaying meaningful icons and logos. Placing the logos of business customers on a company website can increase conversions by as much as 400%, according to Voices.com.

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Sprout Social uses logos of popular organizations to establish credibility.

6. Data/Numbers:

This is a quantified metric of customers served, number of subscribers, etc. Showing how many customers, subscribers or users you have shows people think what you’re offering is valuable. People feel comfortable joining a crowd and have a desire to belong to a group.

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HubSpot shares its impressive achievements in a quantified form.

3 Steps to Harness Social Proof Efficiently

Angie Schottmuller, Forbes Top 10 Online Marketer 2015, in her CXL Live 2016 session talked about social proof power plays. Catch this fascinating and informative session by Angie below:https://www.youtube.com/embed/0-kNFHn_eb8?feature=oembed

She discussed the following 3 steps to efficiently harness the power of social media:

STEP #1

Identify your audiences fears, anxieties, questions and doubts.

Angie says, “The social proof psychology principle says that when people are uncertain, they’ll most likely look to others for behavioral guidance. In order to harness this concept for persuasion, marketers must first identify the uncertainties of their customers and then buffer accordingly with appropriate social proof.”

STEP #2

Brainstorm and inventory 6S formats to buffer audience’s fear/questions.

Oftentimes, people believe they don’t have any social proof to display or use. But social proof has a wider scope than just reviews and testimonials. Consider doing an inventory using the following 6S format to explore various options you might already have.

6S Formats of Social Proof:

Sum it. Score it. Say it. Sign it. Show it. Shine it.

  1. Sum it: Quantified metric of numbers of active users, subscribers, etc.
  2. Score it: Qualitive metric of reviews in the form of ratings, for example, 4 out of 5 stars; or rankings, for example, top 10 selling products.
  3. Say it: Reviews, expert Q&A, forums, podcast bits, etc.
  4. Sign it: Source of ratings and reviews, mark with ‘who said it’, names of consumers, etc.
  5. Show it: Visual display of logos of business customers.
  6. Shine it: Approval seals, certifications, awards, badges, etc.

STEP #3

Know the quality of your social proof.

When it comes to making a conversion impact, quality trumps quantity. We only want to display social proof if its persuasive enough to encourage conversions. If poorly implemented it can backfire and negatively impact conversion rates. Therefore, it becomes imperative to put the quality of our social proof to test before implementing them. Angie suggests the CRAVENS model to assess its quality and how to score it.

7 Factors of Social Proof Persuasion Quality:

  1. Credible: Believable, authentic, trustworthy;
  2. Relevant: Meaningful, applicable, timestamped;
  3. Attractive: Whether creates an emotional trigger;
  4. Visual: Pictured, graphed, viewable;
  5. Enumerated: Quantified, scored, ranked;
  6. Nearby: Proximity to the fears/uncertainties;
  7. Specific: Descriptive, detailed, precise.

Score each of the factors above, depending on how well they meet the criteria mentioned, using the following standard:

SCORING: 3 = Exceptional, 2 = Good, 1 = OK, 0 = Missing, -5 = Bad

Sum the scores of all seven factors, and access the persuasion quality depending on where it lies on the scorecard:

Negative = -35 to 0

Weak = 1 to 5

Neutral = =6 to 10

Helpful = 11 to 15

Persuasive = 16 to 21

This scorecard is a good indicator of how effective the social proof will be in reducing the fears and anxieties of the customers, to help with the conversions.


Social proof is a cost-effective nonconscious motivator every business should take advantage of. Use the approval and popularity of your product/service among your existing users to acquire new customers. Assess different social proof formats and identify which works best in your favor. As venture capitalist and blogger Aileen Lee says, “Think of it as building the foundation for massively scalable word-of-mouth.”

Next week, I will further discuss my learnings and opinions from the next few courses I take in the Minidegree. To stay updated with my weekly blogs and explore the ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree with me, subscribe to my blog.Subscribe

Until then, explore the various programs offered by CXL, by clicking on the link below:Explore CXLPOSTED ON

How to Apply Neuromarketing to Increase Conversions | CXL Minidegree Review

WEEK 3 Banner test

This is the third in a 12 part blog series, where I review CXL Institute’s ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree. Today we will explore two new courses I took this week: i) Intro to Neuromarketing, and ii) Applied Neuromarketing. We will build an understanding on principles of Neuromarketing and how to use them to appeal to a user’s entire brain and consequently increase conversions.


CXL Institute comes through again with amazing top-notch instructors. The ‘Intro to Neuromarketing’ course is taught by Roger Dooley, author of popular books ‘Brainfluence’ and ‘The Persuasion Slide’. The ‘Applied Neuromarketing’ course is taught by Andre Moreys who’s a co-founder of a global optimization group.

Let’s explore some ideas of Neuromarketing that you can use to improve your conversions.

Roger Dooley’s Framework for Increasing Conversions

Dooley created a framework to resolve decision making for optimization by creating a ‘Persuasion Slide’ analogous to a children’s slide. It incorporates persuasion psychology and has four elements. Each element has both: a non-conscious and conscious component to it.

Gravity

It represents the customer’s initial motivation, needs, wants and goals. Just as a child can’t slide down without gravity, a conversion can’t be made without motivation. This is what the customer comes with, not something we create in them. Try asking yourselves, why the customer has come to you? We should focus on how we can help them and align with our customers’ needs and wants, i.e. work with gravity! Our aim is to enhance the natural intrigue in our product.

Nudge

It is the initial step of encouraging the customer towards conversion. The two key elements of a nudge are: it has to be seen and it must start the process. For example, with pop-ups, CTAs, etc. Always remain focused on the customer’s needs as a nudge without motivation will be ineffective.

Angle

The angle of the slides is what brings the movement in the child. Similarly, it is the external conscious and non-conscious motivation we provide to further encourage the conversion. Conscious motivators can be discounts and gifts, and nonconscious motivators can be the trigger of emotions and biases. 

Friction

The friction in a slide works against the movement towards conversion. It can be a real or perceived difficulty in the conversion sequence. Minimizing friction always costs less than increasing motivation.

Are You Still Optimizing for Conversion?

Though eventually we want to see our conversions improve, it isn’t what we should direct our focus at when optimizing. Consider this common conversion sequence:

Traffic to a website —> Perception —> Limbic System —> Behavior —> Conversion

It is the change in customer behavior that results into a conversion change. So, it is the behavior that we must focus on and optimize to result into favorable conversions.

When optimizing for customer behavior, it is imperative that the changes made should be perceived by the customer. When people perceive differently, they will think differently and consequently, behave differently.

Which part of the customer’s brain are you appealing to?

As I discussed in my previous blog, our brain can be seen as two systems. System 1, the automated emotional part of the brain and System 2, the conscious, logical part of the brain. 100% of the decisions are made by the non-conscious, old brain – but some decisions will be ‘post-rationalized’ more than others using the conscious, new brain. So as marketers we need to ask ourselves what part of the brain are we marketing to. Since, behavioral decisions almost always are made by the emotional brain, we need to improve our communication with it.

The question you need to ask yourself is:

What is the most important thing my customer needs to know?

Your answer must include both logical and emotional motivators.

Customers Can’t Control Their Attention, But You Can!

Attention of the customer isn’t something  that they can control but something that you can control. By controlling the attention, you control what people perceive and what they think about you. You can only change the behavior of customers if you are able to control the attention and make sure the right message is perceived.

Draw attention by using the following graphical principles: contrast, space, people/faces, movement, breaking rules, directional cues, user’s name or image.

Optimize for Customers’ Emotional Relevance

Beyond the visual aspects, you also need to identify what resonates with and motivates your target customers on an emotional level. We have to aim for relevance in content, value propositions, implicit codes and provide emotional resonance. So how do you explore and understand different emotional systems to appeal to them?

The Limbic Map

Developed by German research group, Gruppe Nymphenburg, the limbic map provides a framework for identifying the values and emotions that resonate most strongly with your target audience.

Create Limbic Personas

The Limbic model allows you to categorize a target customer segment by psychographic profile, rather than just demographics or geographic. Use the following steps to create an emotionally focused Limbic persona:

  1. Identify basic characteristics of your target customer and turn them to core values.
  2. Allocate the core values on the Limbic map.
  3. Eliminate conflicting values and focus on most coherent values.
  4. Assign corresponding Limbic type.

Understanding your target customer by Limbic type means that you can design marketing experiences that resonate with them at an emotional level. Incorporate these motivators to match their emotional preferences.

Why you shouldn’t rely on customer inputs for their emotional drivers

Although receiving feedback from customers is always a good idea, but it might not be the most authentic description of their mental processes. Customers like to believe they are rational beings and justify their decisions with logic. However, almost all of the decisions are made unconsciously by the emotional brain. They aren’t even aware of these implicit processes happening inside their brain.

Oftentimes, the cause of poor conversions is due to the difference between what you want to say to your customer and what they are actually perceiving. Bridge this gap, by optimizing target-group specific communication using Limbic personas. And begin to explore the “why” of customer behavior and create emotionally resonant marketing experiences.

Next week, I will further discuss my learnings and opinions from the next few courses I take in the Minidegree. To stay updated with my weekly blogs and explore the ‘Digital Psychology and Persuasion’ Minidegree with me, subscribe to my blog.

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