This post is part two of a Mojo Media Labs series where we take the information learned at the INBOUND ‘15 conference, break it down, and reflect on how to apply it at our agency. Click here for Part one in the series.
We’ve noted before on this blog that, in many ways, marketing is applied psychology. At INBOUND ‘15 we learned more about this concept and its application. Psychology is a component of the conversion cycle, and from Attract to Delight, the principles of psychology are applicable.
What do we know about the Psychology of Marketing (without delving into a Psychology 101 class)? First and foremost, psychology is the study of behavior, which is further broken down into how we reach certain behaviors. Much of behavior is based on perception, but taking things a step further, we also know that influence and persuasion are major manipulators of behavior as well.
The psychology of marketing is based on this influence and persuasion. Psychology is important on the reporting and analytical side of marketing as well, but being persuasive in your conversion components is where you develop the data to be analyzed in the first place. In order to drive these conversions, the fundamental importance is applying psychology to the copy, design, and interactive aspects of your conversion path.
If content is king, clarity is content’s divine right to rule. No one is going to read what you have to say if you’re unclear. Would you be reading this blog if it was called, “The Psychology of Marketing?” What about, “The Four Elements of the Conversion Path?” Or, “The Intersection of Copy, Design, Interaction, & Psychology?”
Each of these might have drawn in a few of you, but none of them are particularly descriptive, nor do they truly capture our subject. What does catch your attention? Maybe it’s the reflecting on Inbound (especially if you were unable to attend, or just missed this particular session). Maybe it’s not just the psychology or the conversion path, but the two combined. Regardless of what made you click, the descriptive headline most likely caught your attention more than any of our sampled shorter ones.
Headlines, and the perception of what the following story will tell us, drives interest and value. They do so even more when you apply the right language. The word “because” is a strong value-driver in the English language. Why? Because what follows is the most important bit of information that will be provided! (See what I did there?)
The tone of your language is important too. Think video games--when you’re out of lives and need more tokens, they don’t say, “Want to play some more?” They say, “Give up?” This is a form of influence (actually manipulation), and while it works for the video games, it won’t work for you. If you want strong conversions, empower your user using strong, positive, and empowering language instead of negative language.
Now at some points, negativity bias may help you convert, but it should not be as much of a constant in your copy as education is. The information you provide to empower a user to a strong choice can be the most vital in the world, but if you don’t know how to present it no one will know its importance. This is the constant plight of the marketer, and it takes both the right information hierarchy (i.e. the presentation of information to drive a specific focus) and the right voice (i.e. a tone that will resound with your customer and provide clarity) to develop the proper perception.
A strong design isn’t just beautiful -- it’s functional. You can have the most beautifully designed site in the world, but if the user can’t find what they need, there’s no point. This is even more important when it comes to design in the conversion path. We humans are easily distracted creatures. Given that we can’t even read a full web page1, we most certainly aren’t going to search through a whole page to find the correct thing.
We’re even less likely to do so when there are a lot of things on the page also craving our attention.
If you want a strong conversion page, you have to remove everything else. The ratio really should be 1:1, and the smaller the ratio of items on page to conversion path, the greater the number of conversions. If you’re not on a conversion page, but still want to drive attention to a particular thing, minimize the items around it and remove links. Want to tie certain things together to make a stronger point? Proximity is key.
But be careful, because proximity in certain things, e.g. calls to action, can do more harm than good, and can damage your conversion instead of helping it. Copy is the captain of conversion, but design is the vessel, and no matter how good the captain is, if the vessel is flawed, the voyage is in trouble.
In reality, interaction is just an extension of user experience. Interaction consists of all those elements on a page that encourage immediate feedback or response. Think of a video popup with a survey, or scroll assist that moves you down the page at a rate outside of your choosing. Interactions are meant to promote just that--interaction with a page, product or offer, but often end up hindering those things instead.
People often adopt interactions due to trendiness, without understanding that the experience that works for one person may not work for another. If you truly want to drive conversion, it’s important to ditch the gimmicks. There are other things to be experimental and edgy with, but a conversion path is not one of them. There’s a subset of people who love sliders and smooth continuous scrolls, and a subset that hate them with a fiery passion, but independent of those opinions, they should really be saved for pages that you don’t have a conversion path on.
How are we applying these changes?
User Experience & Customer Experience. Yes, it’s that simple. The foundation of both of these fields is psychology and as we’ve emphasized before, both are vital to the marketing world. Implementing best practices of both UX and CX will automatically eliminate some of the issues surrounding the conversion path. For the items it doesn’t solve immediately, do a little research! Know what drives your users, and what resonates.
Studies have shown that words like “My” and “Click” are more actionable! Avoid the word “Free,” or you seem like you’re trying too hard, and avoid Submit--it’s far too generic. Want a strong converting form? It likely has anywhere between 4-7 fields.
These are all basic facts you can employ to promote a strong user experience. Want an even better user experience? Data, data, data. Google Analytics and HubSpot’s new reporting tool are your friends. Just from using built-in HubSpot information, we know that we get more interaction on Twitter and LinkedIn than on Facebook, that our users are responding well to our blogs on user experience, and that our blog listings page probably needs a bit of work to lower our drop off rate and improve our user and customer experience. The data is all available to you to review and adjust as you see fit. All you have to do is use it.
1 Krug, Steve. Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. 3rd ed. N.p.: New Riders, 2014. Print.
This is the second part of a series on information learned by the Mojo Team at Inbound ‘15 and how we intend to implement it. Stay tuned for part three soon!