Let’s start with the absolute basics.
Visual salience is defined as “The distinct subjective perceptual quality which makes some items in the world stand out from their neighbors and immediately grab our attention.”
Here’s an example.
Even though there are several dots in this image, our eyes are naturally attracted to the single red dot.
One way to boost conversions is to experiment with different colors and formatting options via A/B testing.
For instance, many marketers find that visitors respond more positively to a red CTA rather than a green one.
The bottom line is that you want to ensure that the most critical element(s) of your homepage stand out from everything else.
2. Cognitive fluency
Also known as cognitive ease, this is “the ease in which our brain processes information; this level of each impacts how positively (or negatively) we feel about something.”
Here’s a really simple example.
3. The Law of PragnanzM
This principle piggybacks off of the previous one.
The Law of Pragnanz is also known as the law of simplicity and is a central idea behind Gestalt Psychology, which “is an attempt to understand the laws behind the ability to acquire and maintain meaningful perceptions in an apparently chaotic world.”
In other words, humans prefer things that are simple over things that are complicated.
It’s much easier to process information that’s presented in a simple manner and prevents “cognitive overload” from occurring.
Here’s a nice example.
When we’re presented with complex shapes like the one on the left, our brains naturally reorganize them into more simplistic shapes like the ones on the right.
When it comes to your homepage, you can do yourself a big favor by minimizing the number of choices you present to your visitors.
Here are a couple of examples:
Just look at how there’s a 10 percent increase in conversions when there are only three fields rather than six or more.
And look at how the more fields you have in a drop down menu decreases conversions.
The point here is that having too many options on your homepage overwhelms most visitors and diminishes conversions.
This creates analysis paralysis, which is “the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.”
Generally speaking, you should have an absolute maximum of six options.
4. Slash through “action paralysis”
ometimes people just need a little nudge to get them to take action.
All it takes to get them over the buying hump is simply providing some motivation.
A while back, professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, Robert Cialdini, conducted an experiment on persuasion.
It was simple.
He sought donations for the American Cancer Society and tested out two different requests to determine what the impact would be.
Although the difference between the two requests is subtle, the second one received far more donations (22 percent more).
Here’s how it all broke down.
In other words, 28 percent of people donated with the first request while 50 percent donated with the second variation.
What this means is that “people are more likely to take action when minimal parameters are set.”
By setting minimal parameters, you can help visitors break through their “action paralysis” and increase conversions.
For example, you might mention that there’s a free trial subscription with no obligation to buy or customers will receive free shipping on their first order.
5. Instant gratification
People hate to wait. I know that I personally feel more “ADD” now as an adult than I ever did as a kid.
The bottom line is that consumers want it and they want it now. There have even been scientific experiments performed using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that prove the power of providing instant gratification.
According to Help Scout, “Several MRI studies, including one on nicotine addiction, have shown that our frontal cortex is highly active when we think about waiting for something. On the other hand, our mid-brain lights up when we think about receiving something right away (and that’s the one we want to fire up).”
So how can you make your average visitor’s mid-brain “light up?”
It’s quite simple.
Use words like “instantly” and “immediately.”
Here’s a good example from Amazon.
This can be incredibly persuasive and should have a positive impact on your conversion rate.
6. The Milgram Principle
Stanley Milgram was a psychologist and professor at Yale University.
He is known for conducting a famous experiment on the concept of authority to see what lengths people would go to in order to obey authority, even if it conflicted with their personal conscience.
I’m not going to get into all of the gory details, but here’s a screenshot of the premise of the experiment.
So what exactly does this tell us?
It tells us that most people will obey individuals who they deem as authorities.
So if you can get an expert or authority to endorse your brand, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a spike in conversions.
Whether it’s a testimonial, icons of companies you’ve worked with, or a direct endorsement, you can leverage the authority of others to get your customers to take action.
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