This week has been an interesting one for me, continuing with the CXL Mini Degree in Digital Psychology and Persuasion, and having my assumptions challenged on the topics of persuasion, bias and emotions.
Unlearning incorrect information and learning the truth is the key to growth, I’m open to being re-educated (besides no one knows everything, and if they say they do, they’re lying or oblivious to their shortcomings )especially when this mini degree is backed by extensive research and even Nobel prize-winning researchers such as Daniel Kahneman author of Thinking Fast and Slow.
There are a lot of them, I mean a lot! It took me 2 days to properly digest the different ways in which us humans can be persuaded, some overlap each other, but it’s fascinating to see in how many different ways we’re susceptible. Out of a list of over 30 different persuasion techniques, the real standouts for me were:
- Self-generation affect effect/ Commitment bias or labour-love effect: The perfect example of this is with IKEA furniture we love it more because we put so much effort into co-creating it.
- Facial distraction / Gaze Cueing: We love looking at faces we’re hardwired to look at them and process everything down to micro expressional cue TV show Lie to Me and you can use this to your advantage by using images with faces on your website and putting key information wherever the person in the image is looking we are also hard-wired to look at where they are gazing too.
- Fear appeals: But only if we’re given a way to overcome it. Fear is very motivating but can also be crippling so if you don’t immediately offer a way to overcome it in the next breath when selling your product, people will block it out as they can’t do anything about it.
- Belonging & Conformity: We prefer to behave in approval with our social groups so once we feel part of a group we’ll try to fit in with the social norms of that group. This includes implied approved behaviour and common behaviour seen in the group. And the higher the sense of belonging the stronger the urge to conform.
- Perceptual incongruence: This means we only pay attention to things we did not expect. So when you break the pattern people take notice for example in this list of ads all of them are white and then the one in grey immediately stands out. The brain wonders why this one is different so it requires further investigation – perfect for you!
The perfect way to illustrate another of the persuasion techniques (not listed above) is the “Paradox of choice” you will notice I picked out only 5 items for my standouts. The paradox of choice indicates that 3-5 is the optimum choice level or a number of items to consider, any more than that and processing them start to become a real effort as we struggle to weigh up each one and compare.
Cognitive Biases – we’re all affected
We’re all affected by them and if you think you’re not, well that’s a bias called “Bias Blind Spot” the tendency to see oneself as less biased than other people. And there are a lot of cognitive biases, you can see the full list on cognitive biases on Wikipedia.
CXL list some of the most common ones but I ones I took the most notice of when trying to optimise your marketing for higher conversions were:
- False-Consensus Bias: You think the world is like you. You have your opinions and you think everyone’s on board with you… except they’re probably not. You could be the lone weirdo who likes x,y or z and the rest of the worlds doest. There are 7.8 Billion people in the world so don’t assume everyone in the world is like you.
- Egocentric Bias: this bias is all about remembering the past in a self-serving way, e.g. were those exams grades really that good? Or was that fish you caught really massive? Or maybe just an average size fish. It makes wonder, I know I’ve been susceptible to this one.
- Recency Bias: Newer is better right, but is it, is it really? We get caught up in this one all the time e.g. “the latest book on a topic” and buying just because it was published recently when actually an older “timeless” book may have been the better purchase with solid evergreen information from a respected author.
- Confirmation Bias: We have a tendency to test things that confirm what we already know. Instead of impartially testing to see if our ideas stand up under unbiased scrutiny. So check yourself how committed are you to an idea to it winning? We get so emotionally invested in ideas that we’re blinded to how suitable they are. Especially with this bias of testing exclusivity to reinforce an idea.
- Congruence Bias: This one I know I’ve done in the past, I brainstorm possible hypothesises, decide on one and then test it. But I’ve missed out on testing the other hypothesis that could have resulted in bigger wins. So when coming up with hypothesis pick at least 2 that are very different from each other and test both opening yourself up to bigger wins.
So looking at these 5 examples of cognitive biases, you can reduce their effect by being aware of them. So next time you’ll check yourself when testing something
“Am I already committed to this idea or should I A/B test two different versions to truly see which one works better?”.
This is the beauty of learning about Cognitive Biases you can be more aware when testing and making decisions.
Emotional vs Rational decision making
This was my favourite section this week, we like to think we’re sophisticated rational creatures when actual fact we’re emotional beings ruled by our neanderthal brain.
We’re slaves to our biology more than we realise our old brain to make decisions and use our new brain to rationalise those decisions afterwards. Our rational mind represents a very small layer floating atop a vast well of unconscious drivers.
Most neuroscientists agree that over 90% of our behaviour is generated outside of consciousness.
So when we’re marketing our product/service we need to speak to that neanderthal brain to get purchase decisions made but also make sure we’ve got fact figure/ benefits so they can rationalise and feel good about the decision afterwards.
So how do we speak to it? By using images, and emotions to trigger decisions. We should help people fall in love with it emotionally, and then afterwards justify it rationally.
Using Persuasion, Bias & Emotions in your Marketing
I’m so excited to put into action what I learnt this week and how I can use this new information on persuasion, bias and emotions to improve marketing and optimise for growth. Check out this chocolate subscription box website where I’ve used what I’ve learnt to date to help people fall in love with artisan chocolate using desirable drool-worthy images & emotions and then using facts to back it up.