A Neuromarketing Crash Course — How to Use What You’ve Learned On Your Landing pages

How many hours in a week do you spend in Google Analytics, Heap, ChartMogul or a similar service hunched over numbers, figures, and trends? Figuring out if your landing page conversion rates are going in an upward trajectory.

A lot, right?

Yes, campaign results are important and so are measuring KPIs. But, they are not where you begin — you begin with a blank page and expectant visitors.

If you fill that blank page with ingredients that satiate your visitors, the numbers and data will fall at your feet. If you do the opposite and only focus on numbers from the start you lose sight of the big picture, and the numbers and data will have full control of your life.

So, how do accomplish the first scenario? Simple — when designing your landing page think like a neuroscientist.

What does neuroscience have to do with landing pages?

Neuroscience is the field of research that that studies the cognitive, and effective responses of human beings. It basically focuses on explaining how the human brain responds to certain stimuli. The branch of neuroscience that focuses on marketing is dubbed neuromarketing — something that sounds fancy but basically encapsulates the ideas, processes, and techniques you can use to persuade visitors to make decisions in your favor on landing pages.

Neuromarketing explains how humans make decisions based on the different marketing stimuli they’re exposed to. Once you understand how the decision making process works (both rational and irrational) it becomes easy for you to understand your visitors mindset when they interact with your landing page, and once you understand, you can predict — and isn’t that what every marketer dreams of?

Neuromarketing is a vast field and it’ll probably take years for you to master it properly, but you’re in luck because I can give you a crash course in about a few minutes on how to use your visitors’ brain chemicals and convince them to stick on your landing page and click the CTA button.

Dopamine and Cortisol — a crash course in neuromarketing

Every story has a protagonist and an antogonist — a hero we all root for and a villain we detest. Dopamine and cortisol play these roles on your landing pages. Dopamine makes an appearance as the knight in shining armor whereas cortisol is the scary hooded figure you want nothing to do with.

Here’s what the chemicals do to the human brain:

  1. Dopamine: The brain chemical produces joy when you find things that meet your needs and expectations. Dopamine plays a central role in motivation and habit formation and leads to the ‘woo hoo’ moment. When dopamine levels are low, it leads to disappointment and sometimes anger. Dopamine spikes when your expectations are met and it dips when you are disappointed with something.
  2. Cortisol: Cortisol aka the stress hormone ignites our fight or flight mode. When cortisol levels are high we experience the ‘oh no’ moment and this triggers our built in alarm system and alerts us of danger. A cortisol surge in the brain leads to fear/pain, stress and anxiety.

Bottom line — your landing page should induce dopamine in users and you need to stay far away from page elements that cause a cortisol release.

Inducing dopamine on landing pages

Dopamine is produced when user expectations are met, you can ensure seeing your landing page leads to a dopamine surge in visitors by maintaining message match.

Message match refers to the process of matching the content of an ad with its corresponding landing page. When a user clicks an ad, they have certain expectations of what they want to see, when a landing page matches those expectations, users have their ‘woo hoo’ moment and are more likely to click the CTA button.

The Webchat display ad promises to ‘turn website clicks into customers’:

Webchat ad

The landing page doesn’t stray away from the message and offers the same thing causing the visitor to get what they expected, be happy because they found the solution they wanted:

Webchat landing page

Message match all your ads and landing pages, fulfill user expectations, spike that dopamine and score some conversions.

How to avoid cortisol on landing pages

A spike in cortisol induces the fight or flight mode in your visitors, they become hyper aware of the situation they are in and actively try to find threats in their immediate environment — which in this case is your landing page.

To ensure your landing page doesn’t induce cortisol stay far away from the following cortisol triggers:

  • Stop words: Using stop words such as ‘spam’ under your lead capture from could actually backfire and cause a decrease in conversions because even if a user initially wasn’t thinking you’ll spam them, once they see the word that’s all they’ll think about.
  • Dark patterns: Hidden costs, scammy design patterns, and negative option overlays all come under the dark pattern category and shouldn’t be used on your landing pages. Giving the choice between improvement and refusal doesn’t really appeal to users.
cortisol trigger
  • Violating expectations: When you don’t meet the expectations you set for users you cause a release of cortisol. For example, offering a free trial in the ad but asking for a credit card number on your landing page.
  • Ambiguity: When there’s too much going on your landing page, design or copy wise it’s hard for visitors to focus on the offer and this doesn’t bode well for conversions. Cut any unnecessary elements from your landing page.

Maintain a healthy balance of dopamine on your landing pages

Your landing pages will only give you the stats, numbers, and figures you want if you add neurmarketing to the conversion equation. You may not have a big budget to create landing pages but you do have dopamine at your disposal. Make sure your visitors readily meet the hero of the story and stay far away from the villain and your conversions will thank you.

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