Meet the Mind Reading Experts
Humans are Irrational Creatures
More often than not, human behaviour defies principles of clear logic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it does make the job of reading your customers mind much more complex. Renowned psychologist, Sigmund Freud was the first to postulate a model of the mind involving three tiers. Our conscious mind represents the surface level of all our thoughts. This is often described as the tip of the iceberg. It involves our perception of ourselves and the world surrounding us. Secondly the subconscious mind, which is in constant contact with the conscious mind, involves all the things we may not currently be aware of but can easily pull into our conscious mind when necessary. It exists just below the level of consciousness and is commonly thought of as ‘the waiting room’. Our unconscious mind, whereas, drives 92% of everything we do and is the primary source of human behaviour. It is a bank of all past experiences and memories. If the titanic has taught us anything, it is that the most important point of the iceberg is what you cannot see.
Guesswork Ruins Experience
As such, it is possible to conclude that customers don’t make purchases based on rational facts or emotions alone. To truly enter their mind, therefore, you need to discover precisely what they’re thinking and the desires they want fulfilling. This can be achieved through carefully thought out questioning techniques:
- What questions target the conscious mind. They provide us with the least amount of information but are the easiest to answer. As a general rule, we recommend using more ‘what’ questions than any other type of question – we usually have 5.
- How questions target the subconscious mind. They are a happy medium between ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions. Although they ascertain more data from customers they are slightly harder to answer, which increases the likelihood of customers bouncing.
- Why questions target the unconscious mind. As such, we should use them very rarely to avoid frustrating customers. If we cause customers to think too much, their mind will wander to things other than your products/services and consequently they are more likely to bounce off your site. Therefore we recommend only using one why question.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that customers are people and not just users. By utilising simple customer insights you can ensure that the content you produce achieves what it is set out to achieve. Here are our top tips:
- Influence – customers need to understand who messages are coming from. If a message is too sales-y our social media brain will reject it. Personifying your brand can help to avoid this.
- Clarity and intrigue – the content you produce needs to be clear yet interesting. As we’ve already mentioned, if something is too complex customers are more likely to get distracted and bounce. If you frustrate customers regularly they will start associating this feeling with all of your products which may ultimately result in you losing their custom.
- Time – the receptiveness of your customers towards your products will differ depending on the type of products you sell and your customer base. Who are your target market and what do they think about at different points of the day? For instance, if you sell cereal, between 6am and 9am when people are commuting to work is the best time for it – most people wont be thinking about cereal in the middle of the afternoon.
- Message – the language you should be wholly positive. Using ‘if’, ‘but’ and ‘maybe’ casts doubt onto your product. It suggests that you’re not sure and don’t fully believe in your product. If you don’t have confidence in your product you cant expect your customers too.
The Science of Attraction
Our ego is a fundamental part of our psyche. Although we are irrational, we act to make us feel better about ourselves and feel good as much as possible. Therefore, successful brands are those that identify with who we are and who we want to become. In simple terms, you get what you project – positive content reinforces positive imagery. As a brand if you are projecting something negative or neutral that doesn’t invoke desire then it wont speak to customers egos and will consequently be ignored. The same applies in terms of brand imagery. People know how they want to be perceived so will buy certain brands if they fit into this categorisation. For instance, before it was re-branded Tesco’s value range had a functional blue, red and white design which was easily identifiable. Customers didn’t like this as it was easily identifiable when they carried around tesco value products that they were shopping on a budget. Now the value line has been rebranded the connotations surrounding that brand have also adapted.
We are Digitally Imprinted
The ego implicit in our brain means we are more attracted to people who remind us of ourselves. The same applies to online businesses – our sense of acceptance comes from familiarity and prior experiences. Customers are turned off when their expectations are not upheld. Here are our top tips on living up to expectations:
- Familiarity – Repetition breeds trust so the more times customers see something the more likely the are to be influenced by it. A good example of this is influencer marketing – if your customers see all their favourite bloggers writing about your product it will trigger our primal brain to think ‘if they are using it then it must be good for me too’ meaning they are more likely to purchase.
- Simplicity – The process of making a purchase should be easy for customers in order to avoid them becoming fatigued. If there are more than three steps involved in the checkout process customers will be required to think too much, which as we know leaves room for doubt or uncertainty as their minds will begin to wander.
- Visibility – For eCommerce websites the phrase ‘out of sight out of mind’ definitely rains true. If your call to actions are not visible or contrasted enough then it will act like camouflage – the customer wont be able to focus their attention onto it which makes the process a lot more difficult. Using accent colours that are different to the brand colours will make calls to action stand out and thus customers are more likely to notice and use them.
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