Behavioural science is the study of human behaviour through research and experimentation. It combines psychology, social science, anthropology, neurology, and behavioural economics.
Applying behavioural science in marketing can help you engage and understand your customers more effectively and even allow you to influence behaviours.
Here are four ways to use behavioural science to drive conversions for your business and expand your marketing capabilities.
1. Use the Von Restorff effect to guide customer attention
In 1934, Dr Hedwig Von Restroff theorised that when multiple options are shown, the item that differs the most from the series is the most likely to be remembered. This became known as the Von Restorff effect or the isolation effect.
The Von Restorff effect laid the foundations for a straightforward strategy: to get customers to buy a particular product or service, you must make it stand out. There are many ways to add emphasis, such as adding a ‘best seller’ tag to an eCommerce product.
Making important information, products or services visually distinctive is very important. However, it’s worth using restraint to avoid competing visual elements. Also, try not to rely solely on colour, sound or motion. Instead, use a combination of techniques to prevent excluding those with sensory restrictions.
2. Social proof your brand
The term ‘social proof’ was coined by author Robert Cialdini in 1984. Also known as informational social influence, this phenomenon is the idea that humans are social creatures with a herd mentality; essentially, we’re all copycats.
In marketing, social proof covers a similar idea. People need reassurance about a product; reviews and recommendations can vastly improve a brand’s reputation.
Therefore, it’s worth gathering case studies, testimonials and reviews for your company’s social media and website. Leveraging user-generated content (USG) from existing customers can also be a great way to ‘social proof’ your brand.
3. Motivate customers with the picture superiority effect
The picture superiority effect refers to the idea that people remember pictures better than words. According to research, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than words. Business owners can use this idea to create impactful and memorable marketing campaigns.
People tend to remember human faces and indoor scenes more than outdoor landscape images. Images that feature an object and a scene, for example, a headshot and the surroundings, have the maximum impact.
To cement your branding, you could use similar elements or colours across all your images or overlay images with text. It’s worth remembering that pictures are great at evoking emotion, so they can be highly effective for marketing purposes.
4. Use recognisable colours and icons
From childhood, we are conditioned to associate certain colours and icons with positive emotions, for example, a green tick. The human desire for validation can also prove useful in marketing.
For example, guiding a customer through an online checkout process with ‘well done’ messages and green ticks can actually increase conversion rates. This is partly because it’s well-signposted and easy to use but also because it makes a user feel validated and positive about the experience.
Recognisable colours and icons can be used across your branding to increase customer engagement. Adding gold stars to any reviews on your website has a similar effect. Visitors to your website will see five gold stars and quickly associate your product with quality, reliability and excellence.