If you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Priming is a method to motivate users to make decisions when they visit your site.
I gather the term was coined by the inventor of a testing tool that enables Web-site owners to obtain reactions to their sites.
Writing in Website Magazine – Paul Veugen, the CEO and founder of Usabilla – indicates site priming provides users with “direct and indirect cues online that can unconsciously nudge them into making different decisions down the line.
“The next time you visit the supermarket and see a product from an ad, these positive memories are triggered and they leave you with a positive attitude towards the product,” Mr. Veugen writes.
“If you need to choose between a hundred different types of yogurt brands, you are most likely going to go for the one that gives you a positive feeling,” he adds.
“Priming does not work by forcing a decision upon your customers, but you can use it as a means to effectively support their decisions,” he explains.
Here’s an edited version of his six suggested primes:
Colors have different meanings and can be used to prime emotions. You can color your background or only specific elements like buttons or content areas, for example.
Be aware of your target group and their understanding of colors and the emotions they elicit.
For more information, see the article Marketing Psychology: Choose the Best Colors for Online Sales, which includes a great infographic with 40 facts on the psychology of colors.
Text can also be used as a prime, of course. Include the exact wording of your menu items in your content and build a nice story around them, for example.
Then when customers look around your site, the primed menu item will lead their thoughts back to your story — which makes elements of the story accessible.
“Priming does not work by forcing a decision upon your customers, but you can use it as a means to effectively support their decisions.”
Use metaphors that refer to information to help your customers make a decision. For example, imagine you try to sell vacation trips.
You could use the metaphor of a shell to trigger positive emotions like sun, beach, palm trees, ocean, waves, relaxation, etc.
Use pictures to prime your customers. These pictures can either be in the background or a central element of your webpage.
You can prime emotions that come with the purchase of your product or you can prime a desirable action that requires the purchase of your product, for example.
Both times, you trigger memories that might only be distantly related to your product, as a way to guide your customers’ decisions.
Use videos to prime a whole process of actions. Showing the sign-up process with the different steps involved will make it easier for your customers to sign up, for example.
Different memories related to a sign-up process will be accessible that help to make the right choice.
Besides, when your customers see the sign up button, the process of signing up will be more accessible to them than it would be without the prime.
Include audio on your website to prime any action you want your customers to engage in.
Make sure that you don’t tell your customers what to do, but rather give them the idea that they figured it out themselves.
“The emotional perception and elements that refer to emotions are important primes when it comes to the perception of your site,” Mr. Veugen explains. “And for the rest, be creative! Anything that activates information in the minds of your customers can be used as prime.”
He writes priming and subliminal messages aren’t synonymous. “The two are related, but subliminal messaging includes ‘hidden’ primes and is considered by many to be an unethical marketing practice,” he asserts. “Besides, not much research can be found to prove that subliminal messaging really works.
“…Priming includes visual or at least sensible primes that can be identified, such as pictures or odors. These primes should be context-sensitive and part of your website design.”
To see more about Mr. Veugen and his offerings: www.usabilla.com.
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