When Designing Your Page, Think Inside the Box

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SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash's four-part story in his Affiliate Summit West 2013 keynote highlighted the importance of clarity and simplicity of landing pages.  

The Real Sales Funnel 

We have three brains: the logical thinking brain (neocortex), the emotional brain (limbic system), and the irrational brain (reptilian brain). Instead of looking at looking at these brains top-down, we should be looking at them bottom-up because 95% of our decisions are made pre-consciously. The reptilian brain acts as the “bouncer” that filters which information gets processed by the other two brains. And before our logical brain can think the information through, our emotional brain has already made the decision for us. The logical brain only justifies that decision. 

The Lazy Brain

The reptilian brain, which is the gateway of the three brains, doesn’t like to work and is perpetually on a do-not-think mode. Its main agenda is survival. This brain only cares about the four Fs: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and fornication. It pays attention if something is threatening, interesting, edible, or a potential mate. 

Inside the Box 

From what we know of how the brain works, Tim suggests thinking inside the box when designing e-commerce pages. That means prioritizing your customer’s intent and making the page almost “bland” with not a lot of competing visual stimuli. When you do introduce something on the page, keep these guidelines in mind: 

1. Give Clear and Distinct Choices 

Thinking about close choices makes the brain tired and makes subsequent decision-making difficult.  Show expertise to your customers by editing down the choices and making each option stand out. 

2. Calibrate Your Customer’s Mind to the Higher Price 

We anchor on the first thing we see. Arrange the products in a decreasing price order (i.e. highest price first) to lower the price resistance to the less expensive product you’re really trying to sell. Use irrational anchors in the lobby of the experience (maybe on the page or prior to the page). 

3. Talk to Your Target Audience

Our identities are made up of a bunch of tribal layers and associations, and things related to our tribes evoke emotions in our limbic system. Appeal to the undecided in your target audience through the editorial tone of your page, and do not be afraid to alienate those who are not part of the tribe anyway. 

4. Use Visuals to Your Advantage

Visuals are very powerful because over half of our brain is devoted to visual processing. People can’t help but look at images which is why Pinterest and Instagram are considered the "killer apps." 

Photos and videos can either support or distract from your call-to-action. This is especially true of human faces which we can’t help but look at since there’s a part of our emotional brain that’s there to recognize human faces. Tim advises against the use of stock photos (a.k.a. "business porn") as they don’t typically align with a concrete message. 

When used correctly though, faces and other strong graphics can bring your customer’s attention to your CTA.

It's All in the Mind

Tim ended his speech by reminding affiliate marketers that “… there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s all old stuff. “ He said that “technology [should be used] in the service of psychology because the brain doesn’t change.  It’s not about the hardware, it’s about the wetware. “ 

‘Want to know why Tim suddenly screams in high pitch during his speech? Or how he makes references to Star Trek, 300, and 7th grade Biology? Head on over to Shawn Collins’ blog to watch the entire video.