Revolutionary Basics: Neuro-Persuasion from the MN Search Summit

In July, I attended the MN Search Summit, a one-day conference covering aspects of SEO, SEM, content and more with Associate UX Designer Ann Marie Steib. It’s attended by search engine marketers in the Midwest and features amazing industry thought leaders like Rand Fishkin (The “Wizard of Moz”) and Larry Kim (Founder of WordStream).

My first (and favorite) breakout session of the day was Roger Dooley talking about Neuro-marketing/Neuro-persuasion. He spoke on some of the traditional psychological frameworks we use to guide marketing strategy, but urged that no single theory explains all consumer behavior. The bottom line? The importance of testing is paramount to marketing success.

As a major sucker for good problem-solving framework, I’m sharing with you Roger Dooley’s Persuasion Slide. This is broken into four elements that must work together to guide behavior change in your prospects:

Element 1: Gravity

The most basic element of using any slide, gravity, equates to working with your potential customers to help them accomplish what they want.

  • According to Dooley, “gravity is NOT ‘fill out this form, etc.’ but IS ‘we will help you accomplish what you want.’”
  • Takeaway: Always work in the direction of your customers’ gravity. Never try to work against gravity – it won’t end well.

Element 2: The Nudge

The push down the slide.

  • The nudge is how you get your potential customer’s attention. It’s what gets the customer thinking about your brand as a way to fulfill their need.
  • Examples include email, banner ad, video ad, etc. Below is an example of what Dooley uses as the nudge on his website:
Roger Dooley website popup
  • Takeaway: Make sure the nudge happens, and at the right time. In Dooley’s website example, he might wait to display the pop-up until a user has viewed three pages of content on his site, indicating a visitor that’s more engaged in reading his content.

Element 3:The Angle

The steeper the angle, the faster you slide. Thus, the more motivated the potential customer is, the faster conversion occurs.

  • Motivators increase your potential customer’s likelihood of conversion. Motivators can be conscious or non-conscious:
    • Conscious: features, benefits, price, discounts, etc.
    • Non-conscious: emotions, psychology, and “brain bugs”- things that we subconsciously choose that may not be logical. Font choice was an example of a non-conscious motivator. In Dooley’s example, customers were willing to pay much more for a product that featured a typeface with a luxury feel.
  • Conscious and non-conscious motivators work together. Much of consumer behavior is irrational, so appealing to emotion (through non-conscious motivators) is important, but so is making your user believes their decision was a rational one (by using conscious motivators like discounts).
  • Takeaway: Consider what motivators you can include in your messaging to increase your potential customer’s “angle”.

Element 4: Friction

Think about an old, rusty slide on a poorly-maintained playground. It’s going to hurt, and you might opt for the swings instead.

  • Friction on the slide is a difficulty the potential consumer faces that’s either real or perceived.
    • Real friction examples include long form fields and difficult website process or instructions.
    • Imaginary friction examples include hard-to-read fonts and visual design, and long blocks of text.
  • Dooley called fixing these mistakes the “cheapest way to increase conversions”.
  • Takeaway: Analyze your product/offering, and website and marketing materials for potential friction, then have your agency do the same. Fix everything that creates friction against potential conversion.

The Persuasion Slide framework is an insightful way to begin tackling marketing problems. I look forward to reading his book, Brainfluence. You can also watch Dooley present here.

If you have an interest in other brain-based behavior change frameworks, I recommend B.J. Fogg’s Behavior Model. I was lucky enough to catch a presentation by Fogg a few years ago, and he’s one of the best speakers I’ve seen to-date. His behavior model is easy to understand and easy to begin implementing right away.