#ConvCon NY: Websites for Lizards from Amy Africa

By Amanda Sides | Oct 20, 2011
More Articles by Amanda


Amy Africa presented the amazing keynote this morning to kick-off Day 2 of the Conversion Conference. She discussed how as marketers, we need to appeal to the reptilian brains of our customers. Here’s what she covered:

A homeless man had a sign that read:

“Homeless. Please Help.”

He typically made about $4 an hour. A marketer asked him to stay in the same spot for 2 hours if he would hold a different sign. Two hours later, the man reported getting $30 an hour with the new sign. What changed on the sign that led to such a large increase? It now read:

“What would you do if you were hungry?”

So, what would you do if you were desperate and hungry?

You should appeal to the Reptilian Brain: This is the part of your brain that makes decisions. In a sense, it rules your life. It’s the part of your brain that triggers your instinct to buy. This is the part of the brain we need to sell to.

1 | You are self-centered – If someone smacks someone else across the face, all you are really thinking is how happy you are it wasn’t you. Since people are only looking out for themselves, do they see themselves when they look at your site?

2 | You are an inspector – When you see a new piece of information, you inspect it. You assess it and see if it’s familiar or new and dangerous and needs to be approached with caution.

3 | You process best in black and white – You are designed for efficiency.  You see and understand better when there is a large contrast; you notice pattern interrupters. Do you have pattern interrupters on your website? Use them to grab visitors’ attention.

4 | You are visual – The visual cortex is really fast. It takes up at least one third of your processing power. The reptilian brain has been around as long as reptiles and we just recently developed words. We are visual beings. Appeal to this. Include pictures. If you have no pictures, people will abandon. Use visuals.

5 | You look for patterns – You constantly look for patterns. You also cannot unsee things after we see them. Put people using your product. Everywhere. Ingrain it in visitors’ brains. Test them on your lead forms, the results may be shocking.

6 | You like things you can touch – When you hear “red balloon,” you are picturing a red balloon in front of you. Now how about the phrases you use on your site? Are they intangible? If they are, you may be getting in your own way.

7 | You like beginnings & ends – You probably can remember your first kiss, and the last kiss you had. How about all of the kisses in between? Probably not. Our brains are designed for efficiency; we remember what we think is important. Use deadlines on your website.

8 | You take a lot of shortcuts – Your brain does not like math equations. How are you presenting your pricing on your site? Even though it may be simple, it may be too complicated for the reptilian brain. Make some changes.

9 | You respond to emotion – No one knows where they were on June 22, 2002. But EVERYONE remembers where they were on 9/11. We categorize things by importance and significance.

10 | Your memory sucks – People tend to have false memories. Every view should have the cart present. Constantly put these types of things in the user’s face.

11 | You have flawed judgement – The more often things happen the more likely you are to remember them.  We are swayed by our thoughts, so be sure to be consistent and frequent when it comes to displaying important aspects of your site.

12 | You have inattentional blindness – Amy has taught many people to ski. People tend to see the trees and not the path. They worry about hitting the trees instead of focusing on the path. You are easily distracted. You are not good at multi-tasking.

13 | You connect cause with effect – Do you have buttons? Do you have a shopping cart? Visitors want to be able to see the path from start to finish.

14 | You like what’s first – What came first? The chicken or the egg? You want to know. Priorities don’t really matter when you really just care about what’s first. Want to sell a certain product? Try listing it first.

15 | You have present bias – At the grocery store, if you’re hungry while shopping, you buy more food, when you really don’t need all of it. People are afraid to wait for a bigger return. Keep that in mind when designing your site.

16 | You are predictable – You eat Oreos the same way every time you eat them. You like routines and predictability.

17 | You are more impacted by the fear of loss than the possibility of gain – If you are selling cars, you tend to say here’s the luxury, most awesome edition, but we can take this and this off and reduce the price, and you’ll sell more than if you give them a frame and say, now you can build it up. You don’t know what you’re getting and are unsure.

18 |  You do not like the unknown – You don’t go into scary dark new caves. You don’t know what’s in there. Is it dangerous? Maybe, so you avoid it. Give people what they know and are familiar with. Tell them exactly what they are doing and what will happen after they do it.

19 | You respond to status – You would probably rather have status and reputation than money. Make customers feel important.

20 | You react to reciprocity… in a big way – How are you presenting your products? Will the customer get something out of it? If they feel they transaction is benefiting both parties, they’ll be more likely to buy.

21 | You respond to scarcity – You want what is rare. We choose what is almost gone, and will be hard to get later. You have to decide really quickly whether you want it or not.

22| You respond to size… and often inaccurately – The magnification paradox. You may be scared of something harmless that is huge, while you are less afraid of something tiny that could cause much more damage.

23 | You like anticipation – If someone offers you $20 now or $50 in two weeks, most people will take the $20 now.  Keep this in mind when you are presenting your site.

So rethink this question: “What would you do if you were hungry?”

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