Pavlov’s Blog

We like to think we make our decisions based on logic and reason.

But as Jonah Lehrer observes in his book “How We Decide”, the evidence suggest our decisions are based on completely irrational factors. We do, it turns out, judge books by their covers.

In the context of marketing, this fact is fairly important to remember.

While none of us like to think we salivate on command like one of Pavlov's famous dogs, we do act impulsively in response to certain colors, language patterns, and page layouts.

The question to ask yourself is: what response does my current marketing elicit? Buying behavior – or something else?

I suggest that in most cases, the answer is the latter.

If you think you've got this all taken care of, watch what “regular people” (aka your customers) do when they visit your site… and be prepared to be shocked.

What people actually do at your website is probably quite different than what you think they do.

The kind of exercise I describe above is called a “usability study” – and they can be quite expensive if you have a professional conduct the study.

The good news is you can conduct a “do it yourself” usability study inexpensively.

Jakob Nielsen is the guru of usability, and has a very simple “discount usability” model you can follow.

It's worth the effort.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • jwellsy

    You're right Ray. If a page layout is confusing the visitor will take the safe option they know, the back button. A clearly laid out conversation is much more likely to produce the desired result. Dog training is a good analogy. Clear instructions without overwhelming with options creates a more predictable outcome. The whole Web 2.0 concept isn't about using the latest version of dancing flash. But, it makes the website owner consider and enhance the visitors experience.

    In fact, the first few seconds at a site greatly influences the conversion rate. Here's a totally free (not even an opt-in) one hour webinar replay and pdf on the first seven seconds how clarity trumps persuasion, complete with several case studies.

    Jeff Wells