4 minute read
Emotions can be a powerful motivator when it comes to increasing conversions and sales, but there’s one emotion that is seldom talked about in conversion rate optimization – curiosity.
While many CRO specialists concentrate on button size and color, focusing on piquing curiosity is more subtle yet equally effective way of motivating the desired action.
Why is curiosity useful?
Humans are wired to make emotional decisions. Just think about the old saying that we buy on emotion and justify with logic.
Curiosity is valuable because it is a powerful emotion. Biologically speaking, curiosity is triggered in the amygdala, the part of the brain that is also responsible for other powerful emotions such as fear and anxiety.
Curiosity is also useful because it builds momentum in leading people toward an action, or in other words it leads them towards conversion. Consider how many of the greatest achievements in science and medicine are the result of curiosity.
How to create curiosity
Curiosity is derived from our desire for answers and knowledge. Our desire to bridge gaps and connect dots.
Knowing this, it makes sense that piquing curiosity involves engaging consumers in such a way that leaves gaps to bridge and dots to connect, which ultimately motivates the consumer toward a desired action. George Loewenstein, a professor at Carnegie Melon University, supported this idea with his “information gap theory of curiosity.” With Loewenstein’s definition, curiosity is an emotion that is triggered when there is a gap between what we know and what we want to know.
Consider, for example, these headlines:
“Why Bloggers Fail”
“Struggling to make more sales? Follow these 2 simple steps….”
“The dumb pricing mistake people make”
These headlines tease the information gap in a way that makes it difficult to not be curious. Why do bloggers fail? What are the simple steps? What is the dumb mistake? While you probably aren’t selling blog titles to make a living, this concept can be applied in a number of different instances. Have a look at how Microsoft uses curiosity in their advertising.
Helps accelerate a cure for cancer? I don’t know about you, but I’m curious.
Retailers can also use curiosity to drive conversions from email campaigns and product launches.
Many retailers and ecommerce experts agree that email is one of the most important channels for driving revenue. Using curiosity in email subject lines can be a highly effective method for motivating people to open the email. For example, the majority of the $690M President Obama raised online came from emails sent to subscribers with simple yet curious subject lines such as “It doesn’t have to be this way” or even just “Hey.”
Product launches are another area that can benefit from building curiosity. Consider for example how tech companies slowly disseminate bits of information about their product as it leads up to the product launch date. Apple is a great example of this. Every time a new iPhone is on the way, documents are “leaked” to give sneak peaks and little snippets of what’s to come. Just recently there was talk of the leaked pictures of an all glass iPhone. This is an intentional strategy, as these teasers and snippets of information leave consumers curious and in search of answers, and ultimately lead many toward conversion.
Just don’t kill the cat
Professor Loewenstein aptly points out that curiosity doesn’t increase indefinitely, but hits a peak and then comes back down if left without an answer. What this shows is that you can overdo it with curiosity. We look to bridge gaps, not cross the Grand Canyon.
For instance, if you use curiosity in an advertisement, the landing page it links to should satisfy that curiosity early on. That’s not to say you can’t continue to use curiosity to drive people further down the conversion funnel, but at some point lower down in the funnel you’ll want to rely less on curiosity and more on articulating convincing benefits.
As the old saying goes, curiosity killed the cat… but satisfaction brought it back. So if you build curiosity, then satisfy it.
As Jeremy Smith, an online conversion expert once said, “Curiosity is the currency of conversions. The better you become at cultivating curiosity, the better you will become at optimizing conversions.”
P.S. Enjoy this post? You’ll love Using Psychology to Increase Sales