As science progresses, so do the tools we have for understanding the human brain and human behavior. In the 1990s, fMRI was developed. fMRI stands for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Similar to the MRI, fMRI is a brain imaging technique that does not involve radiation.
Due to its ease of use, fMRI has become a popular tool for imaging normal brain function. Over the past decade, it has allowed psychologists to discover new insights into such things as how memories are formed, how language is learned, how pain effects the brain, and decision-making processes.
fMRI has opened the door to neuromarketing. This is a field of scientific study that aims to understand how people make purchasing decisions and then capitalize on this information to persuade people to buy products. Neuromarketing assesses how our brain reacts to stimuli—not simply what we self-report—allowing researchers to study both the conscious and the subconscious decision-making process.
You can use the information researchers have found to improve your marketing efforts. Knowing what consumers respond best to can help you design your book covers, your website, and all your marketing materials to better grab people’s attention. Consider these three neuromarketing findings.
1. Maximize Eye Gaze
Vision is the most prominent of the human five senses. Nearly one-fourth of the brain deals with visual processes. It is long known that ads that contain images of people are more effective than those that don’t. In particular, images that include babies tend to attract longer and more focused attention from consumers.
Eye tracking technology has discovered that an adorable baby face is not enough to engage consumers with the content of a visual ad. With eye tracking, researchers found that images of infant looking face on at the viewer, distracted the viewer from the rest of the content. However, if the baby’s face was looking at the product or ad content (rather than straight on), then the viewer also focused on the advertising content.
The big take away from this study is that if you are using images of people in your marketing content or on your website, have the faces of the people turned toward what you want your readers to look at. Images in your marketing material should enhance what you are trying to communicate, not distract from it.
2. Color is Important
Color plays a major role in decision making. Research shows that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Between 62 and 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone.
Colors influence how we feel. This makes them a powerful marketing tool. Colors are often a primary factor in purchasing decisions. Studies show that a product’s color influences 60 to 80 percent of a customer’s purchasing decision. The colors you choose for your book cover, your website, and your advertising copy are extremely important.
Using color effectively can be a powerful marketing tool. Colors evoke emotion. Familiarize yourself with the emotional message of various colors before choosing your next book’s cover. Interestingly, color appears to be tied to culture. Colors that entice shoppers in America are entirely different from those that entice shoppers in India.
3. Fonts Make a Difference
Humans prefer comfort and ease. People are more likely to engage in a given behavior the less effort it requires. This is true for reading. Studies show that people prefer easy-to-read fonts over complex fonts. The easier the font is to read; the more people feel they will understand what they are reading.
There is still a place for more complex fonts. Just use them sparsely to catch consumer’s attention in your marketing. Anything text that requires longer reading and understanding should be done with a simple font.
All marketing speaks to the brain. Knowing what catches the brains attention and what influences the brain’s decision-making activity and then designing your marketing materials to capitalize on these influences is smart marketing. Your design, color, and font choices all play an important role in convincing consumers to buy your books. People make 90% of buying decisions subconsciously, and it can take just 50 milliseconds to create a positive or negative impression on your audience.
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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio and Francesca Zama.