Just like going to the mall or the carnival, surfers on the Internet are continuously exposed by the bright shiny and blinking lights syndrome. These cues whether intended or not, unconsciously influences us into making decisions that we’re not even aware of. This process when applied properly is referred to as Priming.
Web designers creating their next great website can also take advantage of using priming to their advantage, provided that they know why or how it works. There are also different situations which requires different methods of priming.
What Is Priming
What priming describes is the exposure towards a stimulus which will activate mental pathways. These pathways which are created are still active or are activated at a later date, allowing itself to be a lot more easier to access for a related action than non-active ones.
For instance, “prime” examples are continuously been seen on TV ads. We’re constantly being bombarded and forced to continuously watch these television ads until they get embedded into our heads and then they create as well as activates different mental pathways on our brains.
These pathways will usually just link towards intended positive memories. This is exactly what these television producers when they create these entertaining ads set out to do, and why the writers and the directors make the big bucks doing so.
So keep in mind the next time you visit your local grocery store and see a product which you saw on TV. All of the positive images will suddenly appear in your head regarding your association with the product, such as, “A woman with her daughter and puppy running through a garden filled full with fresh spring flowers.” This image as well as the odor are instantly triggered in your thoughts. This effectively associates you with a positive attitude towards that particular product, say for example laundry soap.
So since you have a choice of over 27 different types of laundry detergent on the shelves, you will more than likely go for the one which triggers that positive feeling, even if it costs more.
How Website Designers Can Use The Priming Technique
Priming isn’t about forcing your site visitors into making a concrete decision once they see your site, but what you’re effectively wanting to do is supporting as well as reinforcing their decisions.
Priming can be seen as that invisible hand or gentle nudge on the shoulder which guides and then leads your customers to make a decision through subtle website design influences which includes the following:
Using Text Effectively
Using text can be seen as priming if used properly. So make sure that you include the exact specific wording from your home page title, which is how your site visitor searched for and landed on your site in the first place. Then use as well as translate the same tone and language into your content body, building a nice flowing story around them.
For instance, when your visitors are looking around your site, the menu item that’s primed should lead their thoughts directly back to your article or story, which makes the elements of the story a lot more easier to access.
The Proper Use Of Colors
Colors are a strict visual medium and the various degrees of tone has different meanings and influences which are used to priming different emotions. You can decide to add color to your sites background or just use specific elements such as the content areas or the buttons for instance.
Know the group or type of site visitors that you’re targeting, understand what the different colors represent as well as the specific emotions which they elicit and activate.
Images Are Important Primes
Using photos to priming your visitors may be the most effective method. These images can be used either as the central element of your article or somewhere in the background of your web page.
You can emit prime emotions which activates the purchase of a product or you can also prime the action which you want, which then results in the purchase of the product or service.
What you’re in effect doing is triggering positive memories which may be remotely associated with the product that you’re wanting to sell. This as a way of effectively guiding and then reinforcing your customers’ decision.
Using Metaphors To Relate
You should be using metaphors, either in text or image form, which refers to information that helps your site visitors make a decision. For instance, say that you have a travel site and you’re selling vacation packages. You could then use an image of a starfish to trigger positive vacation emotions, such as the beach, the aquarium, sunshine, scuba diving in the ocean, swaying palm trees, and finally that deep soothing and relaxing back rub…
Using Audio Messages
You can use audio on your site to prime a desired action that you’re wanting your visitors to engage in. Make sure you don’t directly tell your visitor exactly what to do, but instead direct them with ideas or guided options on what they should be doing which they should be able to figure out for themselves.
Using Videos For Prime Time
Using videos primes are extremely effective towards a complete process of someone taking positive action. Showing a “Sign-up” process or going through the “Shopping Cart” process on video for instance, illustrating the different steps which are involved, will make it a lot easier for your visitors to sign up and submit their email or purchase a product.
Different memories which are related to the sign-up process will be activated, helping and assuring them in making the right decision. Also, once your site visitor sees the “Sign up” or “Buy” button, the process of them following through will then be a lot more accessible to them once the prime is activated.
Creating Atmosphere On Your Site
Make sure that you pay close attention towards the exact atmosphere that you’re creating on your website. The elements along with the perception which refers and triggers certain emotions are always important primes.
So develop the exact perception that you want on your site and be creative doing so. Anything that will instantly activate information or ideas in the minds of your visitor can always be used as a prime.
The Proper Use Of Primes
It’s important to know that priming isn’t the same as using subliminal messages although they are somewhat related. What subliminal messages involves are “hidden” primes and thus to some may be considered a bit of an unethical method, but still used nonetheless. There isn’t really any solid research however which proves that subliminal messaging even works.
When you use priming successfully, there’s valid proof that it does in fact directly influence our judgment as well as our decision-making, making it an effective and recognized marketing method.
Proper priming techniques involves the use of sensible primes which can always be identified, such as using certain images which triggers certain emotions. These primes are usually context sensitive and should be an important part of your website design.
Primes have proven to influence what we choose. What they do is they successfully support as well as reinforces our decision-making process rather than something or someone forcing us to make a decision for us. However, the best way that primes work the best is when they’re not identified as such, which is another discussion altogether.