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Priming the Conversion Pump with Color

Drive Conversions with a Little Color

I was flattered and surprised by the emails, phone calls, etc., that stemmed from my last post, Making Visitors Want It Now. I'll comment at greater length and answer questions in my BizMediaScience column as time allows.

The Making Visitors Want It Now post explained some simple methods for priming visitors. Priming is a method of planting seeds in the mind that the brain will let flower when the time is right. The reason for priming is simple; how the mind and brain deal with time is very different. You can't rely on the two of them to agree on what to do when, so you need to help them synchronize their efforts. This synchronization is called "priming".

Priming is important to marketers, advertisers and website owners because it also deals with intender status, a marketing term that roughly translates to "when do they intend to purchase?" Synchronize a prospect's mind and brain and you

    a) have a much better idea of their intender status and
    b) can modify it once you know how
I mentioned in last week's post that NextStage is developing some tools to determine where visitors are in the buying cycle. One tool we're preparing to put in place is an Intender Status Tool so site owners and marketers can determine if visitors plan on purchasing (converting with their checkbook in hand) within a week, a month or further down the road.

I used the example of car buying online in my last post, demonstrating how to prime a winter purchase in summer and explaining how to amplify the metaphor for different marketing and sales needs. This time we'll explore how to take a nearer term purchase and make it a "now" purchase. More succinctly, we're going to help the person doing online research prior to a purchase to stop researching and make that purchase by priming the conversion pump.

Right Now, Almost Now, Real Soon, Near Term and Far Term Purchases

People researching a near term purchase -- say 2 days to 2 weeks out instead of a month or so away -- are usually doing that research with a completely different part of their mind-brain system than people researching a far term purchase. Their mind is still busily doing its remembering and planning thing. The closer someone is timewise to making a purchase the more their brain is part of the decision making process. This is because the brain handles all of the "right now" processing and the bulk of the "almost now" or "real soon" processing. "Almost now" and "real soon" means (for most people) events taking place within a 24-48 hour window of "right now".

The key to making near term, almost now and real soon conversions into "right now" conversions involves several elements. I'll explain one method this week and another next week. Both are simple to use and both must be used wisely.

Get Their Attention

I mentioned in the The Best Way to Use Color and Imagery to Improve Your Marketing podcast that there are six colors the brain is hard wired to respond to -- black, white, red, yellow, green and blue (I'm also posting the answers under Color Research on BizMediaScience). I've written more on this in Usability Studies 101: Follow the Eye.

These colors can be thought of as "attention colors" as in "they get your attention", and whatever has our attention is, by definition, more important than what doesn't have our attention. Things that are more important are more important because they have a "right now"ness to them that unimportant things don't have. Thus, to move someone's intender status from future to now (or at least closer to "now"), use one of these colors to get their attention.

These colors are survival colors from an evolutionary standpoint. This means our primitive ancestors knew there was either food or trouble when they saw these colors. We are hardwired into either a fight or flight response when we see them.

jitterbug.jpgFlight and fight are not responses you want someone to have when they're looking at your marketing material, and this is where using the colors wisely is important. The image on the right is an excellent demonstration of using attention colors wisely; they highlight the product name, headlines, the product and the menu section of the page. Nicely done!


This post provides a simple, powerful method for changing someone's intender status when they interact with your marketing material (website, brochure, etc). As in all things, use it wisely and well and positive results will follow.

Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.

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