The second day of CMX Summit in New York has a distinctly different feel than the first. Yesterday was about defining community, strategy, ROI, and understanding our roles within larger organizations. Today is about digging into the science of the way our mind works.

To that end, Nathalie Nahai spoke to us about web psychology. Nathalie is a Web Psychologist and author of the best-selling book, Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion. Nathalie helps businesses apply scientific thinking to their design and decision-making processes, to achieve better engagement online.

Nathalie talked about the psychology of online persuasion. To succeed online you have to understand and leverage the hidden psychology of your users.

The 3 key secrets to online success are:

  1. Know who you’re targeting: This helps you define your message.
  2. Communicate persuasively: You can use design cues to help guide users to specific behaviors.
  3. Sell with integrity: The ability to apply Behavioral Psychology to the sell in an ethical way.

She went on to define the three systems in the brain, which is a highly complex useful model to understanding how our minds work. The three systems are:

  1. Primal- Common to all animals, in charge of basic vital functions, decides what is risky vs. safe.
  2. Emotional- Limbic system, ancient and automatic, fear/trust, happy/sad, risk/reward, and empathy.
  3. Rational- Unique to humans, higher cognitive functions, plan, organize, problem solve, language and abstract thought.

Ask yourself: How does purchasing your product or joining your community translate into a greater impact worth celebrating?

In other words, to be persuasive online and in ecommerce you have to target all 3 systems. Your message, content, and website should be arousing (primal), emotionally effective (emotional), and intellectually compelling (rational).

The most important thing is to research your community and enable them through the Three Systems. For more in-depth case studies and specific examples, check out Nathalie’s presentation on Slideshare!


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