How to Increase Conversions with Visual Persuasion

In our need to understand the complexities of the human animal, marketing is increasingly turning for help to behavioral sciences.  Now I know you may not want to pick up a number of heavy books for reading, so I’ve pulled out a few of the visual persuasion techniques that the team at Exhale has really seen work!

Less is more.

Multiple consumer psychology studies confirm a fairly common sense fact that in order to make someone do something, you have to make it as easy as possible. The “Principle of Least Effort” claims that animals, people, and even well-designed machines, will naturally choose the path of least resistance. So less content, more white space, even more spacing between letters. Eyetrack studies demonstrate that people don’t generally read websites and emails. They skim them. Looking for keywords, images and concepts which will determine their engagement and interest levels. Bounce rates increase proportionately to the amount of content consumers need to wade through to get to where they want to go.

Point the way to action.

To encourage conversions whether from an anonymous visitor to a known sales lead, or from a qualified lead to an actual buyer, website, landing page and ad designers have learned to provide visual cues—to not only help guide the reader to relevant content, but to influence them to take action. To make the path to conversion most effortless, you must understand the psychological cues that prompt action, and then consider the entire customer journey, using both implicit and explicit directional cues


Directional cues are divided into implicit and explicit. Explicit are as you may have guessed more obvious. Arrows, lines or motion pointing to a CTA button or form for example. Literally leading the visitors’ gaze to what we want them to focus on.


Pop Ups would fall into this category. Implicit visual cues are more subtle and often subconscious in nature. They include line of sight, colors, shapes and sizes and prioritization through visual weighting.


Monkey See Monkey Do

Faces have long been known to attract our attention. Effective persuasion takes full advantage of this fact. Notice the amount of landing pages with people’s faces. Notice how many of them will look towards the CTA.

Monkey See Monkey Do

Again heatmaps show that people will look towards the same direction as others are even when they are just people in a photograph. Think of walking down the street and seeing a group of people looking up at something. I dare you to resist the urge to follow their gaze almost instantly. And it really is instant. An eye tracking study performed by Neuromarketing suggests that our brains process visual cues incredibly quickly 60,000 times faster than they do written text. Think how much easier you will get s gist of the offering from icons representing concepts then the written explanation thereof.


Follow the Baby

A famous eye tracking study exemplifies the concept of implicit directional cues as well as paying homage to the truism that humans like cuteness. It’s an ad featuring an adorable baby. One image has the infant looking at you and the other has them looking towards the text we want the audience to read. Guess which one is a winner? You will follow the baby’s gaze. It’s wired into you.

eye tracking

The heat map illustrates this with the focus of attention highlighted in orange and red over the baby’s face, and yellows and greens, indicating less attention, over the actual message.

Smart marketers will take advantage of understanding our instincts and triggers and work with them when designing messaging with the goal of converting, those who are unaware of how much role it plays do so at their own peril. The right visual design of the message makes a difference in how effective the campaigns are in reaching the conversion goals.

Armand About the author

Armand is Exhale's Director of Applied Neuromarketing. His extensive experience with buyer behavioral psychology comes handy for higher converting campaigns and improved user experiences. In a previous life he birthed startups in multiple industries and won accolades for selling millions worth of products. When not peering into the depths of the human psyche he is an avid gamer and a lover of racing somewhat overpowered British sports cars.

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