Are you looking to increase the conversion rate of your website? Then consider infusing it with the power of neuromarketing, a fast developing trend within this chaotic, distracting era of Digital Marketing.

What is Neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience to marketing. Neuromarketing includes the direct use of brain imaging, scanning, or other brain activity measurement technology to measure a subject’s response to specific products, packaging, advertising, or other marketing elements.

In this article, we will go through 11 Neuromarketing principles that you can apply to your website, featuring:
  1. Design
  2. Gestalt Principles
  3. Hyperbolic Discounting
  4. Information Overload
  5. Mirror Neurons
  6. Paradox of Choice
  7. Power Words
  8. Priming
  9. Scarcity Principle
  10. Social Proof
  11. The 3 What’s


Design is closely intertwined with Priming (tip 8). The aesthetics and look-and-feel of a page also create first impressions about a website and a business. Below, you can see the websites for two different Chinese-restaurants. You can easily identify which of the two restaurants is a chain just by looking at the homepage. Although users don't always consciously formulate such inferences, these implicitly do influence user behavior and interactions with the site, as well as attitudes toward the company.


Ensure that your design is not templated or a "DIY" job. The design creates a non-conscious perception of the quality and professionalism of your company. It will set the standard for people's attitudes towards your company before they engage with you.


There are two areas of design to consider:
  1. Personal taste
  2. Technical aspects
Whilst one person loves a picasso, another one hates it. So don't get too consumed in the personal opinion side of things. When it comes to appearance, just ensure that the design represents the personality and style of your brand. That's enough.

It's the technical aspects that make the difference between a strong design and a weak/amateurish one. These are things like alignment, padding, correct use of fonts, consideration for the range of screen sizes, etc. As long as these are all well considered, personal taste doesn't matter' the impression of your company will still be strong.


In short, Gestalt Principles explain how we give meaning to what we see based on its position to other things.

For example, if you see a set of squares in a box, you consider them grouped together. Even if they are just in close proximity to each other, you consider them part of a group as well.

In another example, in the image below you see three groups, rather than 8 individual objects.

This is useful to understand when the site's layout is designed. For instance, in your top menu you can group links together to give them meaning. Like so:

Home Services Our Work About Us Contact Us
Here we have grouped Home, Services and Our Work together on the left, to give them a distinction from About Us and Contact Us. The user generally wants to find group 1 before seeking group 2.

Breaking them apart also reduces the amount of choice the user has to make, as they focus on one group at a time, rather than many objects.


Using Gestalt Principles correctly will improve the user experience and help your users to understand your site better.

Use them when explaining what you do or offer, to help your users compartmentalise your products/services and understand your business more easily.


People have a tendency to choose a smaller reward, sooner, rather than a larger reward, later.

In other words, your future self is less important than your current self.

A classic example is when people eat bad food for the short-term reward; knowing full well that their weight will suffer later.

That's why "buy now, pay later" offers are so effective.


Focus on instant benefits or delayed costs.


You can raise your price if you are prepared to wait for the reward. I.e. delayed payment options.

Give an immediate reward (i.e. gift or bonus) to people who commit to something of high value immediately.

Charge a higher price for a shorter term. I.e:

Buy 1 month: $9.99
Buy 1 year: $39.99


Thinking is an unpleasant feeling. It requires effort. We will only go to that effort if the benefits are clear.

When presented with information, we need to digest, compartmentalise and prioritise that information so that it becomes meaningful. The more information we are presented with, the more effort is required to achieve that.


Always try to reduce the amount of information you present to visitors on your website. Prioritise the information that they require to make a decision. Everything else can be conveyed later on once they've become a lead or a customer.


By removing information, you draw more attention to what's left. So remove less important information to draw attention to what's most important.

Keep in mind that a new visitor to your website is not yet convinced of the benefits. They won't go to the same level of effort as you will.

If someone can find the benefits elsewhere for less effort, they will do so.



It's true that more content is better for SEO (Search E Optimisation). But positive website engagement is also great for SEO. What we normally suggest is that you perfect your website to convert more visitors into leads/sales and create a blog to provide that detailed information that Google seeks. This has the added benefit of providing valuable education to prospects who then come to you better informed.


Mirror neurons are cells in the brain which enable us to "mirror" someone else's feelings. This is what causes empathy, but also why big brands like Coke use "happiness" in all of their adverts. The sense of happiness is mirrored by the viewer, and then that feeling is then anchored to the brand.

So the next time you feel happiness, you reach for a coke.

How this is useful for you is through conveying the feeling your customers will get when they have acquired your product/service. Use imagery (usually positive) which reflects those emotions, and the viewer's mirror neurons will do the rest.


Use words, images and video to convey the feelings you want your customers to feel when they interact with your company.

If you keep this in the back of your mind, you'll be able to select far more powerful and effective imagery and communicate in a more consistent (and positive) manner.


Keep your imagery relevant to your industry or your copy. The user needs to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the person in the image/video. By keeping it relevant, it's much easier for them to do so.


The more choice a person has, the more decisions they have to make. At first thought, this seems like a good thing. The problem is that making decisions takes mental ‘energy' which depletes with every subsequent decision made.

So whilst people think they like to have choice, the act of making a decision is unpleasant.


Reduce the amount of choice a person has to make when they enter your website. This might be in the form of choosing which page to click on (in a menu), or choosing between too many products, or too many categories.

Always focus attention on the high-value areas of your business and remove the smaller products or services to up-sell later.


Even deciding on which menu item to choose creates mental friction. People much prefer to be spoon-fed information rather than having to decide on where to go and what to see.

Wherever possible, make the decision for the person. For example, put your key products on your home page so the user doesn't have to find them through a menu.


It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Words are powerful things. Consider the following sentence. Which person would you buy from:

Person A: Ice cream for sale

Person B: Enjoy that holiday feeling with our smooth & delicious ice cream

Words are anchored to emotions, so use words that conjure up positive emotions that you want linked to your brand or service.


Use positive words everywhere.


People make decisions based on emotion. However, they rarely read. If they do, then amazing - your content, filled with positive words and conjuring up the right emotions, will do its job. But generally, they will just skim the headlines.

So make sure your headlines are the best version of themselves that they possibly can be. Put all your attention there for maximum gains.


Images and page content prime people into forming expectations of the website. If those assumptions are further confirmed, the overall experience is smooth and pleasant. However, when the assumptions are proven wrong, people often perceive that the site has poor usability.

In the example below, the homepage of a private-school site depicts several pictures of young kids, which may make you believe that the school in question is a preschool or at best, covers the first elementary grades. In fact, the school includes grades up to 8th.

 The preconception of it being a preschool school, means it'll attract the wrong type of audience, but most importantly, that audience's expectations will not match the reality of what the school offers.


Ensure your messaging primes your perfect customer so that their expectations are realistic and accurate.

Maintain a consistent user experience and site structure throughout the website so that they can smoothly and pleasantly navigate around your site according to their initially primed expectations.


Don't try to appease every Tom, Dick and Harry or you'll end up spreading your message too thin, and appealing to nobody. Focus on your perfect customer and structure your messaging around them. Prime them to have certain expectations that are identical to what you deliver, and the sale & customer satisfaction will be much easier and much higher.


The feeling of loss is much greater than the feeling of gain. As such, people hate to lose out.

Whenever something is at risk of being taken away, its desirability increases. You can apply this to your products or services to make them more desirable.

For example, tickets that are in high demand and selling out fast, must be highly sought after for a reason, right?

What do you offer that has limited quantity, a limited time offer, or demand that outstrips supply? You may simply be very selective over who you work with. The potential client would not want to be turned away.

Combining limited quantity with limited time has an even more powerful effect of increasing desirability. That's because you combine the sense of gain with the risk of losing out.


Using the scarcity principle is a good way of increasing the desirability of your products or services. Be careful not to overuse it, or the user will experience "reactance" which is when they react in the opposite way you intended, because they identify that the motives are disingenuous.

Also, don't confuse scarcity principle with discounts. Scarcity increases the perceived value of the item. Discounts decrease the perceived value.


Testimonials and referrals generally come from neutral third parties, and so they can be trusted far more easily than word from someone trying to sell you something.

We're social creatures that have evolved to trust this type of information, and so it's ingrained in our psyche. In fact, over 70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. (See what we did there?)


Put testimonials front and centre on your website. They are extremely powerful. If you have screenshots of positive social comments, use them too.

Google Places allows people to rate you publicly. If you can, encourage your customers to do so. These ratings appear if someone searches for your company. If you have a strong rating from elsewhere, show it off.

Use badges to add credibility to what you do. These are endorsements from third parties that give proof to your achievements or abilities.

Use awards carefully. Awards are generally valued more by your employees than prospective customers. Awards are always dubious as prospective customers don't know the competition or calibre of the source. They still add credibility, but less-so than the other means listed above.


People are influenced by similar people. "If someone like me had a good experience, I'm more likely to do so too". Use people who represent your perfect customer to talk about the benefits.

Images are even more effective. When people can connect testimonials to real faces, it makes them more believable. If you can, go a step further and use video testimonials.

Lastly, remember that people don't want to read. So don't put lengthy testimonials. If you have a long one, take the most powerful excerpt from it.


Your users have three questions in their non-conscious mind when they visit your site:

What is this?
What's in it for me?
What do I do next?
If you can answer those three questions succinctly, you will encourage more of your visitors to stick around and explore your site.

Often, the first two questions can be answered in one sentence. Try to do this wherever possible as it will convey your important information even more succinctly.


People don't kindly walk in through the front door. They will arrive on your site via many different channels and land on any of your pages. So apply the Three What's to every page, but keep it specific to the nature of that page. Don't use the same title on every page.

Influence to convert. Which of these above 11 neuromarketing principles can you apply today to your website?

Contact us today if you wish to discuss any website changes with our neuroscience expert.


Laura Pardoe

Managing Partner
As co-founder of Grow, Laura holds both Digital Marketing Director and Head of Happiness responsibilities. She is constantly mentoring the team in the latest digital strategies and her top priority is achieving team happiness through a positive company culture.

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