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Behavioural science; gimmick or a marketer's secret weapon?

Have you ever wondered how Derren Brown can predict how people will behave when put in certain situations? Does he have supernatural powers, or can anyone influence behaviour if they have the right skills? This got us thinking about how we could help our clients lead their customers towards desired goals and, ultimately, improve the effectiveness of their marketing. Hint.. it is all about behavioural science.

If you’re not familiar with Behavioural Science, it’s the study of human behaviour and why people tend to do completely irrational things. We make decisions based on biases that we’re unaware of and make choices that defy logic. It’s why people regularly play the lottery even though the likelihood of winning is minuscule; they over-estimate their odds of success (optimism bias) and under-estimate their chances of failure.

Here are a few of our favourite biases below that we think every marketer should be aware of with some tips and advice you can implement right away.


Decision paralysis

Customers want to feel they have control of choosing, but don’t want to spend too much time making decisions. When it comes to how you market your products and services, limit the choices you give them to avoid choice fatigue in increasing conversion rates. This is a 101 behavioural science tip.

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Immediate advice

Count how many choices you are offering visitors to your website, both in places you want them to click and/or products and services you are selling. Perhaps the number of them is interfering with the decisions you are trying to achieve. Can you reduce this number without limiting the user journey?



Social proof

We tend to copy the behaviours of others, especially in unfamiliar situations. Framing your marketing messages by showing why existing customers selected you, helps encourage new customers to pick you, too. That’s why testimonials, client reviews and brand ambassadors are such powerful behavioural science techniques.

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Immediate advice

Evaluate the customer testimonials on your homepage. Or, if you don’t have any on the homepage, consider how easy is it to navigate to where they are elsewhere on your site?


The IKEA Effect

Did you know we’ll pay disproportionately more for something we’ve helped create? Providing low-risk personalised options to your products and services early on (whilst avoiding decision paralysis) builds an emotional connection and often triggers an uplift in sales figures.

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Immediate advice

Consider how customisable your products or services are. Are you offering your potential customers enough options when it comes to what you provide?



People tend to make very different decisions based on how a fact is presented – like a milkshake that’s 90% fat-free vs contains 10% fat. You can significantly influence decision-making by reframing information through imagery and context according to your needs. And if you need an additional boost, set the statistics against a different data set, e.g. don’t focus on a 20% staff turnover rate, instead highlight that it’s 5% better than the industry average.

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Immediate advice

If you want to see the importance of contextual factors in how audiences perceive a product or service – take a look at this brilliant video: would you have paid the $2?


Loss Aversion

We feel twice as bad losing something than the positive feeling associated with gaining something. This loss aversion may be impacting our attitude to risk. If you can offer free trials or delayed payments, your buyer is more likely to purchase – since we are predisposed to want to avoid the loss we would feel once we give up the product.

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Immediate advice

Consider offering a demo or a free trial of your product and see if there is a difference in the response rate. If you are a service-based business perhaps free consultation of your services can help your leads see what they are missing out on.


Decision-science in marketing

When decision-science is used in the corporate world, especially in marketing, it can have a profound effect. By understanding customers, and their behavioural science biases, marketers can tackle objectives head-on and nudge them towards the desired outcome.

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Immediate advice

Take an audit of your current marketing strategy, with the biases we’ve discussed above in mind. How much thought have you put into your strategy when it comes to customer decision-making?


Choose an agency that puts data into decision-making

At Fifty Five and Five, research and data are the foundation of our work for clients. Whether it’s the role of behavioural science or the insight behind a joined-up marketing strategy, we put thought into what we do. If you want to see a greater return on investment from your marketing, contact the team at Fifty Five and Five and see how we can help.

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Is Microsoft Teams the future of all business collaboration?

In episode #4 of our podcast, we discuss a recent change in the way businesses interact with Microsoft collaboration software. Once upon a time, Microsoft collaboration technology centered around SharePoint, Outlook and Yammer. Now Teams is becoming a ‘base of operations’ for the way people work, with SharePoint and Outlook left out in the cold.

We’re joined by Lesley Crook, a Microsoft MVP and Modern Workplace Consultant for Symity Ltd. Symity specialise in Teams meeting rooms and telephony services, and Lesley has plenty to say on: The reasons for this change in collaboration habits, Teams’ potential as a ‘base of operations’, the limitations of Teams and the potential for the future.

Blog image - Our 2020 in review

Our 2020 in review

2020 was quite a year for all kinds of reasons, but we wanted to take a light hearted look at some of the things we got up to. So have a look at clients we worked with, the work we did, and the music we listened to.

Year review infographic 2020

Blog image - Improve your SEO: Don't put baby in the corner

Improve your SEO: Don't put baby in the corner

It was in that dead zone, the no-man’s land between Christmas and the New Year that I watched Dirty Dancing for the first time. Sure, I’ve been ‘told’ to watch it a million times. And over the years I’ve wavered between the thought that something so famous must be overrated and being too lazy to bother switching it on.

So, I watched it. All the way to the bit where Patrick Swayze lifts Jennifer Grey over his head. And it was fun. Later, I thought that although something is said to be ‘good for you’ we don’t always listen and follow the advice. And the same might be said for certain practices when it comes to marketing. SEO is said to be ‘very good’ for your digital marketing strategy. But for a lot of businesses, it gets… put in a corner. So let's find out how to improve your SEO.

Want to improve your SEO?

Just like Patrick Swayze’s dancing talent, inbound marketing requires great content to achieve the right results. But the traffic to that content and visitors’ engagement with it can be given a real boost by a well-planned and executed SEO offering. Kind of like how Johnny Castle’s summer changes after he’s introduced to Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. Let’s look at what makes up a great SEO strategy and the results you could expect, and I bet you’ll never think of putting SEO in a corner again.

How to improve your SEO? Let's get going.

1. Complete your keyword analysis

We’ve moved past the days when a website or piece of content could get away with keyword stuffing. Today, it’s about well-researched and carefully chosen keywords used in the correct manner to be effective. And remember, keep that content educational, engaging, and relevant (stay away from an over-reliance on 80s film references, for example).

Quick keyword advice:

  • Choose keywords with high search rates and low competition
  • Opt for both short and long-tail keywords
  • Use local keywords (in terms of your geographic location)
  • Optimise titles, URLs and on-page SEO

Questions you should ask:

  • What keywords should we be targeting and why?
  • What is the strategy to take when it comes to the difficulty of a keyword, against search volume and time?
  • What are our competitors’ strategies?


2. Perform a website audit

A website audit is like an audition before you are accepted into a summer dance troupe at your family’s country club. An audit will give you a comprehensive evaluation of how you’re performing right now for SEO, across your website and other inbound marketing touchpoints. There are several content and performance metrics to consider. These include:

  • Site authority
  • Security
  • Organic traffic
  • Search visibility
  • Link profile
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session
  • Site responsiveness


3. Invest in ongoing monthly work to improve SEO

Research and audits are the prep work. Then comes the big dance. To ensure you climb the search rankings for chosen keywords you need to invest in monthly work. This requires a comprehensive set of on-page and off-page techniques and strategies. Ongoing optimisation looks like this:

> Tracking and monitoring keywords

Track and monitor keyword performance, tweaking/adding/removing keywords as required and optimising pages to further boost rankings.

> Site updates, maintenance and improvements

Improve the SEO appeal of the site, including domain authority. This work varies day by day, month by month – looking at site speed, visual design elements, landing page conversions tactics, Google search console, etc.

> Competitor analysis

Track and monitor competitor activities, strategies, successes and failures, and then, importantly, use this information to inform your own work and SEO approach.

> Backlink strategy

It’s worth putting a little thought into your backlink strategy. This includes contacting suitable sites to publish content and understanding what type of content works best on these sites. At Fifty Five and Five, for example, we have built an extensive network of contacts which helps us place the right content on the right sites, boosting domain authority in the correct manner.

> Monthly reporting

Create a comprehensive monthly report—detailing all activity for that month, metrics and successes, and plans for the next month. This might seem like the last thing you would want to do at the end of the month but it’s crucial. And it brings us nicely on to…


The importance of KPIs and benchmarking

If you improve your SEO, but don't track the data, what is the point? KPIs and benchmarking are important because they keep business objectives at the forefront of any decision-making across your marketing strategy. As you put your strategy to work, make sure you take the time to set KPIs and benchmark your current traffic so you can monitor the success of a campaign, or if you need to make adjustments.

> KPIs

Key Performance Indicators are a type of performance measurement that evaluate the success of your campaign or your SEO strategy as a whole. For example, in paid media campaigns, a KPI would be the number of clicks, CTRs or impressions your ad gets. The same can be applied to a piece of content, a page on your website or landing page.

> Benchmarking

Benchmarks are standards against which you can compare your KPIs to measure the success of the campaign. Using the paid media example again, a benchmark of CTR for LinkedIn in the UK is, say, 0.50%; so, if you achieved a CTR of 0.66% for your ad in LinkedIn you can see that the campaign is outperforming the CTR and therefore is going well. Hurray!


Play the long game for SEO success

Just like Patrick Swayze and ‘Baby’s’ relationship your SEO can take time to heat up. In fact, it will usually be several months before you see results. In our experience, though, putting the time into SEO work can really pay off. This is, of course, just a quick guide to putting in place some structure for your business—SEO is a very deep pool and there is a lot to think about and keep on top of.


Some of our clients’ results

Many of our clients asked us to improve their SEO. Here re some examples:

> Increased sessions

Executing a well-planned SEO strategy, our clients have increased the number of sessions on their website on average by 46%. This is based on their starting point prior to their SEO campaign in comparison to their current average sessions over a 12- or 24-month period.

> Better organic traffic

Additionally, clients have seen an average increase in organic traffic by 32%. This is based on their starting point prior to their SEO campaign in comparison to their current average organic traffic over a 12- or 24-month period.

> Higher volume of unique visitors

Furthermore, there has been an increase in unique users by 58%. Again, this is based on the client’s starting point prior to their SEO campaign in comparison to their current average unique users over a 12- or 24-month period.


Turn to the experts to improve your SEO

Want to improve your SEO? We provide advice on all things related to compliment your broader inbound marketing strategy. If you’re confused about the process of adding SEO into your marketing or you could do with some help with the heavy lifting (just like when Swayze lifts…you get the idea), give us a call and we’ll be delighted to help.