Neuromarketing 101: It’s Science, Yo!

Home / Conversion Rate Optimization / Neuromarketing 101: It’s Science, Yo!

Chemistry. Biology. Art. Math.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), a fancy phrase that describes “getting online users to take an action you want them to take” is based on all of these. When you communicate with people, neuroscience kicks in – chemicals fire in the brain, and it can make or break you in your marketing. Using these neuromarketing tools, we wanted to share some ideas on how to improve your customer experience and conversion rates.

Better Online Marketing Through Chemistry

It’s science, yo.

Four chemicals drive most of our responses to online and electronic marketing:


When we perceive a threat, Cortisol is released. That is, it’s released in response to stress. In marketing, this can be a deterrent to someone sticking around on your site long enough to buy anything or show interest. If you land on a website that is downright frightening, your immediate negative reaction can be felt.

Cortisol is released from fear.
Got Cortisol? YIKES! Get me out of here.


How to Use Cortisol in Online Marketing

It’s probably better NOT to use Cortisol unless you’re selling security systems. You can employ it with limited time offers (FOMO, fear of missing out). We recommend that you focus more on Oxytocin (up next).



The anti-cortisol is Oxytocin. When you build social bonds with site visitors (we’re like you!), establish trust and build loyalty, Oxytocin is released. “Comfort food” for the neurons…

Oxytocin accompanies a bond and trust. Guarantee? Check. Good merchandise? Check.

In online marketing, you have a number of tools to help you build trust. If you visit a site with elements like good design, social proof and trust symbols, you won’t feel Cortisol.

How to Use Oxytocin in Online Marketing

Here are five quick ways to mitigate fear and build trust in your online marketing:

  • Look good with good design
  • Spell and grammar check your site
  • Show your team (be human)
  • Show how to find you (be visible)
  • Update regularly (no cobwebs like the last blog post being 2011)



Dopamine can be your online marketing friend. It is released with anticipation – think intrigue where a concept is not too familiar (boring), but not too radical (freakish). If the headlines to your website are cliches or product names, you’re not engaging Dopamine.

Dopamine and intrigue go hand in hand.
Building suspense builds dopamine. Shhhh. I’ll tell you more later…


How to Use Dopamine

One of our favorite techniques is using a tease in a newsletter where you MUST click the story to get the answer or see the conclusion. Dopamine is released before the click of anticipation… Twisted Puppy client Smart Classroom Management used to give away the entire article in every weekly newsletter, but now they tease it, and it’s virtually impossible not to continue reading (indeed, traffic doubled).



When your online message flatters or rewards a visitor, you’re potentially releasing Serotonin. It’s the chemical of status and pride.

Serotonin ties to status. Mercedes Benz branding appeals to a specific credit card user.


How to Use Serotonin

Here are five quick ways to win customers:

  • Loyalty programs
  • Exclusive access
  • Badges
  • Featured customers
  • Ask for feedback and (surprisingly) reward it


Neuromarketing FTW

Why not take a scientific approach with your marketing? Add math, art and biology to this chemistry and leverage neuromarketing for improving conversion rates. Consider it the modern way to engage customers and know if you’re sending the right signals. Less guesswork – you use research, some neuroscience and analytics. Make your marketing messages fun or intriguing instead of “what the other guy said”. Your metrics will probably improve and you’ll have more freedom to try other ideas.


We hope you enjoy the Twisted Puppy blog posts and newsletters. If you do, we’ll really appreciate it if you join the discussions in the comments and share the article with anyone who you think may find it useful.