The Psychology of Curiosity and Customer Conversion

Like any good saying, it’s meant to drive home a lesson—being overly inquisitive about other people’s business is some dangerous stuff that could get you into trouble.

Life lesson aside, for the purpose of our discussion today, there’s a rejoinder that’s not nearly as popular as the above aphorism, but as far as copywriting is concerned, is just as powerful—“but satisfaction brought it back.” In the ways of wit, not half bad, right?

But what does this have to do with copywriting? Listen, I’m not saying that today’s the day to start gossiping about your annoying neighbors, but if you make a living as a copywriter, it’s your job to satisfy your readers; to get them what they both want and need. It just so happens that one of the best ways to do that is through curiosity.

Trust me—backed by psychology, it’ll take your copy game to a whole new level. With that in mind, the information below should be given real consideration. It has helped me, and will most assuredly help you, your copy, and your clients, as well.

Curiosity Is a Compelling Emotion

Simply put, curiosity is a dominant emotion. Rarely do we think of it that way, but it is. And here’s the thing—I’m not making this up; it is supported by neuroscience. Much like happiness, hope, and fear, when an individual is feeling curiosity, the amygdala is hard at work.

Why is this essential information? Well, the amygdala is widely seen by science as one of the most important neurological structures for producing primal human emotion. With curiosity as one of its most influential specialties, as a copywriter, it’s your job to take note and adjust your writing accordingly. 

Even better, you’re the one who stands to benefit from all of this. Think about it—with the majority of copywriters focusing in on things like doubt, excitement, and pleasure, when you craft your copy around first building curiosity and then rewarding it, you not only distance yourself from your competitors, but you’re setting the stage for customer conversion to take place.

Curiosity Brings About Motivation

Emotions motivate people. Curiosity is no different. Remember the Wright Brothers? They first were curious about flying. Allowing this curiosity to work within them, they then went as far as spending multiple hours each day observing birds in flight. They were motivated by them. You know the rest of the story—things worked out in the end.

Let’s review this process again—they were curious; they were motivated; they took action. That last part is of particular interest, isn’t it? They took action. They got up and did something. This is the exact thing top-tier motivators do—they bring about action.

Any copywriter worth the laptop he or she is typing on knows that 99 percent of buying decisions are purely emotional. So, though sounding somewhat familiar, when you position your copy as a motivational intermediary between curiosity and a course of action, the results are substantially more likely to drive revenue. Hey, it’s not as impressive as flying, but it’ll do.

Curiosity Pushes People to Learn More

I mean, this is the whole point of curiosity, isn’t it? It’s a catalyst for meaningful, purpose-driven investigation. In fact, so natural is this hunt for knowledge that a full-blown psychological theory has been devoted to its mystery.

Developed by George Loewenstein of Carnegie-Mellon in the early 1990s, when key information isn’t known, people will go to great lengths to obtain what they feel is necessary. I’ve felt it. You’ve felt it. We’ve all felt it (and scream for ice cream).

But just in case it’s been a good while, what exactly does this yearning for knowledge feel like? In the words of Wired’s Jonah Lehrer, “This gap has emotional consequences—it feels like a mental itch, a mosquito bite on the brain. We seek out new knowledge because that’s how we scratch the itch.”

Here’s where we come full circle with this thing—your readers have an itch that even the biggest bottle of Gold Bond powder can’t handle. The good news, here? Only you have the knowledge they crave.

You are the solution. Your copy must reflect this, drawing them into immediate conversion. When done properly, your audience comes back time and time again, knowing that your products and services will always be able to give them answers.

Parting Thoughts

Digital conversion expert Jeremy Smith once said, “Curiosity is the currency of conversions. The better you become at cultivating curiosity, the better you will become at optimizing conversions.”

Wise words, indeed.

In particular, at the end of Smith’s quote where he talks about “optimizing conversions” is what rings true to me. Often, copywriters tackle a writing assignment as if they were merely throwing darts at a dartboard—sometimes things go well, and sometimes they don’t. In their eyes, copywriting success is little more than a crapshoot.

Hear me out on this one—don’t allow your copy to become a product of chance.

You’re in complete control of the message you transmit and can greatly place the odds in your favor by using some of psychology’s most amazing findings. Rest assured, in addition to curiosity, there are many more.

Use them to your advantage.

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