Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge with a Simple Survey

As internet marketers, we have many curses thrown upon us each day, but none so heavy as the one most of us don’t even take into consideration, The Curse of Knowledge. The Curse of Knowledge is a simple theory that makes a whole lot of sense when you finally learn about it, but can lead to serious pitfalls if you don’t. Simply put into marketing terms, when you look at the websites and material you create each and every day, you fail to see it with fresh eyes, thereby falling into the Curse of Knowledge.


What is the Curse of Knowledge?

Technically speaking, the Curse of Knowledge is a cognitive bias that makes it difficult for those with a certain level of knowledge to understand how those with a lesser level of knowledge view the problems and situations being discussed.

For example, if I had studied nanotechnology for decades and was asked to give a speech at a local high school, if I didn’t take the curse of knowledge into account, my speech would likely fly right over their heads. I’d be so excited about what is new in the field that I’d fail to have an introduction to basics and a way to make my concepts and terminology universally understandable.

For marketers, this takes place when the content on our sites speaks to an informed consumer, using terms and concepts that we might understand, but the average consumer doesn’t. This can be detrimental to your conversion rates because if someone doesn’t understand what you’re selling, why in the world would they buy from you?


Overcoming the Curse and Boosting Conversion Rates

The key then, is to be able to see your website with fresh eyes, that is, a set of eyes similar to your consumers’ and not a professional in the niche. There are a few ways to go about this, one of which is probably going to net you the best results. Let’s take a look at your options:

1. Have Friends Look at Your Website. If you have friends or family that aren’t involved in your niche or the marketing industry, have them take a look at your site. Ask them to go through the site as if they wanted to make a purchase. You can even tell them the product you want them to find and purchase. Make note of where they get hung up, where they get frustrated or how quickly they find the product and make the purchase. In other words, track their movements for any signs of resistance and then work on eliminating them. Be sure to ask them exactly what they thought of the site afterward and recommend any improvements.

2. Set Up a Survey. Quite possibly the easiest and most effective way to find out where your visitors are having trouble is to set up a survey for those leaving the website. Qualaroo is a simple tool that will allow you to generate a survey and place it on the important pages of your website such as your checkout page. Ask why the visitor decided to leave the page and if they have any suggestions on how to improve the page/visitor experience. While you won’t get an answer every time, the ones you do get will be some of the most valuable (and free) marketing research results you’ve ever gotten.

It’s also important to follow the visitor flow charts on your Analytics and metrics tools. Finding out where customers drop or bounce off the page is important, as is the way in which you fix it.