How to Use Operant Conditioning to Enhance Digital Marketing
Internet Marketing Marketing

How to Use Operant Conditioning to Enhance Digital Marketing

By Mainak Biswas December 31, 2012 - 4,390 views

Psychological theories have had a profound effect on the way we understand human behavior. It does not come to us as a surprise that Internet behavior can be judged, assessed and predicted with the help of the very same psychological theories. Of particular interest are the learning theories, which fall under the school of behavior theories.

What Is Operant Conditioning?

Operant conditioning is a term that was coined by B.F. Skinner in 1937. He stated that people do not merely learn and unlearn without understanding the environment. People participate and learn based on environmental rewards and punishments. In other words, when an individual visitor to a website experiences something positive (a reward), he will be motivated to visit that website again. When this reward continues to be given repeatedly, the visitor learns to visit that website regularly, now that he is conditioned to that in an operant manner. Operant conditioning is a very important concept when it comes to digital marketing.

Operant Conditioning in the Field of Digital Marketing

Behavior school of psychology insists that all our behavior is learned and that there isn’t much that is innate apart from instincts and drives. This thought is very important in the field of digital marketing as most people learn to view particular information either negatively or positively only because they have learned to do so. For instance, emotional appeals in digital marketing have been successful in times of disasters and threats. During peace and relative prosperity, emotional appeal is not very successful and people learn to avoid it, finding it overbearing and unnecessary. This act of learning that emotional appeal is unrewarding can be traced to operant conditioning principles.

Rewarding Your Target Audience

If you are a company that sells products or services and want people to visit your website often, you need to reward them for doing so. This reward does not have to be tangible and can be subliminal. A well-designed website that is pleasing to the eyes, when compared to your competitors can be a reward to your visitors. They will learn to make repeated visits to your websites solely because it is a rewarding experience.

Likewise, the products and services that you sell need to be rewarding. In other words, what you offer has to be valuable and the customer or client must feel rewarded when he makes a purchase. This continued experience of being rewarded with great products and services will ensure that your visitors are loyal and faithful and that they keep returning back to your site.

How to Condition Your Target Audience to Keep Coming Back

In order to make operant conditioning successful on your website, you need to list down all the things that can be rewarding and punishing to your visitors. A deep insight into the competition, trends and tastes of your visitors, user experience of using the website, actual worth of your products and services and deep knowledge about a changing world are all very important in ensuring that your visitors, clients and customers feel rewarded. This sense of being rewarded is what will make them learn to come back to you. This rewarding experience will ensure that your business stays afloat and makes a profit.

Thus, it is a very important strategy to learn how operant conditioning works, and how one must ensure that clients, visitors and customers are rewarded not tangibly but subliminally through great products and services. You do not need to bribe your customers and clients by giving discounts, offers and gifts. That is nothing but a bribe and will never be a sustained source of operant conditioning. You need to condition your target audience by being genuine, and by rewarding your target audience with quality, care, appeal and by building trust.

Bribing with Discounts Will Not Help, but a Rewarding Business Experience Does

Digital marketing will then have to be as genuine and rewarding as it can be. There should be no room for distractions or doubts, and companies and businesses must ensure that at the end of the day, whoever makes business with them feels rewarded. This sense of being rewarded is what will help people to learn that doing business with you is important and worthy. It requires deep psychological insight but is not difficult to practice as long as you know that your target audience likes to be pampered not with gifts and discounts, but with great quality of services and products.

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