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
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
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
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.