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Landing Page Emotion

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#1 _jc


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Posted 23 June 2008 - 08:20 PM

Although people later rationalize their purchases to themselves and others, there is ample evidence that people make purchase decisions mostly emotionally.

For a more rational, geeky guy like me, that's makes it hard for me to connect with them in my page design and copy. As a visual artist, I think I can deal with the visual emoting page issues, but what about the Unique Value Proposition and the benefits and the sales text?

How do YOU go about determining what your visitors are feeling and then how to appeal to their emotions and their "gut reactions"?

How do you discover their mental state and how to resonate with it?

Thanks All!

#2 DCrx


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Posted 23 June 2008 - 09:02 PM

People often use the term "emotion" in a dismissive fashion. But it's a big term and might better be looked from the geeky perspective as desirability.

There are some surprisingly old techniques. However, since this is the writing copy section, start with the formula AIDA.

An old copywriter's forumla, AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire Action.

Attention is easily had, show somebody doing a backflip. If you do it the way most Flash designers perfer, then you've just lost a visitor. However, show someone doing a backflip for a purposeful reason, and you're on your way to the next step.

Show a backflip as a trick or gimmick, and users feel betrayed for paying attention. Reward attention and you're generating interest.

Show someone doing a backflip to demonstrate how you tailor clothes so change, keys, and personal electronics won't go flying everywhere ...then you've generated interest.

Desire is part and parcel of market research. If you've, for example, read that some large percentage of iPhones are broken due to falling out of the user's pocket, you have latent desire. In your copy you use words to intensify the pain of losing your iPhone, and the relief of finally knowing you have iPhone friendly clothing.

As the great Bill Bernbach said, "The magic is in the product," not in the copywriter's pen. "Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it...No matter how skillful you are, you can't invent a product advantage that doesn't exist."

In other words, if it isn't in the product it ain't gonna be in the copy. Nonetheless, people forget about market research and user observation in the headlong rush to market. And they end up falling flat on the desirability step of the formula.

Show the reader the action you want them to take, and by taking this action the reader will receive the benefits you've mentioned, and you have the basics of the AIDA formula.

Web Planograms

Content Strategy 101

Edited by DCrx, 23 June 2008 - 09:14 PM.

#3 _jc


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Posted 23 June 2008 - 09:33 PM

Thanks DCrx!

A very cogent discusion of "AIDA", which I've been studying for a while - with some new slants and angles (especially about emotion) for me to view them from - very helpful indeed.

I've come up with my own version. To wit:

;-) BAIDA ;-) Belief/Attention/Interest/Desire/Action

In other words, people cannot perceive something they do not believe in, so belief has to precede everything else. This could make it hard to market radical new products, since a lot of education might required before people can believe in them.

There is a story, which is supposed to be a true writing of someone on one of Captain Cook's island discovery voyages. Seems that when he first went ashore, the natives of an island where his was the first sailing ship ever seen thought that he and his men had appeared magically on the beach. This was because they were unable to perceive his large ship!

This writer observed that after some time a shaman gradually became aware of the ship and had the others stare in its direction while he described it. Gradually they were all able to see it - though dimly at first.

Edited by _jc, 23 June 2008 - 11:52 PM.

#4 DCrx


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 06:40 AM

Godin calls it authenticity, being credible means writing from your reader's world view.

However, Godin wrote the book "Purple Cow Marketing." Seems a bit of a paradox.

There is a fine line between showing someone doing a backflip, or gently straining credulity, and making flat out incredible claims. You need attention, but then immediately after, start building belief.

"Safe" corporate text that makes for excruciatingly boring copy is completely believable. It's just awful copy. You have little doubt the company is prepared to adhere to the mediocre median of the industry, saying just what everyone else does.

And, you've just lost the reader, as they've gone on to another site. No attention. No interest. ...And they're taking the desire elsewhere.

Viral marketing often uses this technique to get viral, but still make sales. This requires having a firm understanding of where the line between credible and incredible lies.

Edited by DCrx, 24 June 2008 - 06:42 AM.

#5 _jc


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:26 AM

I see.
Makes sense.

While I have a couple of good direct marketing copy-writing books, none are by Bill Bernbach.
Can you recommend one?

Thanks again :cheers:

#6 cre8pc


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:13 PM

You can also get inspiration from Bryan Eisenberg's "Call to Action" and "Getting Your Cat to Bark" (or whatever it's called) books. Find FutureNow.com and subscribe to Grok.com to keep learning.

One thing landing pages can do is contain trigger words. These appeal to visitors looking for "sale", "free", "trial", etc. Not exactly emotion (like DCRX says, a word tossed about often), but these words have the same affect online as they do in discount stores that put all the sale and free goodies by the cash registers.

Creating confidence in where the page takes a user next is also persuasive. Nobody likes blindfolds over their eyes...

#7 _jc


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:59 PM

Thanks cre8pc.

I have Brian's 'Waiting for your Cat to Bark'.
Seemed a bit overblown to me. Though I believe in personas and got some good value from that read. But it doesn't seem practical to me to to go as far as he recommends. I like Tim Ash's more minimal approach to personas - in his "Landing Page Optimization" book (Sybex 2008), which I highly recommend.

On page 62, Tim writes: "Unfortunately, some Web conversion companies have begun fabricating personas based primarily on their personality types or behavioral styles, with no reference to actual classes of visitors to a website. Without access to real people, these personas basically become window dressing around the Keirsey temperament types..."

Tim advocates basing personas on actual observations of your actual users - during usability tests, interviews in user's actual working environment (i.e. at their sites), or in-person, chat or phone interviews.

In other words (in my interpretation), you should model your real users, rather than adopting generic personas from academic personality research.

Did you catch (on their site) Brian's interesting heat map discovery about head photo eye contact?
Brian discovered that for typical human head shot photos, the usual practice of straight on eye-contact results in a dead stop to the sales page eye-path. But if instead you have the photo subject's eyes looking in the direction of your content, rather than directly at the page visitor, eye-path is not stopped (maybe it's even improved?).

Other books I recommend are:
'Web Analytics' subtitle 'An hour a day' by Avinash Kaushik (he is an evangelist for Google and has an excellent blog as well). Sybex 2007

'Tested Advertising Methods' by John Caples, 5th edition!, Prentice Hall Business Classics, 1997.

'The Ultimate Sales Letter' 3rd edition by Dan Kennedy Adams Media 1990.

'Designing Web Usability', by Jakob Nielsen, New Riders 2000.

Edited by _jc, 24 June 2008 - 01:00 PM.

#8 RisaBB


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

Hi _jc,

A lot of my customer's call me so I get their emotion that way.

I used to solicit feedback from my customers and I have a bunch of emails that I need to put on my website on the Testimonials page and put on the specific pages of the item they are raving about.

Also, I take lots of pictures of my products, so I think that helps to get emotional about an item. Many people have told me that they know that the item is beautiful from the photos.


#9 fisicx


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Posted 25 June 2008 - 03:57 AM

Although people later rationalize their purchases to themselves and others, there is ample evidence that people make purchase decisions mostly emotionally.

And the evidence for this is where? When I go shopping I buy then things I need. I may buy a special offer if it seems like a good deal buy I'm not sure how emotion comes into things. I don't buy petrol 'emotionally'. I possibly buy music emotionally but it's a different type of product to toilet tissue.

In any case, emotion means different things to different people. If I get emotional over sunsets then I might be influenced by a site that using this as a theme. But this wouldn't affect my mum 'cos she goes gaga over kittens.

Some products will of course have an emotional connection but this is not necessarily influenced by the website. For example, If I see a great film I might want the soundtrack. My emotion is with the film not the website. I buy perfume for my wife, I do this out of love not because the website makes me emotional.

Of course I could be wrong...

#10 DCrx


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Posted 25 June 2008 - 04:09 AM

The section on my site devoted to desirability design, or affective (emotional usability).

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio studied people who had received brain injuries that had had one specific effect: to damage that part of the brain where emotions are generated. In all other respects they seemed normal - they just lost the ability to feel emotions.

The interesting thing he found was that their ability to make decisions was seriously impaired. They could logically describe what they should be doing, in practice they found it very difficult to make decisions about where to live, what to eat, etc.

In particular, many decisions have pros and cons on both sides. Shall I have the fish or the beef? With no rational way to decide, they were unable to make the decision.
-- Emotion and decision

Any decision with even moderate complexity has an emotional component. Logic requires only that stores carry boxes marked "Food," one brand. There's a social stigma to emotion, so people loath (an emotion) to even acknowledge their emotional component of a decision. All this does is create emotional unawareness, not logic.

Emotion has gotten bad publicity, inferring emotional decisionmaking as erratic. In reality, human rationality is based on emotion.

But you are correct, in a way. Pricing power is tied to emotional connection. Commodities have little pricing power because they haven't forged an emotional connection.

How do you do this? One vendor does it with a hand decorated package and personal note. Where most companies view fulfillment as an obligation, order fulfillment is a touch point with the customer.

Just as there is usability testing, techniques like sense engineering (Kansei) play a role in product design like the Mazda Miata.

Copywriting, too has to evoke an emotion in order for the reader to make a decision.

Edited by DCrx, 25 June 2008 - 04:37 AM.

#11 fisicx


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Posted 25 June 2008 - 04:21 AM

Never though of that. Damn, that's why you is clever and I is not.

#12 RisaBB


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Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:13 AM

Great information, DCrx. Very interesting.

#13 _jc


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Posted 25 June 2008 - 12:21 PM

Excellent points DCrx.

Damasio's book(s) are a good read - lots of interesting stuff. I have "The Feeling of What Happens", Antonio R. Damasio, Harcourt Brace 1999.

Isn't it great how marketing ties together so many interesting aspects of our world? Read somewhere that one of the characteristics of excellent marketers and copy writers is that they are interested in everything.

I imagine a search on "limbic system", "the unconscious mind" or the like would show how much less the rational mind is "in control" than most people think.

Also, the hypnotic aspect of repetitive advertising and propaganda (and the functioning of hypnosis itself) shows success in communicating directly to the unconscious - in spite of the message often being irrational. Stage hypnotists often have people doing silly, irrational things for entertainment. And I agree with some marketers that most people are in a light hypnotic trance (e. g. not really paying attention and somewhat suggestible) most of the time.

An interesting book on this premise is Joe Vitale's 'Buying Trances', John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Even commodities decisions are not always rational. For example, when my car needs gas, I don't turn in at the first gas station I come to. I wait until I'm near my favorite local station, or if far from home, I choose the brand of station I'm used to. If forced by circumstances to go to another brand, I fell a slight anxiety or "strangeness" about that.

@ fisicx: Always good to question assumptions, I believe. When I read your post, I thought "'And the evidence is?...' Now there's a good question".

Odd - I'm not getting emails on this thread - even though it says I am.

#14 bwelford


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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:31 AM

There's an interesting article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, entitled Get Out of Your Own Way. These Studies Show the Value of Not Overthinking a Decision. Perhaps Emotion = Non-logic really is the best way.

#15 DCrx


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Posted 28 June 2008 - 12:13 PM

This is all well and good. Except in practice with "color astrology" where people think color= emotion. When designing for emotion, it's not so thought free.

Overthought copy is usually boring corporate "safe" copy. Emotions are forbidden.

Stories, benefits, and empathy are ways to inject some emotion into copy. And for cryin' out loud, use pictures to go with the copy.

Posted Image

Emotion is still something the designer has ...when he drops a cool PhotoShop effect into a layout. You have to use graphics to tell your story. And most graphics are selling copies of PhotoShop, not the wrinkle cream the site is supposed to sell.

You can't expect to stir the emotions with copy, layout, graphics and everything else separated into discrete components and thrown together at the last minute.

Rapid cognition of the type Gladwell writes about is just as likely to falter (quite badly) when it isn't trained. The same goes for Emotional Intelligence.

Does "Blink" talk about when rapid cognition goes awry?

Yes. That's a big part of the book as well. I'm very interested in figuring out those kinds of situations where we need to be careful with our powers of rapid cognition.
-- Malcolm Gladwell

Most people seize onto the "not thinking" part. They don't get it that rapid cognition is better after tons of training and practice (involving thought.)

You want to "grease the mental skids" for readers. That takes a lot of thought on the part of the writer.

Edited by DCrx, 28 June 2008 - 12:27 PM.

#16 _jc


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Posted 28 June 2008 - 07:54 PM

It's a strange world.

You have to work hard to make it easy.
Learn complex code to keep your pages simple.
Stop your mind so you can think.
Use cold logical statistics to discover people's emotions.

May the farce be with us!

#17 AbleReach


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Posted 29 June 2008 - 01:20 PM

Most people seize onto the "not thinking" part. They don't get it that rapid cognition is better after tons of training and practice (involving thought.)


I think that research is logical, and aided by pages with super easy usability, but "sticky" is emotional and sometimes not about making the goal easy.

(Just HAD to use the word "think" in that sentence.)

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