Did you know that folks often make "buying decisions" when
they are moved emotionally? Give this your full consideration when thinking
about your Web site content. Traditional medias have made the most of these
principles and taken advantage of them for many years now, whether it be
through a TV commercial or an ad in a magazine.
People are emotional beings and we tend to make decisions
(either good ones or bad ones) when we are emotional. If a customer becomes
upset over a service issue, they could become angry over time if the issue is
not resolved. If they become upset enough, they may just make a decision to
discontinue the service entirely and find a new service. Alternately, if a
customer is pleased or even happy with a service, they will do ongoing business
or even refer the service to some of their friends.
Consider what the traditional media has known about for years.
If you are able to put a creative spin on a product or service to make it
either fun or represent it as something that is "cute," it can influence
peoples' buying decisions tremendously. The emotional element is used to add
life and appeal to nearly every type of product or service from print to radio
and of course TV. From singing hamburgers and frys on TV to using subtle but
cute hopping frogs or wadling penguins that promote cellular phone sales, it
seems that everyone targets the emotions.
Do traditional media strategies work on the web?
Toy marketers have known for years that the focus in a toy
commercial is not so much on their new product, as much as it is on the facial
expressions of the child. They're showing the absolute joy and delight of the
child while they're playing with that toy. Often images in the mind of the
child who is viewing the commercial might evoke a sense of wonder, adventure
and excitement. Sometimes, a toy marketer may aim much deeper psychologically
by showing the child, enjoying their new toy with either Mom or Dad sitting on
the floor playing with him or her. The youngster viewing the program may even
desire that toy much more, simply because they think that "if they only had
this toy," their Mom or Dad might take more time to sit down and play with them
In the example above, a TV commercial does not focus on the
parent...they are really selling to the child. However, selling a toy on the
Web, in an online toy store, can be different in the sense that you are
actually selling to the parent (a child does not have a Visa card to place an
order). The benefits of a toy that appeals to the parent will involve things
like, its safety features, the fact that it's "educational," or perhaps it
solves a problem or teaches the child a lesson.
Applying Emotional Content to the Web and why it
Actually, with the Web being a multimedia experience, we have
lots of opportunity to work with emotional content. After all, your visitors
are still human. We are really not much different online than offline. We still
have a very important emotional side of us at work all of the time.
Here are a ten things you can do to increase visitor
response at your web site:
1. If you are trying to sell a baby crib and although you have
already built up your targeted traffic, but nobody is buying it,...put a cute
little baby in the crib and PEOPLE WILL WANT BUY IT!
2. Whatever you are selling for retail online...."Lifestyle
graphics" work best! Paint a picture in the mind of your visitor. If you are
relying on graphics, photos, animated gifs or any type of images, you want a
combination of quality combined with uniqueness.
Example: If you're selling a piece of furniture for the living
room....display a picture of the furniture being used in a living room
environment. The visitor may think to themselves...."look at this comfy looking
couch." "This guy looks like he is really enjoying himself." (The image might
be of a person sitting comfortably on the couch, in their living room....feet
up and arms relaxed as they read the paper and in the background is a cozy
fireplace with the family pet curled up by their feet).
Lifestyle photos like this are much more influencing that just a product
displayed in a showroom. Most people come to a Web page in search of
information. The "loud"or "hard sell" approach does not work well on the Web.
Create pages that are "soft sell."
3. Focus on the product benefits in such a fashion that it
appeals to the emotions. (Keep in mind that many people will sometimes buy
spontaneously, but they do not want to "be sold" or pushed into buying). Use
soft sell with a focus on benefits, benefits and more benefits.
4. Create a content rich, informational site which is loaded
with quality articles, tips, free advice, and tutorials, and keep your options
to buy a product very subtle. The number one reason most people go online is to
look up information, so the key is to discover high-demand topics for a niche
audience and give your audience exactly what they are searching for.
5. If you are promoting something with emotional appeal which
is already established through other medias, then also use it in your Web page
and tie it in. Mixing of medias makes for solid branding.
6. Remember the web has the potential to be a powerful
multimedia experience. There might be a place for the use of music to
contribute to the right atmosphere. Moving your audience just takes a little
7. Let your mind think outside of what is already being done
or what has been done before. Extend your creativity and be original. If you
are going to use Flash, try moving beyond the "online commercial." Can you
thing of how it might be used to create an educational demo? Something that not
only is great to watch but also teaches the visitor something.
8. Does your product or service offer a solution to a common
problem people have? Is there a way that it can be promoted with an emotional
angle to it for greater impact? Really relate to your audience from their point
of view and with feeling.
9. The use of humor at times is very powerful. It can be in
the form of text, graphics, audio, or video, but just make sure it is good
humor tastefully done. People want to feel good on your Web page. Good humor
will influence emotion and "great humor" can funnel volumes of traffic into
your site just by word of mouth. Can you recall seeing humor used on a Web page
that made you laugh out loud? If so, just think back and see if you don't
recall telling a friend to "check it out"! There may be sites where it might be
hard to use humor (A funeral parlor or perhaps a divorce lawyer). On the other
hand, with a little creativity, who is to say it could not be done....with
greatest of tact and care, of course.
10. If you have not considered building your own opt-in list
(this is where visitors to your Web site give you permission to e-mail them by
signing in at your home page.) Check out setting up a sequential auto responder
which will instantly deliver personalized, timed, follow up messages. (for an
example, see www.aweber.com)
I challenge you to put on your thinking cap.
As you introduce elements that utilize things like "humor" or
other emotional content, you will also truly widen your scope of promotion as
well as the response rate from your visitors. Always remember the powerful
impact that emotional content can deliver when utilized on the Web.
About John Alexander
John has taught onsite search
engine marketing sessions to people from over 80 different countries, and he's
worked as a professional in the search engine industry for years. John operates
a Web site for professional search engine optimizers,
Beyond-SEO. He's also a popular chat
moderator at the Workshop
Research Center. For onsite training by Robin Nobles and John Alexander,
visit Search Engine Workshops.