There’s no getting around it — business is all about relationships. Relationships are built on emotions. Emotions matter.
Geeks like me want to scoot away from that undeniable truth and bury ourselves in the safe territory of Google Analytics and A/B testing, but we can’t escape it. No matter how much we want to escape messy unknown of building personal connections, that’s what drives business.
Those stats on conversions? They’re measuring emotional connection. Those hotspots on heat maps? They’re measuring trust and curiosity — emotional reactions.
Unless we’re willing to stop looking for sure-fired formulas with stellar conversion rates (that don’t exist), we’ll miss out on our ability to find the next great opening that will help us make an emotional connection with our customers.
If you’re trying to build a list and attract people to your company, always remember that emotional connections drive action. If you pay attention to how these triggers work, you can skillfully leverage them to get noticed.
Here are the ways that I try to pull in readers, even if they’re just scanning the website.
Grab them with a great headline.
Headlines are rapid-access summaries of the crucial information you want to pass along to your audience. Pull your writing out of college composition mode and dare to say something funny or unpredictable to show your readers that you’re a real person.
Take it from me, they aren’t easy to write either. It’s not just pulling out a witty line, or grabbing the first sentence and throwing it into the title. It takes a lot of work, creativity, and even some science too.
Sumome.com wrote an article I find myself bouncing back to time and time again. I also want to see if what I come up with works too so I use Headline Analyzer and Sharethrough Headlines to see how impactful (or crappy) my headlines are.
Use photos with some psychological savvy.
We’re an image-driven culture, so visuals are crucial in conveying your message. In fact, studies have shown that we uptake visual information 60,000 times faster than text. But it takes more than slapping up a picture to capture the attention of page visitors.
Here are some of my best tips on using photos with sophistication.
Don’t use boring stock photos.
I’m not even going to waste your time with an example of one of these, because they’ve been in your face for years.
It’s easy to tell that the posed photo of a doctor is an actor instead of the real deal. Take a photo of an actual practitioner instead, even if the lighting and framing aren’t magazine perfect.
Everyone has a cell phone now, if you can’t find an image within your Camera Roll that you can use, then try and locate photos online that aren’t on a million other sites. They are out there, just take a bit of time and browse around. If you noticed on this site, I tend to try and stick with images that are of old technology or photos that represent a different time.
Use high-quality images.
Keep it real, but also keep it looking good. Make sure focus and contrast are dialed in so customers can see what they’re buying. Shoddy, blurry images won’t sell, and neither are images taken at strange angles to enhance your product.
If you are starting out, a plain white background works (for a time). But to standout amongst the crowd, think about taking some photos of the products in their environment. DC Shoes is a shoe company with their target audience being skaters. Taking a few moments in looking at their product line you can see that immediately as they put the products right into the street.
Pay attention to the details.
If you’re selling goods, having detail shots make it more likely that customers will buy — just see what DC Shoes does. Each item on their website usually has a gallery of images that shows several angles and allows you to zoom in on the product as well.
Keep the images related to the content.
This is a mystery to me, but far too often, I see websites with beautiful images that have nothing to do with the focus of the page. A pretty photo of a beach will catch someone’s eye for a second… and then leave them wondering why it’s on a page selling tires.
You’re trying to convince your readers that you’re an expert, so please prove it by having visuals that tell potential customers what you do.
Remember your target audience.
I know this sounds obvious, but if you’re selling games for kids, don’t post a picture of adults around a board game. If your target market is the Latino market, pictures of blue-eyed blondes isn’t really going to help you.
Let the images guide your reader to take action.
This one is a fun one because until someone pointed it out to me, I had not noticed it. Here’s a few snapshots and you tell me if you can see what I mean here.
Can you see it? If not, that’s ok, I didn’t at first either.
Take a look at the photo and what the people are “looking at” or “facing”. Right at the call to action.
If you want readers to click on a “buy now” button, you can make the action more obvious with an arrow or bold colors, but there are other ways as well.
If there’s a person in the picture, choose a view that has them looking directly toward the button or the item you’re featuring or with an excited expression on his or her face. Your website visitor will be automatically drawn to the important image or text.
Pretty sneaky huh?
Use a mascot to help explain tricky concepts.
Your sophisticated service might need a little explanation for visitors to really grasp the concept, and that’s completely fine. But don’t hit them with an overload of words. Try using a mascot instead.
Several companies like Freddy at MailChimp and Snoo at Reddit have done a great job using a cartoon character that meshes with their branding in order to visually explain their company’s purpose and benefits. With a few cute visuals, people can rapidly understand what you offer and why they need it.
Bold language makes a statement
Images speak louder than words — but only at first. After you’ve stirred up curiosity, you need to hold it, and that takes a good command of strong, lively language.
— Headlines and call-to-action moments should avoid bland words and use action words instead. You want people to move one step closer to purchasing from you, so get them excited about doing it!
— Your web copy should describe the benefits for the customers, not your skills. It’s easy to believe that promoting your business means selling you, but you’ll get more sales if you speak directly to your customers’ needs. The difference looks like this: “I’m an expert in WordPress web design,” versus “I create turnkey WordPress sites that convert!”
— Active words are good; power words are better. These emotionally engaging words override the usual patterns of decision making to trigger that “I want it!” feeling. See this link for an entire cache of excellent choices organized by the emotion you’re trying to evoke.
Color speaks volumes
Color is a subtle tool in the most influential websites. Most of us probably assume that flashy colors are the way to capture people’s attention, but it’s much more complex than making a blinking red purchase button.
According to the psychology of color, colors convey specific messages and spark different emotions and responses. If you want to convey trust, go with blue tones. Pink communicates love, friendship and harmony, and green says wealth and health. Neil Patel gives a really good overview of this topic here.
And don’t forget about the value of contrasting colors. Make the next step obvious with a color that draws the eye directly to it, enticing the visitor to click for more engagement.
If you’re struggling with color choices, remember there’s no perfect color for your branding or your call-to-action button. Pay more attention to the feeling you want to stir in your readers, and make that consistent.
Remember — it’s about connection
When you’re trying to make your services look as enticing as possible, it’s easy to go into sales mode and focus a perfect presentation. Of course your website should look great, but no matter how many checklists, hacks and tips you read, remember this: conversions happen because of connection.
These details are important because they let you’re reaching out as a real person who understands real people. Running your business in that space is better than any in-your-face graphics or copy.
Does your website reach your audience on an emotional level? Leave a comment below with any questions you have. Also if you feel that you may be duped by your favorite brands now that I’ve pulled back the kimono a bit.