Plain-spoken Online Conversion Rate Newsletter - covering web design, sales, marketing, copywriting, usability, SEO, relationship marketing and consumer psychology.


The Power of Emotion

At the Future Now offices, there's an axiom we keep prominently displayed. We refer to it repeatedly in many of our reports. We constantly remind our clients of its power. There's even talk here we're going to have it tattooed on our foreheads! (I'm actually kidding about that part). But the axiom is that important.

"Remind me, Grok." I can see you tapping your toe impatiently. Okay, here it is:

People rationalize buying decisions based on facts,


People make buying decisions based on feelings.

Trouble is, stuff like that sounds pretty airy-fairy to the procedural business mind (a very rational entity). At least, it does up until the procedural mind gets an eyeful of the bottom line. Still think I'm crooning New Age mumbo jumbo?

News Flash! The University of Rochester School of Medicine recently published a study based on brain activity imaging that reveals emotions are inextricably a part of the decision process. In fact, "if you eliminate the emotional guiding factors, it's impossible [for people] to make decisions in daily life."i Folks with damaged prefrontal lobes - the area of the brain where emotions are processed - are completely stymied when it comes to making personal decisions such as scheduling a doctor's appointment, wearing a seat belt, and yes, even deciding what to buy for themselves!

When humans make personal decisions, they put themselves in the picture and evaluate the emotional risks or benefits of making that decision. If they can't grab onto the emotional image, they can't make the decision.

That's why you ALWAYS have to appeal to emotions (Buying is Not a Rational Decision). It's why you have to sell benefits over features (Appeal to Emotion) and decide when you're going to promote style or substance. It's the imperative for writing persuasive copy that creates powerful, evocative mental imagery in your prospects' minds - the sort of imagery that allows them to put themselves center stage (Think Active!, Pump Up Your Verbs). It's why you have to let your visitors know "what's in it for them" (WIIFM: Are You Listening?) and why they should buy from you (Unique Selling Proposition: Your Visitors Are Asking Why). It's why you have to woo the dominant personality types of your visitors (Who Are They?), employ a selling process that honors their felt needs (Do the 5-Step), offer assistance and assurances (Establishing Credibility).

Emotions. Feelings. The whole shooting match when it comes to conversion. Care to tap into that goldmine now?


i "Rational Decisions Guided by Emotion - Study." Yahoo!News, November 26, 2001.


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GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledges-serif" and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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