So, to make it online, you gotta construct the type of
environment that leads your customers through buying the way they want to buy.
You write copy, set up decision paths and create designs that are going to snag
your various visitors, pull them in and get them to take action.
Please join me for a special issue of Grokdotcom as we
revisit this super-critical subject.
Your task-oriented visitors are landing on your site
with a single question in mind: What's in it for me?
Around here, we call it everyone’s favorite radio station,
They ask the question and look to you to provide the
answer. And it’s a big question. Your answer depends on
things like your Unique Value Proposition, the products or
services you offer, your ability to instill trust and
confidence. But most of all, your answer must be reflected
in the way your site “speaks” to the four dominant
We’ve talked about the
sales process and my colleague, Bryan, has written
decision process - these are the paths of activity
your Web site must accommodate. But folks are gonna walk
those paths differently. Let’s quickly review the
differences (for more info, see
Attitude: Personal, activity oriented
Using Time: Undisciplined, fast paced
Question: Why is your solution best to solve the
Approach: Address values and provide assurances,
credible opinions rather than options
Attitude: Businesslike, detail oriented
Using Time: Disciplined, methodically paced
Question: How can your solution solve the problem?
Approach: Provide hard evidence and superior
Attitude: Personal, relationship oriented
Using Time: Undisciplined, slow paced
Question: Who has used your solution to solve my
Approach: Offer testimonials and incentives
Attitude: Businesslike, power oriented
Using Time: Disciplined, strategically paced
Question: What can your solution do for me?
Approach: Provide options, probabilities and
You’re getting the idea that different personality
types ask different questions, require different sorts of
information to feel comfortable making their decisions and
even take different amounts of time in which to make their
Think about how all this works in the “real” world.
you - an impressionistic, Expressive type - go to a
bricks-and-mortar store to purchase a digital camera. All
you want is a camera that takes pictures and isn’t a big
hassle - you just want to enjoy yourself. The salesperson
comes on like a know-it-all and rattles on about pixels
and resolutions and cabling and any number of other
technical considerations you really could care less about.
You want to know, and truly only care, whether the camera
is going to fit into your lifestyle. Will it be a good
match for your expectations and how you generally use
techie gadgets like this? If the salesperson can’t
communicate the information you need to know, in the way
you want to learn it, you’re not going to be happy. You
are going to start tuning out the salesperson. And you’ll
probably walk away none-the-wiser, as well as cameraless.
Bringing the Pieces Together
In three mind-expanding days, Bryan, Jeffrey and
the Roy H Williams, the Wizard of Ads, himself will
tear apart everything you think you know about how
things work online and bring the pieces back
together the principles of persuasion that affect
your online prospects.
Integrating the principles of relevance, third
dimensional realities, usability, consumer
psychology, and communications neurology you'll
discover how to utilize the Internet's advantages
and limitations to improve your online strategy's
effectiveness. This workshop will help you "grok"
(gain an intimate understanding) effective
conversion of your visitors into sales, leads, or
subscriptions, whatever the goals for your prospect.
Whether you are an internet marketing professional
in a large company or a business owner with
virtually no online experience, you'll know more
about how your business works online.
This is your last chance to attend Wizards of
Web in 2002. Also, please
let us know if you want to be included on our
advanced notice list for events.
Now, imagine you are a very Analytic sort of person.
You’ve done the research and inherently understand the
advantages or disadvantages of each feature. To feel
comfortable about a purchase, you need to know you are
getting a camera designed to meet your criteria. You want
to speak with someone who knows all the facts and can
answer all your questions. But you get a different
salesperson in our theoretical store, and this one wants
to tell you all about how easy the camera is to use and
shows you print-out images and explains her Mom has one
and loves it. This is going to strike you as vague and
ditsy. You are going to start tuning out the salesperson
and may well conclude she doesn’t know the first thing
about what she’s trying to sell.
Good salespeople know whether or not they are saying
what the customer needs to hear, the way the customer
needs to hear it, in order to make a decision to purchase.
And a good salesperson knows how to redirect the
presentation quickly if it isn’t working. It’s one of the
most essential components of “the sale.”
Acknowledging personality types online is critical -
you are conducting business in a self-service medium. You
aren’t there to modify your persuasion tactics when you
notice they’re falling on deaf ears. You only notice
you’ve missed the mark when you check out your Web logs.
Online, it’s the responsibility of your hyperlinks to
establish, maintain and offer alternatives to your
“dialog.” So how do you do that?
Let’s distill the information above to the basics:
Amiables prefer to focus on WHY
Analyticals prefer to focus on HOW
Expressives prefer to focus on WHO
Assertives prefer to focus on WHAT
Now, look at this snippet of copy:
Our approach is personalized to meet your objectives.
The bottom line is that your results are guaranteed.
Explore our methodology to discover how thousands of
clients just like you have been delighted.
Different elements in this copy are going to appeal to
different personality types. Amiables will latch onto the
“personalized to meet your objectives” part. Analytics
will make a bee-line for the “methodology” section.
Expressives are going to be very interested in those
“thousands of clients.” And the Assertives are happiest
when you cut to the chase and talk “bottom lines” and
With this knowledge, you can develop a linking strategy
- always in the active window - so your visitors can
follow the buying decision path as it suits them best.
Here at Future
Now, that’s just what we do with our Web site
(undergoing graphic redesign as we speak!). We’ve
painstakingly crafted copy that incorporates specific
words and phrases that allow us to create multiple
personality scenarios (or navigation paths) to appeal to
the different personality types. Each scenario follows a
logical progression based on the steps of the sales and
buying decision process, but along the way, there is
always the opportunity to shift personality gears. And our
left-bar navigation? You’ll notice the topics change -
anticipating the questions you’re most likely to ask at
that point - depending on the scenario you are following
and where you are in the sales process. The global nav
stays the same and lets you hop, skip and jump your way
through the site, if that’s your preference.
As we developed these scenarios, we were very careful
test, measure and optimize. In examining the
navigation paths on our site over time, we learned some
interesting things. Those who followed an Assertive
scenario were happily staying in the process. So were the
Amiables and the Expressives. Our difficulties were with
the Analyticals - those folks who need lots of information
and take their time making decisions. (We get more
Analyticals than any other personality type.) We’d snag
them just fine with the methodology hyperlink, but lose
many of them at the methodology page. We realized this was
in part because we weren’t giving them enough information
to help them decide. One of our solutions was to offer a
free, downloadable report full of conversion information.
It worked! And here’s an important feature of our
solution: you only get to the downloadable report if you
methodology link (there are a number, phrased
differently, at various stages along the conversion
paths for each scenario). Are the dudes here
withholding cretins? Hardly. But if you aren’t concerned
about our methodology, you’re probably not going to bother
reading the Report. Why shove it in your face? It’s simply
that much extra noise - the know-it-all salesperson
blathering on about stuff that doesn’t really matter to
you. Remember, not all
content is created equal, and not all people want the
same content at the same time!
Humans are amazingly complex creatures, and any
classification attempt is a simplification of this
complexity. On top of that, no one person is all one
personality type. You are each delightful mixtures
- one type may predominate, but others come into play,
often influenced by environmental factors, social factors,
even ephemeral moods. So, even though you may know for a
fact that 72 percent of your visitors are Analyticals,
that doesn't mean you can write solely to the
After all, your Analytical might follow a path that is
primarily how-oriented, then decide that to feel
completely comfortable taking action, he requires some
Also, consider the nature of the products or services
you offer. Pure impulse-buying - the kind that Newport-News.com
excels at - is going to appeal most to the friendly,
A site selling engineering equipment is going to
attract more Analyticals than Expressives … and even if an
Expressive engineer requires the product, his job requires
that he be concerned with a logical, orderly, precise and
features-attentive approach. And if you run an online
dating service, no matter how Analytical or Assertive your
visitor, she is likely to approach this service in an
Expressive state of mind.
Your ultimate goal is to delight each of your visitors,
for the delighted customer is the one most likely to
complete a purchase, refer your business to others and
return to buy again.
This personality stuff is the key. And there’s no time
like the present for getting personable!!