How to engage Website visitors

how to boost website visitors and how many visitors for a website to make money and how to increase your website visitors
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DavyGodwin,United States,Professional
Published Date:03-08-2017
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■ MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS Misunderstanding Your Visitors—Looking for Psychological Mismatches I could be you, you could be me I could walk a mile in your shoes… 141 And you could walk a mile in my bare feet —Michael Franti and Spearhead, “What I Be” song lyric Who are you trying to influence? What are they like? Can you see the world from their perspective? Now that you have identified areas where the site isn’t performing well, it’s time to figure out why. That requires looking at things through the eyes of your visitors. This chapter will give you 6 that foundation. CHAPTER CONTENTS Empathy: The Key Ingredient Researching the Whole Story Demographics and Segmentation Welcome to Your Brain Cognitive Styles Persuasion Frameworks Cultural DifferencesEmpathy: The Key Ingredient We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” This ethical guidepost exists in many variants among the world’s major phi- losophies and religions. But it is missing an essential component by presupposing that everyone is the same. Moreover, it makes your behavior and beliefs the standard by which all conduct should be judged and measured. There’s one important thing missing from this powerful dictum: empathy. People are not all the same. If we want to understand them, we should try to step outside of our own needs and experience the world from their perspective. Do unto others as they want done unto them. —The Platinum Rule, by Dr. Tony Alessandra 142 This chapter will help you get into the minds and hearts of your website visitors. All of the following frameworks require openness on your part. The more flexible, curious, and imaginative you are, the more powerfully you can wield these tools. “You’re Wrong” After conducting hundreds of usability tests for a wide range of clients, Larry M rin ae, usability expert and founder of Intuitive Design & Research, delights in being consty s ant ulrprised by his audience. The viewpoint of a single person can never fully capture the perspe ic vte of others. During a talk in San Diego, Larry used the following presentation points to r ie nm d us about the difficulty of our task as online marketers: • Everything you think you know about the user is probably wrong. • The users aren’t who you think they are. • They do things differently than you think. • They have different reasons for needing your product than you think. But let’s inject a note of warning: No matter how you might try to put yourself in others’ shoes, you are bound to be wrong. You can never replicate their bodies, brains, or formative experiences. This realization requires a certain humility, wide- eyed wonder, and willingness to be constantly surprised. However, it is still important to understand the universal biological and psychological basics on which all of online marketing and persuasion are built. C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ RESEARCHING THE WHOLE STORY Researching the Whole Story Like a solid news reporter, you must understand the basics of the story and be able to articulate the following particulars about your audience: • Who • What • Where • When • Why • How What does this mean in the context of a website or landing page? The following discussion should help you to get a better grounding: Who is your audience? T he who of your audience is defined by their demograph- 143 ics and segmentation. Because you can’t meet every visitor to your site in person, you are limited to using aggregates. Through web analytics you can understand the traffic sources hitting your website and the specific landing pages. Extensive information is also available about these visitors and their behavior once on the site. From a landing page optimization perspective, it is important to understand this mix, because traffic segments can have radically different behavior and conversion potential. What task is the visitor trying to complete? The what is the specific task that your visitor is trying to complete on your website. Tasks and how to properly define them are described more detail in Chapter 3, “The Matrix—Moving People to Act.” Where on your website does the interaction occur? The where of your visitor’s experience depends on the context they arrived from, the specific landing page, and the path they take on your site to get to a mission-critical conversion page. Sometimes the where may be an offline call-to-action such as a phone call or an in-store sale, but the mechanism for it (e.g., displaying a special dedicated toll-free number, or creating a printable coupon for redemption in a store) is still part of the website. When do your visitors make their decision? T he when should be seen not as a spe- cific time event, but as a position in a decision process. Some visitors are beginning to look around, trying to formulate a response to a vague concern they may feel. Others know exactly what they want, and may only be concerned with completing whatever transaction is required to obtain their desired product or service. As we discussed in Chapter 3, there needs to be appropriate supporting information for a visitor regardless of their place in the decision-making process. Why do visitors behave the way they do? You do not have intimate and accurate information about your individual visitors, but the why can be understood by imagin- ing the categories of cognitive styles. Many psychologists and philosophers have proposed fundamental archetypes or frameworks for describing the basic human tem- peraments and our consequently different ways of relating to the world. We’ll examine this in more detail in the “Cognitive Styles” section later in this chapter. How does your visitor operate on your site to complete their tasks? The how is the actual functional and aesthetic design of your website or landing pages. It is the medium through which each task must be accomplished. Specific page elements include layout, organization, and emphasis of key information, text copy, the call-to-action, and hundreds of other factors. All of them combine to influence the effectiveness of your landing page. Demographics and Segmentation 144 Because almost everything on the Internet can be logged or recorded (see the discus- sion of web analytics tools in Chapter 5, “Conversion Ninja Toolbox—Diagnosing Site Problems,” for more details), it provides a wealth of objective information. The goals of the effective online marketer is to determine which specific metrics are good predictors of success, and to monitor them in order to focus their programs in the right direction. As with all data, you should treat demographics with proper respect and be aware of data-gathering tools and their limitations. Depending on the exact technology used, web analytics tools will track the activities of your visitors differently and come up with different numbers for the same metrics. Web Analytics You already know a lot about your audience. Your website logs record information in mind-numbing detail about every request for information from your web servers: • The Internet Protocol (IP) address of your visitors • Which pages they viewed • How long they spent looking at your site • Which browser software they are using • Whether they have been to your site before As discussed in Chapter 5, all of this information is analyzed by web analytics packages, which have a wide range of capabilities and power. The simplest ones are glorified counters. High-end versions are powerful but often require months of labori- ous and expensive customization to create the right set of live online reports for key people on your staff. Such packages can tie into other systems within your company to C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ DEMOGRAPHICS AND SEGMENTATION give you a more complete picture of the ongoing interactions with your audience. For example, many analytics systems connect directly to a company’s customer relation- ship management (CRM) systems. In general, there are three main uses of web analytics software: Canned Reports Specific reports can be generated (typically on the fly or at speci- fied intervals) to report on a number of activities. The set of reports does not typically change. Some offer clickstream analysis—showing the popular sequences of clicks and pages that users take to navigate your site. Data Mining S ome systems have flexible reporting and scripting languages that allow you to construct your own specialized reports based on historical data. This supports open-ended discovery and ongoing questioning. Dynamic Content Presentation M any web analytics systems support the ability to change content on the fly. They encode business rules within your webpages that can change specific portions of your content based on the actions of a particular user. 145 Web analytics tools have increased their focus on tracking the effectiveness of online marketing programs. They offer built-in reports for tracking separate marketing channels. Conversion details, ad source return on investment (ROI) comparison, and content insertion results are just a few examples of behaviors that can be tracked. Traffic Sources and Their Variability Your audience is not homogenous or uniform. Streams of diverse people visit your site as a result of your current and past marketing activities. None of these streams fit together very well, so it is dangerous and misleading to stitch them together into a uni- fied picture. If your audience consisted of a 6-year-old in San Diego and a 74-year-old in New York City, it would be silly to describe your “average” visitor as a 40-year-old from Kansas. Yet similar conclusions are often drawn from web analytics data. Try to keep your traffic sources separated and analyze them only within their peer group. The most appropriate segmentation may be to focus on specific roles and the tasks that you want your visitors to complete on the website. In other words, do not look at your overall site traffic, but focus instead on the demographics of the peo- ple who are interacting with the mission-critical parts of your site. However, if you segment too finely, you may have problems as well. When you analyze within a particular traffic source or marketing segment, be sure that there is enough data to draw valid statistical conclusions. For testing, you should pay attention to a subset’s stability and consistency over time. Not only is your audience composition diverse, but these people act differently under different circumstances and conditions. Time of day can have strong cognitive effects. Someone browsing surreptitiously at work will spend less time on your site than the same person on the computer in her home during the evening. Time zones can cause a shift in your audience at different hours of the day, as more international visitors have their daytime. Although business decision makers are active during the workday, studies have shown that they are spending more time online outside of the 9–5 bracket. Likewise, weekend behavior is different than that of the workweek. There are well-known differences in direct response e-mail marketing conversion rates based on the specific day of the week that a mail drop is done. However, the best days are com- pletely different depending on the audience and the offer in question. So day of week turns out to be another unknown factor that must be considered in your testing. Such effects can be mitigated by running conversion tests in whole-week units. But longer-term time variations such as external event-driven behavior or seasonality can also play a strong role and are much harder to deal with. For example, a flower website will do a hugely disproportionate business in the two to three weeks leading up to Mother’s Day every year. As the event date approaches, 146 the audience becomes segmented and changes—all of the deliberate “planners” in the audience will have completed their transactions and secured the best prices and appro- priate delivery dates. At the last minute, the less price-sensitive “procrastinators” will descend on the website and spend more money than they probably should in order to get what they want and have guaranteed express delivery. Seasonal trends are also seen in many discretionary spending consumer e-tail categories, with the fourth quarter accounting for a majority of the year’s sales. But even companies whose products have no natural seasonality to speak of may see slow- downs in the summer (when many people are away on vacation and do not have the same access to the Internet) or at other times. Sometimes, your seemingly homogeneous audience is really not the same at all. For example, in the winter people from colder climates will tend to vacation in warmer places. In the summer this pattern reverses and Southerners head north to escape the heat. As a result, many travel-related sites have strong seasonality, coupled with a chang- ing audience mix. In such circumstances it is difficult to conduct certain types of con- version testing (primarily having to do with your content or offers). Some websites have such extreme audience changes and vicious seasonality f o a rc s t t hat content conversion tuning is simply not possible. The predicted best answer will simply not hold up over t . ime However, even such difficult vertical industry sites can often derive some benefit from conversion optimization. Instead of focusing on the specifics of their business, the content changes can focus on the basic usability of their websites and effective and frictionless flow through the important tasks (such as booking a reservation or purchasing). C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ DEMOGRAPHICS AND SEGMENTATION The TicketsNow website ( shown in Figure 6.1 will have the strongest conversion effects based on the contents of the highlighted featured offers. There is a limited supply of tickets for certain events, and the featured promotions change frequently. This would make it difficult to optimize the actual offers. However, the underlying page layout and site usability could be tuned independently of the fea- tured offers. For example, you could test whether having two, three, or four featured offers on the page maximizes the revenue per visitor. 147 Figure 6.1 The TicketsNow homepage When you look at the suitability of the traffic mix for conversion testing, watch for three important characteristics: Recurring T he traffic must come from a replenishable resource. For example, PPC or banner ad traffic is essentially endless—you can get more of it as long as you are will- ing to pay. This supply of “fresh meat” is important because you typically want to run conversion tests on new visitors. It is okay to have a high percentage of repeat visitors in your test, as long as the mix of visitors does not change and represents a roughly constant percentage of your traffic. However, nonrecurring traffic sources like e-mail have many drawbacks for traditional landing page optimization and must be used cau- tiously (if at all). Controllable I t is easy to control paid search and other online media buys. Unfortunately, other traffic sources are not under your command. For example, organic SEO depends on changes in the sometimes unpredictable ranking algorithms of the search engines. You also cannot control the context in which your site was seen or specify the pages on which the traffic will land. However, SEO traffic can still be used for testing if it has a record of being historically stable in terms of the volume and mix of landing pages. Stable E ven if your traffic is recurring and controllable, it may not be stable. For example, you may see a periodic traffic spike as one of your marketing partners pushes a special recurring campaign that drives visitors to your site. Or perhaps the turnover in the composition of your affiliate program results in a rapidly changing traffic mix. 148 SEO traffic can also disappear overnight as the ranking algorithms are adjusted by the search engines. Welcome to Your Brain If what you’ve read so far is already sparking ideas of how to refine future web proj- ects, you are relying on your higher-reasoning faculties to make these plans. But this is not the only mode in which your brain operates. Despite the fact that people can be very sophisticated and intelligent, we still carry a lot of our old evolutionary baggage with us. A lot of the problems that we have with the Web in general (and landing pages in particular) are due to the limitations of our brains when trying to use this medium. There is a disconnect between how our brains evolved and how we are forced to use them on the Web. Much of the resulting friction stems from how we take in informa- tion, process it, learn, and make decisions. It is important for us to understand our own brains when designing better landing pages. So let’s take a moment to meet that very odd character: the human brain. Your Three Brains According to Paul MacLean, the former chief of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior at the United States National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the older parts of the brain are still with us. MacLean developed a model of the brain based on its evolutionary development. According to his “triune brain theory,” there are three distinct layers in the brain that evolved in turn to address new evolutionary needs. C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ WELCOME TO YOUR BRAIN Although each layer dominates certain separate brain functions, all three layers also interact in significant ways. MacLean said that the three brains operate like “three interconnected biological computers, each with its own special intelligence, its own subjectivity, its own sense of time and space and its own memory.” The Reptilian Brain The first to evolve was the reptilian brain (also known as the archipallium, basal brain, or primitive brain). It was called the “R-complex” by MacLean and includes the brain stem and cerebellum. This kind of brain is the high point of development among liz- ards, snakes, and other reptiles (hence the origin of its name). This brain is mainly responsible for physical survival and maintenance of the body (including, circulation, breathing, digestion, and movement). It is the brain that takes over in fight-or-flight situations, and is responsible for establishing home turf, reproduction, and social domi- nance. Since it is responsible for autonomic functions such as breathing and the heart- beat, it is active even in deep sleep states. The reptilian brain is the basic program that 149 allows animals to function. The reptilian brain can be viewed as obsessive, compulsive, rigid, and automatic. It is not adaptable or capable of change, and will repeat behaviors over and over—never learning from its mistakes. The Limbic System The second to evolve was the limbic system (also variously called the paleo-mammalian, intermediate, old mammalian, or mid-brain). It includes the hypothalamus, hippocam- pus, and amygdala. This type of brain is present in most mammals and is dominant in more primitive ones. The limbic system is the seat of our primary centers of emotion, attention, and affective (emotion-charged) memories. The amygdala is critical in creat- ing the link between emotions and events, whereas the hippocampus plays the domi- nant role in storing and recalling memories. The limbic system is in the driver’s seat when it comes to value judgments. It decides whether we like something or are repelled by it. Because of this, the limbic sys- tem tends to dominate behaviors that involve the avoidance of pain and the compulsive repetition of pleasure (including feeding, fighting, sex, fleeing, bonding, and caretak- ing). In his book The Compass of Pleasure (Viking, 2011), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine neuroscientist David Linden lays out the latest scientific research about pleasure circuits in the brain. The limbic system also determines the amount of attention that we give to something, and is responsible for much of our spontaneous and creative behavior. The limbic system is connected downward to the reptilian brain and upward to the neocortex. Because it links emotions and behavior, the limbic system often inhib- its or overrides the reptilian brain’s habitual and unchanging responses. Similarly, the more complex emotions of bonding, attachment, and protective loving feelings con- nect it to the neocortex through rich pathways from the limbic system. According to MacLean, the limbic system decides how it feels about something, and the neocortex is often reduced to simply after-the-fact rationalizing that value judgment decision. In many cases the self-reported verbal explanations of various experimental subjects were clearly at odds with the “true” internal reactions as recorded directly from their limbic systems. More of this is coming to light as direct measurements of the brain are being taken with the specific purpose of understanding how to convince and persuade people. Recent advances in real-time brain imaging and its applications to marketing are explored in Marin Lindstrom’s book Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (Crown Business, 2010), and in Roger Dooley’s Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing (Wiley, 2011). We also highly recommend Susan Weinschenk’s book 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People (New Riders, 2011) for some very actionable takeaways for web designers from neuroscience research. 150 The Neocortex The most recent brain to evolve is the neocortex (also called the cerebrum, cerebral cortex, neopallium, neomammalian brain, superior brain, or rational brain). It is com- posed of the two large hemispheres and some subcortical neuronal groups. This devel- opment is seen only in primates, and humans have by far the largest version (taking up more than two-thirds of total brain mass). The neocortex contains specialized areas for controlling voluntary movement and processing sensory information. It is divided into two hemispheres (left and right), which control the opposite side of the body, respectively. There is some differentiation in function between the two. The left hemisphere is more linear, verbal, and rational, whereas the right hemisphere is more spatial, artistic, musical, and abstract. Higher cog- nitive functions are all centered in this brain (including language, speech, and writing). It supports logical thinking and allows us to see ahead and plan for the future. MacLean called the neocortex the “mother of invention and father of abstract thought.” Putting It All Together It is clear that the three brains are connected via an extensive two-way network of nerves, though it’s unclear exactly how and how much the three layers communicate. However, it is safe to assume that all three are active during most activities, with a par- ticular one taking the lead in certain situations. The main point is that the neocortex does not dominate the lower levels. The limbic system often asserts its influence over higher mental functions. In times of extreme stress, even our reptilian brain can take C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ WELCOME TO YOUR BRAIN over to accomplish seemingly superhuman tasks (such as lifting heavy cars under which people are trapped). When we design landing pages for the Web, we must understand that we must often please the limbic system. We are being judged on the emotional gut reactions that our pages evoke. Our mid-brain knows what it likes and what it doesn’t. After-the-fact logical rationalizations by the neocortex are just that. At some level, the whole point of large-scale statistical landing page testing is to tap directly into this hidden limbic sys- tem decision maker and unmask it by seeing its emotionally based underlying actions (unmediated by surveys, focus groups, or usability tests that require verbal and rational skills). Learning Modalities There are three major ways to get information into your long-term memory. Research has shown that no significant differences exist in the prevalence of these learning styles between the sexes or among different races: 151 • Learning by seeing (visual) • Learning by hearing (auditory) • Learning by doing (kinesthetic) Research in teaching has determined that most people lean toward a dominant modality. Some have a more equal balance between two modalities, or even among all three. But there is no single best method for transmitting information. Depending on the specific person, different presentations or teaching techniques will have different levels of effectiveness. Effective web persuasion requires a variety of methods that cover all three learn- ing modalities. If people are aware of their preference, they can often assimilate informa- tion more efficiently by favoring certain kinds of learning tactics and focusing on specific features of your website. So make it easy for them by providing different ways of interact- ing with your site when appropriate. This is especially important during the desire stage of the decision process, when people are learning about your products or services. Try to use the following types of information to address each learning modality more effectively: Visual G uided imagery, demonstration, color coding, diagrams, charts, graphs, pho- tos, maps, video clips Auditory A udio clips, oral instructions or presentations, poems, rhymes, word asso- ciation, video clips, live telephone support Kinesthetic G ames and interactive activities; associating emotions with concepts, props, or tangible examples; problem solving; role-playing Keep in mind that this additional information should not be tacked on or gra- tuitous. But if there are key concepts that you want your audience to understand and remember, take the time to customize the experience for each modality and offer them the option of how they want to take in that information. For example, let’s assume that you have a template for a product detail page in an e-commerce catalog. You may pro- vide detailed specs and diagrams for your visual learners, a video clip overview of the product’s main features and benefits for auditory learners, and a customization wizard (which lets the visitor pick colors and other options) that allows the kinesthetic learner to explore, construct, and interact with the product. Educational psychologist Richard Mayer has identified several presentation rules that have a direct impact on landing page creation. He found that students remembered more about a topic when it was presented as words with tightly connected images. This worked better when the images where placed closely to the text reference. Memory worked best with moving images and a narrative (very much like our natural unfolding experi- ence of the world), as opposed to static experiences. 152 Another means of enhancing memory is pattern matching, in which we create and fill in more general frameworks to better process and store meaning. In John Medina’s Brain Rules (Pear Press, 2009), he discusses how we retain the gist of the meaning before we can recall any particular details. These generalized pictures feed into pattern matches. This coding structure of association between concepts allows us to remember data points up to 40 percent more efficiently. When a common pattern match is employed, it may also help bind like audience groups to an affinity. For example, while specific ref- erences might alienate some, it will likely attract audiences that understand “the nod.” The use of humor, idioms, and pop cultural references are examples of this high-risk, but potentially high-reward, meaning. Cognitive Styles Your audience can be spoken of in the collective, but in fact it is like a continual snow- fall of individual visitors landing on your site—no two snowflake crystals are exactly alike. You do not have access to the individual thoughts, fears, or motivations of your visitors, yet you must try to understand them. Since the individual level is not appropriate, some online marketers look for meaningful commonalities at a group level. One way to do this is by using cognitive frameworks. Cognitive frameworks sort people into exclusive categories based on observable cognitive styles or personality types. Cognitive styles are sometimes confus- ingly referred to as “personas” in online marketing circles (personas are briefly con- trasted with roles in Chapter 3). C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ COGNITIVE STYLES Any attempt to characterize your visitors is bound to be only partially accurate and too general, but that’s okay. You are just trying to understand them well enough to come up with more effective landing pages. Within this limited scope and purpose, online marketers commonly turn to approaches that might help them to better under- stand their audience: Myers-Briggs, Keirsey-Bates, and the Platinum Rule. Remember, no single framework is definitive or complete. No one has a complete corner on “the Truth”—all you can hope for are better insights into your audience. Cognitive frameworks are excellent tools in helping to understand a real-life per- son. Their focus is on improving an individual’s self knowledge and approaches for inter- acting with others. Unfortunately, these frameworks have significant problems when applied to landing page testing. Landing page optimization deals with large numbers of visitors, so each major category of visitors within a cognitive framework will be repre- sented in your audience. This means that you cannot tune for a specific category without making inevitable compromises that affect all others. We discussed a more appropriate framework for conversion improvement called The Matrix previously in Chapter 3. 153 Myers-Briggs In 1923, noted Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote Psychological Types and outlined his classification of different types of people (“Theory of Personality Preferences”). According to Jung, many of the differences among people did not stem from men- tal illness, abnormalities, or problems. Rather, he suggested that people had more or less innate ways of relating to the world. These built-in filters would color every social interaction and dictate someone’s effectiveness in a particular circumstance or environment. This research was picked up and expanded in the 1930s by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. They worked through World War II to develop a specific testing tool that would classify people reliably according to Jung’s basic theory. They culled through thousands of potential questions and were able to tease out ones that predicted personality types reliably. The final questionnaire and rat- ing method was named the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI examines people on four independent scales. Each scale is anchored by two opposite extremes. Where someone falls on a particular scale is not supposed to change over the course of a lifetime. In other words, your basic personality type is pretty much set in stone. This does not mean that as you learn and grow you will not express your type differently. It only means that your underlying worldview shifts very slowly. Each of the scales (also called dichotomies) that follow indicates preferences and tendencies only. Very few people are the caricatures typically described by the two extremes of each scale. There are no value judgments associated with someone’s innate type. Obviously, each evolved and took hold in a significant portion of the human pop- ulation because it had some kind of evolutionary or survival value. None of the types are absolutely better or worse than others. The main goal of the Myers-Briggs method is to understand yourself. Through MBTI you can predict how you might perform in a specific environment or role. It also gives you the basis to find effective communica- tions strategies with people of a different type. It is beyond the scope of this book to go into detail about this field. The following sketches are meant simply to illustrate the basic concepts and taxonomy of the MBTI. The Source of Energy: Extroverts (E) vs. Introverts (I) E xtroverts draw their energy from the outside world and other people. They love social interactions and are gregarious and communicative. They expend a lot of personal energy and tend to speak before thinking. Introverts prefer limited social relationships. They conserve their personal energy and are more internal and focused. Introverts are more reflective and notice their own 154 internal reactions to events. They tend to think first and then speak. Information Gathering: Sensors (S) vs. Intuitives (N) S ensors live in the present moment. They prefer orderly sequential planning and are practical people who pride themselves on being realistic. They insist on what is actual and specific. Intuitives live in the future world of possibilities. They are conceptual and like to see the big picture. They are comfortable with randomness and disorder and are often viewed as impractical dreamers. Information Processing: Thinkers (T) vs. Feelers (F) T hinkers tend to be objec- tive. They prefer the clarity and detachment provided by firm rules, and they are not afraid to critique others. Feelers are subjective and social. They prefer to be involved and operate based on har- mony and social values. They try to mediate based on the changing circumstances and come to conclusions that are deemed to be humane and that maintain harmony. Lifestyle Orientation: Judgers (J) vs. Perceivers (P) J udgers like control, definitive- ness, closure, and structure. They plan, resolve, and decide the smallest aspects of their lives. They like to schedule their time and are comfortable meeting specific deadlines. Perceivers prefer flexibility and a tentative, open-ended orientation to making deci- sions. They are adaptable and spontaneous and do not like to be hemmed in by deadlines. The resulting four components can be combined in 16 individual personality types, or “role variants.” C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ COGNITIVE STYLES Keirsey-Bates Whereas Myers and Briggs focused on people’s internal mental states, David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates focused more on easily observable behavior patterns. This led Keirsey to develop a descriptive temperament framework that he later merged with the MBTI. The letters (and concepts) from the MBTI were combined in different ways to provide a new framework for externally visible behaviors. He focused on the primary S-N (abstract-concrete) dimension, which he mapped to the “observant” and “introspective” qualities, respectively. These were combined with another dimen- sion (cooperative-utilitarian) to create the four primary temperaments of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter: • Artisans (SP): Tactical—Observant and pragmatic • Guardians (SJ): Logistical—Observant and cooperative • Idealists (NF): Diplomatic—Introspective and cooperative • Rationals (NT): Strategic—Introspective and pragmatic 155 Jakob Nielsen has done a lot of groundbreaking work in web usability. The results of one particular experiment that he conducted ( fancy-formatting.html) bear out strong evidence for the influence of temperament on the behavior of people on the Web. Figure 6.2 shows the eye-tracking results of four different users on the US Census website. All were trying to locate the current population of the United States. As you can see, there are radical differences in the gazing patterns and fixation (size of the circles correspond to a longer focus on that part of the page). Figure 6.2 US Census website eye-tracking results showing evidence for di rf efn et user cognitive stylesAlthough Nielsen has his own names for each of the type of people in the experiment, they basically correspond to the four primary temperaments described earlier: A. “Search dominant” user can also be described as Rational (NT). After a short look at the top of the page content, this person focused on the left- hand vertical navigation column (and was pragmatic and efficient in their approach to finding information). B. “Navigation-dominant” user can also be described as a Guardian (SJ). This cognitive style is methodical and this can be seen from their detailed and extended review of almost all page content. C. “Tool-dominant” user can also be described as an Artisan (SP). This action-oriented and emotional person tended to focus on the drop-down navigation and the interactive form fields on the right of the page. D. The “successful” user (the only one to correctly find the population 156 information on the page) showed a pattern that could be expected of an Idealist (NF). They are conceptual big-picture people who are comfort- able with some disorder. As a result, they were able to see past the non- conventional (large headline) style in which the population figure was presented. Platinum Rule Tony Alessandra states his Platinum Rule as follows: “Do unto others as they want done unto them.” Like Keirsey, Alessandra focuses on observable behaviors (which characterize their operating styles), and provides us with two primary dimensions: • Open vs. guarded • Direct vs. indirect The resulting quadrants form the four foundational styles. Like the MBTI, there are two additional scales to further subdivide each quadrant into 16 total styles (but these are beyond the scope of this summary). The primary styles are as follows: • Relater—Indirect/open • Thinker—Indirect/guarded • Socializer—Direct/open • Director—Direct/guarded Table 6.1 provides an overview of the four basic styles. C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀■ PERSUASION FRAMEWORKS P Table 6.1 Four Foundational Styles of the Platinum Rule Director Socializer Relater Thinker Style Style Style Style Pace Fast/Decisive Fast/Spontaneous Slower/Relaxed Slower/Systematic Priority Goal People Relationship Task Seeks Productivity Participation Acceptance Accuracy Control Applause Precision Strengths Administration Persuading Listening Planning Leadership Motivating Teamwork Systematizing Pioneering Entertaining Follow-through Orchestration Growth Impatient Inattentive to detail Oversensitive Perfectionists Areas Insensitive to Short attention Slow to begin Critical others span action Unresponsive Poor listener Low follow-through Lacks global perspective Fears Being taken Loss of social Sudden changes Personal criticism 157 advantage of recognition Instability of their work eforts Irritations Ineiciency Routines Insensitivity Disorganization Indecision Complexity Impatience Impropriety Under Stress Dictatorial Sarcastic Submissive Withdrawn May Become Critical Supericial Indecisive Headstrong Gains Security Control Playfulness Friendship Preparation Through Leadership Others’ approval Cooperation Thoroughness Measures Impact or results Acknowledgments Compatibility Precision Personal Track record and Applause with others Accuracy Worth By process Compliments Depth of Quality of results contribution Workplace Eicient Interacting Friendly Formal Busy Busy Functional Functional Structured Personal Personal Structured © Dr. Tony Alessandra,, 1-760-603-8110. Reprinted with permission. Persuasion Frameworks Cognitive styles are merely descriptive—classifying people into groups based on their behavior or way of experiencing the world. To take this to the next level, we need actionable frameworks that give us insights on the fundamental principles of persua- sion and how to move people to action.The following frameworks in particular can be practically and powerfully applied to conversion on the Web. All of them describe the same basic operating prin- ciples for people from different perspectives. They are not meant to be exclusive, and you should use insights from all three when working on your conversion rate optimiza- tion projects. BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model BJ Fogg is not your typical academic. In addition to founding the Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, he works on many industry projects with companies that apply his powerful finding to practical real-world situations. Like Cialdini’s work (described later in this chapter), his work is field tested. He coined the word “captol- ogy” to describe the intersection of persuasion and computer technologies, and also authored Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do (Morgan Kaufmann, 2002). Unlike some of the research, which merely describes how attitudes are changed 158 and influenced, the core of Fogg’s focus is on how to actually change people’s behavior. He has developed the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) to describe how behavior change happens. We have summarized it based on the information provided at www.behaviormodel฀ .org. You can also check out the helpful Behavior Wizard at for a taxonomy of various behavior types and how to create them.฀ As you can see in Figure 6.3, the FBM can be summarized in one simple con- cept: for a behavior to occur, three conditions must be present at the same time, moti- vation, ability, and an effective trigger. If the behavior does not occur, at least one of these elements must be missing. High Fogg Behavior Model Motivation B = mat at the same moment Triggers Succeed Here Triggers Activation Fail Here Threshold Low Motivation Hard to Do Easy to Do Ability © Dr. BJ Fogg, Reprinted with permission. Figure 6.3 The Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀ Motivation■ PERSUASION FRAMEWORKS In other words, often the best way to get a desired behavior in the words of Fogg is to “put hot triggers in front of motivated people.” Let’s look at each of the compo- nents of the model in more detail. Motivation There are three basic human motivators. Each of them can be seen along a continuum. It is easiest to change behavior when you are able to affect someone as strongly as pos- sible near one of the extremes. Sensation The desire to feel pleasure, and the need to avoid pain. Pain avoidance is generally considered to be the stronger motivator. Anticipation T he hope that good things will occur in the future, and the dread or fear that bad things may happen. Fear is generally considered to be the stronger motivator. Social Cohesion O ur need for social acceptance, and the avoidance of social rejec- 159 tion. Ostracism and shunning are generally considered to be stronger motivators. Ability To perform a target behavior, a person must have the ability to do so. There are two paths to increasing ability. You can train people, giving them more skills and more ability to do the target behavior. That’s the hard path since peo- ple will generally avoid effort and tend to be lazy. You can also make the target behavior easier to do. Fogg calls this approach simplicity. By focusing on simplicity of the target behavior, you increase ability. Simplicity is a function of your scarcest resource at that moment. This resource can refer to time, attention, effort, money. Triggers Triggers tell people to “do it now” Sometimes a trigger can be external, like the sud- den sound of a car horn. Other times, the trigger can come from our daily routine: walking into your house reminds you to take off your shoes. The FBM describes three trigger types to be used in the correct specific circumstances: Facilitator I f someone is motivated but is not responding because it seems hard (per- ceived lack of ability), use a “facilitator” trigger. It should include a call-to-action and some messaging that says “it’s easy.” Signal If someone can do a task (has the ability) but is not motivated to do it, you should try to design a “spark” trigger. It should include a call-to-action plus some sort of motivator.Spark If a person has both the motivation and ability to do something, they just need a straightforward “signal” trigger. This is essentially a “do it now” reminder. Don’t try to motivate these kinds of people or emphasize simplicity or ease of doing the task. Triggers can lead to a chain of desired behaviors. An effective trigger for a small behavior can lead people to perform harder behaviors. Many designers make the mistake of asking people to perform a complicated behavior. A corresponding mistake is packing too much into a trigger. Neither path works well. Simplicity changes behavior. SiteTuners’ Unbalancing Scales We want to tell you a quick story…. The Case of the Sleepy Dog A tourist was driving on a deserted rural road and happened upon a cabin. An old man was s om k- 160 ing a pipe in his rocking chair on the porch while a droopy hound dog dozed by his side. Tr h -e tou ist got out of his car and struck up a conversatio w nith the old man. Periodically as they talked the dog would let out a long plaintive howl and would then settle back down to sleep. After this happened a few times, the tourist finally asked the old man, “What’s w onrg with your dog?” The old man answered, “Oh, don’t mind him—he’s just lying on a nail.” The flabbergasted tourist asked, “Why doesn’t he move?” The old man thought for a minute and responded, “I reckon it don’t hurt badly enouh g.” It is a well-known maxim in marketing that people who are comfortable enough with their current situation (like the hound dog in the story) are not good prospects for buying goods, services, or ideas—they simply don’t care enough to make a change. Direct marketers Bob Hacker and Axel Andersson have defined several key copywriting concepts that motivate us to act: fear, greed, guilt, exclusivity, anger, sal- vation, or flattery. Not one of these motivations is rational—all of them are rooted in our fundamental and unchanging emotional nature. The best way to get visitors to act is to appeal to their fundament emot al ional motivations. At SiteTuners we have developed a set of hierarchical scales to help us rate web- sites’ persuasiveness. They are not precise instruments, but rather tools that help us to focus outward (on our website visitors) and then inward (on their emotional state). Each scale is a continuum of feelings and internal states. C H A P T E R 6: MISUNDERSTANDING YOUR VISITORS ■฀฀฀

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