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  Article # 8
  Consumer Psychology on the Web
  by: Rick Costello, The Web Site Profit Doctor.


I was talking with a prospective customer the other day, and she unloaded a bunch of web site problems on me.

She said, "Rick, we have tons of people on our site every day, but they don't call and they don't fill out the contact form. We're sitting over here racking our brain because we just can't figure out why."

So I asked her a couple questions about the web site's copy. (That's usually a good place to start.)

She said, "Oh, we have tons of copy. We talk about our staff and how long we've been in business. We talk about our services and all of the things we do."


And problem number one surfaced. Her web site copy was written without regard for the consumer. They talk too much (and only) about themselves.

To be effective, web site copy must address the consumer. And understanding the consumer's mindset and buying motivation is the best way to convert visitors into customers (or leads).

Consumer psychology is loosely defined as understanding how consumers think, feel, justify, and decide among purchase alternatives. And a Web site can be a powerful tool used to influence that purchase decision.

Let's take a closer look...

Consumers have a "what's in it for me" mentality. They are more apt to buy (or interact with a web site) only when they think, feel, see and understand how the featured product or service will help make their life or job easier.

So how do you understand the mindset of prospective customers and develop influential web site copy?

Start with your existing customers.

Conduct several interviews. Find out why they purchased from you and uncover the factors that influenced his or her buying decision.

Don't stop there. Ask great questions when talking with prospective customers. Find out what they look for in a brand or supplier. You'd be amazed at how much you will learn.

Take the most common factors and wrap your products and services around their needs. Concentrate on the benefits addressing only the consumer.

Remember, consumers don't care about you or how great your business is. Avoid using the words "we" and "us" too much. Concentrate on using and crafting your message around the word "you."

I understand using the word "you" is considered poor business writing, but online copy is not an annual report or a corporate memo. The web is a one-on-one communication tool. Take advantage of it.

Picture this...

Would you spend an hour taking about yourself in third person during a sales meeting? Your prospective customer would fall asleep -- or worse yet -- they'd probably get up and leave.

If you're having trouble with online sales and capturing leads, start by modifying your home page copy. Just make sure you know how to calculate home page effectiveness and track improvements.