Survey your audience with flash test questions about key pages on your website. Use questions that give you insight into each step in the Audience-Influence Model.
The Audience-Influence Model includes seven steps:
- Concentrating: aware
- Comprehending: informed
- Desiring: motivated
- Deciding: intent
- Trusting: confident
- Acting: short-term action
- Maintaining: long-term action.
Use flash test questions like:
- What was the most prominent element on this page? (Concentrating)
- What do you think this page was about? (Comprehending)
- Name one benefit of using this site. (Desiring)
- How did this page help you decide your next step? (Deciding)
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how trustworthy did this site appear to be? (Trusting)
- What is the next step that the site owner wants you to take? (Acting)
- Why are you continuing to use this site? (Maintaining) – This is best for long-term studies.
- Why have you stopped using this site? (Abandoning) – This is best for abandonment studies or exit surveys.
Draw a chart with four quadrants that includes intended and unintended outcomes on the y-axis, and negative and positive outcomes on the x-axis.
Plot survey responses on the chart and prioritize page elements in the intended negative outcome and unintended negative outcome quadrants for improvement.
- Add any expected improvements to the intended positive outcomes quadrant. For example, conversions, purchases, and customer loyalty.
- Capture any potential unexpected benefits in the unintended positive outcomes quadrant. For example, increased credibility or better audience relationships, even if conversions or other core page goals didn’t improve.
- Put any potential unethical practices in the intended negative outcomes quadrant. For example, bait and switch techniques or false promises. These dark patterns are practices perceived as manipulative that may be in the organization’s best interest but not that of the audience.
- Note any backfire risks in the unintended negative outcomes quadrant. For example, reverse norming through negative product reviews appearing on landing pages, or cognitive dissonance when self-identified experts don’t showcase their expertise on their own channels.
Create a Cugelman Emotion Map with the x-axis ranging from painful to pleasant and the y-axis ranging from passive and unfocused to energetic and attentive.
A dotted diagonal line from the bottom-left painful and passive corner to the top-right pleasant and energetic corner denotes the level of control, with most control exhibited for emotions that are the most energetic and pleasant. Meanwhile, a dotted diagonal line from the bottom-right pleasant and passive corner to the top-left painful and energetic corner denotes the level of stress, with the most stress experienced for emotions that are both energetic and painful.
- Optimistic emotions fall within the pleasant and energetic quadrant. Audience members feeling this type of emotion who can receive something good will be happy and motivated to take advantage of an opportunity.
- Insecure emotions fall within the painful and energetic quadrant. Audience members feeling this type of emotion who receive a promise to remove a threat or negative situation will be happy and motivated to act to remove a pain point.
- Secure emotions fall within the pleasant and passive quadrant. Audience members feeling this type of emotion don’t want to move and won’t feel motivated to act.
- Pessimistic emotions fall within the painful and passive quadrant. Audience members in this quadrant are demotivated by fear of gaining pain and thus are unmotivated to act because they want to avoid the situation getting worse.
Analyze a page to understand which emotions it is eliciting and how it might motivate your audience.
To motivate audience members in the:
- Optimistic quadrant: Offer something your audience wants and doesn’t currently have.
- Insecure quadrant: Provide your audience a solution to remove their pain points.
- Secure quadrant: Form long-term customer relationships using loyalty strategies or customer support and satisfaction prioritization.
- Pessimistic quadrant: Use personalized strategies to re-engage and help to move them into a more favorable motivational quadrant. Avoid bad word of mouth and long-term reputation damage.
Edit conversion-oriented copy to use complimentary language and elicit optimistic positive emotions. Avoid language that can induce stress and make your audience less likely to act.
While you should not lie in your copy, flattery can raise conversion rates simply by putting your audience into a more positive mindset. Then the call to action, like providing them with a new trend report or promotional discount, can become more motivating as a result.
Confusing error messages or language making your audience question their current decision-making can make them feel more stressed and less likely to act in the way you would like them to. Manipulation, lies, and other dark patterns can also induce stress. In naturally stress-inducing situations, like a broken page link, consider a cute aggression-reducing message like Amazon’s puppy strategy for broken links.