Nathalie Nahai: Strategies to make us click
Web Psychologist Nathalie Nahai reveals how to target your audience and get them to click
BIO: Nathalie, AKA The Web Psychologist, is an award-winning speaker and author. She helps businesses to psychologically optimise for better engagement online, and lectures internationally on the subject of web psychology.
First, you need to know who you’re targeting. It sounds like a no-brainer. But when it comes to engaging with your audience persuasively, everything from the way they make decisions to their personality, age, gender, friends, cultural background and digital literacy can influence the effectiveness of the strategy that you use.
Say you’ve designed a successful eCommerce site for a client in the UK, and due to a high number of overseas orders, they ask you to roll out the same site in Sweden. The age, gender and income level of your audiences are the same, but their cultures aren’t.
What you may not know is that, unlike the Brits (who tend to be more assertive, achievement-oriented and competitive), Swedes generally tend to orientate towards the home, emphasising social cohesion, cooperation and a good quality of life achieved through consensus. In this case, rather than translating the same old site across both countries, you’d be best served adopting a culture-specific strategy. For your Swedish audience, this could mean designing a website that appeals to the wider group by using language and imagery that conveys a sense of inclusion. It could also mean focussing on the emotional benefits of your products as opposed to the material ones.
Whoever you’re targeting, by being aware of differences that exist between groups and individuals, you can start building a picture of how one strategy (such as a high-octane, goal-oriented competition) could work well for one audience and badly for another.
In our everyday lives, we’re constantly trying to persuade and influence people – whether we want them to agree with our point of view, to help us out, or to fulfil our needs in some other way. Online it’s no different. Whether you’re trying to get more click-throughs, subscribers or sales, in effect you’re using your skills to persuade other people to take a particular course of action.
The heart of influencing people online is being able to communicate your message persuasively. There are countless blogs, books and videos that show various aspects of how we can do this, but in reality persuasive communication boils down to a few basic principles.
We tend to be more easily persuaded by people we trust, and we tend to trust those who seem similar to us, or who have a good reputation to back them up. The impressions we make about others are heavily influenced by nonverbal cues, such as their facial expressions, gestures, and even the clothes they wear. Face-to-face, these cues are easy to pick up, but online, many of these are stripped away, making the game a whole lot trickier.
That’s where demographic research comes into its own. If you have an intimate knowledge of the people you’re trying to reach, you can mirror back their preferences within your designs in order to build trust and boost rapport. For instance if you were trying to attract an audience of young, female entrepreneurs, the images, copy and videos you’d use should reflect the language, clothes, gestures and interests that come naturally to them.
It sounds devastatingly simple, but by using the concept of similarity, you’re subconsciously showing your audience that you’re trustworthy, and that the actions you’re proposing are good ones.
This last point is a crucial one. With all this talk of influence it’s easy to forget that the sustainable success of any business (both yours and your clients’) hinges on your ability to build and nurture good relationships. If you respect those you’re trying to communicate with, this will show – and they’ll be more inclined to want to engage with you as a result.
When Spotify first came out there was a lot of chatter as to whether the model would ever really take off. The majority of people weren’t too hot on the idea, so Spotify made it easy for them – try it now, for free, and see what you think. Painless, effortless, and attractive, this no-risk offer appealed to early adopters and nay-sayers alike. I can attest to this first-hand – having tried the free ad version for a good six months, I eventually signed up. Not because the ads were annoying, but because I had come to value the service and, having been offered the free version in good faith, felt happy to pay a tenner a month for something I enjoyed and believed in.
By giving everyone a go up front, Spotify not only reached a larger number of eager ears, they also gained long-term advocates who could then take care of the word-of-mouth and reputation-building. A win-win for all involved.
Whatever your goals, and whomever you’re designing for, if you really want to engage with people at a deeper level, you have to understand what drives them. Especially when your business depends on it.