How To Use Web and Image Design to Make Sales

The emotionally driven consumer part 1:

It’s a fascinating fact that the purchasing habits of consumers can now be understood down to a veritable science, but just how complex is this science? In Part One of this blog, you will learn how the progressive marketer can leverage emotional buying motives (whether marketing for B2B or B2C companies) and how to practically apply these as they pertain to design.

“People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”  - Zig Ziglar

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” - Dale Carnegie

Consumer buying behavior indicates that before a purchase can ever take place your consumer must have a reason to believe that where they are at is not where they want to be, and that your product is the thing in that moment that can take them there. The unsatisfied feeling of their current condition is something that you as a marketer can create and we will discuss this further in Part Two of this blog, but the destination is of equal importance in creating. Your consumer wants to feel more secure, more comfortable, more empowered and your product gets to be the catalyst that takes them to those emotional places.


Once upon a time, web design existed in a land far away from emotional design. Web designers were focused on creating a functional interface under the misconception that efficiency was of the upmost importance, and to a certain extent it was in the early days on the internet. If it wasn’t for visionaries like Don Norman or Aarron Walter, we might still be intent on improving process while disregarding the potential of emotional design, which has turned out to be exponentially powerful. We now understand that beautiful products and systems make problem-solving easier, which makes them purchased more often than their uglier competitions. Almost hands-down, marketers agree that the best example of this is Apple, who while maintaining phenomenal functionality, maintain as much if not more of a relationship with design.

1. Continuity & Reliability

The psychological reasons for having a consistency on your web presence runs deep. When customers mentally check-in to your online home, their minds are prewired to be alert to discrepancies. A clean, reliable design that doesn’t drastically change from page to page soothes these almost unconscious feelings and believe it or not, boosts your reliability factor and begins the building of trust between you and your consumer.

2.  Tone of Voice

Just as the tone of your voice matters in communicating in person with your consumer, it greatly matters in web design. While you communicate certain messages through words, your tone of voice reveals what you think of them and also what you want them to think of you.

It determines your first impression. You cannot deliver a serious message in a humorous way, otherwise users will not take you seriously. On the other hand, if you try to sell something fun and your tone of voice is too serious, users won’t buy anything. Know your consumer and get into their head. How do they speak? What is their lingo? While some consumers comprise the hip, twenty-something millennial market who is attracted to design riddled with tasteful swearing, another consumer pool could be the far-more conservative baby boomer generation who is generally ruffled by colorful language and prefers to be spoken to in traditional tones. The same rule applies for genders, ethnicities and marital or parental status. For real consumer buying power, know your consumer. And speak to them as they speak to themselves.


Consider these facts:

     •    Two-thirds of all stimuli reaching the brain are visual (Zaltman, 1996).

     •    Over 50 per cent of the brain is devoted to processing visual images (Bates and Cleese, 2001).

     •    As a result 80 per cent of learning is visually based (American Optometric Association, 1991).

Needless to say, consumer buying decisions are going to rest primarily on the shoulders of visual cues.

1. Human Recognition

There’s a reason why research continually points out how much we love seeing photos of humans on websites and what this does to pull us into the brand: The reason is emotional connection. Much like animals become energized from seeing members of their species, we humans crave a similar sense of connection. We are so desirous of this that according to recent research we don’t even need to see vivid human features; the recognition of bodily proportions in a design is enough to recognize it as standard and congruent. By this recognition, we see that there is more than a simple screen with words and code - we sense humanity, which thrusts us into emotions of comfort. The primal geometric cause for this is the golden ratio, which, interestingly enough, most of the best designs in the world have used in abundance, including Apple and Twitter. Even the Volkswagen Beetle car nailed the principle of human-like design with headlights that look like eyes and a rounded hood which give it a grin. Design of the Volkswagen Beetle car is widely recognized as the most successful design in the history of vehicle construction.

2. Intelligent Color   

If visual cues are your key into the designing of your imagery, color is the keyhole. Let’s take a look:

     •    Yellow: Happy, Optimistic, Clarity

     •    Red: Exciting, Youthful, Urgent, Attention Grabbing

     •    Purple: Creative, Imaginative, Uplifting

     •    Blue: Trustworthy, Dependable, Secure

     •    Green: Peaceful, Growth, Relaxing

     •    Gray: Balance, Neutral, Reliable, Intelligent

     •    Black: Luxurious, Powerful, Authoritative

If you choose the wrong color combination, you send a jumbled emotional message to your consumer. For example, most online e-commerce businesses like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net, conspicuously use blue in their designs and avoid red – a thrilling color but not a secure one, while Bank of America uses red exclusively to sell products, but balances the sense of urgency created by it with healthy doses of blue (security) and gray (reliability).

Visual cues have the mind-blowing potential to pull a consumer from an emotionally-dormant state to one of powerful, emotional presence. Why do consumers window shop? Or spend hours perusing magazines and arranging their Pinterest boards? To feel. The visual cues marketers throw to consumers every day are an addiction the consumer population cannot survive without. As Maya Angelou said so well, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If you want your consumers to be addicted to making purchases from you, give them the emotions they want to be addicted to feeling - and just like that, you’ve got a powerhouse of sale conversion. It’s a simple science after all.

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