The 7 Questions Every Online Customer Has & Why You Need To Know Them

by Sharon Hurley Hall

Last updated on August 3rd, 2017

Most people visit your site because they want something. Your ability to give them that something determines whether they take up your offer and your landing page converts. A while back, I talked about the importance of reading your customers’ minds to improve conversions, but you can go one better, by understanding not just their minds but their emotions.

According to Psychology Today, there’s a strong emotional component to the way people evaluate brands and potential purchases. And it’s not just about feeling good about your ad (though that’s important, too); it’s about what’s going on inside their brain:

“fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).”

It’s the reason some people go for the big brand names even though another item might offer better value. In their heads, even if they don’t know it, they are asking questions based on the main emotional triggers: love, fear, pride, guilt and greed. Answer those questions (and a couple of others) and you’re on the way to having more people take up your offer.

1. Why Will I Love This Product?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t just look for products I like. If it’s something I’ll spend a lot of time using, then it’s important for me to love the product. One of the reasons that Apple wins hearts and minds is because it designs products that feel good, look good and generally work well. People fall in love with their Apple gadgets and often turn into raving evangelists who will line up to buy anything new as soon as it’s released.

iPhone Apple

In creating your page copy, think about the factors that will start a love affair between your customer and your product or service and make them obvious on your page. That could be anything from social proof (if others love your product, they might too) to talking to them directly via a chat window to throwing in the occasional reward.

2. Will I Miss Something if I Don’t Own This Product?

A lot of sites use offer pop-ups, where you can click to send them away. The trouble is that the button text usually suggests that something dire will happen if you click away. It’s similar to the affiliate marketing sites which launch a pop-up if you click away. Both of those try to make customers afraid that they will miss out on something important unless they sign up. Since so many sites use them, they must be effective, even if they’re sometimes annoying.

Amazon screenshot

It seems that “scary sells”, even if it’s just putting a deadline on product availability. Ever noticed how Amazon always tells you how many items are left in stock? Ask yourself what fears your products allay and how you can make that obvious in your page copy.

3. Am I a Bad Person if I Don’t Support This Product?

As Susan Gunelius points out, guilt-based marketing works well for non-profits. After all, wouldn’t you rather support a worthy cause than spend money on your own selfish pursuits?

compassion Child Survival Program

But they aren’t the only ones to use it effectively. There are several examples in her article, but a recent one is AT&T’s “It Can Wait” ad which shows how checking your social media messages while driving can cause death. If you have ever looked at your phone while driving, you’ll probably feel a little guilty.

4. Can I Be Proud of This Product or Service?

It’s not just millennials; we all like to preen occasionally in front of our peers. If there’s a feel-good or look-good element about your product or service, you’re more likely to win the conversion. For example, when you contribute to a crowdfunding campaign, you’re encouraged to share it on social media. That’s good for the campaign, but it also gives contributors a pat on the back. As this article on Entrepreneur points out, making customers feel like leaders or trend-setters can pay off. Check out some examples on the AYTM blog.

5. Is There an Advantage for Me in Buying This Product?

You see it on most sales pages: an added incentive or bonus of some kind. Buy now and you get a bundle of extra goodies – that appeals to greed, to the urge to gain an advantage by getting something for nothing. Discounts help too. Most customers are looking for a good deal; provide it and you’re on the way to better conversions.

In addition to questions relating to those core emotions, there are a couple of other things customers want to know. Some of these relate to more than one emotion, and you have to address these too if you want to seal the deal.

6. Is It New?

Every tech manufacturer releases new products every year. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference from the previously released model and sometimes the new release isn’t necessarily better. However, novelty makes people feel good, as this KISSmetrics article points out. If you can persuade your customers that your product is new enough to release those feel-good endorphins you might just persuade them to buy.

7. Can I Trust You?

This is probably the most important question of all. When you visit a site, you want to know you can trust the information provided, and the people behind the site, as well as the product. That’s why it’s important to include social proof, reviews, safe shopping guarantees and trust seals to make people feel safe on your site.

Free shipping and no quibble returns, like Zappos offers, also help establish trust. In fact, using trust signals can double conversions, which is enough reason to include them on your pages.

Zappos free shipping

Three Resources for Better Emotional Marketing

If you’re going to wow your customers with emotionally-driven copy, here are some resources and strategies to try.

  • Lean Labs suggests that you use social media analytics to find out what your audience’s emotional triggers will be. Not only can you find out their interests, but you can use this information to take the right tone in your copy so they want to buy.
  • Outsmart Your Brain has a useful list of emotional triggers to see what words resonate most for you. Try using some of these in a customer survey and see what appeals to your customers most. Then you can incorporate these into your marketing.
  • Copyblogger’s list of emotional trigger words for multimedia content can also help you write better landing page copy.
  • Conversioner’s infographic shows how you can use different emotions to appeal to different audiences. (For example, Coca-Cola plays into hundred plus years of people enjoying their product and focuses on happiness.)

Which emotions work best with your customers? Share your success stories below.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.



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Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer, university lecturer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.


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  1. Anonymous says:
    March 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

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    March 15, 2016 at 3:48 am

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  3. Anonymous says:
    February 10, 2016 at 3:53 am


    Decent read! In any case, despite the fact that parcel’s of locales demonstrated that trustsignals work, I’ve likewise seen some test which demonstrated the inverse (diversion/mess). It’s a decent speculation which merits testing.


  4. Marie Pierce says:
    February 9, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    It was a nice read.. @sharon.. u shared such a useful views of E-commerce world… !!

  5. Priyanka says:
    August 31, 2015 at 6:01 am


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    • September 2, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Thanks for that, Priyanka. SSL is important if you’re dealing with sensitive data.

  6. Gerben says:
    August 27, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Nice read! But even though lot’s of sites proved that trustsignals work, I’ve also seen some test which proved the opposite (distraction / clutter). It’s a good hypothesis which is worth testing.

    • August 30, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Yes, it’s always best to test, Gerben, as each case is different.

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