Can you generate more sales enquiries based on an empathetic understanding of your audience, most of whom you’ll never meet in person?

The answer is, yes. And the solution is quite simple.

According to James Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California and author of The Psychopath Inside: There are two kinds of empathy:

  1. Cognitive empathy:

    Which is our ability to know what other people are feeling (happy, sad, nervous, scared etc).

  2. And emotional empathy:

    Which is our ability to actually feel what other people are feeling (happiness, sadness, nervousness, fear etc).

That is, unless you’re a psychopath?

In which case you know what other people are feeling (cognitive empathy) but lack emotional empathy so don’t care one jot.

See, the ability to know what people are feeling has played a huge part in our social evolution.

We use these two forms of empathy to measure and gauge the emotions of our friends and family, our work colleagues, and of course strangers and potential enemies.

Question is:

Can you generate more sales enquiries based on an empathetic understanding of your audience, most of whom you’ll never meet in person?

The answer is, yes.

And the solution is quite simple.

Step 1: Get the universal basics right

Most people on the web these days frequent sites like news portals or social media platforms or use the same search engines.

In other words, most people are routinely exposed to similar design layouts and processes, designs and layouts and processes that big brands have spent a fortune refining.

As a result, most people come to expect and look for similar layouts and visual symbols on every site they visit.

So don’t upset or frustrate your customers by reinventing the wheel.

Look at the big sites that you use every day and wherever you can adopt the same common approaches and best practices to structuring information and controlling user interactions.

You can even take a lesson from Nature.

Golden Ratio

We don’t love design that uses the golden ratio because it is universally appealing or mathematically precise.

We love it because it is beautiful.

Our primal instinct to seek out and favour beauty isn’t rational — it’s primal, instinctual, emotional.

Golden Ratio

Which is lucky, because we buy on emotion.

Golden Ratio

So if 38% of people stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive — if it makes them frown — design for a smile.

Step 2: Aim for a smile

Before you start designing (or creating content) most designers (and content creators) start by using a customer profile (or reader persona).

I first came across the idea in 2009 on ProBlogger, Darren Rowse admitted to secretly creating one-page biographies of his target readers to personalise the blogging experience, inform his content and attract advertisers.

An excellent two-part guide on how to undertake customer profile (or persona) research appeared on Smashing Magazine in 2014.

Here, interaction designer Shlomo Goltz observed:

The value behind customer research lies in the power of a one-page document to help understand the goals, motivations, and behaviors of the people who will use your site.

In a nutshell, it helps you create a working digital portrait of your ideal client.

And if you want to learn about marketing persuasion at the HIGHEST calibre — then you have to study those who have gone down in history for being persuasive at the HIGHEST calibre.

They always follow the very same formula ..

Napoleon of digital marketing

You see, your design and your content have to work together to address not just the informational and motivational needs of your target audience — it has to be empathetic and take account of their feelings too.

If your target audience needs you because their problem makes them sad, empathise (in the design and content) with that pain and show them (with the design and content) how you can make them smile again.

This might seem an odd thing to say, but your job really is to make your customers happy.

Let’s take another example.

As a startup, one of the common hurdles you have to overcome is TRUST.

So knowing that your target audience will initially be wary of you and will be immediately scanning the design and content for reassurance, ensure that security certificates and endorsements and testimonials are front and centre.

Just remember that once you’re established, your design and content might need to empathise with other emotional feelings than distrust and evolve accordingly.

Step 3: Walk in their shoes

Once you’ve got the universal best practices ticked, created a viable and rich user profile, one that understands the emotional motivations of your target audience, it’s time to take a walk in their shoes.

Using your empathetic understanding of your target audience, imagine that you have the same problem (and with it the same emotional distress that that problem causes them).

Now go to your website and ask yourself:

  1. Am I in the right place to start smiling again?
  2. Do I get what I’m looking at in an instant?
  3. Do I know where I need to go or what to do next?
  4. Is the final solution delivered in a way that truly makes me happy?

If you have a big smile on your face from start to finish, you’ve cracked it.

If not, time for an emotional rethink.

Step 4: Measure the ROI of empathy

Empathetic design works because it adopts the universal elements of good design and the customer experience that make most people happy most of the time with a narrower focus on solving very specific problems with very specific emotional connotations.

Put simply, by understanding their pain, your site can make your customers smile again.

But for you (and your accountant) to keep smiling, make sure you keep monitoring and measuring user interactions and the costs behind things like:

  1. Customer acquisition
  2. Customer retention

Remember that your business goal (making money) is intimately tied to how well your brand can empathise with both the financial and emotional needs and motivations of your customers.

Lose sight of those feelings even for a moment and your customers might well feel the hairs on the back of their neck stand up when they meet you.

Your business goal (that is, making money) is intimately tied to how well your brand can empathise with the needs of your customers. How are you going to move someone to pull out their debit card every time if you don’t wrap up your marketing copy in water tight logic with killer emotional intent?

Share on social media:

Motivate, Persuade and InfluenceNew case study unlocked

Currently the average 'cost per click' in Google or Facebook is anywhere between £2-5. (Now keep that cost in your head.)

The 4° Of Newness™ — How I increased my website traffic by +218,450% (without paid ads).

M·P·I Method™ / How To Increase Your Website Conversion
I Believe


I use cookies to ensure that I provide you the very best user experience. Please refer to my Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy for more information.

An Artful Science®

The Secret Pocket Of People™

Selling Experience™

Audience & Offer Masterclass™

20 – 22 Wenlock Road
Greater London
N1 7GU
United Kingdom


Call me, email me, message me on Facebook, ping me like a submarine if you like. But let’s start funneling people along that yellow brick road. 😎

Share on social media:

Website vs Sales funnels


What you are about to see is decades of marketing experience, distilled into a highly potent format.

Side effects to this new method may include: an unfair advantage, a sense of achievement, people liking you and want to buy what you're selling.

* For a short period of time, access is free.

An Artful Science has helped us for the last five years and has been responsible for transforming our web based sales. Their knowledge of web design and digital marketing has proved invaluable.Jon Blakeney, Director | I-AM London

¶ You're data is in safe hands. See my Privacy Policy for more information. All my emails include an unsubscribe link. By submitting this form you are giving me consent to send you my guides and learning material.