Use Implicit values on landing pages

In theory, it sounds like a walk in the park: establish the major motivation, use the keywords on the landing, get sales. In practice, it requires a different approach.



Maslow pyramid of needs

People are more likely to make purchases based on their emotional response than on reasoning. But what is the range of emotions and how can we use this assumption for conversion rate optimisation? I describe in detail that framework that I like to use in this article — it's based on the Limbic mapping system. Another and perhaps even more popular framework — is a methodology based on the Maslow pyramid of needs.


In 1943, Abraham Maslow introduced a pyramid-shaped model for the hierarchical nature of human motivation. It went from the immediate physical needs to self-actualisation. The basic idea was amazingly simple: though we all are very different, we have the same implicit motives. These motives vary based not on our age, gender, location or any other demographic factors. they vary based on what we have already achieved so far. First, we all strive for fulfilling our basic needs: food, drink, sleep = survival. As soon as those are covered, we start to be concerned about safety. Not in the survival sense anymore, but more about security and a feeling of being protected. Then, when we feel safe and protected, the goal is to get love and a sense of belonging. Then we aim for respect. And finally, it's self actualisation, personal growth.



Maslow pyramid of needs
Maslow pyramid of needs


This idea was widely used in marketing for many years. More so, it was (and probably still is) widely used in HR, hiring and compensation policies. However, in practice it provides next to nothing in terms of practical insights for a marketer. Fine, I know that my targeted audience has gone far over the survival stage and probably interested more in respect and self-actualisation. How do I use this knowledge to connect them to the benefits that my application can offer? Say, I'm building an app for beekeepers that will help them with booking stoles at the local fares. Do I write a copy about self-actualisation? Or the bees?



Hierarchy of implicit values

In 2010 a group of behavioural scientists ( Douglas T. Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven L. Neuberg, and Mark Schaller) came up with a renewed hierarchy of motives:

  • Physiological: when a person feels the need to survive; the most basic instinct.

  • Self-protection: when a person desires safety and security. Threat and risk avoidance are the most important motives here

  • Social affiliation: when a person has the urge to connect with people. It’s very easy to motivate people to do this. Trigger emotions like abandonment and rejection occur when there’s a threat, and can spur people to immediate action.

  • Status and self-esteem: a motive that dictates to seek respect and usefulness.

  • Mate acquisition: desire to find a mating partner for reproduction.

  • Mate retention — it's more about love, bonding, connection.

  • Parenting: desire not only to reproduce but to rear children.


Hierarchy of implicit values
Hierarchy of implicit values

The main insight of the new approach, though, was not about the new names of the needs but the understanding that all of the needs are implicit (we don't think about them too often on the conscious level) and that in order to influence customer's behaviour we, as marketers, have to address a combination of these needs, not only one of them. Therefore, the app for the beekeepers would be about the simplicity to book the stall, an opportunity to make money. But also about values that resonate with the beekeepers in the area you're trying to market your app. These values are implicit and addressed indirectly. It can be an "easy to use app that saves you time to spend with your loved ones" (mate retention). Or "an easy to use app that is used by other beekeepers just like you" (social affiliation).


Examples from landing pages

1. Hypefury

In practice, you will see a combination of implicit and explicit values being addressed on the landing pages. This is how it is done on the Hypefury landing page — the app that is targeting primarily creators and business owners who want to grow their audience on Twitter. Being on Twitter already is a good indication that this audience values affiliation and is looking for the ways to connect, therefore addressing this implicit need on the landing page is a pretty safe bet (would be true for any other audience that uses social media).



Hypefury landing page: combination of values
Hypefury landing page: combination of values

2. Copy.ai

This is how it is done on the landing page of Copy.ai



A combination of values addressed on Copy.ai landing page
A combination of values addressed on Copy.ai landing page

Explicit needs are addressed on the left side, implicit — on the right side. Affiliating is introduced through a reference to a small business or an agency and a visual of a man with a child. Also, a visual with a child represents the reference to parenting which is probably one of the main values for the audience targeted by Copy.ai.



When to use hierarchy of implicit needs framework

If you go over the landing pages of all successful products and services you'll see that almost all of them address the implicit needs of affiliation and mate retention. The social affiliation is in 99% of cases is reflected through social proof: reviews or the real people and "walls of love". In my personal landing page design practice when I can't get the reviews from the users (if a product is launched without beta users), I put on the landing page a Buying persona — an imaginary collective image of a customer to offer page visitors a clear visual that will be able to resonate with.

However, I'm not a big fan of this framework and prefer to use it only when I don't have access to customer interviews, or when I can't run ad experiments to see what works better. I'd recommend using this approach to implicit values only if you have to go with a "generic" positioning in the absence of reliable data regarding your specific audience.



If you need more information on this subject feel free to contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn (DMs are open) I'm also available on ProductHunt if you prefer this network.

Useful links and resources:

1) Renovating the Pyramid of Needs: Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient Foundations — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3161123/
2) Emotional Design — https://cxl.com/blog/emotional-design-higher-conversions/
3) A Theory of Human Motivation — http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm