What’s the body language of your content really saying?
by Zoë Courtman-Smith, 31 Jan 2018
Body language isn’t just for bodies. If your content isn’t converting like you’d like, take a look at the body language of your website, email, landing page or social post. It could be signaling something other than what you really want to say.
Anyone who’s ever prepped for a presentation, an interview or even a first date knows you don’t keep your arms crossed—you keep an open posture. You don’t stuff your hands in your pockets; you keep your hands where we can see ‘em. You also make eye contact, and generally don’t look shifty. There are a bunch of other body language dos and don’ts, but those are the basics.
Why does body language matter to us?
Because we’re primates. We’re monkeys with lizard brains designed to assess our world and keep us safe. This has to take place quickly—in a split second, so we don’t get eaten by a tiger or clubbed by a rival. (It’s why you keep your hands visible; it instantly shows you’re not carrying a weapon.)
So we use non-verbal cues to transmit those signals. And when you’re looking to communicate with, do business with or host other primates, you’ve got to signal three primary conditions: that you’re safe, that your audience is welcome and that they can trust you.
Take a look at Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs to see why.
Physiological needs are the absolute foundation—think food, water, shelter. But safety, belonging and esteem are the very next steps, almost as important as breathing itself.
What in the world does this have to do with content marketing?
Forget people-based marketing. This is monkey-based marketing.You’re a primate talking to other primates. And we all have the same basic needs (safety, belonging and esteem), which you have to address before you can engage with your audience, much less sell them anything.
And remember, this happens on a primal, almost subconscious level.
One of the most basic ways you can do this is to consider the body language of your content. It’s what signals—or doesn’t signal—that you’re safe, that your audience is welcome in your world, and that they can trust you.
Content body language basics
Bad content is usually hampered by bad body language. This generally looks like a bunch of dense copy, non-intuitive navigation, too many red, screamy headlines, wild claims, too many options or CTAs, etc. Very much like crossed arms and hidden hands, these mistakes can push people away before they even really know why. Fix it by asking yourself this:
1. Does my content look safe?
If there’s a lot of the above, the answer is no. It doesn’t look safe—it looks like you’re going to have to go through a lot to get to a payoff that may or may not even be there. You can fix this by using:
- Lots of white space (let people breathe and feel there’s an easy way out)
- Plain, simple language (don’t be clever; be clear)
- Give ‘em one CTA button, option or message to consider
2. Does my content make people feel welcome?
You want your audience to feel at home in your world, like they’re among friends. Here’s how to signal this:
- Show them immediately why they’re here: Use your headline to show you know your audience and can solve a specific problem they have
- Speak their language and anticipate next questions (and answer them!)
- Don’t put up a lot of barriers—e.g., maybe don’t make them fill out 17 form fields when three will do
3. Does my content look trustworthy?
This one is pretty easy:
- Take it easy on the hard sell; again, state your benefits clearly
- Be eagle-eyed about typos and errors; these chip away at your credibility
- Include social proof right up front (case study links are fantastic for home pages)
- Consider offering something of value before you ask for something, like a free white paper, a first-time-user discount, etc.
It’s pretty simple. My designer friends will say this is really just good UX. And they’re right. It’s just a different way to think about it. So if your content isn’t performing, take a step back and scan it to get a sense of the body language of it all. Make sure it signals you’re safe, welcoming and trustworthy—before you try to sell.
Want to learn more?Contact us!
Get updates; just enter your email below. Simple as that.
Why Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal makes me thrilled for the future of content marketing
by Ben Heiser, 21 May 2018
YouTube for Nonprofits
by Virginia Doty, 15 May 2018
Takeaways from MarTech 2018
by Michael Cruz, Chief Content Officer, 15 May 2018
Which do your consumers prefer? Inbox or Mailbox? (Infographic)
by DRUM, 14 May 2018
Get smart with Google smart bidding
by Hailee Sosnowski, 27 Apr 2018
The amazing power of personalization
by DRUM, 19 Apr 2018
Beyond once upon a time: dialogue and the art of storytelling 2.0
by Michelle Gunn, PhD, VP/Creative Director, 17 Apr 2018
SEM 101 for Nonprofits
by Jay Reyes & Chase Bender, 12 Apr 2018
How to inspire workplace creativity
by Stephen Steger, 03 Apr 2018
Local SEO for brands and franchises: Top 3 tips from 15 SEO experts
by Greg Lee, 02 Apr 2018
Next steps for advertisers after the Cambridge Analytica Facebook breach
by Traci Hendrix, 26 Mar 2018
Are you ready for the GDPR? A guide for advertising agencies
by Jerelle Gainey and Debra Wang, 15 Mar 2018
Q&A: Experts dish on the future of paid search
by Chelsea Huston, 06 Mar 2018
Why content moments are the key to understanding content marketing
by Ben Heiser, 28 Feb 2018
Why bad advertising is a form of bad manners: lessons from a Ugandan storefront
by Scott Johnson, 20 Feb 2018
Retailers and the lower funnel trap
by David Randolph, 06 Feb 2018
10 things to look for in enterprise SEO software: 2018 tool review
by Greg Lee, 30 Jan 2018
The top 3 PPC marketing search engines of 2018
by Debra Wang and Vladimir Bradic, 26 Jan 2018
How new changes to Google Grant will affect your nonprofit
by Shelby Huckeba, 19 Jan 2018
Latest Giving Tuesday campaign ideas from marketing-minded nonprofits
by Adam Binkley, Jay Reyes and Ruby Wustrak, 18 Jan 2018
State of Social in 2018
by Ashley Reed, 17 Jan 2018
Top 7 posts of 2017
by Jamie Wigington, 17 Jan 2018
7 Digital trends that will change how you market in 2018
by Kimberly Honore, 17 Jan 2018
What advertisers need to know about Apple's intelligent tracking prevention
by Jerelle Gainey, 06 Oct 2017
Using direct mail to reactivate online customers
by Rosann Bartle, 22 Sep 2017
Bing shop ‘til you drop
by Hailee Sosnowski, 14 Aug 2017
Finding a web design process that works
by Todd Chambers, 02 Aug 2017
3 Commandments for creating incredibly engaging content
by Ben Heiser, 02 Aug 2017
Twitter ads and targeting techniques that work
by Annie Green, 27 Jul 2017
5 benefits of paid social advertising
by Karina Khemani, 14 Jul 2017
Oh snap! Snapchat just upped their ad game
by Traci Hendrix, 12 Jul 2017
Dying is easy, comedy is hard
by Scott Johnson, 10 Jul 2017
Marketing and the meteor test
by Scott Johnson, 05 Jul 2017
The value of local SEO (Even when your customers aren't)
by Gregory Lee, 23 Jun 2017
The best Facebook ad types and targeting options for driving sales
by Annie Green, 15 Jun 2017
Linking online marketing to offline consumer behavior
by Heather Roach, 08 Jun 2017
To push a nonprofit's mission, you have to push with passion
by Nicole Bendel, 05 Jun 2017
7 ways B2B marketers can find success in social media
by Traci Hendrix, 31 May 2017
Google’s data-driven attribution: what you need to know
by Kimberly Honore, 23 May 2017
The skinny on Yahoo's native search retargeting feature
by Shelby Huckeba, 15 May 2017
Why you should always include brand search in your digital strategy
by Katherine Jianas, 04 May 2017
How to use content marketing to finally unify marketing strategies
by Gregory Lee, 16 Apr 2017
5 things we learned at Google’s “Search in 2017 & Beyond” event
by Kimberly Honore, 05 Apr 2017
To sell to the ego, you gotta talk to the id.
by Zoe Courtman-Smith, 04 Apr 2017
Social listening inspires smarter business strategies
by Alicia Trahan, 03 Apr 2017
Brand safety: how programmatic partners protect our clients' brands
by Brittany Altman, 31 Mar 2017
How inactive subscribers can affect deliverability
by Billy McNair, 27 Mar 2017
5 reasons to insist on 1st party data for CRM targeting
by Samantha Halpin, 22 Mar 2017
Conversation, not content, is king
by Scott Johnson, 15 Mar 2017