CRO News Roundup: Ethos, Logos & Pathos

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Richard Chapman details the latest in CRO news and advice, including Aristotle’s persuasive treatise, proven ideas to increase conversion rates, and why limited attention spans aren’t all that bad.

Ethos, Logos & Pathos: how it translates to modern day CRO

Aristotle was a man of persuasion, who knew?!  Unbounce takes a look at how Aristotle’s philosophy relates directly to modern marketing campaigns.


In 4th century BC, Aristotle created a treatise called Rhetoric. In this he detailed three key elements of persuasion; ethos, logos and pathos.

Ethos relates to credibility.

Logos relates to arguing with logic.

Pathos relates to stirring emotion.

And this theory still stands today. But how exactly do you apply these theories directly to your content?

Ethos will make your users trust you. By placing yourself as the authority within your sector, you are inadvertently telling your user that you are the best person to go to for this particular service or product. How do you prove that? With customer-produced content. Case studies or testimonials will give you the leverage you need to persuade users that you are credible in your sector.

Appeal to your users with logic and reason. Use stats and figures to demonstrate your position in the market and establish a sense of trust with your users. Repetition goes a long way to helping users believe in your service too.

Many marketers use the features of their products to attract users, but where most fall down is where they neglect to present the benefits of these features. Listing features is all well and good, but if you can’t demonstrate how they will somehow improve or enhance the lives of your users, you’re always going to be one step behind your competitors.

Finally, if you can evoke emotion in your user, you can effectively persuade them to part with their cash. Use scarcity tactics. When users think they’re going to miss out on a limited amount of products in stock, the likelihood is that they will act rashly. In essence, they’re much more likely to convert. What’s more, if you can show that you relate to them on a personal level, that you can help them or reduce their fears with your offering, you are much more likely to get them on board.

How to increase conversions

conversion infographic snippet from Crazyegg

Is e-commerce your bread and butter? Even so, you may want a reminder of how to successfully increase conversions on your site – whether that means improving site speed, reviewing your call to actions, updating the quality of your images, or all of the above.

Take a look at Crazyegg’s latest infographic: 30 proven ideas to increase e-commerce conversion. Hang it on your office wall. Use it as a starting point to improve your site’s design and usability and you’ll be well on your way to an increased conversion rate.

Right message, right person at the right time

If you’re treating all users that visit your site in the same way, the fact is that you may not be catering to their needs. Kissmetrics takes a closer look at how segmentation can be instrumental to increasing conversion rate. If, for example, all your users are seeing the exact same offer on their screen, it will not cater directly to them – it will be too vague for them to directly identify with it. This is where segmentation becomes really important. Knowing what motivates your users will help you determine what to show them on a more tailored level.

online user flow chart

Most web users will fall into one of three stages in their user flow journey:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

The majority of users on your site will be in the awareness stage – perhaps they have not heard of your brand or product before but have landed on a blog that captures their interest. It is at this stage that you need to set up micro-conversions, small data captures so that you can follow up with these users so that when they’re further down the line, you can begin to reel them in, closer to the point of conversion.

Users who are at the point of consideration are doing some more in depth research, moving around your site to iron out the finer details. They may bounce at this point. So now is the time where your landing pages need to go into more detail about their subject matter, preferably covering off one specific product or service in detail to help your user easily glean all the information they need at this stage.

When users have made their decision, you need to eliminate distractions from your site. Is your call to action button prominent at this vital stage? How easy have you made it for them to purchase? And are your offers and discounts clear and easy to access?

By creating this dedicated journey for your users, and making their journey as hassle-free as possible, you can expect to hone your micro-conversions further, creating a more personal experience for each segment of your audience.

Why limited attention spans aren’t as bad as you think

A lot’s been said recently on attention spans becoming shorter in our environment, which is congested with technology, making it increasingly difficult to pay attention. So how do you cater for limited attention spans and stand out from the crowd?

User Testing has recently taken a closer look at what humans block out and what they zone in on, and it seems that what we pay attention to has a lot to do with what we want to accomplish.

Researchers, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, have undertaken human attention tests and found that when people are determined to accomplish something they are blind to anything else. In fact, several experiments have taken place to prove this.

In our best-known demonstration, we showed people a video and asked them to count how many times three basketball players wearing white shirts passed a ball. After about 30 seconds, a woman in a gorilla suit sauntered into the scene, faced the camera, thumped her chest and walked away. Half the viewers missed her. In fact, some people looked right at the gorilla and did not see it.

Christopher Chabris

How do you apply this to digital design? Well, this is where testing becomes incredibly important. In order to supply users with exactly what they require to accomplish what they want, you’ll need to use data to inform your design. Are your users missing what’s right in front of them because it’s not part of what they want to accomplish? Or is your design simply out of their focus? Data and testing will help you to decode how the user wants to accomplish their goal, letting you provide them with exactly what it is they want.

Enhance this with easily scannable copy. Don’t be afraid of using white space to simplify your design and to draw the user’s eye towards the action they need to complete. Essentially, you need to spell it out for them. If there’s an element on the page that is not really contributing to the overall goal for the user and your brand, remove it. Make it blindingly obvious to your user that this is the action they need to take, otherwise, they will bypass it and move onto the next distraction.

More Conversion and Analytics News

Read our last CRO News Roundup: How To Find Landing Page Copy Inspiration In Unusual Places

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