How to Create Landing Pages That Address the Emotional Needs of Prospects

Are you in tune with the emotional needs of prospects? Image by Daniel via Flickr.

Emotions aren’t generally discussed within the context of landing page optimization, but the fact remains: our emotions impact the decisions we make and the products we buy.

Knowing this, it stands to reason that fulfilling the emotional needs of prospects on your landing pages motivates prospects and can lead to more conversions.

This may sound a little abstract, but luckily there are models that can guide you in using emotional triggers to make your landing pages more powerful.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory of human physiological and emotional needs authored by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “The Theory of Human Motivation.”

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

The theory, which gives us an understanding of what motivates us as humans, is considered one of the cornerstone theories of human development and is widely used in psychology, sociology and management training.

But it’s also an effective tool for landing page optimization.

The framework isn’t meant to be a replacement for the landing page optimization tactics you currently use, but it’s a great way to gut check your pages to be sure you’ve left no stone unturned.

Below, we’ll take a look at the various levels of the needs hierarchy and see how other marketers are incorporating them on their landing pages to drive better outcomes (and how you can do the same).

Level 1: Physiological needs

The most basic human needs are physiological, which are the fundamental requirements for human survival. These include the need for food, water, sleep, sex, homeostasis and excretion.

If you’re thinking, “What the heck does this have to do with my SaaS company landing page?”, I hear you.

There are definitely certain verticals where this level is more relevant – take for instance services where customers are physically involved (such as Airbnb).

Have a look at how House Trip, a service that helps visitors find cheaper places to stay in London, speaks to physiological needs by highlighting safety guarantees:

Housetrip Landing Page
Click for larger image.

Take a look at some of the language and devices they use:

  • “Book with peace of mind” – This tells prospects that their apartments are vetted and 24/7 customer care is available.
  • “7 million nights booked so far” – This indicates that millions have safely used the service before.
  • The use of trust icons to ensure they are an established platform that will not leave customers stranded in London.

In short, no matter what you’re selling, this level of the needs hierarchy is all about soothing your prospects’ anxiety.

Put your customer at ease

Even if prospects aren’t physically in contact with your product or service, there are simple ways for you to set their mind at ease.

People want to know what they’re getting into and that any mistake can always be reversed.

By highlighting product features like satisfaction guarantees, the ability to cancel anytime and lack of monthly commitment, you reassure visitors that they’re not making a risky, irreversible decision.

No matter your vertical, make sure your landing page addresses any and all anxieties that demotivate prospects from converting.

Level 2: Safety needs

Maslow’s second level of needs is that of safety, which is all about confidence building on your landing page and making prospects feel like they can trust you.

These emotional triggers include (but are not limited to) traditional forms of social proof such as testimonials.

Our customers need to know that they’re making the right decision and selecting the best company to supply them with what they need.

Use the bandwagon effect

The bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias that influences us to do (or believe) things because many other people do the same.

While some of us like to be the first to try something new, others want to go with products that are tried and tested.

Add an additional layer of security and stability to your landing page by highlighting customer testimonials, the clients you service or the number of customers you have.

Show authority

Have you done business with a well-known company? Brag about it.

MeinUnterricht is a platform that provides teaching materials. On their landing page, they incorporate well-known German publisher logos to enhance the sense of an established and trusted company.

Click for larger image.

Show privacy statements

Users want to know how their information will be used and shared.

If you’re collecting personal information such as an email address, place a message directly under the field letting users know the information will not be shared with third parties.

Click for larger image.

Another way of enhancing the sense of safety is to let prospects know why you need their email address.

Being transparent with your customers gives them confidence that you’re running a trustworthy operation.

Level 3: Love and belonging needs

Once you’ve fulfilled physiological and security needs, you can move on to higher order needs like love and belonging.

Among these are our needs for community, intimacy, friendship and family.

Create a sense of community

People have the basic need to be a part of a social community. Being part of a community makes us feel comfortable and it holds us accountable for achieving results.

When designing your landing pages, make people feel like they’re part of a larger picture; create a feeling of community with your messaging and design.

Consider this example from Smilebox:

Smilebox Popup

The testimonial as well as terminology such as “Join the club” and “Exclusive” create a sense of an exclusive, thriving society.

Level 4: Esteem needs

The fourth level of Maslow’s hierarchy relates to your prospects’ self-esteem, confidence and sense of achievement.

Positively influencing these areas may seem like a lot to expect out of your landing page, but there are small things you can do to subtly make prospects feel better about themselves.

For starters, you can make prospects feel good about their purchasing decisions and paint a picture of what they stand to achieve with your help.

Make it about the customer

Using messaging that demonstrates that you’re focused on your visitor’s emotional needs makes them feel good about choosing your product or service.

By focusing your headline and landing page design on the customer, not the product, you demonstrate to prospects that you have their best interest at heart.

Let’s take a look at an example of what not to do:

Click for larger image.

Rather than focusing the messaging on the service (“The World’s Fastest Translation Agency”) and its features, this landing page should show customers how they will benefit emotionally from taking the next step.

How will signing up impact their life?

We’re emotional creatures that purchase products for the change we believe they will make in our lives. Your landing page should convey that change and emotion in the messaging, user journey and design.

Let’s take a look at a good example to illustrate. ManPacks does a great job at increasing self-esteem:

Manpacks landing page
Click for larger image.f

They could have written, “Best underwear, socks and essentials for men in one place” – but that leads with the product and offers no emotional value to their clients.

Instead, they tell men how their life will change for the better by signing up for their service. Their headline “Your morning ritual, refined” indicates that their service gives a better quality of life, and generally makes prospects feel better about themselves. And that increases self-esteem.

This all comes back to age-old advice of talking about benefits, not features.

Highlight the change your solution will make in your customer’s life and how good they will feel about themselves after the purchase.

Level 5: Self-actualization: The conversion

The final level can only be reached once all other needs have been fulfilled.

Self-actualization – or the conversion – is attained once you’ve met your customer’s needs and have answered all their subconscious worries.

If you’ve followed the four basic emotional needs carefully and given special attention to the experience you provide your customers, then this level will be fulfilled organically.

Putting theory into practice

Let’s have a look at the five levels in practice. One of our clients, a software platform for creating invitations, greeting cards and slideshows, had to find a way to stand out from their competitors.

Their product is an expensive, one-time payment and requires downloading software, which represents a bigger commitment in the mind of prospects – so they needed to have a landing page that was super persuasive.

To achieve this, we created a page based on the hierarchy of needs:

Click for full-length image.

Here’s the complete breakdown:

  1. Physiological needs: Because prospects were likely thinking about the large commitment of going with this software, we set their mind at ease by including a three-step process that shows that downloading the software will be quick and easy.
  2. Safety needs: We reassured prospects that we were a trusted company by including two elements of social proof: the line “Trusted by 15,567,469 customers” as well as icons of familiar companies.
  3. Love and belonging needs: We catered to this level with an exit pop-up that read, “Join the Club & Don’t Miss Out.” The pop-up was designed to give prospects a small dose of FOMO, but also entice them with the idea of an exclusive club.
  1. Esteem needs: We crafted our sub-headline to address the customer’s needs directly: “A great party starts with a great invitation.” We wanted prospects to feel that the software would help them achieve their goals of organizing a killer party.
  2. Self actualization: The test ran for four weeks until it reached statistical significance. What did we find?

Catering to all the needs of prospects lead to a 12% increase in downloads and a 65% increase in revenue during the first round of testing.

Gut check your landing pages with Maslow’s hierarchy

This framework is a great complement to virtually any landing page optimization strategy you are currently using.

You may already have all five essential landing page elements in place, but are you paying attention to prospects’ emotions and other forces that motivate them to convert?

Maslow’s hierarchy is a quick and effective way to gut check that your landing pages are optimized for all the needs of your users.

Running A/B tests that incorporate the elements from the hierarchy will allow you to take your conversion rate optimization efforts one step forward – for a dramatic impact on conversions and revenue.

Now take a moment and look at your most recent landing page. Is it addressing all your prospects’ needs?

— Talia Wolf

Listen to Talia on the Call to Action podcast:


About Talia Wolf
As founder at GetUplift, Talia helps businesses plan and execute meaningful conversion optimization programs. Using emotional targeting, consumer psychology and persuasive design, Talia creates customer journeys that generate more revenues, leads and sales. Talia is a keynote speaker, Harry Potter fan and was recently listed as one of the most influential experts in conversion optimization. Follow her on Twitter
» More blog posts by Talia Wolf


  1. Paul @ IMH Blog

    Ingenious article Talia, going to the root cause of why some landing pages work and some don’t,, I have a question though, I’d love to know whether you have any data that show words that match the hierarchy of needs actually convert better.

  2. hemangi r patel

    Nice Article…Thank you for sharing this article….Its really very nice…

  3. jennifer

    Thanks Talia, what an interesting article!
    I was wondering when this concept will get to the online world… Ogilvy would have been very proud :-)
    now the real question is whether emotional “cool” concepts like you present in the article really brings more money to companies?

    • Talia Wolf

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for your comment! I love that you mention Ogilvy as he’s definitely an inspiration for our work.

      When it comes to optimization, there is no one made solution as you know :) But, over the past years we have seen that the use of emotional triggers and psychological triggers can increase revenues and conversion rates dramatically. The key is combining both user behavior data and emotional triggers.

      We have a few case studies on our site that can give you some numbers and examples here: Looking forward to your comments on them!

  4. Ali Salman

    Great post Talia. Copy writers always struggle with this. You brought this back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which totally makes sense. I will forward this to our team :) Thank you for putting this post with great examples…

  5. Dasha

    We work in the entertainment and sport industry.

    Do you think you can create an emotional need in the entertainment industry? Let’s say you want to optimize a page, where people RSVP to event.

    Thanks, good read.

    • Talia Wolf

      Hi Dasha,
      All consumers look beyond the features and pricing of an event, product or service. For example, people want to feel good about themselves, feel safe/happy or part of a community and much more.
      Figure out why people are attending your event. What they hope to gain from it emotionally and consider creating a landing page for your event that emphasises those results.

  6. Davide Casali

    It’s a good post… shame only that you frame it with the usual rhetoric of Maslow hierarchy of needs… that has no foundation. :)

    Please read this post for more details on why the pyramid is wrong:

    Let’s stop using an old and unsubstantiated theory! ;)

    • Sandra Pickering

      Hi, David, you are correct to say that there is no evidence for a ‘hierarchy’ as many people describe Maslow’s needs.

      However, there is plenty of evidence for dimensions of psychological motivations and their role in decision-making. (Especially from modern neuroscience.)

      Our archetypal model does not use a hierarchy but focuses on contextual motivational tensions that underpin purchasing decisions.

      However, many people find the simple Maslow model an easy way to start thinking about it and, if that gets them interested, they can start the journey into a deeper understanding.

    • NinjaBeats

      There are a few other pyramids like Maslow but at the end they are very similar.

  7. Ryan

    Creating Landing pages always been a tough job.

  8. Rob Stevens

    Hello, good article – do you have an example LP which encapsulates all these elements?

  9. Brian

    Very good application of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I still base all good marketing on Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” What you did above matches that. Good job.

  10. Cathie Dunklee-Donnell

    I love seeing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs used to evaluate websites. It really is apt and reminds me of how to improve my own site.

  11. Taxi 24/7

    Great detailed article Talia, ill be using some of your good pointers!

  12. Bernice Giesen

    I was struggling to try to appeal to the emotional side of a visitor but this really helped, talia. Thanks

  13. Sean David

    What a job well done! Thanks for this article. ….Its really an orientation everyone should have

  14. Sam Will

    Thanks for this post Talia. I did learn a couple new things.

  15. Jobismo

    Incredible post. I agree with most of your points Talia.

  16. Jobismo

    I agree with Ryan. Creating Landing pages always been a tough job.

  17. B etloy

    Thank you Talia for this great post.

  18. will

    who would have thought you could do this with maslows.. nice one.


  19. Chima

    Thanks for the info. I’ve been struggling with creating a nice landing page that will convert, for my business. After reading this post, I now know what to do to get the conversions I needed for my marketing campaign.

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  23. Ogwo Ijere

    An insightful article, Talia. Thanks

  24. Oyekunle Damola

    Would definitely be trying out the bandwagon effect!