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7 ways to define an emotionally engaging product

Emotions in web products
I’ve previously written about the development of Reality TV shows, and how they go about tapping into the emotional core of ideas. The same questions could be asked of consumer internet startups.

How do you tell if your startup idea is emotionally engaging? What are metrics that you might be able to use as proxies for that? And once you have those metrics in place, how do you guess what kinds of startups are interesting?

7 ways to define an emotionally engaging product

  1. High repeat visits: A site that’s visited every day is great – it means it gets integrated into your lifestyle
  2. High pageview or time count: A site where people like to spend a lot of time checking things out is great
  3. Viral buzz: Turns people into evangelizers since they love the product/service
  4. “Instant” addiction: The moment people use the site, they are hooked and want to reuse it right away
  5. Active community: People love to give feedback, and may potentially engage in various forms of “activism” – complaining at least means they care
  6. Emotional adjectives: When asked to describe a site, they use “fun” or “cool” or emotional phrases rather than utility phrases like “useful”or “saves money”
  7. Special moments: Another way that a site becomes associated with emotion is if it’s already emotional event. For example, weddings or falling in love or remembering vacations or other special moments.

The benefits of emotion
The interesting point of being able to make your website bond to the core emotions of the audience is that you then start to compete on a different plane. No longer are you in a war about features, but instead, you are competing on things like trust, attachment, and other things that are hard to develop but hard to turn off. In many cases, of course, all of this gets lumped into “brand.”

In a world of features and functionality, it’s easy to forget that people are emotional beings that make decisions from their emotions. Catering to those roots can be a very useful competitive advantage – plus, you’ll feel more satisfied by whatever you build.

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