It started in ancient Greece. Developing different medical theories, Hippocrates searched and identified four basic personalities that affect human personality traits and behaviors. These are commonly referred to as the Four Temperaments.
For Hippocrates, the four temperaments had to do with culture, health and understanding the reasons for different behaviors among mankinds. By categorising his patients to these four temperaments he was able to treat them better and provide the care they needed. For marketers, the four temperaments allow us to identify our customer’s story, create a better, more personal experience that addresses our customers’ needs and goals. And of course, allows us to convert more customers.
The driving force
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As humans, we all have a force that navigates and drives us in life from within; whether it’s by our Ego or the need to be loved, we’re motivated by our needs and vulnerabilities. We don’t purchase products, we purchase emotional experiences.
As Dan Ariely wrote:
“We usually think of ourselves as sitting in the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made and the direction our life takes; but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires-with how we want to view ourselves-than with reality” ― Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational
The “Four Temperaments” have allowed generations of scientists to identify the forces and vulnerabilities that motivate each personality. Used correctly, marketers can use these temperaments to create better user journeys with higher conversion rates and more satisfied customers.
Which temperament are you?
Most people aren’t categorized as one temperament; we all have one dominating temperament combined with a few of the others. Which one do you most identify with? (Let us know in the comments)
The sanguine is the carefree type. Sociable, friendly, hopeful, talkative and optimistic. People identified as sanguines are playful and content. On the other hand, they’re prone to changes and have a hard time finishing tasks; they’re forgetful, jump from one things to the next and some are chronically late.
The choleric temperament is defined as fire. They are passionate people, filled with excitement, energy and enthusiasm. They are extroverted, egocentric at times, hot headed and active. Choleric people are task oriented, they do things as they happen “with no time to waste;” they’re managers, leaders and can be aggressive. As opposed to the Sanguine who’s creative and artistic, the choleric is solution oriented, focused, practical and “always has a plan”.
Some famous choleric types you’ll know: James Bond, Indiana Jones, Khaleesi and Wolverine
These type of people are usually introverts, serious and cautious people. People identified as melancholic types tend to keep things to themselves, and are very thoughtful and suspicious. They take their time, calculate their moves and prefer to do things on their own.
Katniss Everdeen is a melancholic type, attentive to details, watching her back and constantly on the watch for dishonesty and treachery.
Phlegmatic types are calm, private people who value quiet and patience. These people are accepting, reasonable and tolerant. Though mainly introverts, they are faithful friends and tend to live quiet lives seeking a peaceful environment. For these types of people, serenity and consistency is key for success and a balanced life.
Famous phlegmatic characters you’ll notice are Yoda, the Dalai Lama, Charles Xavier and Gandalf.
Using the 4 temperaments in landing page design
Treating different personalities the same way can trigger unintended effects. Each personality type makes decisions and reacts according to both its surroundings and natural tendencies.
In order to help your potential customer take the next step and start your journey, a clear strategy is needed to tap into each personality type. Though there are similarities between the four, there are a few primary ways to address each one individually.
Understanding the Sanguine
Sanguine people need to feel excitement, they want to feel that this is going to be fun, easy and quick. They’re also affected by public opinion and knowing that something is popular and used by many others is a plus.
Using social proof
Emaze’s landing page below highlights the fact that millions of people are using their product and are satisfied with it. Showing Sanguines that you are popular and well known is a great start.
Another way to relate to Sanguines is showing your well known clients on your landing page. Note how Sprout uses the famous and well known logos of companies such as Dove and Spotify on their landing page.
Sanguines (and the majority of people) enjoy being part of a group, it makes us feel more connected and a part of something big. This is why “status” works so effectively in loyalty programs and pricing pages – by defining that someone is part of the “Gold” or “Experts” status, we’re essentially connecting our customers to others and making them feel part of a superior group.
Challenging the Choleric
Choleric people like to be treated well, recognized for their traits and appreciated. Seems obvious – but don’t make them feel dumb. As they are identified with fire, challenging them is a great way to their heart. They need to feel sophisticated, in control of situations and to continuously prove to themselves that they are the best at what they do.
One of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion is scarcity. This essentially means, that things seem more attractive when they’re limited and when we feel we might lose out on an opportunity. The fire, Choleric type has a hard time missing opportunities, this is why the right copy and elements on a landing page can trigger potential customers to purchase a product they might not have considered if it wasn’t limited.
GoDaddy, the king of scarcity reminds us that ALL their offers are always at a limited time offer and will be ending any minute now.
Another great way to use scarcity is with a countdown timer – checkout how Quicksprout used a counter to let customers know when their sale will be over. The countdown works to remind people that time is running out and they’ll miss out. Choleric types, do not like to miss out.
Remember to use scarcity and sense of urgency in a way that helps your visitors complete a task. Still, at the end of the day you want to avoid scaring people with too much urgency and pressure. Don’t just create the pressure, tell them exactly what action they need to take to get your deal.
Influencing melancholic types
The melancholic type needs to feel safe, intelligent, appreciated, and in good hands. They need to feel that your service or product is safe for them to use and that you will take good care of them throughout the entire process.
A common and good way to create trust and help visitors feel safe can be done by using testimonials that highlight the satisfaction of other customers. Check out the use of testimonials below and the review stars that people are used to seeing on Google.
Another way to reduce friction and anxiety of melancholic types is reframing the value of products. As an example, instead of mentioning the yearly price of a product – $800 you can say $66 a month.
Rather than gratifying your customers later on in the process, a good way to set melancholic types at ease is by giving them instant gratification. Copy like “Immediately,” “Instant” and even “Now” show melancholic types they will be getting instant gratification for their work and won’t have to wait – “something is going to happen now and your problem will be solved immediately.”
Persuading the phlegmatic
The phlegmatic types need a lot of information, they need to feel that your solution is practical and stable. Ever changing products scare them off and pressuring them into a decision does the same. They need to take their time, absorb the information and be able to do it on their own, without picking up the phone or contacting you.
Foot in the door
A great way to trigger phlegmatic types into action is by implying that only a minor action is required of them. When asking phlegmatic types to make a move, clearly highlight that to get started they can take things slowly and perform each action step by step. This technique is commonly referred to as the foot-in-the-door technique – getting a person to agree to a large request by first having that person agree to a modest request.
“Essentially, the more a subject goes along with small requests or commitments, the more likely that subject is to continue in a desired direction of attitude or behavioral change and feel obligated to go along with larger requests.” Wikepedia
Though still in testing, our new homepage uses the foot-in-the-door technique. By asking people what they care about (their challenge) instead of what we care about (their email for example) we’re able to tap into our customer’s story and help them achieve what they’ve come for. Once they complete the first step, we then ask them for their details and information.
Communicate your company’s values clearly and rally your customers around your core values. People (and phlegmatic types specifically) may love your products, but what they really love is the idea behind them, how their story fits in with your values and how you communicate them – how do you make your customer a better version of himself?
To make sure you have easy access and remember how each type should be addressed we created the image below. Note how each type has its own do’s and dont’s.
Using Color to Affect Different Personality Types
Colors have an effect on our emotional state. In fact, we associate certain emotions with certain colors.
Energetic colors like yellow, red and orange increase our heart rate and activity.
Blue and green are associated with calm, relaxing feelings and can be used to show trust and cool on a landing page.
The diagram below, created by Craig Paardekooper shows the correlation between the emotional power of color and the four personalities.
Using colors the right way we can help guide our customer in their decision process. Check out the diagram we created below to find the right colors for your customer’s personality type. Note how you can use the same color to create different emotions and trigger different outcomes from your customers. Balance is key.
Applying Theory to Practice
To demonstrate the four personalities (and for the fun of it), the Conversioner team brainstormed a few ideas on how to sell Skype to the four different temperaments. We focused on copy only, but as you know, copy alone isn’t enough. A landing page is larger than the sum of its part; all elements matter – from design, color and copy to imaging and structure.
As the optimist and friendly temperament, Sanguines can be motivated by the same trigger in two different ways:
The Optimistic approach: Join millions of people using Skype every day.
The scarcity approach: Don’t miss out on all the fun and free conversations.
With one approach you’re asking them to join in on all the fun and be a part of something larger. With the other you’re telling the customers they are about to miss out on all the fun and excitement.
Full of ambition, leadership and energy, the Choleric type must feel in control and sophisticated:
The “You’re the Boss” approach – Stay on top of communication with Skype – Manage all your calls in one place.
The sophisticated approach – Take your conversation to another level.
Both approaches put the customer at the center of the product. As opposed to Skype’s current message: “Skype keeps the world talking,” the Choleric needs to feel in control and be the one making the change.
The phlegmatic customer is practical, stable and takes its time to make a decision. Phlegmatic customers need to feel that things make sense and that they have all the information they need.
- Skype by Microsoft – the first communication platform since 2003
1,000,000 satisfied customers (with logo of CNN poll) nm
Compatible with all your devices
- By Microsoft – strong known brand, has been around for years.
- The first communication platform – Stable, still going.
- The logo of CNN adds an extra trust element to the page.
- The bullets allow for additional information that is relevant to the customer without overwhelming them with data.
Melancholic types are idealists that hold high expectations of themselves and others. They are stubborn and are very well calculated in their moves. They have high ideals and by highlighting values such as generosity and connectivity Melancholic people feel safer and are more willing to connect.
Skype: Connect with others when you want, how you want.
By supplying them with accurate information, the melancholic types can organize themselves and break down their task into controllable steps. The average melancholic does not work well under pressure and require patience and assistance.
Taking the next step
These headlines give an idea on how to address each personality type but they’re far from enough. Images and colors have a huge impact on a person’s emotions and must be utilized to help customers on their journey.
The temperaments shouldn’t be treated as a list of properties and traits that must exist in each of our customers. Most people fit within one or two temperaments and it’s the combination of them together that determines the more accurate story of our customer. A temperament is a complex of biological and psychological elements of a human being – the body and soul, both have to be balanced in our everyday life decisions. At the end of the day we have to listen to our customers, understand their story and help them achieve their goals to be able to convert more customers.
So what type are you?
Image credit: Shutterstock
This post first appeared on Conversioner.