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Sell the emotional benefits first  

Paul Hontz of The Startup Foundry makes an excellent point:

I’ve discovered that’s it not your products features that sell people on your software, it’s their perceived experience with your app. Users are more concerned with “How will buying this app make my life better?”, than “Our new version benchmarks 6% faster”. Giving people an emotional connection with your app is paramount in gaining users.

That's an excellent point, and one that is worth repeating and rephrasing.

People don't buy features, they buy benefits. Moreover, they don't buy practical benefits (most of the time), they buy a promise of an emotional benefit. People buy OmniFocus because it will finally get them organised (and thus give them peace of mind). They buy Fogbugz because finally, the pile of bugs they're not tracking properly will be taken care of. They buy GitHub because they want to be part of the awesome crowd. They bought Tweetie (back when it existed) because it was just damn nice.

All of those are emotional benefits. The most powerful selling points, the most convincing benefits, appeal not to the rational mind, but to emotions.

So, when you build a landing page or even homepage, make sure that your very first message is focused on capturing the visitor's emotions. Make sure you answer that question of "How will this make my life better?"

Once that question is answered, the visitor will stay (at least another 15 seconds...) and there'll be time to tell them about the features then. First, hook them by the emotions.

Worth noting that this applies to both B2B and B2C - after all, even in the business world, you can only ever sell to people.

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