Unpopular opinion: An average person’s emotions are important to your startup

Claire Heginbotham
6 min readSep 3, 2021
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Any decent copywriter will quickly and firmly inform you that no, you and your startup shouldn’t care one teeny iota about the “average” person.

And on the flip side, the average person probably couldn’t care less about your plans for a time & money-saving SaaS revolution.

So why do I — a conversion copywriter who stands by the rule of one — think the average opinion matters?

I changed my mind when I stumbled across this quiz: ThanAverage. Hit start, and it will ask you where you think you fall in the average population. Do you think something happens to you more than average? Or less than average?

I (and your startup) couldn’t care less about most of these questions. They naturally work themselves into a 50–50 split. Half say more than, half say less than.

Then you see that 80% of people think they are smarter than average. And 75% think they have more common sense than average.

What do these common feelings mean? Because matching common feelings is the best way to convince people en masse to trust, use, and buy your products.

Now that’s edge-of-your-seat material.

Recurring patterns that reveal our base instincts and beliefs

The boring notes: At the time of writing, this quiz had 29k participants. About half of the questions had an even split of less/more than average (50%-59%), and the other half swung into the more extreme 60%-85% bracket.

Among other indicators, 85% of participants think they are less religious than average. I presume this means we’re dealing with a more educated big city crowd (and not the true average human).

Here are the common feelings and emotions you need to consider when developing messages for your startup’s ad copy, landing pages, and even emails.

“I’m honest; I swear”

Honesty is a big theme for behavioral economists like Dan Ariely (he studies the psychology of money). Here’s why you should care:

75% of participants think they lie less than average.

Claire Heginbotham

Tech and travel copywriter who writes content, kickass websites, and emails that convert. Low key Star Trek fan.