You might be hesitant to appeal to emotions in your marketing content, but it’s undoubtedly the most important part in successfully reaching your customer.
You may have invested a lot of time and energy into creating your ideal marketing message. This could be for an email, landing page, advertisement, or anything else selling your product. You’ve carefully explained all the features of your product and how great your brand is, but it’s not having that type of impact you had hoped for.
That’s because people don’t care what they know about your product, they care about how they feel about your product.
We all like to think that we’re rational people that make decisions by weighing out the cost and benefits. But we’re much more prone to our emotions than we realize.
It sounds counterintuitive, but the best product doesn’t always win. It’s the product that best meets the emotional need.
In this article, we’ll look at the neuroscience behind how our brain makes decisions and how to better reach people through their emotions. If you want to actively get more leads and customers, understand how emotions affect their decision making and how you can incorporate that into your marketing strategy
People Feel Before They Think
You may have a well-crafted message describing your product or service, but people won’t buy into it even though it makes perfect sense. That’s because people choose with their feelings first and then rationalize it after.
Why does this happen? Well, it’s basic biology.
We all have 3 parts to our brain, known as the “triune brain.” The center is the Reptilian complex, and controls our most primitive instincts like eating, breathing, walking, and fight or flight reactions.
Wrapped around that is the limbic system, and it controls all our emotions and motivations – we’ll cover that next.
Finally, the outside is our neocortex, which is responsible for higher functions such as perception, learning, planning, memory, and conceptual thinking. It’s the logical part of your brain.
Basically, the center of your brain has stronger control than the outer regions, uses less energy, and makes faster decisions. So when it comes to marketing, unless your product is dangerous and triggers the Reptilian brain to run, the limbic system (emotions) will make much faster decisions and have stronger influence than the neocortex (logic).
So how do we know what emotions influence decisions?
The Emotions That Influence Decisions
There are so many emotions that exist, so how do you know what emotions your potential customer is feeling? There are few different frameworks for this, but here is one of the most commonly used.
In his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Dr Robert Cialdini wrote about the 6 principles of persuasion. These are the factors that influence people’s emotions to make certain decisions:
- Authority – if you feel like someone is a credible expert, you’ll listen to them (using “doctors” to sell a drug)
- Likability – if you like someone, you’ll listen to them (having celebrities promote something)
- Reciprocity – if you feel like you owe someone something, you’ll do something for them (getting free samples at Costco, then buying the box)
- Consistency – if an action feels similar or in line with something you’ve already done, you’ll do it (if you already own some Apple products, buying another one is easy)
- Consensus – if an action seems popular because a lot of people are doing it, you’ll do it too (when other people wear skinny jeans, you want skinny jeans too)
- Scarcity – if you feel like something is scarce and valuable, you’ll take the action to get it (limited editions, time-sensitive sales, low stock)
These emotional influencers can nudge a person to doing something they otherwise would not do, and they are powerfully effective. You can dive deeper into how they play out in marketing here.
So how does this actually work in marketing messages?
How Emotional Marketing Works
How do you add emotion into your marketing without sounding cheesy, salesy, cliché, or forced? Keep it simple and speak to people’s needs.
There is a common term in marketing known as the “pain point.” It’s the need or desire that your potential customer has and the pain, inconvenience, or frustration that it causes them. Pain is a very powerful emotional driver, and if you know your customer’s pain point and empathize with it, they are more likely to want your solution.
Your solution – the product or service that you’re selling – needs to be emotional as well. When companies present their products, they often start with listing all the great features of the product. But features are logical and don’t matter unless the customer understands the emotional benefits of your product.
Benefits highlight the result of the product, not the product itself. After all, that’s what people are buying. When you buy running shoes, you don’t care that much about the laces or soles or materials used. You want the shoes to help you run faster. You want to run comfortably. You want to look and feel like a professional runner. You want be healthier and more active. When you buy running shoes, you’re actually buying an image and a lifestyle. That’s emotion.
So when you write about your product or service, it’s fine to list all the great features, but do that later. After you identify the problem, use emotional benefits to highlight how their life will be improved as a result of the product. Once they buy into that, they’ll use the features you present to justify the emotional decision they just made.
Good Emotional Marketing is Honest Marketing
There may be a part of you that feels uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to sales and marketing. You may be thinking, “All this sounds very manipulative.” Yes, it can be. We’ve all seen it used by sleazy companies and salesmen.
But you can tap into people’s emotions in an authentic and honest way as well.
When people come across your brand, they’re already experiencing pain or discomfort in some way. They have a need or a want, and they’re looking for a way to fulfill it. That’s why they’re on your website!
By using emotional language in your messaging, you’re empathizing with your customer. You’re saying, “I understand what you’re feeling.” And if you truly understand the emotional pain that your potential customer has, you can provide a much better product for them.
If you don’t understand what they’re truly feeling and just throw in cheesy emotional sales copy, it’ll come across as fake and people will see through it.
If you want to persuade more people to choose your product or service, embrace and use authentic emotional marketing in your design and content.