The Advantages of Emotional Marketing and How to Harness it For Your Business
Even if you aren't aware of it, feelings happen before thought. In fact, emotion drives reason more than reason drives emotion. This is because our "emotional brain" is much larger (and older and more primitive) than our "rational brain." To give you additional context as to how important (and influential) our emotional brains are, a 2004 study proved that our muscle activity is controlled by our sensory and emotional brain.
Think about that — our emotions drive our muscles, not our rational thought.
Harnessing the power of emotion is the basis of Emotional Marketing, which prioritizes the emotional impact of your marketing and advertising to make it more memorable, relatable, sharable, and effective. Done right, your products and services will leave a lasting impression on your customers while they feel like you truly understand them on a deep and visceral level.
Emotional marketing prioritizes emotional impact
to make your marketing more memorable, relatable, sharable, and effective.
Emotional marketing isn't manipulative — it's simply a better way of connecting with your customers. There's no mistaking that there is work to be done with emotional marketing — you have to know what your customers value most, where they are emotionally, what their roadblocks are, how they wish their lives could be improved, and then respond to those triggers with a product that solves their biggest problems.
If you simply talked about the features of your product, your sales page would be easy to produce. With emotional marketing, you have to dig layers deeper to unearth the nuggets that will attract your customers in an authentic way. This sounds like sales and marketing 101, but you'd be surprised at how many brands skip this step. Trust me, I've seen in time and time again throughout my career.
So what are the unfair advantages of emotional marketing?
It makes your products memorable
You never get a second chance to make a first impression and first impressions with emotional marketing are much more impactful. For example, let's say you have two sales pages for an online course:
- Sales Page A lists the skills you'll learn if you take the course
- Sales Page B talks about who you'll be after you take the course
Which one do you think would be more memorable?
Sales Page B taps into the emotion of hope and inspiration by focusing on the transformation the student will experience after taking the course, while Sales Page A is attempting to prove its worth with facts and stats, which appeals to the rational side of the brain. As we learned above, emotions come first and are more important in marketing and sales than we ever thought, and I'm betting that Sales Page B would win in a throwdown. Every. Single. Time.
It makes you memorable
There's nothing better than talking to someone who just gets you. Who understands your biggest fears, your biggest roadblocks and challenges, your emotional hangups, and somehow, the solutions to your biggest problems. You can be that person for your customers, and when you are, they'll remember you beyond your video or sales page or social post. They'll seek you out. They'll share your work with others. Which brings me to ...
It makes your content sharable
Think about the last time you scrolled through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and shared a post. What caused you to share it? Was it something that made you giggle with happiness? Cringe with sadness or despair? Fume with anger or frustration? We're more likely to share content that make us FEEL something. So if your product, service, blog or social post is crafted to incite an emotional pull, your audience is more likely to be compelled to share it.
It inspires action
Just like the content example above, emotion incites action. Whether it's a share or a double tap, a comment or a buy button, our emotional centers are what drive our actions and our decisions more than anything else. If you want someone to take action, make sure you're tying that action to an emotional trigger.
It keeps your customers around for longer
One of the big benefits of emotional marketing (and relationship selling, for that matter) is that loyalty is based on the emotional aspects of a relationship. If you have a great friend that is always there for you, listens to your problems, helps you through challenges, and makes you feel good about yourself, you'd do anything for that friend. Same goes for the relationships with your customers and clients — placing more value on your relationship and how they feel when they work with you will inspire loyalty and they'll become long-term customers.
A secondary benefit of long-term customer loyalty? It costs less to keep a customer than it does to acquire a new one.
It will be insanely fulfilling
When you get the opportunity to positively impact people with the work that you do — either through an online course, a coaching program, consulting, mastermind, membership group, ebook, whatever it happens to be — you'll feel fulfilled in a way that you may have never experienced before.
You will know, intimately, how you help transform people's lives, which will increase your confidence and positivity. Connecting with customers on an emotional level won't just help them, or help your bank account, but it will help your outlook on life as well.
How to Harness Emotional Marketing For Your Business
Now that you understand some of the prominent benefits of emotional marketing, how the heck can you start to make it work for you? A few ideas:
Know your audience (and be specific)
You can't pinpoint the right emotions to spotlight, the right pain points to solve, or the right solutions without knowing your audience. Again, marketing 101, but (again) you'd be surprised at how many entrepreneurs and brands skip this step.
In fact, I've seen some Fortune 500 brands (who shall remain nameless) list their target audience as "women aged 18-60 who have purchasing power in their household." That couldn't be broader, and leaves zero opportunity to focus in on the REAL emotions and pain points of a specific audience, and less than zero opportunity for you to authentically respond to them.
Entrepreneur extraordinaire, John Lee Dumas of EoFire always says "the riches are in the niches" and that couldn't be more true for emotional marketing — know your specific audience and be specific in the way you think about their emotions, pain points, challenges, and how you can help solve their biggest problems.
Reverse engineer your content
Two questions I ask myself every time I sit down to create a piece of content are: "what do I want my audience to feel when they read/watch/listen to this?" and "what do I want them to do after they read/watch/listen to it?"
This helps me reverse engineer my content for a feeling and a next step. For example, if I'm planning on writing a blog post about how healthy smoothies are a great start to your day and I want someone to download a free recipe guide as a next step, I might choose to focus on excitement or hope and create a blog post listing all the famous people in my industry that rely on healthy smoothies for energy, focus, and stamina.
In this case, you don't have to do a lot of the heavy lifting — you simply inspire through testimonials and offer your reader an easy next step to get started on their journey.
Tell a Story
Humans are hard wired for story, and tapping into the emotional power of story can turn a simple ad into a movement. Who doesn't remember Dove's Real Beauty campaign of 2013? Even watching this now I get misty-eyed, and Dove has stuck with me over the years as a brand who clearly understands the emotions, challenges, and roadblocks of their customers.
How can emotional marketing change your business? Are you currently focusing in on marketing and promoting your products or services with a slant toward emotional pull, benefits, and outcome? What might be preventing you from moving over to this form of marketing? Let me know in the comments!