Emotions dictate a majority of our decisions. Of course, as marketers, it is often our job to put our emotions aside and think objectively instead. On the other hand, consumers sometimes willingly allow their emotions to justify making a purchase.
By taking this concept of “buying emotionally” into consideration with your marketing strategy, your business can begin reducing buyer friction and start creating more compelling marketing tactics that establish an emotional connection, generate leads and drive conversion rates.
A brand is one of those terms that everyone understands, but not everyone is able to agree on the definition of. It’s more than a name; more than a logo; and more than a company culture. In it’s most general form, a brand is really just a gut feeling. It is a bundle of perceptions that, if built successfully, most people can agree on in terms of reliability and likeability. Being the emotional and intuitive beings that all humans are, it’s to no surprise that we often allow this gut feeling to dictate whether or not we decide to purchase a particular brand.
Think about some of your favorite brands. What do they do to make you like them? Is it the packaging that they use? Is it the color of the logo? Is it the copy that they write? Reflecting on these kinds of answers is going to be a great starting point for getting to the bottom of what triggers emotional responses from consumers.
Often referred to as the psychology of pain, one of the ways to speak to your consumers’ emotions is by addressing a topic that they otherwise were hoping to avoid. This isn’t meant to be done in a conniving or manipulative way. Think of it like when your parents first tried giving you the talk about the birds and the bees. You had been avoiding it for as long as possible; did not enjoy hearing about it; but deep down knew that it was inevitably going to eventually come up. Face it––in the long-term, you’re glad they did. Maybe.
Now that you’ve hopefully taken a pleasantly awkward trip down memory lane, let’s look at an example of how this principle translates to marketing. The image below was a landing page for Bills.com.
Bills.com provides financial planning tools and services. The image above shows an example of one way that a business can use the psychology of pain to generate leads. This company took debt, a topic often associated with anxiety and stress, and took a direct approach to asking a rather sensitive question regarding it. This approach quickly gets to the heart of the problem and is an opportunity for the business to provide their solution at a time when the consumer is most likely to respond accordingly.
Copy is a powerful tool for showing prospects that you can meet their emotional needs. One of the basic principles of writing compelling copy is that you should always focus on the benefits of your product or service. While it’s important to know about the features of a product, it’s the benefit that really sells. For instance, having an iPhone camera with 1.5-micron pixels and ƒ/2.2 aperture is good, but having an iPhone camera with the ability to capture high-quality moments on-the-go with your friends is better. They’re both the same thing, just said very differently.
The image below of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a perfect example of the different benefits your business should be using as a selling point when marketing a product or service. Each tier of the pyramid describes a different category of what motivates people to achieve a certain need.
The best way to get to the bottom of which deeper need your product or service is meeting is to ask yourself the following question over and over and over again:
Why would they want to buy your external hard drive? To store more photos of their travels.
Why would they want to store more photos of their travels? To make a scrapbook.
Why would they want to make a scrapbook? To share the experience with their friends and family.
Why would they want to share the experience with their friends and family? To feel a sense of connectedness with their loved ones by sharing experiences with them.
This goes back to the 3rd tier of Maslow’s hierarchy––the need for love and belonging. In the example above, you should not look at it as selling an external hard drive. You should look at it as selling a sense of connectedness with loved ones. This thought process will help you get to the root of the need your product trulys serves to fulfill and can then be used to leverage that deeper value as a selling point.
Show me someone who has never made a purchase that they later on regretted and I’ll show you a liar. The truth is, there are a lot of times where customers realize that they may have let their emotions get in the way of logic and made a purchase that they later return. It’s your job as a marketer to prevent that. Reducing buyer’s remorse can result in upselling to that same customer in the future, which studies show costs 5x less than trying to trying to acquire a new customer. So what can your business do to reduce buyer’s remorse?
For starters, think about the last time you ate at a restaurant with a huge variety of options on the menu. Trying to make up your mind about what to order before the server comes can sometimes parallel to the feeling you would get trying to cut the correct wire to prevent a bomb from detonating.
A study by the Journal of Consumer Research shows that your server taking away your menu after you placed your order can actually reduce the amount of regret you have about your decision and increase your eventual satisfaction with your choice. This idea of closure impacting a customer’s confidence in their decision can translate into your business’s marketing strategy, as well. This could mean shorter return policy windows, quicker check-out processes, or anything else that brings this “no turning back now” attitude to the customer’s shopping process.
Another example for reducing buyer’s remorse is to contact the customer after their purchase. Of course, with a large customer base this typically requires some sort of automated process, but the more personal you can make this, the more effective it will be at reassuring your customer that they made the right decision.
Dean Graziosi, a best-selling NY Times author and real estate investor, set up a system where an automated voice recording would contact customers within an hour of them purchasing his book. This was intended to reiterate that they made a smart purchase and prevent the possibility of them making a return. In addition to this, he sent emails with engaging information about the book to excite them while they waited for it to come. This simple follow-up system reduced customer returns by 65%. Dean recommends, “Follow it all the way through to the end, and then build a relationship for life”.
Understanding and implementing the different types of emotional triggers in your marketing strategy is an often overlooked but highly effective method for generating leads, converting customers and building long-term relationships with them. Depending on the specific characteristics of your audience and the product or service you offer, your specific emotional triggers will vary. Keeping in mind the ones listed above, you should have a solid foundation for coming up with triggers that are the right fit and establish an emotional connection.