My husband always teases me, saying that I’m a point-of-purchase marketers dream because I’ll stick anything in my shopping cart if it tugs on my emotions or reminds me of happy times or fond childhood memories.
Over the years, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on toys, candies, foods, and even clothes for my kids because they represent something I loved, thought was cool, or always wanted when I was a kid. It’s why I introduced my kids to movies like Goonies, Princess Bride, Star Wars, and Back to the Future, and cartoons like Duck Tales, Tailspin, Rescue Rangers, Gummy Bears, and Fraggle Rock. It’s why I buy superhero t-shirts, wall mount lightsabers, and more Legos than any one family should ever own.
Marketers selling to my demographic—well-off adults age 35-50—understand one thing better than anyone else: buying decisions are based on emotions.
People make decisions, especially buying decisions, with their heart. Their decision to make a purchase or invest in something is tied to how it makes them feel or how they believe it will make them feel. They then justify the buying decision with their brain, identifying features, facts, and logic to back up their decision and affirm it was a good one.
More simply put:
- People buy with their heart and justify the purchase with their head
- People buy with emotions and justify the purchase with logic
Understanding Emotional Brand Triggers
At the very first marketing conference I attended, I discovered an incredibly valuable tool that has helped me to not only identify the emotional brand triggers for my brands, but help my clients identify the emotions that drive their customers to buy. It’s a list of 50 emotional reasons people buy from the book Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson.
When you understand the emotions driving your ideal clients to buy—make more money, avoid trouble, save money, be in style, save time, have less effort, be more comfortable—you’ll be able to craft the narrative of your brand, story, and sales funnels to trigger those emotions, move your prospects to action faster, and increase your website conversion rates.
Here’s the list of 50 reasons why people buy:
- To make more money
- To save time
- To become more comfortable
- To become more fit and healthy
- To attract praise
- To attract the opposite sex
- To increase enjoyment
- To protect their family
- To possess things of beauty
- To emulate others
- To avoid criticism
- To protect their reputation
- To make work easier
- To feel superior
- To speed up work
- To be trendy
- To keep up with the Joneses
- To look younger
- To preserve the environment
- To become more efficient
- To satisfy an impulse
- To buy friendship
- To save money
- To avoid effort
- To be cleaner
- To escape or avoid pain
- To be popular
- To protect their possessions
- To gratify curiosity
- To be in style
- To satisfy their appetite
- To avoid trouble
- To be an individual
- To access opportunities
- To escape stress
- To express love
- To gain confidence
- To be entertained
- To be informed
- To be organized
- To give to others
- To feel safe
- To feel younger
- To conserve energy
- To pursue a hobby
- To be accepted
- To leave a legacy
- To be excited
- To feel opulent/affluent
- To communicate better
Leveraging Emotional Brand Triggers
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard things like:
- Speak right to your ideal client
- Use targeted marketing messages
- Successful marketing matches the right person with the right message at the right time
- Communicate the emotional benefits over the logical features
To deliver the right message to your prospects at the right time, you first need to understand two things:
- What they want most: The reason they will take action and what motivates them
- The associated emotions: What they need to hear, feel, and experience
Only then can you create sales and marketing content that will create a connection, form a relationship, trigger emotions, and persuade action.
- According to Psychology Today, fMRI neuro-imagery shows that consumers use emotions rather than information to evaluate a brand.
- A 2016 Nielson report states that emotions are at the heart of the relationship consumers have with brands, influencing conscious decisions and driving non-conscious decisions, and that more often than not, consumers base their decisions on less-than-rational considerations like instinct, gut-feel, fit, and impulse. The same study showed ads with the best emotional response scores were associated with a 23% lift in sales volume over what an average ad would generate, while ads with below-average emotional response scores were associated with a 16% decline in sales volume.
- Another study proved that successful advertising campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content, and a little better (31% vs 26%) those that mixed emotional and rational content.
A brand’s long-term success depends on the emotional connection it forms with its audience, for it’s the emotions associated with the brand that will drive repeat purchases, referrals, and social shares.
Every piece of marketing content you create, every website you design, every sales page you create should be designed to influence the audience, invoke specific feelings, and influence decisions. Whether you want to make them angry, get them excited, make them sad, encourage them to persevere, increase confidence, inspire change, or create any other emotion, the better you are at tapping into their emotions, the more successful your marketing campaigns and website calls to action will be.
When your website, sales, and marketing content resonates with your audience and triggers the right emotional response, your ideal clients will:
- Believe in your story and message
- Feel like you know, understand, and “get” them
- Connect with your message and want to know more
- Have greater trust in your brand
- Think, “Yes! This is for me! This is what I have been looking for!
How To Create An Emotional Connection
Once you understand the core reasons behind why your clients buy, you can begin to shape the brand story and brand experience around those motivators and the associated emotions.
You can do this with:
- Choice of words and tone of voice: “I do X faster than the competition” is much different than saying, “I’ll save you time” or “you’ll save time.” One is all about you and one is about the benefit to your client.
- Color: All colors have meaning. For example: Blue is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration, and sensitivity, and represents depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, heaven, and intelligence. While red is associated love, passion, desire, heat, lust, romance, assertiveness, strength, leadership, courage, aggression, vigor, willpower, rage, anger, danger, and stress, and represents action, confidence, courage, survival, and self-preservation.
- Imagery: When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
- Typography: Just as color have meaning, typefaces have meaning. Sans serif typefaces are seen as modern, corporate, innovative, forward-thinking, advanced, while serif typefaces feel classic, traditional, established, historic, and trustworthy.
- Design: Whether the design is clean and simple, flat and modern, cute and whimsical, or layered with lots of drop shadows, every choice you make in the design of a website or marketing piece creates emotion and meaning and every element can either cause distraction or move a prospect toward a buying decision.
The Bottom Line
What motivates your clients? Is it fear, leadership, guilt, value, trend-setting, time, competition, belonging, trust, or instant gratification?
When you understand the motivations behind why your clients buy and the emotions attached to those motivations, you will have the power to create powerful marketing messages, emotional brand stories, targeted sales and advertising campaigns, and compelling sales funnels that attract ideal clients like crazy, compel them to take action, and skyrocket your conversion rates.