3 Ways to Create an Emotional Connection with Your Audience

Chances are, at some point or another, you’ve made the decision to buy something based purely on emotion. It could have been an impulse buy that you know was driven by an emotional response, or it could have been a subtle decision you weren’t even aware of. The fact of the matter is, emotions drive a lot of our purchasing decisions, and as marketers it’s important to know how to appeal to that emotion in order to be successful.

Princeton psychologists have learned that first impressions form in less than a second. Combined with the fact that the majority of our decisions are made by our reptilian brains – that ancient, instinctive subconscious part of our brains – it becomes clear that creating an emotional connection is necessary to truly reach your audience. Research has shown that psychological and emotional appeals resonate much more than feature and function benefits. In fact, neuro-imagery scans have shown that consumers make decisions based on emotion more often than on logic.

Consumers want to know how the bells and whistles of a product will improve their lives or situations more than they want to know the specifics of the features alone. Therefore, the question to ask when developing your marketing content is less “What are the key features of my product?” and more “How will the key features of my product improve my customers’ lives?”

So, how can you use emotion in your marketing? Here are 3 ways you can connect on a deeper level with your audience:

Engage them in a narrative

Storytelling is an ancient practice that has been incredibly important to humans for eons. It is deeply ingrained in our psychology, so it’s no surprise that we are likely to engage when a story is told.

In fact, emotionally charged storytelling creates a rush of dopamine in the brain. This is linked to memory. Therefore, when we see an ad or commercial that triggers a memory, we are likely to develop an emotional connection which in turn helps drive our purchasing decision. For a really cool infographic that illustrates this, click here.

Some of the most emotionally triggering ads happen during the Olympics. Tales of overcoming adversity to achieve greatness are common themes. Proctor and Gamble, during the 2018 Winter Olympics, ran a campaign featuring stories of athletes and their mothers. The theme was how their mothers protected the athletes from trauma as children and helped them overcome adversity to achieve success. That’s a deeply personal and universal theme that triggers emotion and creates an instant connection.

Use Color

There is scientific evidence that colors play a role in our emotional, physical and behavioral states. Color theory shows that different colors can evoke different reactions. Red is a bold, powerful and stimulating color. Oranges and yellows often invoke hunger. So, is it a coincidence that the interiors of McDonald’s feature those colors? Not at all.

In a study titled The impact of color on marketing, researchers discovered that up to 90% of snap judgements can be based on color alone. The relationship between marketing and color is based on the perceived appropriateness of the colors being used in a campaign.

Therefore, it’s important to know your target audience and have an idea of the emotions you want to invoke in them. You want the color to fit what is being sold. So, obviously if you are selling luxury cars to an older male audience, you wouldn’t use the same colors that you’d use to sell trendy clothes to millenial girls.

At the end of the day, when you are trying pick the right color scheme for a campaign, predicting the consumer’s emotional reaction to color appropriateness is far more important than the color itself.  For example, if Harley Davidson owners buy the motorcycle and its other products in order to feel rugged, it’s important to choose colors that emphasize that emotion and feeling.

Use Social Proof

The entire purpose behind developing an emotional connection with your audience is to develop trust. One of the most powerful ways to do so is to demonstrate that your audience’s peers are already on board. Social proof gives you credibility because it is validated by others, and this inspires trust.

While doing your online shopping, you may have seen widgets that show how many of your Facebook connections have purchased that same product. E-commerce sites like Amazon offer you the ability to sort search results by average customer review. Our emotional response to seeing that others are satisfied or trust a product is that we’ll often trust it too, and make the purchase. In fact, research has shown that 70% of consumers read product reviews and that those reviews are 12 times more trusted than a product description.

So how can you use social proof? Any examples you can provide of customer satisfaction, be it a testimonial, a product review or a case study, will greatly help you to develop a trust-filled relationship with your audience. It doesn’t take much, just a little extra validation that your product or service is reputable and can be relied on.

I would love to discuss ways to foster an emotional connection with your audience for your next campaign. Contact me to start a conversation!

How to use email personalization for better engagement

Using Email Personalization in your Marketing

Believe it or not, email marketing is still the most lucrative form of online marketing. In fact, on average it returns $44 for every dollar spent (source). Small businesses often wait to start their email marketing programs until they have met a self-imposed threshold of contacts on their list. But, truth be told, you can start now, and you can you can even start implementing some email personalization strategies with limited subscriber data.

What is email personalization?

Simply put, email personalization is the use of any information you have about a subscriber that makes them feel that you are tailoring your content specifically to them. It’s proven to increase open rates by as much as 760%, because, when used effectively, it enables marketers to to provide the most relevant content to their subscribers.

The most basic way to personalize your emails

You don’t need a huge list that is segmented like crazy to get started with email personalization. Sure, the bigger your list, the more you are able to segment and the wider the breadth of information you can share, but it’s totally ok to start small.

For starters, your email marketing program most likely has the ability to put the recipient’s name in the subject line. In fact, studies have shown that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Additionally, using your subscriber name in the salutation, as well as in your call to action will help them feel that the email is directed to them, rather than batch and blasted to a large audience.

One important thing to note: In order to begin personalizing in this way, make sure your email opt-in form on your website offers a required field for at least a first name.

Another way to personalize your emails is by using an actual name as the sender. So, if I were to send an email blast, it would seem much more personal and familiar if it came from “Diane at D. Arthur Digital” than from “D. Arthur Digital”. Make sense?

Expanding your email personalization

As you are growing your list, you may want to consider adding more data fields to your email opt-in form to gather data that will be useful in segmenting your list. Some information you can capture is:

  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Age
  • Job title or company size
  • Interests

Once you have this information collected, you can separate out your lists based on the information provided. For example, perhaps you are a retailer of men’s and women’s shoes. You can segment your list by gender, and send women’s styles to the women, and men’s styles to the men.

Another example is a client of mine who is a commercial real estate broker. It is important for her to know what types of properties her buyers and sellers are interested in. With this information, she can send content appropriate to the individual, such as sending information about industrial properties to those interested in investing in industrial complexes, and information about retail spaces to those people who have indicated retail as a preference.

Advanced email personalization

The ways you can personalize your emails is endless…and advances in email technology enable you to provide dynamic content based on different demographic and geographic data. For example, some platforms offer the ability to dynamically change content that is sent to subscribers based on their geographic location, age, gender, even based on what the weather is doing in that person’s location that day!

You can also personalize based on user behavior. Many marketing automation platforms enable you to create series’ of emails based on what they have engaged with previously. For example, perhaps you are a retailer, and you notice that a subscriber has clicked through several of your jewelry email campaigns to your website. You can further target this subscriber by sending him or her deals specific to what he or she looked at on your site. (Amazon is annoyingly good at this, which is why I give them so much of my money!)

As you can see, there is an overwhelming number of ways to use personalization to achieve greater engagement in your emails. If you want to get started with an email campaign, but aren’t sure how to go about it, I can help you! Contact me today for a free intro consultation!

3 Ways You Can Use Your Competitors to Grow Your Business

Coming up with ways to grow your business is really hard. There are so many options out there, so many tools and platforms, it’s hard to know where to start. What’s going to be most effective for you? Will it bring results? How much time and money will it take to implement?

Sometimes, the best move you can make is to look at what your competitors are doing. By observing what moves they are making and what seems to work or not work for them, you can spark your own ideas about what YOU could do to grow your business.

Below are 3 ways you can look at what your competitors are doing, in order to get ideas about how to grow your business.

They can teach you about pricing

Pricing is always a touchy subject and a tricky thing to figure out. You want to price your product or service high enough to demonstrate its value, but the higher the price point, the fewer number of people will be able to afford it. Additionally, pricing can fluctuate based on the season, depending on what industry you are in.

This is where your competitors can help you. Learn what their pricing model is. If they offer seasonal discounts or deals, sign up for their marketing emails to stay on top of those promotions. Based on what is working for them, you can adjust your pricing accordingly. Even dropping your price temporarily by 5% can help draw customers from your competitors and boost your own sales. And, if you provide a superior product and service for the same price point or slightly less than your competitor, word will most likely spread, and more traffic will come your way.

They can teach you how to increase your website traffic

You may have a website, but it may not be performing as well as you’d like it to. You may be missing out on opportunities to grow your business via website traffic. SEO and website content are incredibly important when it comes to not only attracting visitors to your site, but also for getting them to stay and convert.

Take a look at the top ranking websites for your industry. What are those businesses doing to rank that high? What keywords are they optimizing for? Do they have special content that they offer their visitors, such as downloadable white papers, case studies, or hot topic blog posts?

Take this information and then look at your own site. Perhaps you have opportunities to enhance your content with more keywords. Or, maybe you have several success stories you haven’t yet highlighted that could make great case studies.

They can teach you where your customers are

I had a potential client come to me a few months back saying they needed to come up with a way to use Snapchat in their marketing strategy. When I asked them why they wanted to target Snapchat, their response was that well, everyone else is doing it.

The problem with social media is that businesses all too often think that they need to be on every social media platform. But, the truth is, not all audiences are on all of the social media platforms. In the case of this potential client, it turns out that Snapchat was the exact opposite of what they should be spending their advertising dollars on, as their target market was definitely not Snapchat users.

So, how do you know where your audience is? Well, one quick way to learn is to see where your toughest competitors are. Instead of spending time trying out the trendiest new platform, use that time instead to see what your competitors are doing. Are they investing time and money connecting with individuals on LinkedIn? Or maybe they are running highly targeted ads on Facebook.

I think of it like this… Imagine you are on a vacation to the mountains and are looking to go fishing. Your best bet is to ask around and hope the locals will tell you the hottest spot for a great trout catch, not bumbling around the wilderness hoping that you’ll just happen upon a stream where fish are biting. The same goes in business. You want to go where you KNOW the audience is biting, not where you HOPE they are.

We often get stuck in our own business bubbles, and inspiration can be hard to find. So, take a moment or two each week to research what others are doing in your space. Sign up for email newsletters, book a demo, or speak to one of their sales staff. I guarantee you’ll not only find inspiration for ways to grow your business, but you’ll already have a pretty good idea that they could be very successful.

Need outside help to grow your business? Contact me for a free introductory consultation!