You’ll Love These 4 Ways to Use Emotional Marketing to Boost Response

Which do you prefer? Option #1: “You may find this blog post interesting,” or option #2: “This delicious narrative is going to feed your desire for compelling thought leadership in the area of emotional marketing.”

We assume you find option #2 more, shall we say, provocative? It’s a little grandiose for a blog post, we agree, but it gets our point across: lifting a best practice from the emotional marketing playbook can change everything.

There’s a lot of science behind the study of emotive marketing—and some marketers specialize in its application for brand strategy, “scare-vertising,” or to encourage the viral distribution of social content.

All great uses.

But in this discussion, we’re going to start with a more conceptual wide lens and focus in on some proven tactics that can help boost response to direct marketing campaigns.

Still, The Science of Consumer Behavior Is Fascinating
If you consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for food/water, shelter, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization, it’s easy to see why tapping into people’s requirements for living is a profitable business. Evoking customers’ “pain points” or painting a picture of “what’s possible” can make such compelling copy.

Effective marketing can trigger us to take action on a very instinctual, knee-jerk way. But rather than digging any deeper into neuroscience and psychology ourselves, we’ll share some findings (Courtesy of Psychology Today, no less) citing the well-documented role emotions play in marketing:

• When evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than rational information (brand attributes, features, and facts)

• The consumer’s emotional response to an ad has a far greater influence on their reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content

• “Likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales.

• Positive emotions toward a brand have more influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.

What’s shaping a consumer’s experience with a brand (or product or service, for that matter), is how it makes them feel. Features and benefits help tell the story, but there’s that elusive something—that feeling—that seals the deal.

How to Emotionally Connect with Customers and Drive Response
It doesn’t matter if you sell shampoo or plywood: your customers have needs—and plenty of options for getting them met. It’s our job, as marketers, to find the right balance of rationale and emotion so that our target audience chooses our solution.

Use these tenets of emotional marketing to stand out, establish trustworthiness, drive action, and increase our chances of success (and response rates, too!):

1. Use Emotive Language
The language that you use is critical in getting the customer’s attention. In direct response marketing, you’re not going to collect a lead or make a conversion if you don’t get a person to take notice. Getting your audience to feel something can be as simple as the right word choice.

It’s easy to spot the difference—or shall we say feel the difference—between a rational word and a more emotive one. Let’s say we’d like a customer to download a white paper about reducing energy costs. We’ll give 3 options:

• Click here
• Read now
• Discover new ways to save

The first two don’t do anything more than tell you where to click. The latter invites you to explore, to become part of the solution, and yes, benefit from doing so. Don’t you feel better already?

You’ll love these 37 Power Words to Use in Direct Response Marketing—and Why.

2. Use Color Theory
It’s universally accepted that sunny yellow means cheery, bright green means fresh, and light blue means calm…and your gut instinct tells you that a black and white, image-free postcard isn’t going to inspire people to try out commercial printing services.

As a general rule, aim for color consistency between your company’s branding and marketing materials. Within individual campaigns, there’s some more leeway to “play” with color, especially with fonts, images, call-to-action buttons, and other elements. When exploring the rainbow of options for your direct response marketing campaigns, think about the ambiance, moods, and feelings that are stirred up by certain colors. Bright red, for example, says “excitement” and “cutting edge” more than a muted taupe, don’t you agree?

Helpscout’s The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding warns us not to put too much faith in 1:1 relationships between a color and a specific emotion. “Nearly every academic study on colors and branding will tell you,” they say, “that it’s far more important for colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with stereotypical color associations.”

Before we leave the topic of color, let’s consider white space. It gives us room to breathe. Some would say it’s elegant and pleasing to the eye. It most certainly aids in readability and helps direct our attention to where it needs to go. On a well-designed direct response marketing piece, this is typically the call-to-action.

3. Use Images of Shiny Happy People
We’ll hazard a guess that most of the time, you want to portray your employees as happy, satisfied workers who are thrilled to serve your customers; you also want to show that using your solutions lead customers to feelings of happiness and satisfaction, too. This is probably why your marketing materials tend to show happy, satisfied people.

The emotional marketing experts at New Neuro Marketing point out that thanks to mirror neurons, every emotion we see is contagious. This makes a smiling face a powerful and simple tool to enhance customer joy and increase brand appeal. But, negative emotions are contagious, too, so advertisers should be careful when displaying them, even if a sad face is required to demonstrate a dire problem in need of a solution or the negative consequence of inaction.

We’re simply wired to feel better when we see a smiling face. And harkening back to Maslow, we have a natural desire to be part of something, to connect, to join together with other people. So it stands to reason that lifestyle branding—and any direct response marketing that supports it—can be enhanced with pictures of smiling, happy faces.

4. Use Social Proof
Buffer Social shares the six types of social proof: Expert, Celebrity, User, Wisdom of the crowd, Wisdom of your friends, and Certification.

Social proof lets others—your customers, partners, employees, and other “fans”—speak for you or about you. It’s an increasingly important part of marketing today, and we take a more thorough look at some particular elements of social proof in Using Influencer Marketing for Measurable Response and 5 Reasons Customer Ratings and Reviews Boost Your Sales.

For direct response marketing efforts, you can incorporate testimonials, reviews, and even case studies into your materials, from direct mail letters and postcards, emails, and landing pages. When prospective customers see that other people are having positive experiences with your brand, or even that your products or services are being recommended by someone they admire or trust, they may be more willing to take action on your offer.

Using any or all of these tools can help you better connect with customers and prospects. But remember that the customer experience you deliver, through knowing what your customers value and providing the service they expect, goes a long way toward making them feel something for your company. And the loyalty that generates can speak volumes—and at the end of the day, those are the results you’re looking to achieve.

Contact us to learn more.