If you have read anything about marketing in the last few years, the common thread has been engaging the audience through emotional marketing. That is, appealing to their emotions.
This is not new by any stretch of the imagination. Emotions have been at the core of advertising and marketing for decades. Those ads that tug on our heartstrings or make us laugh are always the most memorable.
While the approach has changed slightly with the formal introduction of the term "emotional marketing," the intent is still the same: Get to the audience through their emotions in order to gain their trust and be relatable enough to buy from.
Emotional marketing can be used to communicate in powerful ways—and can be done through various techniques. The following can help turn wants into needs, which in turn can help businesses sell their products and services.
1. Understand differences across generations.
Many companies employ nostalgia in their marketing to make that emotional connection. The problem is that a specific nostalgic situation may only impact a certain demographic. Don't expect your emotional marketing to resonate with your millennial target audience if it involves music, visuals or cultural references from the 1980s or earlier.
Before you use this type of device in your emotional marketing, make sure you truly understand your audience in terms of their generation and interests. From there, you can select specific types of nostalgic items to include in various campaigns.
Just know that if you have a diverse customer base, this approach may alienate part of your audience. This use of emotional marketing is best used by those brands that have an audience with a smaller age gap. That way, any marketing campaigns released can resonate with the largest audience possible.
2. Link emotional marketing tactics to a lifestyle or social cause movement.
Numerous brands have positioned themselves around the idea of a type of lifestyle that they know their audience is seeking for themselves.
Using influencer marketing can help drive home the emotional aspect of your brand to your audience, while engaging them at the same time. When your audience sees people they admire wearing or using a particular brand, they connect it with a healthy, satisfying or happy lifestyle that comes as a result of wearing or using it.
Also, showing how a brand is a natural addition to a lifestyle—while subtly introducing the brand as part of that particular lifestyle—can be effective for many types of brands.
You can use emotional marketing to build a following that strives to achieve a certain type of lifestyle. Again, to do so requires that you get to know your audience quite well so you can determine the needs that drive them. These needs paint a picture of the type of lifestyle they seek. You can then shape your product or service around fulfilling these needs and this desired lifestyle.
Alternatively, you can link to a social cause that both you and your audience firmly believe in based on your understanding of their values and those that you have imbued in your brand. Creating a campaign that illustrates how your product or service addresses or supports a social cause also goes directly to the heart of what you are trying to achieve with emotional marketing.
Just make sure it's authentic and something that you can support in the long term.
3. Tell stories through your emotional marketing.
By this, I don't mean "tall tales" or some fictional, highly dubious story. Instead, look for ways to incorporate real customers or clients into your storytelling that your audience can connect with.
Try having each story illustrate how someone benefited from what you offer. You don't have to tell the audience in words either. Show them how someone incorporates your brand into their daily lives visually, like in a video.
By incorporating elements into a story that you know the rest of the audience would find appealing—such as helping others, feeling less stressed or finding balance—you are engaging emotions on a universal level.
4. Share testimonials and encourage reviews.
Although this tactic doesn't seem, at first, to be ideal for engaging emotions, testimonials and reviews do have the power to hit emotions right where you want them.
Just look at the social proof principle to illustrate why this works so well. With so many choices and stimuli hitting us every day, it can be difficult to know what to choose. This leads to uncertainty and anxiety—two emotions we could all do without.
However, one of the reasons social media platforms have become so popular is because they help alleviate uncertainty. Our social circles can help us know what will be a good product or service to use. Reviews and testimonials provide a wide range of opinions on what works and what doesn't from people we trust and admire.
Try incentivizing customers to share their reviews and opinions on their own social media accounts as well as on places like Yelp, Google and Facebook. This is an example of emotional marketing at its best because the words of others are validating their experiences for those who may want to engage with your brand.
5. Connect on a community level.
While everyone is accustomed to seeing brands online, local interaction is rare. But this one-on-one time can still make a compelling difference for people of all ages. It can also help establish trust at a much faster rate. Your audience can talk to you, ask questions and examine your body language, which isn't the case with an online-only brand.
Existing or would-be customers may also be touched by the fact that you're giving back locally in some way. This could be getting involved in an area event, charity or awareness campaign. Your support of where they live and work, as well as acknowledgment of your hometown love, can be emotionally charged and meaningful on a much deeper level. Consider looking for ways to get involved in your community that show you giving rather than expecting anything back.
Peter Daisyme is a special adviser to Calendar, a business technology solution that helps business owners and teams improve their time management and productivity. He is also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
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