A guest post by Travis Dillard.
There is no doubt emotions hold a mighty sway over our lives. Whether we want to admit it or not, we're much more inclined to follow our hearts than follow our brains when making decisions.
This is especially obvious when we start shopping. Clothes, cars, groceries – everything is tinged with our emotions, at least a little bit. You chose your clothes because they appeal to you aesthetically, and you bought this particular brand of cereal because it tastes better than another. Or maybe it reminds you of your childhood?
Either way, human emotions are extremely powerful, and, if one can find out how to leverage that power, they could really take their business to the next level.
And, that's what we're here to talk about– how we can use people's emotions and what roles they play in blogs and social media that makes them so useful when concocting an emotional marketing strategy.
What is emotional marketing?
Emotional marketing is just a more technical term for what we've described above – using people's emotions to create a marketing strategy.
Think about it – humans are social beings, and they like interacting with other humans. They like to share their feelings, their thoughts, their fears and dreams. And, with the advent of the internet, and, even more so, social media, they're able to share with a much larger audience.
And if people are sharing, why not have them share words about you? If you manage to rile people up, and stir their emotions, you'll suddenly find yourself at the centre of attention, and the day will be yours to seize.
However, be careful – stirring emotions can hurt you as well. Rumours spread like wildfire on social media, and, if these rumours are substantiated, your company's wallet will feel the repercussions very soon.
Additionally, some mud can never be washed away, and even if you prove malicious rumours wrong, you'll still enjoy negative rep. That's why brands choose their words and their actions online extremely carefully.
Why is emotional marketing effective?
It makes people remember you
One of the biggest reasons brands use emotional marketing is that it makes them memorable.
Once again, we invite you to think about it – think about some of your most vivid memories. Why are they so vivid? Why do you remember something that happened 20-30 years ago as if it were yesterday?
It's because those memories are tied to very strong emotions. These emotions make these memories linger, and you start to form a very negative, or very positive connotation with them. Therefore, if you've had a life-changing experience with one brand, you'll be very likely to keep using their product, and if you've had a terrible time with another, you'll forsake them for all eternity.
And, that's a fact. People simply cannot escape their emotions, no matter how hard they try to present themselves as rational beings. And, savvy brands use these feelings to worm inside your mind and force you to form an association between an emotion and themselves.
It makes customers more loyal
We already touched upon this a second ago, but let's now break it down further.
We said that if you experience a life-changing moment with a brand, you're more than likely to keep using it.
This feeling of loyalty can be exceedingly potent, especially if it is nurtured from a young age. In fact, it is so powerful that it can often lead to customers staying loyal despite the brand starting to exhibit many negative traits.
Take the gaming world, for example – Blizzard was once a highly-respected company in their field and launched a number of franchises that made them incredibly popular and loved. However, Blizzard has been on a downward spiral for a long time now due to poor management and failure to connect with its fans.
Yet, still, their game Diablo Immortal, a game despised for its predatory monetisation since day one, has still made a staggering $100 million in record time.
Now, this example might carry negative impressions, and we're not saying that a company can get so large it cannot fail, but it also illustrates what you can do with smart, emotional marketing if you make the right choices early on.
It increases your sales
The fact of the matter is simple – emotional marketing just works. Studies show that ads that have a better-than-average emotional response generate 23% more sales, thus bringing in a lot more money to the company's coffers.
It is this simple fact that makes emotional marketing so effective; it just makes you more money and has a far better ROI than most standard marketing employed by companies today. Not only that, but it also helps you build a brand and gather followers in almost record time, letting you make the onboarding process for newcomers that much easier, further increasing your profits.
What are the best practices for emotional marketing?
Start with a story
Stories are some of the most effective tools for evoking emotions. Everybody loves a good story, especially a successful one, and if your story is carefully and purposefully crafted, people will latch onto it immediately.
But you don't always have to use your own stories. As we said, people like a success story more than anything, and if you let some of your pleased customers tell their stories, they'll further add to your credibility and popularity.
After all, people don't tend to trust brands, especially big ones, a whole lot – but they will trust another person, and even more so if they're either respected or are average Joes and Janes like them.
This is why influencer marketing is so powerful, whether we like it or not. These people command a lot of respect, and their word is usually taken almost as law. If an influencer supports a brand, you can be sure that their followers will be (or, at least be considering) supporting it too.
This is also why many brands nowadays like hiring social media influencer management agencies to provide themselves with that invaluable leverage for their business.
Know your audience
This has a twofold meaning: first, you have to know who your audience is, i.e., whom to target, and, secondly, you have to get to know your audience.
When it comes to the first element, brands start with an idea – we have an X product that will satisfy the Y audience. From there, they do a lot of market research to see how to approach their audience and how they can fulfil their needs.
The second element involves interacting with one's audience. Social media has now made it easy for brands to form a 'face' online, and talk to their audiences directly so that they can get instant, genuine feedback from their customers.
Earlier, we mentioned that people don't tend to trust marketing, especially if it's coming from a bigger brand. This is because the bigger the brand is, the further they are from their customers in terms of money and power. They're no longer the everyman and they're no longer relatable.
The best way to stay relatable is to remain authentic throughout your existence as a business. Granted, this isn't easy to do, but it is necessary to stay on your customers' good side.
This is done through more stories, and even more interaction with your audience. People hate being ignored; they want to feel like they matter. And if you truly stand for what you're peddling, then you will make sure that you and your audience stay as tight-knit of a community as possible.
Finally, you also have to make sure your product is authentic. Whatever you're pushing, don't let your growth impact the quality of your products. It might be hard to keep up with the rising demand, but if your quality assurance drops significantly, you'll lose your customers as quickly as you gained them.
Retain the element of surprise
One of the worst things you can be other than inauthentic, is unoriginal. Brands that spin the same tales and show the same ads are doomed to become boring and stale.
That's why innovation is so important for marketing. You always have to be finding a new angle on things and come up with new content. The more new content you put out, and the more you pay attention to whether or not your marketing campaign is fresh and trendy, the easier it is to stay on your audience's minds.
Now, being a content wiz isn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. Your teams will eventually run out of ideas, and there might be a period of creative block in your company, but the important thing is to always keep working on something new, and your creativity will eventually, shine through.
In the end, emotional marketing has proven itself to be a powerful tool on numerous occasions. Without it, marketing products would be infinitely harder, and newer brands would have a hard time competing with massive ones that have already established dominance.
Through clever emotional marketing, it becomes a lot easier for brands to have an impact, and find a corner of the market that hasn't been gobbled up by the giants, and flourish there.
About the author
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organisational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.