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3 Ways to Sell Through Emotion

Heart in handHave you ever noticed that, whether in print, on television, or online, most marketing appeals to people’s emotions? This is because much of our decision-making comes from the subconscious mind.

Marketers can throw a lot of facts and figures at their prospects, but ultimately, people often make decisions based on emotion. That’s why Johnson & Johnson doesn’t sell Band- Aids based on their adhesive properties. The company shows a crying child being soothed by a loving parent. It is tapping into the emotion, “I want to take care of my child.”

Here are three ways you can tap into emotion in your marketing.

Think beyond the rational mind.

A recent Harvard Business Review article argued that there are two types of sales: simple and complex.

Simple sales are those for which people can make quick, easy decisions based on numbers: This product is 10% cheaper than that one. That product offers 25% more longevity than the one I have. With complex decisions like financial, insurance, and medical products, however, people can be quickly overwhelmed by numbers. In the end, they make decisions based on intuition. What makes me feel safe? How can I best protect my family long-term?

In your direct mail, email, or social media marketing, think about which category your products fall into. Do you need to tap into emotion and intuition or the rational mind?

Be authentic.

Nobody likes a phony. That includes customers. As pointed out by the Kern ROInsider (“Want to Really Connect with Customers?” May 14, 2015), the interesting thing about authenticity is that it works: “Honesty makes consumers feel connected and creates trust and respect for the brand. Being authentic establishes a meaningful connection that compels customers to act.”

Just look at the Allstate Insurance commercials. In these 30-second slices of life, homeowners fall prey to their own humanness by opening car doors into oncoming traffic or crashing into parking lot barriers because they’re looking at their children’s Mylar birthday balloons in the rearview mirror. We’ve all done it. It feels real and familiar.

Use real-life scenarios in your marketing. Be real, be authentic, and make your brand something people can relate to.Long long-term.

Show an interest in your customers and prospects beyond the sale.

Drop them tips and tricks that help them with everyday problems. Create an emotional engagement that transcends the immediate need.

When marketing to Millennials, for example, Kate Dunn, director at InfoTrends, notes that this type of longterm engagement is critical. “Let’s say you sell investment services,” she says. “Instead of trying to convince them to care [about investing] now, serve them content about stretching a budget or paying off student loans. They’ll find it useful today and you’ll have a bigger piece of pie later.”

Stanley Steemer does this well, too. It sends nine direct mail pieces per year, as well as three emails per month. While some marketing contacts are cross- and upsell promotions, the majority are tips for a variety of household cleaning projects. This is information recipients can use whether they end up purchasing Stanley Steemer services or not.

Emotion and brand connection sells. Maybe not right away, but over time. So be real, be relatable, and invest in your customers long-term. It takes more effort to develop these campaigns, but they reap benefits in the long run.