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How can you use emotional triggers to sell more effectively?

Reaction TimesHave you been focusing on features and benefits in your marketing copy? When crafting your direct mail, email, and other marketing communications, do you focus on what your products and services do? If so, it might be time to consider using emotional triggers instead.

According to copywriting guru Denny Hatch, there are seven triggers that tip readers over the edge and get them to act. These triggers are fear, greed, guilt, anger, exclusivity, salvation, and flattery. By pushing these emotional hot buttons, you can get powerful results.

Let’s look at some common examples of these triggers that are familiar to us all.

Can you match these famous ad phrases with the emotional triggers used to draw customers in?

  • “Cutting your sun exposure is easier than cutting out skin cancer.” (SunSmart)
  • “The new LS. You’ll buy it anyway.” (Lexus)
  • “ You check his helmet. You check his training wheels. Shouldn’t you check the label on his juice?” (Juicy Juice)
  • “ Our government has made a series of disastrous monetary decisions over the past few years.” (Ron Paul for President, 2015)
  • “ Enjoy a relaxing, crowd-free visit to the museum. Most exhibits will be open for after-hours touring.” (National Aquarium, Baltimore)
  • “ Water is life. Yet 768 million people do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. You can help.” (UNICEF)
  • “Because you’re worth it.” (L’Oréal)


Key: Fear (SunSmart), Greed (Lexus), Guilt (Juicy Juice), Anger (Ron Paul), Exclusivity (National Aquarium Baltimore), Salvation (UNICEF), Flattery (L’Oréal)