Emotional Marketing: How to Use It in Your Next Campaign

Lithograph heart against a textured brown background

If your marketing campaign is a ship, emotion is the captain. With it, you’ll travel great distances and bring back untold treasures. Without it, you’ll crash into the jagged cliffs and sink.

As much as we’d like to think we’re level-headed in our decisions, more often than not, our emotions run the show. This is especially true when it comes to buying. According to a Harvard business professor, 95 percent of our purchasing decisions occur in our subconscious. I don’t know about you, but my subconscious doesn’t exactly follow a logical structure, and it’s safe to bet your target audience is the same. 

The reason for this irrationality lies in the distinction between the conscious and subconscious mind. The subconscious consists of all the thoughts and feelings not readily available to us. The conscious mind is organized; the subconscious mind is not. 

Given that our subconscious is steering the ship, it’s absolutely crucial that your marketing strategy resonates emotionally. This goes for B2C marketing, but surprisingly, it might be even more important for B2B brands to connect with their customers emotionally

So, given that emotion is so vital to successful marketing, how can we build emotion into our approach?

The Emotional Marketing Journey

Pacing your approach is one of the most important factors in emotional marketing. We humans aren’t stagnant. As we become familiarized with you, the dynamic changes. Your mission is to keep the connection moving forward.

Your first step: nail that first impression. Knowing your audience is absolutely critical here. You’ve got to understand who you’re marketing to, what their values are, and how you can position yourself so that you speak directly to these values. This will foster a deep sense of connection right away. If you convince the audience that you get them, they’ll believe you when you tell them they should buy. You want to make friends here.

Step #1: Build Personas

One of the best ways to do this is to build personas for your target demographic. Create a hypothetical client. What do they do for fun? Where do they live? What are their company goals and the major obstacles to achieving them? Get a clear idea of who you’re pitching to, then craft your marketing strategy around appealing to their emotions.

Step #2: Share Information

After you establish this initial connection, it’s time to shift to sharing information. The potential buyer trusts you, so explain why your product or service solves the issues they face. While informing them, continue to tie the information back to these issues. Again, you don’t want to pivot to completely rational argumentation. Keep the emotion at the heart of your pitch, and use logic to explain why your product can fulfill their emotional desires.

Step #3: Have a Call to Action

After you’ve shared the information, it’s time for a call to action. Your best bet is to close with an emotional climax. Make sure your offer isn’t just some bland, generic “buy now” button, but instead, position the offer as the solution to your target audience’s problem.  

If we consider B2B clients, they’re probably looking to land that next promotion and establish themselves in their field. Speak to that desire. Make the CTA something like “Ready to establish yourself as an expert in your field? Click here to take your marketing to the next level.” Statements such as this strike right at the emotional currents you’ve built. You’ve tapped into their pain. Tell them you can solve their issue while they’re in this state and they’ll jump on board.

Emotional Marketing Tips

So if emotions are important, all you have to do is work your audience up and you’re golden, right? Not exactly. There’s a big difference between using emotions positively vs negatively. 

Tip #1: Avoid Negativity

While emotional marketing at its core should speak to buyers’ pain points, this doesn’t mean you’re trying to strike fear into their hearts. Don’t tell them their business is doomed without your services. All this does is make the customer associate your brand with negative feelings. Remember, they’re operating on a subconscious level. They won’t separate the bad feelings from your brand, and we don’t buy from places that scare us.

Tip #2: Use Positive Techniques 

You want the potential buyer to associate your brand with visuals that drive positive emotions. Make your audience feel all warm and fuzzy and they’ll love you. Here’s how to do that.

First, you can tell a story. Stories are personal and add humanity to your brand that lets the audience connect. Consider the paper crane commercial for Extra Gum. By adding a heartwarming narrative, Extra connects its brand to feelings of togetherness and family. That association sticks around in the subconscious, which drives us when we buy. The customer sees Extra, feels a good feeling, and buys it.

Additionally, using color is a powerful way to instil positive emotion. There’s a reason walking into a bright red room feels different than walking into a pale white one. Color makes us feel. Match your marketing material’s color to the emotion you’re aiming for. A great example of this is Snapchat’s use of yellow. They want to position themselves as joyous and energetic, and the color yellow is closely linked to these emotions.

Finally, aim to inspire. Inspiration is attractive and makes us feel like we can conquer the world. When you’re trying to convince your audience that you can help them grow, this is exactly what you want. A wonderful example is this Nike commercial about Lebron James’ meteoric success. It forges an association between Nike and achievement, which inevitably leads to sales when their potential customers are athletes. Do something similar for your audience. If you’re a B2B marketer, tell an inspiring story about a company that grew and had tremendous success and your audience will link that feeling to your brand.

Step #3: Measure Success

Like always, it’s important to monitor performance when utilizing emotional marketing. See how your inspirational content spreads compared to the purely informative. Compare the clickthrough rate of ads using red vs ads using yellow. Monitor performance as you normally would. You probably already do this stuff so it should be no sweat.

You may want to use more surveys though. Since emotions are subjective, getting direct feedback about how an ad made someone feel can be incredibly helpful to guiding future marketing content. Statistics don’t communicate emotion, people do. So go ahead and ask them.

Emotional Marketing and the Role of VSSL

Emotion is a powerful marketing tool. Utilize it. Consider the audience’s values and desires, craft your content around emotionally fulfilling them, and you’ll find your potential buyers much more receptive. If you’re looking for that added push to really tap into the full potential of emotional marketing, get in contact with our crew today.