Confessions of a Marketer: Emotional Triggers
Every day, consumers are inundated with a wide variety of marketing content and many people have learned to tune it out. For this reason, marketing professionals are on a constant quest to discover and innovate novel ways to craft influential marketing messages.
Feelings and emotions are extremely powerful, and knowing how to tap the emotions of a target audience is one of the best ways to influence their purchasing decisions. In fact, in many cases, buying decisions are based on emotions rather than reason; and after the decision, the consumer will attempt to devise a rational explanation for the purchase.
There are two goals that emotional marketing should achieve.
The first is to make the audience feel something. The second is to make them act on that emotional response. Before I move ahead and tell you why we use emotional triggers, let’s understand what the concept means.
What is an emotional trigger?
An emotional trigger refers to the practice of crafting marketing content that appeals directly to the emotional needs of a target audience. If successful, the response is a strong emotional reaction to the content, causing a desire for the advertised product (or brand) that the consumer cannot fully rationalize.
Why do we use emotional triggers?
Emotional triggers allow us to generate leads or purchases for products or services. Consumers feel highly influenced by what they see or hear, and often form a strong attachment to the brand based on those feelings.
The full list of emotional triggers is lengthy, so here we’ve narrowed it down to five of the most commonly used emotional triggers:
FEAR – What can be more powerful than fear? Why are insurance policies able to sell themselves effectively? Why do people purchase home security systems? Because the content arouses the emotion of fear of the target audience. With the emotional trigger of fear, you want your marketing message to empathize with your audience and present a solution that removes or mitigates the fear.
TRUST - Trust is amongst the most common emotions tapped by marketers. It’s one of the most essential components to creating brand loyalty. Financial companies lead the way when it comes to the emotional trigger of trust (ie: “no hidden fees”). They want to make sure you feel comfortable investing your money with them.
HAPPINESS – According to several studies, happiness is the emotional core of why we share social media (at least in the world of content marketing). When consumers read or see content that makes them feel happy, they instinctually want to share the feeling with others. The emotion of happiness is generally the impetus for viral content as well.
GUILT – Guilt is another powerful emotion that comes in several forms. Do you want your children driving a car with unsafe brakes? Are you really going to toss your water bottle in the trash instead of recycling it and helping Mother Earth? Aren’t you going to help that sick child or starving dog on the TV screen? The trick with the emotional trigger of guilt is to always tie it to a positive solution.
VALUE - Consumers are constantly on the hunt for a good bargain, and many marketing promotions appeal to the emotional trigger of getting a great deal. For example, promotional messages that offer a price match guarantee are an effective way to convince the consumer they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck.
Using emotional triggers to influence purchasing decisions is a great way to drive sales for your business. Just be sure to be subtle and make sure your consumers don’t feel they’re being manipulated.