Marketing with emotional targeting

how to target marketing towards emotionsEmotions are impactful. Feelings, by their very nature, create memorable experiences. As such, emotional targeting is a powerful tool in the world of marketing. When marketers leverage emotional associations to their advantage, they can often draw out desirable responses.

Yet, many marketers avoid tapping into emotions. Why? Because there are so many options! It can be overwhelming for marketing strategists to pin down what emotion they want to evoke with their content.

But what if we told you that when you boil down emotions there are really only four options? A recent study from The University of Glasgow proved just that. According to their research people experience four core emotions: happiness, sadness, fear/surprise and anger/disgust.

This new study makes the list of emotions much more manageable. For marketers, emotionally targeted marketing becomes a much less daunting task. But how exactly does emotional targeting work? And how should your company approach it?

Crafting emotionally targeted content

When it comes to emotions, words are a powerful tool. We all remember a time when a good book made us cry. We all have that one character that took us on an emotional journey from beginning to end. Written content for marketing materials has the potential to cause the same effect.

Emotional targeting has the ability to increase conversions and improve marketing efforts, explained Conversioner. Businesses are missing out on an effective tool when they neglect emotionally charged content. However, to create the materials, marketers need to understand how to trigger these feelings in an effective way.

Before you start crafting your message, you should pinpoint your target audience. What kind of emotions would sit well with your demographic? Should you use happiness to pull them into the mix? Would a mix of emotions work best?

As with most marketing content, you should also aim to keep it on the shorter side, explained Conversioner. Longer pieces can cause readers to get distracted, ultimately making your message less effective. Keep the content short and sweet with a clear emotion in mind.

With that being said, let’s take a look at ways to elicit the four core primary emotions:social media marketing plan icons

  1. Happiness: 
    Happiness is a great emotion to associate with most businesses. In fact, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find a company that wouldn’t want their products associated with joy. Marketers looking to use happiness as their emotional target should make sure to include keywords like fun, delight, cheer, and play explained Conversioner. These buzzwords automatically connect readers to joyful emotions.
  2. Sadness: 
    Sadness can be a tricky emotion to tackle. You don’t want to bum your customers out, but in some cases, sad images or situations can be a call to action in themselves. Who hasn’t seen the infamous ASPCA commercial? The images of those sad animals in the shelter tug at even the toughest heartstrings. By providing your customers with a problematic situation and then providing a solution you can inspire action. Whether this is by donating to a charity or using your product as a solution. Use key phrases like “you can help,” or “here’s how we make a change.”
  3. Fear: 
    Ever heard the of the term FOMO? It stands for “fear of missing out.” When used in this sense, fear can be a powerful emotion for marketers. Throwing out terms that convey urgency can elicit this emotional response. Try using phrases that combine these emotions with a call to action. “Don’t miss out on these deals, buy tonight!” There’s nothing customers hate more than missing out on a good deal. Play on these emotions.
  4. Anger/Disgust: 
    Anger/disgust can be used as a motivator. Marketers should target this emotion when trying to get customers to support a cause. This can present itself as content featuring disgruntled consumers. For example, an image of an angry customer could read “My neighbor gets deluxe car washes, why can’t I?” With an action call to your car-wash company. Keywords could include: unfair, tragic and shocking, noted Conversioner.

When marketers use a combination of emotionally charged vocabulary and matching images, the outcome can be very powerful. If your company isn’t taking advantage of emotional targeting in your marketing efforts, give it a try. The results are well worth the extra effort.

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