Why Connecting with Emotions is Key to Persuasion

Using emotion to persuade

The end goal of advertising and marketing your product or service is ultimately more sales and higher profits. There is a proven advertising success formula:

attract the attention of your potential customer + identify a problem they are facing + present your product or service as the solution to the problem = make the sale

The key to effective marketing is connecting with the consumer’s emotions. By creating a narrative framework, or story, in your advertising, you will appeal to the part of the brain that determines the meaning of everything around us.

Our human brains react first with emotions. We connect to and resonate with stories, to make sense of what we see, hear, and read. Effective marketing attracts the prospect’s  attention with something that seems new or intriguing, and then seeks to further engage the consumer. Think about answering the consumer’s unspoken question, “What’s in it for me?”

Some powerful emotional triggers include: fear, greed, pride, lust, envy, laziness, and vanity. When you appeal to one of these emotions, you can successfully “hit ‘em where it hurts” to lead them to the sale — and then go on to provide the rationale that justifies their decision.

Now, it’s not as ruthless as it may sound to appeal to these “base” emotions. We all react to the world around us with self-interest. And your goal, as stated before, is to sell your product or service by convincing the prospect that what you offer is the best solution to their problem. (It is the best, isn’t it?) Buying it makes them feel happy, successful, and smart — like they made the right decision.

Of course, you can also have great success by appealing to “good” emotions. Many companies incorporate these ideals to drive sales: altruism, generosity, love, sharing, cooperation. If it suits your company’s image or mission better, you can use these good emotions in the narrative to connect with the prospect, help build trust, and make the sale.

In his book, Persuasion: The Subtle Art of Getting What You Want, Mark Morgan Ford relates his formula for a “simple but universal prescription for persuasion.” (Ford is a direct response copywriter with more than 30 years of experience in sales and marketing.)

His formula for getting people to take the action you want:

“Effective persuasion is the presentation of emotionally compelling ideas with clarity and specificity.”

An emotionally compelling idea is felt, in the heart or gut. At the same time the mind will rationalize it, saying it feels correct and insightful. It generates the feeling of discovering something new and useful. An “Aha!” moment.

But since just experiencing an emotion is not enough insight to drive the decision-making process, the other two elements that complete the formula are clarity and specificity.

Clarity in the writing will help the reader understand immediately what the writer is getting at. Clearly identifying and explaining the core idea of the promotion puts it into context, helping the reader “connect the dots” in their mind.

Specificity is the features, proofs, and testimonials you provide to overcome any objections in the mind of the reader or listener. These details will convince the prospect that there is no other logical choice but to buy from you. Keep in mind that the more exciting your emotionally compelling idea is, the more proof the reader’s mind demands.

Because all sales are consumer-driven, the aim of all advertising is to meet the consumer where they’re at. You must touch their emotions to make a meaningful connection. Then tell them a story that can end no other way than with them choosing you and your product or service as the solution to their problem.

For help with telling your unique story with an emotional appeal, contact me today!

Photo credit: Andre Hunter/Unsplash.com