The small business owner does not often have a large built-in active audience online. However, you can engage your followers and attract additional prospects when you deliver content that tugs at the emotions. This does not mean that you forget about your brand's focus and post stories about old women traveling and kittens playing (it needs to be content related to your brand and product). A great deal of science goes into creating an emotional content marketing campaign that ties consumer psychology to your product or brand. We distill what you need to know about tapping into prospects' emotions to drive quality traffic to your website.
How Emotions Impact the Decision-Making Process
Emotions form the base of any purchasing decision. You can grab more views and traffic using the emotions of your prospects and consumers. Not every decision is based on logic, and social media posts, content marketing, and other inbound marketing efforts should reflect the emotional influence on purchasing decisions (emotional content marketing). When we look at well-regarded research in this area, we see that:
- Using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) neuro-imagery, consumers have been found to base their evaluation of brands primarily on emotions, such as their feelings and experiences, rather than on brand facts, features, and attributes.
- The Advertising Research Foundation discovered that “likeability” is the “measure most predictive” of whether or not a specific ad will increase sales when it comes to brands.
- Positive emotions felt toward a brand have a greater impact on consumer loyalty than trust built upon a brand's attributes.
Emotions push your consumers to take action. Human beings are hardwired to respond to fear or support their sense of self-identity with the latest on-trend product. You have to decide on the emotional content marketing triggers to incorporate into your “narrative” around a brand. Consider:
- How to create an identity for your brand; and
- How it makes a difference for the consumer.
Psychological studies also show that a purchasing decision about package goods products is tied to the brand's relationship as an extension of the prospect’s self. Your job is to create a match between your brand or business and the consumer’s personality. Their belief about your given “personality” is based upon how they interpret the narrative of your “story” and how it relates to them.
What emotions appear to elicit a response in the consumer?
Which ones may serve to increase views and create viral interest in your marketing campaign?
The Harvard Business Review discusses the emotions behind viral marketing campaigns. They used the Wheel of Emotion to categorize the emotions that top images activated for viewers. HBR found that:
- Viral success can be possible with negative emotions. However, these negative emotions should elicit feelings of anticipation and surprise. Highly viral content often relies upon positive emotions.
- Highly viral content appears to be driven by emotions that would correlate to Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion‘s surprise and anticipation areas. Emotions commonly elicited in viral content are curiosity, uncertainty, astonishment, interest, and amazement.
- Admiration was an emotion commonly seen in highly shared content.
It is important to consider the narrative that you want to create for your business and offered brands and the emotions that you hope to trigger in your prospect.
For example, you may decide to create a video that creates feelings of curiosity or admiration in a viewer to create brand awareness and increase sales in the future hopefully. Remember, this does not mean that they will automatically buy.
However, it does increase the chances that they will engage with your content (the video in this example) and share it within their circle, increasing your exposure to new prospects. It makes it more likely that they will keep an eye out for engaging content in the future. It is important to have realistic expectations regarding the immediacy of a sale after engaging with your content. You can also expect prospects to engage with content that is interesting and meaningful for them. More content does not necessarily equate to meaningful content for your audience and will not add to new traffic. It will help if you deliver messages that resonate with your audience.
Emotional Content Marketing for Engagement
While email is a proven way to work with your prospects and customers, what can you do to go beyond the supposedly rational-minded consumer and trigger an emotional response that will benefit your business? Viral marketing campaigns often use video. Video can be used in multiple ways and channels to attract interest and build your online following. Consider how you are using:
- YouTube to gain new leads and create your narrative;
- Facebook to share and promote your video content. Facebook is prioritizing all video content on its platform at this time. Small businesses will often see more views and engagement on video than on other forms of content currently.
- Video on LinkedIn is embedded in your business’ LinkedIn Pulse blogs and added to business profiles to establish your company or yourself as an industry authority.
- Video on your website to increase engagement and build relationships with your customers before they even pick up a phone.
- Video compiled and used in your email marketing campaigns and newsletters. Text can be supported by video and used to tease consumers about taking the next step toward conversion.
Video triggers an emotional response in individuals. Use it to your advantage. Think about how the product or service can be used in your audience's lives in ways that create feelings of warmth and connectedness this holiday season, as seen in this Christmas commercial for Apple. Do you offer an unusual service such as taxidermy? Check out these great viral videos to inspire your marketing efforts. How can you translate their approaches for your home heating, retail, or real estate business this holiday season?
Emotional Content Marketing – Can You Do It Alone?
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