Your friend has a baby. You go buy the little one a gift. What do you choose? Well, I vote for a hat. Cos it’s a Law of Nature that, no matter how cute the baby, he or she becomes extra adorable sporting head wear.
(It’s just how the Universe efficiently ensures the continuation of the human species and the knitwear industry.)
Truth is cute baby hats take me back to when my two – Daisy and Dylan – were born. A couple of angels with cheeky grins and big trusting blue eyes. And usually sporting some sort of headwear. So babies in hats remind me of them in the early days. And I melt a little.
It’s an emotion-driven buy for me. Logic’s got nothing to do with it. I never check to see if this newborn actually needs another hat. Or ponder over the best choice for warmth, wearability and washability.
But handing over the gift, I’ll usually give some very logical reasons for the purchase. “I got it in white cos that goes with anything. And it’s wool so it’s going to be really warm.”
Bought on emotion. Justified on logic.
And that, in a nutshell, is how people buy.
Fact is you make all sorts of decisions emotionally. Mac or PC? Luxury or value brand? Out of town supermarket or local store? iPhone or android? Sports car or people carrier? You may know which you prefer, even before you look at any research. You decide quickly, based on your feelings and response to those things. There’s an emotional core to every decision.
Buying on emotion means responding to:
- the way a product makes you feel
- the aspirational results it says it can get you
- the things you associate with that product
- the friends who already use it
- how easy it makes your life.
Yet if you go on to buy, based on that emotional response, you probably won’t name your emotions as being the decider. No. You’ll find what sounds a logical reason and give that instead. Like I do with the hats.
Justifying with logic means explaining the purchase saying:
- it’s the right model
- it’s the right colour
- it’s to replace your broken one
- it’s something I know you want.
So as a writer you must spot the emotions…
It’s not enough for you to write well. You also need to get inside the mind of your reader. Always ask yourself, “What is the emotional hot button here?” Even if you only figure that out half the time, you’ll double your results.
These are ‘Diana Ross’ moments. Cos if your copy can connect to my emotional buying triggers, there “Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from you-hoo”.
Right, you have a go!
Let’s try one out…Don’t scroll down too far yet… just a line at a time…
Say someone you know puts on a bit of weight. (Not you or me, obviously, them over there!). How would you convince them to lose it?
Don’t scroll – have a think.
What emotionally-charged reason could make them DETERMINED to lose weight?
Is your answer
(a) It’s the healthy thing to do
(b) Something else, like:
- To win back their ex
- Avoid dying young, and leaving family and friends bereft
- Slip into those jeans they wore 10 years ago
- Get them ‘beach ready’ for their holiday so they’re not ashamed by the photos
- Have the pick of everything in the store when shopping for clothes, not just settle for a single rail
- Not feel the shame of people teasing them about their size
- Look like a knockout in time for that school reunion – “Look what happened to MEEEEEEEEE!”
- Or something else like this.
Emotion is a powerful motivator. It moves people. Heck, it even contains the word MOTION.
Congratulations if you answered (b), by the way!
Scientific research explains why…
In recent research scientists agreed with all this. We buy on emotion. Rationalise with logic. And most of the time we have no idea we are doing this.
But why? They concluded that our society values logic and reason above emotion. So although we buy on emotion, we’d hesitate about admitting all our motivations for every purchase. And we’d find some logical explanation for what we did instead. And BOOM! No-one’s any the wiser.
And that’s critical to YOU because…
This means that a company’s brand image is critical, particularly as it starts to work with a new client. And if you’re writing copy, then you need to get an emotional connection in early to secure that relationship.
As they say: “The earlier you make an emotional connection the better, because once consumers have decided they like a particular option, the more difficult it is for them to backpedal. Their thinking falls in line with the emotions.”
How To Use Emotion To Help You Sell
Here’s a great starter list of emotions that people buy on. The list is in two sections – negative and positive. People want to move AWAY from the negative, and move TOWARDS the positive.
- Positive + negative. The best sales copy has a mix of positive and negative. The combined push-me-pull-you effect is very effective.
- Many is better than one. You won’t know what emotion your audience is feeling. But you can take a good guess. In fact there are probably a few at play at any time. So pick a few, and get started!
- Real or imagined. Your brain sees real and imagined events in exactly the same way. So ‘loss’ could be a real loss, or an imagined one. Works the same.
Feel free to add any in the box at the bottom of the page that you think should be here. If they are appropriate than they’ll make the list and I’ll name check you here.
Negative Emotional Convincers
Tricky area, this. Negatives work on a very basic level in sales copy and might be a bit heavy-handed. But in the right circumstances, this sort of message can be potent.
“I don’t want… to lose things, opportunities or people” inc:
|Loss of admiration||from family, friends, peer group|
|Loss of confidence||the loss + the comparison of how great their confidence used to be|
|Loss of dignity||at home, at work|
|Loss of faculties||physical strength, the ability to have children, drive, live in their own home|
|Loss of freedom||for them, their family or friends|
|Loss of fun||means boredom, no laughter, all work makes Jack a dull boy|
|Loss of health||their health, a close friend or family member|
|Loss of independence||potent for all ages, but especially for an older audience|
|Loss of money||either income from a wage, or investment capital|
|Loss of opportunity||passing them, their friends or family by|
|Loss of popularity||at home, at work|
|Loss of security||for themselves, their friends, family, work or home life|
|Loss of success||in work, hobbies, private life|
|Loss of time||either wasting it or when it runs out|
“I don’t want… to experience unpleasantness.” Avoid:
|Being criticized||by others, but also by that ‘small inner voice’ inside|
|Being dominated||well, unless they like that sort of thing!|
|Boredom||with someone, something or at a stage of life|
|Confusion||even messy people only put up with their own mess|
|Effort||people are more likely to be lazy and look for the quick, easy, no hassle route through|
|Embarrassment||about things they say or do, being found out|
|Feeling uncertain||people like road maps, blueprints, a compass, directions|
|Guilt||to come clean, or make amends|
|Loss of reputation||either through word of mouth, or word of mouse|
|Offending others||via an honest mistake on their part or a misinterpretation by someone else|
|Pain||physical, emotional, spiritual|
|Risk||note people have different risk thresholds, and risk can be a GOOD thing (eg you get the best returns on the markets if you’re prepared to take the risk)|
|Work||looking for push-button solutions, or to believe that elements of what they buy offer that|
Positive Emotional Convincers
Not only do they want it. But when they’ve got it, they generally want more of it. To just about the point where they go POP!
“I want… a charmed life.” Includes:
|A VIP pass||to have exclusivity, a sneak peek, first refusal, be in on a special event|
|Appearance||beauty, style, physical build, cleanliness|
|Business success||achieving results, promotion, being one’s own boss|
|Comfort||from just sufficient to self-indulgence and luxury|
|Convenience||to have it now, have it easy, have it handed to them, have it their way|
|Enjoyment||food, drink, entertainment, other physical contacts|
|Being accomplished||justified pride in doing things well, overcoming obstacles, finishing first|
|Fun||feeling like a kid again, doing something for no good reason, goofing off|
|Health||having strength, flexibility, endurance and living longer|
|Leisure||for travel, hobbies, rest, play, self-development|
|Love||to have friends and family who love them, and who they love, to be bonded, to have a place, ‘cos people make it all make sense’|
|More money||to not have to worry about money, to spend/save/donate as they want|
|More time||to spend on themselves, with family and doing things they like, longer life|
|Popularity||to be liked by people, have people celebrate their arrival and mourn their going|
|Praise||their good points acknowledged eg intelligence, wisdom, looks|
|Prestige||feeling of importance, a member of a select group, having power|
|Security||at home, at work, at this stage of life, with money, planning for old age or problems|
|Security||to make provision for a certain future, knowing the rules|
|Self-confidence||to feel complete and easy with themselves, confident in their physical and mental abilities|
|Social climbing||keeping up with neighbours, moving in desirable social circles|
|Being envied||‘they’ll ask you how you did it’, having something others want|
“I want… a great image.” To be seen as:
|A contributor||putting something back, helping others, making it better|
|A winner||someone who succeeds, is often best at something, always first|
|Creative||in a general sense, or with a particular talent|
|Good parents||coping, nurturing, protecting, educating|
|Influential||able to get things done|
|One-of-a-kind||having a unique quality|
|Part of a group||“one of the gang” that either exists or that you create|
|Streetwise||knowing what’s going on, too clever to trick|
|Fun||the life and soul of the party, extrovert, popular, part of the gang, a joiner|
|‘With it’||up-to-date, well-educated, streetwise, impossible to trick, brain the size of a planet|