There are six basic emotions- anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. We all know that emotions drive decisions, and so much of how potential customers engage with your company online involves a complex process of logical thought, subconscious desires, and emotional responses. Although it’s impossible for any one marketer to untangle that complicated web, there are definitely ways that you can harness the power of emotion to help your audience move closer to your brand and toward a purchase.

1) Remember who you are talking to.
It’s important that you identify your audience and some of their primary fears, drivers and desires. Creating a buyer persona is an excellent way to begin this process. Once you are familiar with who you want to speak to and what they need, you can better identify what emotions you may want to focus on with your writing.

2) Don’t underestimate the power of the “lizard brain”.
Most buying decisions are not driven by logic. They are driven by core emotions that live in our amygdala, or what some call the lizard brain. The primary role of the amygdala is to provide us with our most primal instincts: fear, hunger and arousal- some of the most basic emotions that are required for survival. When writing content, it is possible to bypass the logical mind and appeal to someone’s most basic emotions using the right words and approach.

3) Focus on the narrative, not your sales pitch.
Humans are compelled by a sense of story. A beginning, middle, and end. A hero, an obstacle, a challenge to be overcome. It is important to remember this when crafting content. So often companies focus on their products and services, without offering a compelling narrative for why they exist and what they can do to help the customer. Focusing on narrative is a powerful tool for tapping into your customer’s emotions.

4) Identify the emotion and choose your words wisely.
We have all seen clickbait articles that focus on our curiosity, fear or anger to get us to read more. Even though we may not have realized it, we responded to the copy on an emotional level and took action based on that. You must first understand the specific emotion you want to incite in your reader, and find the appropriate copy to make it happen. This amazing list of words to match any emotion is a great resource.

5) Be clear about next steps.
Once you have successfully aroused an emotion in your reader, you must tell them what to do next. Whether it’s clicking to share, reading more, or making a purchase, an emotional response begs a physical action. Don’t leave your audience hanging without something to do about how they feel. Give them a clear next step, a call to action, and continue to test your content and results to see what is working.

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