There is almost an endless number of anagrams to reflect how we feel or communicate in an acronym (and the emojis to accompany).
LOL (laugh out loud), YOLO (you only live once), OMG (oh my god), SMH (shaking my head), and FOMO (fear of missing out) are just a few of the more common ones.
The last one, FOMO, can be an intense driving force in marketing.
All The Cool Kids Are Doing It
The next best thing becomes the thing you initially want, and then need. Your friend’s new smartphone can do all these fun and fancy tricks, while you’re stuck in the dark ages with your flip phone. Your fear of missing out turns into a must-have mentality, even if that means spending the money isn’t in your best interest.
Of course, fear shouldn’t be the only emotion to factor into marketing. A recent Forbes.com article identified an additional four (more positive) emotions prevalent in the sales/purchase process: belonging, trust, values, and happiness.
How can you develop a strategy that appeals to the emotional intelligence of your targeted audience? Start by creating emotionally purposeful content.
Avoid The Fluff
The goal of inbound marketing is to generate content that people will consume. But content that has no purpose is just "fluff," even if it ultimately elicits an emotional response. Remember, value-added content is content that gives. The goal is to make an emotional connection.
If your message is brand-focused, think about what type of emotion would be satisfied by purchasing your product or service. Again, looking at the top five:
- Belonging: Will your consumers feel included or part of a larger whole? This is a perfect opportunity to use social media to build a community around your brand.
- Trust: Does your content instill trust in the brand? There is perhaps no greater dynamic in a consumer/seller relationship. Maintaining sincerity will go a long way.
- Values: Does your brand fall in line with consumers’ values? Understanding what customers deem important (or unimportant) is key.
- Happiness: Why might a purchase bring about happiness? You should strive for that warm fuzzy feeling customers get after completing a purchase. Bowman says happiness can also be tied to instant gratification, another powerful (and sometimes addictive) incentive.
- Fear: What might consumers miss out on by not purchasing? Be careful not to go overboard with the fear tactic. Too much can scare customers away, but just enough FOMO can be very advantageous.
It’s typically understood that inbound marketing content should not make a direct sales pitch, which is why appealing to core emotions can be a viable substitute.
Connecting Emotions To Sales
A well-respected study conducted by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio looked at how emotions play into almost every single decision we make.
When evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions rather than information. Essentially, logic goes by the wayside and personal feelings take over.
One notable takeaway, captured by fMRI neuro-imagery, is that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts). Essentially, logic goes by the wayside and emotions take over. We feel before we think, but we still act.
Tapping into those personal feelings and experiences in a way that informs—not sells—is the gateway to enforcing the purchasing decision.
For example, someone looking for ways to improve her appearance (skin care, teeth whitening, hair color, etc.) is striving to feel more confident about herself. She may want to appear more attractive to others, or she might simply want to gain the self-assurance she’s been lacking.
Regardless the reason, there are a number of ways to capture interest. Explaining how your product is made with ingredients obtained in a sustainable manner might speak to her values. Attaching testimonials to your social media community from other satisfied customers presents an underlying atmosphere of both trust in the product and a sense of inclusion. Telling the stories of other women who were at a loss to solve their acne but upon finding a solution brought out feelings of hopeful anticipation.
The Dove Real Beauty campaign is a perfect example of how a brand was able to engage a large audience based on an emotional response, and it continues to inform with its many lateral campaigns (My Beauty My Say, Dove Self Esteem Project, #BeautyBias). The overall message did an excellent job of incorporating the four positive emotions and utilizing the opposite of fear: empowerment.
Using emotions to connect to your customer base is a very powerful tool. However, there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach to doing so, which is why testing becomes essential. Figure out who responds best to what, and you’ll see much greater success from your efforts.