How to Use Emotional Marketing When Creating Content

Emotional marketing is key if you want to use content to nurture a connection with your audience. Appealing to them in this way allows them to relate to your brand in a personal, genuine, and human way and helps you differentiate yourself in a crowded space. 

Roger Dooley, author and marketer, analyzed data from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), and found that purely emotional content performed twice as well compared to rational content in terms of profit. 

When done right, emotional marketing can be the difference between earning new customers and losing them to your competitors. Use the following tips and ideas to better understand emotional marketing and create content that drives a profitable connection between you and your audience.

Understand Your Target Audience 

Emotional marketing appeals to your reader’s feelings. It stands to reason that you can’t tap into the psyche of your target demographic without knowing their personality. Bottom line—whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, you need to know who you are creating content for to connect emotionally   

In their guide to audience research, Hootsuite recommends you use these data points to identify your target market:
  • Age: the decade or generation  
  • Location: geographic region, which can also help identify community-specific trends or feelings
  • Language: predominant languages spoken, might need a translation option to appeal across languages  
  • Spending power and patterns: the financial abilities and habits of your target audience  
  • Interests: hobbies, likes or dislikes  
  • Stage of life: i.e., college students, parents, retired    
Alternatively, you could use the “who, what, why, and where?” method. The end goal is simple: create a clear vision of your target customer or client so you understand what they care about.

Tell a Story

A strong focus on storytelling makes for compelling and creative content. Chris Warden, CMO of Fox Powers, describes it perfectly: “What message is your story trying to purvey, and what are you hoping sticks with your audience after they view it?” 
Use your content—whether its a blog post or marketing email—to tell a story that your audience will identify with, that elicits an emotional response, and that they’ll ultimately remember. Smart Insights uses National Geographic for a case study in storytelling. The key aspects of their successful content include: 
  • An engaging first sentence or hook that grips the audience 
  • Unusual content that leaves you wanting more 
  • Historically, personally, or topically emotional stories garnering sentiment or persuasion from their audience 
Holly Rollins, President of 10x digital, shares how they used emotional marketing to drive brand awareness for their client CouponBox:
“One of the best applications of emotional marketing is to tell a story that is relevant, heartfelt and meaningful to your audience. For our client CouponBox, we helped create a Kid Kindness Contest where kids aged 7-13 submitted video, text and/or photos describing how they would spend award money to spread kindness or help a group of people or cause.”

The thing about a great story is that it’s so much more than a campaign or a stand-alone blog post. As Rollins explains: 

“There were layers to this story and a two-month span of actual promotion, which supported a very worthy, emotion-provoking effort. This approach, while labor intensive, is much more memorable than publishing other forms of content. This campaign is also a good example of a sticky, long-term strategy for content marketing.”

Invoke a Sense of Community

Paulina Karpis, CEO of brunchwork and Forbes contributor, explains the importance of community for brands. “People are craving community now more than ever.”

And for you, this is a good thing because it’s an audience desire you can leverage to create more impactful marketing. Karpis continues: “A strong and engaged community will lead to improved products, learning, and innovation, as well as company growth. However, to be impactful, brands need to build communities that go beyond selling a product and provide value and support for members.”

You can create that community of like-minded individuals for your customers to feel understood, secure, and safe with great content by posting the right images on social media, reflecting back the same language your audience uses, and engaging with them on a daily basis.

This is why knowing your audience is the first and most important step. Then you can speak their language through your marketing.

Incorporate Social Proof 

While we’ve already established that people feel first and think second, eventually, they will think. So you need to create content that appeals to both their emotions and their logic. Including social proof within your content lends certain credibility and trust, that further validates the feelings of your audience.

Here are the types of social proof that you can use in your content creation: 

  • User-generated content: Reposting content that mentions your company or including UGC in blog posts, makes it easy for potential customers to both connect with your brand and see that others have too. 
  • Testimonials: Think of these as digital recommendations of your brand’s high quality—just another reason why you’re a brand your customers should care about.
  • Include impressive company details or data: Buffer uses the example of including the size of your customer base in your company bio as a way of showing that many people trust and connect with your brand.

Use Emotional Marketing to Create Better Content 

As emotional beings, we all want to consume content that makes us feel something, especially in the highly competitive digital landscape that’s dominated by social feeds. Instead of putting money behind another ad campaign, focus on emotional marketing and creating connections with your content. Highlight user reviews, engage with your community regularly, most importantly, tell a story. 

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