Early on in my career I worked as an editor for a large food company. Our goal was to create digital content that appealed to a busy mom who was short on time but still wanted to prepare a quality dinner for her family. In a brainstorming session, people were throwing around ideas on how to market the packaged product itself. They delved into the features of the product: how it tasted, what it could be served with, etc. But they easily forgot who we were talking to and how this person felt. We started discussing what this woman’s typical day looked like: she worked full-time and had small children. She was super busy but cared about her family coming together each night for a hot meal. What does someone feel like when their day has been insanely busy and they don’t know what to make for dinner? And how would they feel if they had an easy solution that they didn’t have to spend hours preparing?
Sometimes the simplest exercises like that can be the most powerful. The biggest takeaway from this was remembering that what I’m selling matters less than how I’m making my audience feel. Yes, it can sound kind of mushy, but using emotional intelligence to identify with your target audience is a highly effective approach. Marketing, after all, is about motivation. As humans, our emotions are our number one motivator. If you can connect with your customer on an emotional level, you’re much more likely to motivate them to act.
How To Go From Robotic Marketing To Emotion-Driven Marketing
Content doesn’t exist in a vacuum—a real, live human is going to read it. Countless companies forget this simple fact. Their content is generic and lacks the emotional element of human connection. If it’s a blog, it uses a lot of keywords to try and rank first on google; if it’s an email campaign, it’s churned out in less than 20 minutes and talks up what the offer is rather than how the reader will feel after they utilize the offer.
This type of marketing doesn’t motivate your reader to do anything. If you want your marketing strategy to be effective, you need to understand what your potential customers are feeling and how they want to feel, whether you’re selling a product or service. Hubspot Academy’s Content Marketing course delves into this, too, reiterating that “you have to appeal to the emotion of your prospects, not just the logic of what you do.” If you’re in a rut and not seeing results from your content marketing, it’s time to get back to the human element of what you do and make an emotional connection.
Let me offer a quick example. Here are two different email intros for a fitness center: we’ll call it The Imaginary Gym. Imaginary Gym has had a hard time filling their early morning fitness classes, and they want to send out a promo/special offer around New Year’s for 50% off. Which email are you more interested in?
- A) Subject: Have You Signed Up For Our Fitness Classes?
Just in time for New Year’s, we’re offering 50% off all early morning fitness classes! From strength training to Pilates and everything in between, Imaginary Gym has tons of different options to choose from to meet your fitness needs. Sign up for a class today and save big! Don’t miss out on this exclusive offer because it won’t last forever.
- B) Subject: The #1 Way To Start Your Day With More Energy
Feeling weighed down after the holidays? Low on energy? A little…meh? Us too. Let’s get back on track together. Through the end of the week we’re offering 50% off all early-morning fitness classes, so you can sweat off those Christmas cookies and start your morning with more energy. Get your workout done before your brain can say no—and gain the muscle (and confidence) you need to tackle the rest of your day like a champ.
-The Imaginary Gym Team
In my humble opinion, an email like option B is much more effective at motivating your audience. It’s written like it’s actually speaking to a human (remember how content doesn’t exist in a vacuum?) and it incorporates the emotions and feelings of the reader. The email addresses a problem: feeling out of shape and low-energy after the holidays. It then offers a solution: early morning workouts. But beyond a simple problem/solution template, it also does three things that emotionally intelligent content does:
–Acknowledges that the problem is common and somewhat universal (being out of shape after the holidays)
–Empathizes with how that problem makes someone feel (bloated, tired, not their best)
–Motivates the reader to act based on their desired emotions. They want to feel strong and confident. You can help.
The next time you feel stuck with your marketing strategy, an easy way to get back on track is to see if your message has some of the characteristics of emotionally intelligent content above. Sure, not everything you write needs to be a passionate saga, but you need to inject some element of emotional connection into your content if you want it to resonate with someone—and motivate them to buy what you’re selling. Go ahead and get a little emotional. Your reader—and your marketing strategy—will thank you.