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The Power of Emotional Marketing

The Power of Emotional Marketing

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: January 5, 2016 Updated: January 5, 2016

It's the time of year when everyone is throwing around predictions — and in the marketing world, emotion is shaping up to be a hot marketing trend for 2016. What does emotional marketing mean, and how can your small business tap into it?

Essentially, emotional marketing refers to marketing that arouses emotions within prospective customers. Emotional marketing has been around as long as advertising itself — after all, few purchases are made based purely on logic and reason. In recent years, however, scientific studies have proved the value of emotional marketing. One influential study, reported in Psychology Today, found that “when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).” The same study found that a viewer's emotional response to an ad was a greater influence on their intent to buy than the actual content of the ad — up to three times greater, in fact.

All humans feel four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. While you probably don't want prospective customers to feel disgusted when they see your marketing materials, creating strong emotions — either positive or negative — can help build a bond between your customers and your business, increasing customer loyalty.

Emotional marketing is seeing a resurgence thanks to the growth of content marketing. Content can be used to tell a story about your business — and what is a story but something that creates emotions in the audience? Tech companies are working on futuristic products such as face-reading technology that can tell whether a digital advertisement or billboard makes viewers happy or sad and serves up additional marketing messages to suit that feeling. But even without this type of technology, your business can benefit from emotional marketing.

There's an old saying when creating marketing copy: “Focus on benefits, not features.” What's the difference? Features are the elements of your product or service, while benefits are how your product or service helps customers. In other words, features are factual, while benefits are emotional.

For example, the features of a shampoo might be that it's paraben-free, has no sulfates, contains keratin and gets your hair clean. Pretty boring, right? The stated benefits might be that it protects your expensive hair color, eliminates frizz and gives you smooth, shiny hair. The emotional benefits might be that it makes