“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ⏤ Maya Angelou
While we’re more digitally connected than ever these days, it’s safe to say that we’re losing touch with one another. My phone now talks with my thermostat more than I talk with my neighbor.
As a result, marketing has been missing the mark. Per a recent survey, only one in three consumers believe that companies and brands actually understand them. Only 35% of participants stated that the companies they were most loyal to send “usually relevant” messages or emails. Ouch.
It makes sense though⏤with the proliferation of automated funnels and google adwords, there’s a constant stream of data being mined, refurbished, and climbing through our feeds. Fire! Brimstone! Doom! Alas!
Hardly. Aside from getting my cranky old man on, there’s a golden opportunity at hand. If anything, this offers us one of the greatest opportunities of our time⏤to reconnect. We wield the power to transform the cultural narrative we’ve been telling.
So why aren’t more brands making the effort to reach out and connect with consumers on an emotional level? Quality copywriting strategies and content don’t begin with the customer. They have to begin with you.
But before we dive into that, let’s take a peek at emotions, and the role they play in our exchanges.
Emotions are the real CEO
Data-driven marketing has ballooned over the years. Rightly so⏤we gain a clearer purchase on what works and doesn’t with numbers. And yet we’re only looking at half the equation. No amount of Google Analytics can tell you why someone bounced from your page. Were they irritated? Bored? Confused? If they stayed, were they excited? Intrigued? Or simply away from the keyboard?
Analytics without emotional intelligence is like cooking a meal with no spices or toppings⏤sure, it works, but there’s so much more to be discovered. One of the mistakes salespeople make is leading with facts and figures, thinking they will influence the buying decision. They work to appeal to the logical, analytical part of the consumer’s brain. And while buyers justify their decisions with facts, they make their purchases based on their feelings.
Your web page will be judged within 50 milliseconds of being viewed, hardly enough time for a customer to come to a logical conclusion as to why the page fulfills their needs. That split second results in flash interpretations, a sudden sense of something. A feeling, not even a full thought.
Your job is to understand your customers’ complex emotions, appeal to them, and retain their attention in an online market where everything is constantly vying for it. Sounds simple, right?
Don’t panic. Taking emotions as your road map or compass, you’ll find your way to more meaningful and loyal relationships with customers.
Relating to people in our direct vicinity is easy. But in the haze of the digital whirlwind, it can be harder to get a good look at your customer. So how do you get past the barrier of your screen to build and develop a consistent relationship with them?
- ENGAGE. In the modern age, most consumers expect to be able to talk to brands via social media. Don’t be afraid to talk back! Approach them like you’re having coffee with them, or bouncing jokes like old friends⏤it’s infinitely more appealing than a dull, standardized inquiry response. Don’t feel like everything you post has to be perfectly curated, either; if the feeling behind it is genuine, no one will care if it’s not a masterpiece in 14o characters or less.
- LISTEN. Put your customer’s needs over your desire for a sale. People don’t like to feel like they’re being ignored anymore than they like to feel swindled. By seeking to understand from the outset, you develop a foundation that will serve you exponentially in years to come. Remember, word of mouth is still the best marketing!
- OBSERVE. The truth is, surveys can only provide so much accurate data. We’re all occasionally guilty of telling someone we’ll do one thing, then going off and doing something completely different. Your customers are no exception. A better approach is to find out what makes them tick, to observe their daily context. We’re not suggesting you peer through their windows⏤but observing human nature will get you a long way.
- ADD VALUE. Value will always remain relative⏤that’s why engaging with and listening to your customers is so important. Ultimately, the value you offer has to be greater than the price. By creating a relationship and starting a conversation with your customer, you’ll be in a better position to improve the experience of their buyer’s journey.
These four steps will help you get in touch with what your audience wants and needs. But they can only get you so far without the final, crucial step.
Knowing your audience starts with knowing yourself
We all like to think we know what’s right, and what’s best for others. Ultimately though, our understanding of others boils down to our own projected desires, hopes, and fears. We want the world⏤and other people⏤to operate in the same way that we do. Fortunately, that’s just not the case (otherwise things would be pretty boring.)
If you think you can understand the emotions of others without understanding your own, think again. As the saying goes, it takes one to know one. We’re all consumers of something, and even the most experienced, cynical marketer can be influenced by just the right the right ad at just the right time and place.
The ability to put yourself in your customers’ collective shoes is not a skill you can develop overnight. But by being willing to readily connect with others and listen to their needs, you’ll find you have a lot more material to draw from when writing copy. The result? Content that resonates with your customers emotionally, and remains in their heads (and their hearts!) for a long time to come.
Written by Kevin Hermann