In the world of direct marketing, in an attempt to boost response, direct marketers often employ “bells and whistles.” For instance, in a direct mail package, the more common of these include items such as stickers, pens, personalized mailing labels or note pads. In the online world, the enticement to get prospects to share their email address might be a how-to report, a white paper or an eBook. However, the most important bell and whistle of all, is not physical or digital in nature. It is emotion.
In an article on Entrepreneur.com, contributor Jeremy Ellens wrote, “Your business needs to acknowledge that selling a product is no longer enough. Now it’s all about the experience you provide with it. This experience is dependent on your ability to trigger the right emotions, from the right audience, at the right time.”
When you’re writing content, if you push the right buttons, you increase engagement because your customers/prospects get emotionally involved and resonate with your message and that converts leads into sales.
#1: Emotions Create Connection between You and Your Prospect
Back in the late 1980s I took a course in direct response copywriting. My professor was Milt Pierce, a highly regarded copywriter who instilled the idea in me that direct mail packages had to have an emotional component to be effective.
Back then, as part of assignment, I wrote a self-promotion letter which was “okay” (i.e., it incorporated the ‘right’ direct mail techniques). However, when I rewrote it, it had a more emotional appeal (i.e., had content others could relate to in their lives).
An example is when a credit card company offers you zero percent interest APR along with a list of features. Rather than doing that, the company could more readily capture your attention by giving you examples of how that zero percent interest would make your life easier, give you peace of mind or save you money.
#2: Demonstrate That You’ve Done Your Homework
I was fortunate that Milt Pierce introduced me to my mentor, Eugene Schwartz the author of Breakthrough Advertising. Gene, as he was known to those close to him, taught me that, prior to picking up a pen (or sitting at a keyboard), the best thing to do was my ‘homework.’ Doing your homework means researching your audience, understanding the intricacies of your product, and knowing your audience’s likes/dislikes, their daily challenges or what keeps them up at night.
Knowing these elements helps you unleash those things that, again, push your prospects’ buttons. For example, when seeking to acquire donors for a nonprofit cancer organization, rather than simply stating cancer statistics, discuss how cancer intersects and affects all of our lives – as it’s certainly a disease that increasingly has touched the lives of many in some way, shape or form.
#3: Deliver a Solution to Your Prospect
Sit down and ask yourself “what are the problems, issues, or concerns facing my target audience?”
Once you’re clear on the challenges they face, you can then pique your audience’s interest on an emotional level. When you touch their emotions, you grab their attention. After you have their attention, you reveal the solution that will make their lives easier.
For instance, if yours is a weight loss product, you can target brides. Perhaps a bride is looking at her wedding date on the calendar and wants to lose that last five pounds to fit into her wedding dress. She’s stressed and worried about whether or not she can achieve that goal on time. If you’ve done your homework, stated the problem on an emotional level and delivered a solution that resonates with her, you’re likely to convert that bride from a prospect into a customer.
What are you doing when you write marketing content? Are you raising eyebrows, pushing buttons, catching your audience’s attention and encouraging a response? Please share your comments below because I’d love to hear from you.