Let’s look at a real-world example of emotional targeting and user engagement

You see a new shade of lipstick that you think will make you look drop dead gorgeous, and you buy it impulsively without thinking much or at all about the cost or whether you actually need the lipstick (alongside the dozen others you already have).

Or maybe you see a hot, new phone that makes you feel as excited as a kid looking at the tree on Christmas morning. You don’t think through how much you actually need the features it offers you or reason that you can get by with even a simple flip phone (can you even buy those anymore?). You just buy it because it is new and exciting, and you know how jealous everyone else will be.

You already know that emotional targeting works on consumers because it has worked on you. But are you doing enough in your marketing to focus on creating that emotional connection for your target audience?

Focusing on emotional engagement in your marketing can have a huge impact on your business. People are much more gun shy after the recession, and they are more cautious in how they spend their money. Emotional engagement encourages them to buy without making a rational justification for the purchase.

According to research conducted by Gallup, engaged customers represent an average 23 percent increase in revenue, profits, and relationship growth. In contrast, disengaged customers actually bring down those benchmarks by an average of 13 percent.

The results are much more dramatic in some industries.

For example, fully engaged shoppers visit consumer electronics retailers 44 per more per year and they spend an average of $373 per trip, compared with only $289 per trip for disengaged shoppers.

Gallup also found that fully engaged hotel guests spend 46 percent more per year than disengaged customers, and fully engaged banking customers bring in 37 percent more revenue per year, including more checking and savings accounts, mortgages and auto loans. Those banking customers also have higher deposit balances.

Though any type of emotional engagement can help you increase sales, certain types of engagement have been shown to be more effective than others.

MediaBrix conducted research and found that encouragement resulted in an average engagement rate of 17 percent. Meanwhile, reward results in an average engagement rate of 73.6 percent and rescue results in 86.9 percent.

The more you can get your customers to feel, the more they will be engaged and the more likely they will be to act.

How to Engage Customers Emotionally

Before you can engage customers emotionally, you need to know what your audience’s emotional triggers are. You need to know how your product makes your customers feel and what messaging affects them.

Some common psychological triggers identified by marketers include:

  • People trust authority figures. Establish your brand as an authority, and you will improve your sales.
  • Loss aversion. We are averse to loss of any kind, and tapping into that fear can help you sell your product if it present it as the more secure option.
  • Anchoring, which establishes bias based on the first piece of information provided
  • Foot in the door, which gets customers to agree to a minor request to make them more open to future requests. You see this with free download offers to get lead information.
  • Social proof. Show customers that their peers are using your product to make it seem more desirable or necessary.
  • People want what they can’t have. Make your product seem scarce and you will create demand.
  • Give customers the feeling that they have more control, and you will engage them. Customization is a common way to provide freedom.
  • You see the power of anticipation in things like the release of the new Star Wars movie or the new iPhone.
  • Even negative, controversy is a powerful way to draw people in.
  • We all want to feel like we’re part of a community. How does your product make customers feel like they are part of a community?

Besides tapping into these common psychological triggers, you can also use humor, compassion and empathy to emotionally engage your customers.

When creating your emotional appeal, speak to your customers directly. Don’t talk about the benefits of your product in a general way. Create specific scenarios to talk about how your product benefits your target audience, and use personal language when doing so.

Conduct focus research to find out what your target audience needs and to which emotional appeals they respond. Then create unique selling propositions that show how only you — and not your competitors — can meet their needs.

Whether you are creating digital display ads, viral videos, or a fun meme, incorporating emotional appeals will help you see more results.

User Engagement Emotional Targeting and User Engagement