There’s a lot of talk on the internet about businesses being transparent—being upfront about fees, policies, goals, history and any other pertinent information. What I often see on a business’s website and other media are these facts and figures but the language and images are as sterile as a morgue. The information is trite, stale and boring and the end result is the image of insincerity. The key ingredient that’s missing is heart.
Choosing the Right Message
When we talk about matters of the heart, we think of emotion. In terms of your business, have you ever asked yourself what kind of emotions your business is catering to?
In other words, how do you want to make a customer feel? Do you want to give your customers peace of mind, pride, excitement, mental clarity, more freedom, stress release, relaxation, a boost in self-esteem, amusement, security, love, popularity, joy or even fear, anger or hatred?
Your product or service must connect with your customers’ hearts in order to be most effective. This is because we, as humans, aren’t always logical. Whether we like it or not, our emotions play a huge factor in our decisions. And the more pinpointed and profound the emotion you target, the more likely you are to reach their hearts–and their wallets.
People are more likely to buy from you when you are not only hitting on the right emotions but you’re evoking a strong reaction.
Sometimes a business’s emotional goal is more obvious, like a hotel wants their customers to feel relaxed and comfortable. Other business’s emotional goals may not be.
For example, if you own a lawn care business you may think that you’re in the business of tending lawns but, really, your business is there to help relieve stress from a busy homeowner who has too many other items on their to-do list—or to ease the worry of someone who can’t physically do it themselves.
If you own a business selling toys, you probably want your customer to feel joy watching their child have fun or perhaps even more freedom since the toy can keep the child busy while the mom or dad focuses on other things.
To pinpoint the right emotional message for your business, ask yourself the following:
- What need can your product or service fulfill?
- How can your business meet this need?
- How do you want your customers to feel when they use your product or service?
- What outcome are they seeking?
- Is there a unique emotional message you can convey that puts you ahead of your competitors?
- How can you convey this in your marketing material, including your website?
For example, I used to own a music lesson business in Las Vegas. What separated my school from other competitors was that my school did in-home lessons. We also did thorough interviews and full background checks. These were two things that most other schools didn’t do and they were key selling points to my business.
On paper, these just looked like two “benefits” but they were more than that: By doing full background checks, parents could feel that their kids would be safe with my teachers. By having the teacher come to them, they could feel more comfortable (because they were in their own environment) and less stress, since they didn’t have to rush to another appointment each week.
Each provoked emotion was strong enough on its own but the two combined made it even more powerful– a no-brainer for most parents who wanted their child to learn an instrument.
Finding the Right Words and Images
Once you know how you want your customer to feel when using your product or service, then you’ll want to find the right words that cater to those emotions.
In all of my marketing material for the school, including the website, I made sure to connect with these two emotions. We used photos of “normal” looking teachers working with students in a home environment. We also used phrases like “save time,” “less stress” and “thorough background check.” These phrases were put in larger font and were the key points conveyed to potential customers.
You can also use adjectives that carry a theme. Examining the description found on their website for Tropicana orange juice, we see the words “nutrition,” “pure,” fresh-picked” and “never from concentrate.”:
Obviously, they are going for a certain theme of providing high quality nutrition. They also throw in that they are the “#1 orange juice brand.” These words, along with the images of bottles with an actual orange on the label, make people feel like they are getting something that’s good for them when they buy this product. It also evokes trust that the purchaser is getting something of top quality.
When it comes to your marketing material, find a theme and use adjectives that support that theme—or at least list a couple of benefits that touch on how you want your customers to feel when considering your product or service.
The Emotional Story Behind the Business Itself
Another way to connect emotionally with your customers is to show them an emotional aspect of you or your team.
Going back to our lawn care business example, maybe you mowed your elderly neighbor’s yard as a kid and it made you feel good helping her out. You started the business in hopes of helping other people who lacked the time or physical capabilities to handle their own lawn care.
Or maybe you started that pet memorial business because you lost your own pet two years ago and understand first-hand the grief the loss of a pet can cause.
Many businesses have also opted to have an “Our Story” page in lieu of the traditional “About Us” on their websites and, hopefully, you have, too. This is where could reveal your own personal struggles or reasons for founding the business. While most businesses use the “Our Story” page for their “About” section on their website, only a fraction go into the gritty details of the founder and emotional foundation of the business.
You could take this a step further by involving your employees. If you have team members who don’t mind sharing, you could ask them to share why they like working for your company. Again, you would want to go for the emotional reasons in any comments. For example, they could share why they like working for you—such as feeling good about helping people or knowing they work for a trustworthy company.
Involve Your Customers
You could also use customer testimonials. Including positive comments in your marketing material and website creates trust and value. Using comments about how your product or service really helps them out is powerful. You could put their answers on your website and include a photo of each team member.
Hubspot does a great example of this on their customer testimonial page:
Of course, you don’t have to have the testimony of a key person at a large company to be effective. Depending on your target audience and the size of your business, your “everyday Joe” from your local community can suffice.
Make Your Message Authentic
Deciding on the emotional message of your business and using words and photos to support this message gives your business a personal touch and prevents your company from becoming a faceless entity—which is something all businesses should strive for.
This is because people develop stronger connections with other people than they do things. And even though businesses are made up of people, if you don’t remind potential customers of this, your business runs the risk of the public forgetting this fact and viewing your business as an object.
Just be sure to always be authentic when choosing your message and any supporting testimonials. Most people can spot contrived information and you’ll actually damage your reputation in the long run.
If you focus on genuinely connecting with people and make money your secondary goal, your business will grow exponentially with less effort from you. Customers will love you and as a result, do most of your marketing for you.