The Complete Guide For Using Emotional Marketing To Increase Conversion Rates

This guide provides a detailed breakdown of my emotional marketing process. It’s a process that my team and I at GetUplift have used to 10x our clients’ conversion rates. Not only does it help our clients increase conversion rates, but it also helps them drastically increase sales. 

Summary

Conversion rate optimization has become a critical part of digital marketing strategy. But few companies are satisfied with their conversion rates because the traditional approach to conversion optimization is broken.

Some conversion optimization professionals rely on best practices to increase conversion rates. I know because I was one of them several years ago. I quickly realized though that conversion optimization best practices don’t work! What really works to increase conversion rates is effective emotional marketing. 

Here’s the truth. All the analytics, automation tools, machine learning, and other buzzwords will never help you create high-converting experiences for your prospects if you fail to leverage the one component that matters more than anything else in marketing, emotion.

This guide provides a detailed breakdown of my emotional marketing process. It’s a process that my team and I at GetUplift have used to 10x our clients’ conversion rates. Not only does it help our clients increase conversion rates, but it also helps them drastically increase sales. 

You’ll learn:

  • Why conversion optimization best practices don’t work
  • The psychology behind emotional marketing
  • How to do customer research to support your emotional marketing strategy
  • The process for using your research to create social media ads, landing pages, and email sequences that actually convert

So, let’s dive in.

Contents

Chapter 1:

The Basics Of Emotional Marketing

Chapter 2:

The Psychology Of Emotions

Chapter 3:

How To Identify Your Customers’ Emotions

Chapter 4:

How To Use Emotional Marketing To Increase Conversion Rates

Introduction

Do you remember playing with a Lego set as a kid? I do. One of my favorite memories is of my parents giving my brothers and I a cool Lego set; we’d play with that thing for houuuurs. We built some crazy stuff! I think I created a farm once with some unique  looking (*cough*) animals.   

Maybe you made your own version of a Star Wars battlefield, created a mystical Legoland, or put together whatever your mind made up. Whatever you created, chances are you felt a sense of pride as you rushed to your parents to show them what you made.

The Lego Group has been a childhood staple globally since 1932 partly because they’ve mastered the art of emotional marketing. Let’s be honest here, parents don’t buy Lego sets for their kids because they’re cute toys. If you’re a parent like me, you’ve probably gotten a few jabs in your feet because of the tiny Lego pieces your kids have thrown around the house. Ouch!

You’re willing to go through that momentary pain though and buy your kids a Lego set because you know playing with Lego bricks opens the floodgates of your kids’ imaginations, inspires them to try new things, and ultimately increases their confidence. That’s the idea the Lego Group uses to sell.

But how do they embed that feeling of confidence in your mind? Maybe you felt that confidence as you built your own Lego creations when you were a kid, and want your kids to experience the same thing you felt. Another possibility is that you were probably drawn in by Lego’s genius emotional marketing strategy. 

Lego has mastered the art of using emotions to sell. 

From the 1980’s with their original (award-winning) “What it is is beautiful” ad…

Reminding parents that what matters isn’t the result but the way they got there and the hours they spent playing, imagining and building their creations.

To the 2018 ad that aims to show that children’s dreams and imaginations can come to life…

All the way to recreating their original ads in 2021…

These ads are aimed directly at the heart of parents, showing them that Lego is an integral part of building, inventing and bringing their kids’ dreams to life. 

Lego ads don’t focus on what you can build (e.g a  castle, car, tower, or monster truck). They don’t highlight the number of pieces you have in a pack or the pricing. Instead, they show you powerful images of children proudly building and holding their creations.

Their ads depict kids who have bright futures because these kids are having so much fun creating whatever their imaginations conceive. Parents who view these ads buy into the Lego philosophy because they want their children to experience these brighter futures. Lego sets sell because of the strong emotions portrayed in their ads. 

The Lego story is one of many that demonstrates the power of using emotions to sell and this comprehensive guide is designed to help you do exactly that. 

I want you to understand the science behind emotional marketing, and GIVE you the tools to do it yourself so that you understand how to increase conversion rates. 

Emotional marketing isn’t a strategy only elite brands like Lego can use. We’ve pulled together the most successful examples, case studies, tips, frameworks and formulas we’ve ever used at GetUplift to create the ultimate guide for increasing conversions with emotional marketing. 

I spent years researching the psychology behind purchase decisions and used that knowledge to develop a four step conversion optimization process deeply rooted in emotional marketing. This process is what my team and I use to 10x the conversion rates of companies such as Teamwork, Sprout Social, Thinkific, Athlon and Social Media Examiner. 

Large and small companies alike hire us because we achieve results that increase sales. I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the years with you. 

This complete guide will give you the step-by-step process for growing your conversions and creating landing pages, funnels, websites and emails that make prospects choose you over your competitors.

Chapter 1: The Basics Of Emotional Marketing

What Is Emotional Marketing?

Emotional marketing is both an art and a science. It’s a science because of the research required to tap into the emotions that drive the thoughts, feelings, and desired outcomes that influence your customers to buy. The art comes through using insights to create better user experiences, copy, and images that increase conversions. 

So, getting the art and science of emotional marketing to seamlessly work together requires an established process for uncovering the emotions that influence people to buy. Those emotions form the springboard from which you can influence customers to not only make one-time purchases, but also become long-term customers.

Emotional marketing is the best way to get conversions that increase sales. I never realized this until I lost my first huge client. This was back in the day when I would follow best practices that other conversion optimizers claimed worked.

To put it bluntly, best practices suck. You can’t just change the color of a button or reduce a few form fields and expect magical results.

I asked my social media community to describe some of the best practices they’ve tried that have left them frustrated. Here’s what some of my followers said. 

Have you done any of these things?

Blindly following best practices doesn’t work for two main reasons. First, someone genuinely tried the best practice and it worked for them (for a time). But that doesn’t mean it will work for your audience and it certainly won’t work in the long-term. Conversion rate optimization is context-dependent. 

Second, someone read something somewhere or watched a YouTube video and decided to write an article. No testing was done to see if the best practice actually works. The article was only written to drive website traffic.

Following best practices is easy. Consistently practicing emotional marketing is challenging, but it’s a challenge that brings the best results.

Why Is Emotional Marketing Important?

Ultimately, emotional marketing increases conversions that lead to more business revenue. That forms the core of what makes emotional marketing important and relevant. But if we dive a bit deeper, we’ll realize that emotional marketing offers far more. 

Marketers tend to limit customers to their demographic characteristics (age, gender, location etc.) instead of viewing their customers as emotional beings. You see, we like to think that all our decisions are based on logic. That’s why we’ll classify customers based on their demographics because it seems logical that someone who lives in New York, for instance, would want to buy a fur coat for winter.

But our customers’ decisions aren’t based on logic; they’re based on emotion. That’s why Lego has such successful marketing campaigns and is considered the world’s most valuable toy brand. The Lego team understands their customers on a deeper level and knows how to leverage emotion to influence purchases. The same is true for other big brands such as Nike, Apple, Geico and many others.

Three brilliant researchers have provided scientific proof that emotions drive our decisions. I share some of their insights below.

Scientific Proof About Emotion-Driven Decisions

Professor Dan Ariely’s Research

The first researcher I’m going to highlight is Professor Dan Ariely. He and his friend, Eduardo Andrade, conducted research to determine whether past emotions influence future actions.  As Ariely rightly said, “When we confront a situation, our mind looks for a precedent among past actions without regard for whether a decision was made in emotional or unemotional circumstances.”

He discovered that recklessly poor emotional decisions often guide later seemingly rational moments. In other words, our past emotion-driven actions influence our future decisions.

Putting this in the marketing context means that we’re not only focusing on getting our customers to make an emotional decision to purchase once. We’re trying to influence them to make that decision again and again. So, emotional marketing and customer retention work together

Daniel Kahneman’s Research

Ariely’s research established the connection between emotional marketing and customer retention. Daniel Kahneman’s research supports the notion that we have two very different thinking systems. The first thinking system is irrational, spur of the moment thinking that’s emotionally charged and governed by habit.

The second thinking system is rational and calculated. It’s deliberate and slower than the first thinking system. We use the first thinking system to make our decisions and then use the second thinking system to justify our emotionally charged choices.

Here’s an example of this thinking system in action. Christine, one of our team members at GetUplift, walked into a jewelry store with her boyfriend on his birthday. He started looking at some of the watches and found one he really liked. His reaction stirred something in her and, in that moment, she decided she had to buy that watch for him.

The watch wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t too expensive. The thing is though that she wasn’t planning to buy a watch that day. Seeing his excitement made her feel excited too and she did what her rational mind would have talked her out of; she bought the watch. It looks great on his hand, makes him feel good, and makes Christine feel great that she could afford to make him happy.

Christine’s first thinking system influenced her impulse purchase and she justified it (second thinking system) by saying it wasn’t that expensive and it made her boyfriend feel great.

Antonio Damasio’s Research

Finally, Antonio Damasio’s research proves that emotions directly impact our decisions. He discovered that patients with brain lesions on the part of their brains that impact emotions could no longer make good decisions. 

His research proves that the strength of our decision-making process depends heavily on our emotions. You see, our emotions increase our ability to process favorable and unfavorable outcomes. 

Going back to the example with Christine, she used her emotions to process what she perceived to be a favorable outcome. She wanted her boyfriend to feel happy and confident because of the watch she bought for her, even if that meant spending money in the spur of the moment. 

Putting The Research Together

These three researchers have spent time carefully studying emotions and have proven that they are indeed important. Unfortunately, many marketers have a misguided view of how marketing actually works. They try to sell by enhancing their pricing, features and product but forget that the people behind the screen have a pain they’re trying to solve. 

We need to understand how our customers want to feel after finding the ultimate solution. Science proves it!

So, increasing conversions isn’t about showing off your product’s fancy features or amazing pricing. It’s about understanding the desired outcome our customers want to achieve and showing that.

How Emotional Marketing Increases Sales

Emotional marketing changes the way people perceive your brand (in a good way). We talk a lot about positioning in marketing, and understanding the emotions that influence your customers to buy helps you position your brand as the best choice for their needs.  Here’s how emotional marketing impacts different types of websites. 

Emotional Marketing Helps Sites With No (or Low) Traffic 

Whether you own a brand new website or an existing website with low traffic, emotion does one thing great – it makes sure your website immediately connects with any prospects (AKA traffic) you get and doesn’t “waste” the visitor. So, emotional marketing makes your website relevant to your website visitors. 

Website visitors spend an average of 15 seconds on a website. Also, research shows that it takes about 50 milliseconds for a website visitor to form an initial impression about a website. So, if your website isn’t relevant and isn’t hitting the right emotions, people will just jump to the next tab and push all memories of your website to the back of their minds.

Relevance extends beyond a landing page though. It covers the entire funnel from your ad copy to your emails, blog articles and any other element that forms part of your funnel. Your audience is bombarded daily by a wide range of digital content. So, the only way for you to get them to notice your ads, articles etc. and be drawn into your funnel is to connect with them on an emotional level. 

Think about it. Do you feel annoyed, frustrated, or overwhelmed when you see content in your social media feed or in your email inbox that’s all about getting a sale? There’s no clear sense that the brand truly understands what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. Instead, they want you to put in your credit card details and buy now.

Your prospects feel that way too. People aren’t robots. They feel things, have experiences, and want to connect with brands beyond a list of features and offers. When your landing page, ads, emails, and content connect with your customers on a deeper level, they’ll act more quickly. 

There’s an issue though. You can’t do effective A/B testing on a website with less than 300 conversions per month.  But emotional marketing is one of the few things you can do in marketing without testing. So, it can definitely help you if you have low website traffic. 

Sure, emotional marketing would work 10x better if you’re able to A/B test but you can still see a significant conversion lift without testing. It’s the foundation of everything you’ll need to do so that you can create a website with enough traffic to run your tests. 

Some conversion optimizers don’t realize the effect of traffic on A/B testing and find themselves in a rabbit hole of running meaningless tests that deliver no results. You need the right sample size based on the conversion rate you want to achieve and you can’t get that with a website that has low traffic.

Using emotions in marketing ensures you have the most optimized website based on the emotions that influence your customers’ decisions. But there’s something you must do before diving into emotional marketing for a website with low traffic – research. We’ll discuss effective research strategies later in this guide. 

A Website With Lots of Traffic But Low Quality Leads Needs Emotional Marketing 

Getting a ton of traffic to your website doesn’t matter if that traffic isn’t bringing in high quality leads. Let me be clear. A high quality lead is someone who is deeply interested in what you offer and will pay for it. This isn’t someone who will disappear after an email signup or sales call. 

As Alexandra Tachalova explains, there are two questions you should ask to determine lead quality:

  1. Which channels are bringing in the best leads?
  2. How well are your leads converting to paying clients?

Websites with lots of traffic but poor lead quality tend to have a common issue. Everything on their websites from their messaging to their images and CTA buttons focuses solely on the “amazing” product. There’s no real focus on the customer.

Emotional marketing flips the script by helping you put the focus on the customer.

It’s the easiest way to know the exact changes you have to make to attract high quality leads and, ultimately, get more sales. You see, emotional marketing is all about connecting with your customers to form deeper longer-lasting relationships by helping you speak to the emotions that drive them.

You’ll learn their pains, challenges, roadblocks, and desired outcomes so that you can apply these insights to increase conversion rates. They’re insights that will help you clearly identify the content you should include on your website, landing pages, and in your emails. Plus, having a ton of traffic means you can test a lot of hypotheses until you nail it. 

Power Up Toys Had This Challenge, Emotional Marketing Solved It

PowerUp Toys was using organic search and social ads to drive lots of traffic to their website. But they weren’t converting enough of those website visitors into buyers. High website traffic, low quality leads. There were flaws in the funnel, but founder Shai Goitein wasn’t sure how to fix them.

That’s why he hired GetUplift and my team and I dove right in to help him get the results he needed. We conducted deep-dive interviews, ran surveys and also did additional emotional targeting research to uncover what PowerUp Toys was doing well, what they needed to improve, and where the friction points were. (I’ll get into more details about the emotional targeting research process later in this guide). 

We also did a site audit which included data analysis using heatmaps, Google Analytics insights, conversion-design analysis, heuristic analysis, UX analysis and user behavior analysis to better understand the audience and what they needed to see and feel on the website to convert. Our research revealed that there were two types of customers who bought from them:

  1. DIYers or inventors who were okay with discovering how the product works for themselves without lots of guidance and information
  2. Hobbyists who want step-by-step instructions that, when followed, will create a working final product

 

But PowerUp Toy’s website wasn’t speaking to either group of customers. Website visitors were getting mixed messages. With messaging that focused greatly on how easy it was to use the product, hobbyists weren’t getting what they expected, and DIYers didn’t find what they were looking for (something they could tinker with and work on).  

This is what their homepage looked like before they worked with us.

My team and I took these insights and optimized their homepage, product pages, and menus to ensure they had the right copy, design, and story throughout so that website visitors were able to easily identify the product that was suited to their needs and connected with their emotional desires. 

This is what the homepage looked like after we made the changes.

These changes kept them engaged and influenced them to convert, resulting in a 97% increase in sales and 10x increase in leads (that we could later send email sequences to and bring back to the store)! 

This powerful example shows that emotional marketing helps brands connect with their customers on a meaningful level which, in turn, generates more revenue, leads and conversions for their business. We’ve seen these kinds of results for all our clients, and you can achieve them too. 

There’s a process you have to follow though, and that’s what I’ll be explaining throughout this guide. This process works for both B2C and B2B brands (yah, B2B brands use emotional marketing too). 

I get pushback from B2B brands almost every time I bring up emotion and the need to use it in all aspects of the buyer’s journey. There’s this common myth that B2B products don’t work on emotion, that people buy them solely based on logic and need. 

Well, imagine you’re a marketer in a large company and you’ve been tasked with moving your email marketing from your current provider to a brand new one. What kind of thoughts are going through your mind?

  • What if the subscribers’ info doesn’t transfer over properly?
  • What if the whole list gets deleted in a freak accident?
  • What if the new option isn’t as good at automation?
  • Will the learning barrier be too much for the team? And everyone hates it…and…

So, I think it’s safe to say that no matter what you’re selling, emotions play a huge part in the decision to say yes or no to your solution. 

Landing Pages Hit Home Runs With Emotional Marketing 

Landing pages tend to be the focal points of any conversion optimization discussion because they often provide a clear picture of the holes in your conversion optimization process. 

Using emotions on a landing page can mean the difference between people clicking your call-to-action (CTA) or closing the tab. A well-developed emotional marketing strategy helps you identify the:

  1. Stage of awareness of your landing page prospects
  2. Messaging that will evoke the desired emotions
  3. Design that best matches the emotional triggers you want to target

In other words, emotional marketing helps you create landing pages that convert.

Ultimately, emotional marketing is based on a logical flow.

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Chapter 2: The Psychology Of Emotions

Don and Sandra Hockenbury define emotion as “a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response.”  All emotions begin with a subjective experience. For instance, something that simply annoys one person may send another person into a fit of rage.

That’s what makes emotional marketing so complex, trying to convey emotions in a way that leads to the desired behavior regardless of the differences in perception. So, it’s super important to focus on emotional triggers rather than the emotions themselves. 

We’ll look at emotional triggers soon. First, let’s look at emotions within the context of three popular psychological principles.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Andrew Maslow developed the concept of a hierarchy of needs in 1943 and published his thoughts in a paper entitled ‘The Theory of Human Motivation’. He explained five tiers of psychological and emotional needs possessed by all humans. 

Image Source: Simply Psychology

Our motivation at each level is impacted by whether our needs were met at the previous level. That means our most basic needs must be met before we can move to a higher level. For instance, we must feel like our physiological, safety, and loving/belonging needs are met before we become motivated by esteem.

The key takeaway from Maslow’s theory is that we’re trying to get our customers into a state of self-actualization. We’re trying to help them to see the life they could have after using our product or service.

To get there though, you have to help them feel a sense of community and boost their esteem either by helping them feel good about themselves or about how others perceive them.

Cialdini’s Persuasion Principles

Dr. Robert Cialdini is most commonly known for his work on the psychology of persuasion which he documented in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. His persuasion principles have been tested by many companies and referenced by some of the top scientists in the world.  

I’ve been using Cialdini’s seven persuasion principles for several years now. Here’s a breakdown of how each persuasion principle is connected to the use of emotions in marketing.

Reciprocity

Let’s say you bought a friend an Apple Watch for her birthday. She’s so excited and feels like she has to buy you something of equal value in return. Maybe an iPad Mini, an Amazon gift card, or something really special that she knows you’ll love.

That right there is an example of reciprocity. I use the principle of reciprocity within my own business too. If you visit Getuplift’s resource page, you’ll notice that all the resources there are free. If you sign up for any of my conversion optimization courses, you’ll notice that I provide a ton of value in the emails I send. 

I want you to get value from me before even asking you to try out our paid content. This approach helps increase your trust in my brand and what we have to offer because you can see that you’re getting value before even paying a cent. 

So, think about what you can offer for free to add value to your audience. Use that as leverage to get them to trust your brand and ultimately become paying customers. 

Consistency and Commitment

Each of us has consistent behaviors. We call them habits. These habits reveal a lot about who we are and the values we live by. 

Our customers exhibit habits with our brands too. We often call this the foot-in-the door technique where once people have taken one step with you, they’re far more likely to perform another step. 

Consistency helps our customers commit to, and justify, their purchases because they want to feel good about the decisions they’ve made. They want to feel good about their decisions because these decisions should align with the two most common emotional triggers, social image and self-image.  

There are many subtle ways to get your customers to make small commitments. You could: 

  • Prompt them to add your webinar to their calendars when they signup
  • Use hashtags to create Twitter communities (#tweet100 is a good example) 
  • Ask potential email subscribers to identify the type of content they want to receive 

There are numerous possibilities. Remember, one small commitment can lead to a conversion.

Social Proof 

Social proof is one of the most common conversion optimization concepts. We’re more likely to choose a product or service if other people like and recommend it. 

There’s a trick to it though because many brands approach social proof the wrong way. Social proof isn’t about self-praise. Instead, it’s about addressing the objections potential customers may have about buying from you.  

Let’s say you’ve done your customer research and realized that customers are concerned about the durability of your product. Your social proof should focus on reviews from existing customers who speak about your product’s durability.  

So, social proof isn’t just about saying your company is awesome. You’re actually using reviews which address the common objections potential customers have that prevent them from purchasing.

Authority 

We tend to believe and feel more comfortable with authoritative figures, even if they ask us to perform actions we aren’t necessarily comfortable with. Camille Trent, Head of Content at Dooly, published a LinkedIn post where the world-renowned duo, the Chainsmokers, was endorsing a Dooly giveaway. 

In the post’s video, the duo explained that they were investors in Dooly and fully endorsed what Camile was sharing. Chainsmokers fans would gravitate to this because the duo gives this post authority. They may not have a clue what Dooly sells, but they’ll listen to the video and probably check out the Dooly booth being promoted because of the endorsement by the Chainsmokers. 

Liking

The more you like someone, the more likely it is that you’ll say yes to them. We like people who:

  • Are similar to us
  • Compliment us
  • Like us too

You can use the like factor to trigger emotions by:

  1. Introducing the humans behind your brand
  2. Showing the audience how similar you are to them
  3. Complimenting the people you’re serving (their qualities, success, and positive attributes)
  4. Explaining what your brand stands for

Scarcity

Scarcity is another well-known principle. It’s closely related to the principle of supply and demand in economics. Demand increases as supply decreases. In other words, we want more of things that are in limited supply.

The value of a product increases the more limited it’s perceived to be. Back in 1985, Coca Cola decided to reformulate its drink and remove the Classic designation from its labelling. The aim was to re-energize the Coca Cola brand in the US market.

But they didn’t expect the hailstorm that followed. Coca Cola lovers went into a frenzy! As soon as the news was released, thousands of the classic cans were bought and sold to the highest bidders. Coca Cola had created an unexpected scarcity mindset in consumers. People were boycotting what had been dubbed “New Coke” and were hoarding as many of the old sodas as they could.  

One Coca-Cola lover even had 300 cases of the original drink stored in his basement. Protest groups, such as the Old Cola Drinkers of America, were formed. Petitions were signed and there was a great outcry for the original drink to be brought back. 

There was also a 275% increase in the number of daily calls to Coca-Cola’s consumer hotline. People were mad and they were making their feelings clear to the company.

A survey showed that only 13% of consumers liked the new formulation. This fact, coupled with everything else that was happening, puzzled Coca-Cola execs. They had made the decision to change the formula after doing 190,000 blind taste tests on US and Canadian consumers.  

But the blind taste tests didn’t account for the emotional attachment Coca Cola’s most loyal consumers had to the brand. There was no discussion about how these consumers would feel after the change. 

The company eventually caved and reintroduced the old soda as Classic Coke. New Coke eventually fizzled into oblivion. 

The Coca Cola story is an extreme example of scarcity. But it does show the impulse decisions and panic that arise when consumers develop a scarcity mindset. 

Here are some ways you can use scarcity:

  1. Leverage loss aversion where people strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains
  2. Daily deals 
  3. Limited-time offers

Unity

Cialdini’s final principle relates to a sense of belonging. It would be similar to the third level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We need to feel like we’re a part of a community because we want to feel connected to others and like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

I’m a Harry Potter fanatic and I’m not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who’re just as crazy about the Harry Potter series as me. I’m a part of Harry Potter fan groups and I even spent a whole day in front of my computer trying to get tickets to an exclusive Harry Potter event once. The whole day! I didn’t budge until I got that ticket!

Your aim here is to form a bond with your customers by building a sense of community.

I mentioned helping your customers feel a sense of community. But that then leads to a question of how to make this happen. Here are some tips.

Tips For Building A Sense Of Community

There are many ways to build a sense of community. Let me use my course, Emotion Sells, as an example. Students not only get access to me, but they are also invited to join a specially created Slack group where they can have discussions with each other and get my input. 

This sense of community helps them feel heard, understood, and free to express their concerns. It also creates an accountability system where all members are held accountable for their results. 

You could do something similar and include this feature as a selling point on your landing page. But that’s not the only option. 

Here’s another example from a landing page created by Smilebox in 2015. 

Two things stand out in this image:

  1. The testimonial provides social proof which helps build trust that Club Smilebox can deliver what’s promised.
  2. Using the phrases “Join the club” and “Exclusive” help create a sense of a VIP experience. 

People like to feel a sense of exclusivity when they join a community but they are more compelled to join when they see some form of social proof. Combining both elements on your landing page can help you get more people into your exclusive community.

Another great tip is to use pricing plans to group customers. For instance, someone who pays for a premium plan would get access to a Facebook group. Some people will feel motivated to join the higher pricing tiers just to get access to those exclusive groups. 

Plutchik’s Wheel Of Emotions 

Robert Plutchik developed his Wheel of Emotions in 1980 to describe how emotions are related. One of the misconceptions I often see about Plutchik’s wheel is that every color matches a specific emotion. 

That’s not the premise of Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. Color psychology is an entirely different concept in itself. Thinking that one color creates a single emotional response for everyone in the world is simply incorrect. 

Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions divides our base level, primary emotions into eight distinct categories:

  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Anticipation
  • Joy
  • Trust 
  • Fear

Plutchik also proposed that every emotion has a polar opposite emotion. He breaks these down into 4 categories:

  • Joy <-> Sadness
  • Fear <-> Anger
  • Acceptance <-> Disgust
  • Surprise <-> Anticipation

He explained that it’s from these emotions that all (34,000) of our other emotions originate. Plutchik actually created both a 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional diagram to show how these emotions interact with each other. 

The 3-dimensional model offers a ton more emotions to describe varying intensities and combinations of emotions. It also dives deeper into the wide array of relations, in a way that the 2-dimensional one can’t.

However, for someone learning about emotional triggers and how to use them, the 2-dimensional model is a lot easier to understand and interpret, so we’ll focus on that one.

How Does Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions Work?

Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions has three distinct characteristics: colors, layers and relations. 

Each primary emotion has its own section, four intensity levels, and its own unique color range. The emotions are most intense at the center of the circle. 

Plutchik also has areas In between each of the 8 sections which demonstrate how emotions on either side combine to create new emotions. You’ll find emotions like optimism, remorse, love and contempt in these areas. 

Having a diagram that shows how emotions fit together makes it much easier to strategize ways that we can start optimizing our content to hit those emotional triggers.

All emotions won’t work for all your customers, and you have to be careful not to push the wrong emotions on them. Otherwise, you could end up driving the prospects away. 

Chapter 3: How To Identify Your Customers’ Emotions

Start With Customer Research

Now that we’ve identified the link between emotions and the three most common psychological principles, let’s look more closely at emotional triggers. Let me be 100% transparent. I didn’t know what emotional triggers were until after I started my career as a conversion optimizer. 

I was tired of pulling my hair out in frustration because I was following best practices that never delivered meaningful results. Like literally never. It got to the point where I lost a $100,000 contract because I just wasn’t delivering results. 

That was a real wakeup call. I was missing something but just couldn’t quite put my finger on it. My goal as a conversion optimizer is getting people to convert. The only way for people to convert is for me to clearly understand how they’re thinking and making decisions. 

So, I dove deeply into dozens of studies conducted by psychologists, neuroscientists, and behavioral economists to understand what makes people act. Concepts from three of these psychologists were discussed in the previous section. 

That experience was eye-opening. I completely changed my conversion optimization strategy and have never looked back. This revamped conversion optimization strategy has helped me 10x the conversion rates of my clients. 

My team and I use this revamped conversion optimization process to understand the emotional intent of customers. Once you understand their emotional intent, you can create landing pages, websites, funnels, and emails people want to convert to.

This emotional intent is what I call an emotional trigger in marketing. In other words, an emotional trigger is an emotion that leads to a purchase. My team and I have identified over 223 emotional triggers that impact purchase decisions. Yes, you read that right, over 223. There’s no way you can use all 223 emotions at once to optimize conversion rate though.

That’s why it’s important to focus on the most common emotional triggers. There are tons of emotions that you can test on your owned, earned, and paid channels. But they each require careful use on specific types of customers if you want the best conversion results.

Our emotional trigger driven process works so well that we increased sales for PowerUp Toys by a whopping 97%. Remember though that it’s a process and a huge part of the process is customer research

There are many ways to conduct customer research and each tactic will provide different types of data.

At GetUplift, we use various combinations of these tactics:

  1. Identify the customer’s stage of awareness
  2. Surveys
  3. Interviews
  4. Mining conversations
  5. Social listening
  6. Heuristic analysis
  7. Mouse tracking analysis
  8. Heatmaps
  9. User testing

(i) Identify The Customer’s Stage Of Awareness

Customer research serves many purposes. Chief among them is helping you identify your customers’ stage of awareness so that you can create high converting copy. Joel Klettke and I discussed the key elements of high converting copy and stage of awareness was the first element he mentioned. 

The five stages of awareness are from the book “Breakthrough Advertising”. 

Image source: Joel Klettke

Most Aware

Your most aware customers know your product and just need more information to seal the deal.

Product Aware

Prospects who are product aware know the problem they’re trying to solve, have narrowed their choices to a few options (including your brand), and are looking for a reason that clearly says why your brand is the best choice.

The copy you use for this type of prospect is short and provides an outlook of what this person’s life will look like after using your product.

Solution Aware

Solution aware prospects understand the problem they’re facing and know what they’re trying to achieve. They just don’t know how to get it done. These prospects are familiar with solutions like yours, but aren’t aware of your product.

They want you to show how your product provides the solution they’re searching for and they want to see proof. It needs to be clear to them that their end-goal can be fulfilled by your product. 

Problem Aware

Prospects at the problem aware stage know they have a problem but don’t completely understand it and, therefore, don’t know how to solve it. This is their first time dealing with this problem so they aren’t even completely sure about the solutions they should look for. 

These people need to feel like you understand what they’re going through. Empathy is crucial here. Your conversion copy here should clearly lay out what your solution is and why it should matter. 

Unaware

Unaware prospects are the most difficult people to sell to. They have thoughts and ideas about their identities but they don’t know anything else. In fact, they don’t even know they have a problem. 

Your goal with these prospects is to speak to their state of mind. You’re basically nurturing these prospects and this nurturing process will be longer than any of the nurturing you do at the other stages of awareness. 

Prospects come to our brand at different stages of awareness. What’s important here is understanding how to tap into the stage your prospects are at so that you can design emotionally driven experiences that matter to them. 

How to identify your prospect’s stage of awareness

  1. Keyword research – the terms people are using to land on your site. For example,  brand name = product aware vs. pain term = solution aware.
  2. Landing pages on your website – using Google Analytics to see what pages people land on. For example, blog pages = solution aware, pricing page = product aware. 

(ii) Run Surveys

I don’t take on projects unless I’m able to do a customer survey on my clients’ websites. That’s how important customer surveys are if you want to increase conversion rates. The surveys my team and I create help us identify the reasons behind a customer or prospect’s decision-making process.

The surveys we do help us understand the messages we should be using on our websites, on our landing pages, and in our emails. These surveys also help us identify the hesitations people have about the product, their daily struggles, the features they’re most excited about. We also use surveys to identify the order in which we should say things on a page, the objections that need to be addressed, and the anxieties people had before converting. 

You should survey two groups of people:

  1. Existing customers
  2. Website visitors

We use Typeform to run website visitor surveys. Hotjar allows us to segment our surveys so that we target the right people and don’t seem intrusive. You can segment these surveys by choosing:

  1. The page to display the survey
  2. When to show the survey
  3. Geographical locations

I usually display website visitor surveys when someone scrolls halfway down the page. That person is more engaged and more interested in what I have to offer. But you can also display website visitor surveys when someone is about to leave the page or at any time interval you want. 

The approach is slightly different for customer surveys. With customer surveys, your aim is to identify the big changes customers experienced after using your solution. You can use this information to develop your value proposition and ultimately write high converting copy.

So, what questions should you ask on your surveys? Here are a few.

Possible Survey Questions For Website Visitors

1. What was going on in your life, that led you to our website today?

2. What are you currently doing to solve this problem? 

3. Which of these best describes you?

  • I’m considering <solution> for the first time, not sure if I need it
  • I know I need a <solution>, I’m just looking for the best option
  • I know I need <brand>, I’m just here to signup
  • Other (click here to type)

4. Is there anything holding you back from <action you want them to perform> right now? 

  • Yes, specifically … (click here to type)
  • No, I’m going to <action> right now!

Possible Survey Questions For Existing Customers

1. When did you realize you needed a <solution> like <brand>?

2. What ONE problem would you say <brand> solved or reduced for you?

3. What ONE benefit would you say you’ve gotten and valued most from <brand>?

4. What if anything, were you concerned about before <action> with <brand>?

5. What ultimately convinced you to give <solution> a try?

6. If you could no longer use <solution> what would you miss the most? 

(iii) Conduct Interviews

Customer interviews are information goldmines. You can get so much valuable information from them because, not only are you listening to someone’s responses, you’re paying attention to their non-verbal cues. 

Some companies have a big hesitation about allowing conversion optimizers, or any marketer for that matter, to conduct customer interviews. Three common objections are often raised:

  • Customers don’t have the time and don’t want to be bothered
  • Relationships with customers will be damaged
  • You’ll annoy customers

You can offer a reward to customers who agree to be interviewed such as a coupon or a bonus on their next order. From my experience, customers and clients love to be interviewed when it’s framed as us wanting to make the product better for them.

I recommend interviewing at least 8-10 customers and I explain how you can identify them in the section below.

Steps For Conducting Great Customer Interviews

1. Set clear goals

Goal-setting matters because:

  • There will be more focus and clarity to the interview
  • You can create interview questions that match your goals
  • Clear goals makes it easier to choose which groups of customers to interview
  • You’ll collect better data

People approach goal-setting in different ways. A technique that I’ve found really works for customer interviews is the Four Helpful Lists by Tom Paterson. It’s arranged based on four questions:

  • What’s right? (Amplify)
  • What’s wrong? (Fix)
  • What’s missing? (Clarify)
  • What’s confusing? (Add)

Here’s an example from Nikki Elbaz. 

This structure helps us identify the overall goal – fix the trial/upgrade the funnel. Here’s the outcome.

2. Identify the right interviewees.

Many customers will fall into your target group. So, who should you interview? A survey can be a good way to identify the right customers to interview. That’s why I started this customer research section with a discussion on surveys.

Surveys help you clearly see which customers would be most responsive during interviews. Vague, one-worded answers; not a good fit. Interesting responses, heck yah! 

You can also use surveys to further refine your interview questions. The survey responses may answer some of the questions you already had (or probably raise new questions).

3. Set up the interview

There are several customer technology tools that you can use to record, edit, and transcribe your customer interviews. Reduct.video has an all-in-one solution that allows you to transcribe, edit, search, and share your video easily. You can record using Zoom, Skype, or whatever meeting recording tool you prefer, upload the file to Reduct and significantly reduce the time it takes you to analyze the interviews. 

Be clear about the tools you’re going to use before scheduling the interviews. If they’re unfamiliar to you, spend some time familiarizing yourself with them so that you can make both interview and post-interview processes easier. 

The next consideration is how you’re going to invite customers to these interviews. Your email should appeal to one (or all) of these basic human interests:

  • Developing new things
  • Contributing to something meaningful
  • Networking
  • Improving an existing product to help make their lives easier

Show them what’s in it for them. You could offer an incentive, but you don’t need to. Appealing to those basic human interests can help significantly.

Also, don’t forget to send reminder emails prior to the interview. Remind customers what the interview is about and why they agreed to it. You’re more likely to avoid no-shows if these reminders are sent. 

4. Keep the conversation flowing.

Use your questions as a general guide but be open to the flow of the conversation. For instance, the customer may bring up an interesting use case that’s worth further exploring during the call. But don’t forget the goal of the interview! The goal will help you keep focused.

The conversation doesn’t end the moment you hop off the call though. Show that you’re grateful for the time the customer spent by sending a follow-up email.

(iv) Mining Conversations

Conversation mining is one of the best ways to find out how people really feel about your competitors. It’s a huge part of competitor research. But before I explain how we approach mining conversations here at GetUplift, I want to set the record straight. 

Competitor research is often approached the wrong way. Some marketers think that because something works really well for a competitor, it can be replicated for their own brands. It doesn’t work like that. 

Here’s the truth. You don’t know what goes on behind the scenes with your competitors. You don’t know the reasoning behind their design, messaging, and strategy. So, focusing your competitor research on the features, pricing and pages on a competitor’s website won’t reveal what you really need to know. 

Your competitor research should be based on understanding how their customers feel about their brand. That’s where conversation mining comes in. Tons of websites offer customers a chance to review (and have discussions about) brands. You can learn so much from reading what people are saying, and the beauty of it is that you don’t have to interrupt them or get in their way. 

These customers are just saying what they think in an authentic way, and that my friend is where you’ll strike gold. Some of the highest converting headlines, messages, and strategies have come from this type of research. Getting the raw, unfiltered perspectives of your competitor’s customers will help you create the right messaging that increases conversions. 

You can find some of these reviews and conversations in Facebook Groups, on Quora, and even right there on your competitor’s website. Also, pay attention to the comments people make on your competitor’s social media posts! We’ll discuss these social media comments a bit further in the social listening section. 

I use a table to keep track of all the interesting reviews and conversations I find during this mining process. What I’m really trying to do is identify sentences and phrases I could later use for copy.

The next step is summarizing the themes you discover. I also use another table for that.

Being clear about themes helps you decide what to highlight in your messaging. Visualizing it in a table helps you easily spot recurring themes. 

(v) Social Listening

Social listening can provide a range of insights including:

  1. Sentiments towards your brand
  2. Latest developments in your niche
  3. Thoughts towards your competitors
  4. Trending topics

Here, you want to understand how customers are spending time with both your brand and your competitor’s brand. No, it’s not about how many likes and followers the brand has. Instead, it’s about what people are actually saying and the only place to find that is in comments on social media posts and in discussion forums. 

There are tools that can help you find these social media conversations. We use Sprout Social. 

(vi) Heuristic Analysis

Ever been on a website that just didn’t strike the right chord with you? Important pages were hard to find, buttons were too close together, text was hard to read because it was either too small or against a low contrast background…I could go on. 

After viewing a website like that for a few seconds, you certainly aren’t going back there again. Then there are other websites that look all fancy and great, but website visitors aren’t converting. Your website may fit either scenarios or fall somewhere in between. So, how do you identify the core of the problem?

Use a heuristic analysis. You may think your website is perfect, but there may be unidentified issues that a heuristic analysis can help you diagnose. The aim of a heuristic analysis is to discover usability problems on the website so that you can create a plan to address them.  

A heuristic analysis is typically done by a team of experts. There are different rules and metrics that can be used to guide the analysis but Jakob Nielsen’s 10 usability principles are the most popular.

This team will assess your website based on these four criteria:

  • Clarity – Remove any concerns, roadblocks, or confusing elements and language from your customer journey.
  • Relevancy – The information on each page should only be relevant to the page website visitors are on, and the next steps should be very clear. 
  • Removing friction – Identify areas of your website visitors’ journeys where there is some obstacle preventing them from converting. 
  • Remove distractions – Any action or element on the page that isn’t directly contributing to helping people achieve their desired goal is a distraction.

(vii) Mouse Tracking Analysis 

Mouse tracking analysis provides data on your website visitors’ mouse clicks. The data is often recorded using heatmaps which clearly show:

  • How people engage with a page on your website
  • What people click on
  • How much they scroll
  • Actions people take on your website

There are three main types of heatmaps. 

Click Maps

Click maps show the clicks and taps on your webpage. On a heatmap, areas highlighted in red are where people click or tap the most. The color gets lighter in areas where less clicks are recorded.

Ideally, the reddest areas should be anywhere you’ve placed your CTA because that’s where you want the most clicks. If the click map shows that this isn’t happening, you may need to either change where it’s placed on the page or use a different CTA.

You can also use the most clicked areas on your click map to identify behavior patterns. Are people clicking an area that doesn’t make sense? Maybe your messaging and design aren’t directing them to the right place and, therefore, need to be changed.

In this example of an ecommerce product page, you can see that the 3 most clicked on elements are the:

  • CTA
  • Menu (navigation bar) 
  • “Back to homepage” button 

In this case, I would spend some time figuring out why people are navigating back to the homepage from the product page, or opening the navigation menu. This could mean they weren’t sold enough on the product and we need to optimize the product page. 

Scroll Maps

Scroll maps provide a visual representation of the scroll depth on your page. Scroll depth helps you know when people are dropping off from reading your content. 

What happens is that the scroll map records the percentage of a page website visitors scroll to. Areas highlighted in red are where most people scroll up to while areas highlighted in green have the least scrolls.

Knowing how far people scroll on a webpage is important for three reasons:

  • You can better assess how engaging your webpage really is
  • The data helps you clearly see where people stopped scrolling and you can then use the data to determine the best changes to increase engagement
  • You’ll know the best places to place your CTAs and popup triggers

In this screenshot, you can see that 75% of people do not scroll beyond the header of this SaaS homepage. My next move would be to identify in Google Analytics where people are navigating to from the homepage. 

This helps me identify what content may need to be on the homepage to encourage people to scroll. My team and I combine all 3 types of heatmaps to reach an hypothesis and then set out to optimize.

Engagement Maps (AKA Hover Maps)

Engagement maps show you how people move their mouse or finger across your screen. They’re best used along with eye-tracking heatmaps because they aren’t 100% reliable. A website visitor could be hovering over a specific section of your webpage but is focusing on something else entirely. 

Eye tracking maps follow the eye movements of someone who’s reading a webpage. All they’ll need is heatmap tracking software, such as Hotjar, and a webcam. An eye tracking heatmap tells you what people look at during a certain timeframe on your page.

You can use eye tracking maps to help you understand if something on the page is too complicated. Chances are people will spend a long time on a section of the page that they find difficult to understand.

Side Note: One of the interesting things we’ve noticed after analyzing several eye tracking maps over the years is that the left hand side of a webpage is often something people don’t look at. So, chances are few people will engage with whatever you include in your sidebar. 

This screenshot shows an engagement map of GetUplift’s homepage. 

You can see that people move their mouse in a clear angle between navigation and scrolling down. My team and I also saw that 75% of people scroll all the way to the end of our page and that the most clicked on element on the page is the “free resources” menu item. 

What we learn from these heatmaps is that the content on the homepage is interesting. People want to read it (clearly they scroll and consume). But they usually spend time scrolling the whole page before clicking through to the next page.  

(viii) User Testing

User testing involves getting an existing customer (or someone who fits your target demographic) to walkthrough new pages or behavior flows on a webpage. You record their reactions so that you can determine areas that need better optimization. We’ve done online user testing via Zoom, but you can use any online recording software you prefer.

Task For You

Organize your research and write down the:

  1. Top three pains your prospect feels before finding a solution
  2. Top three emotional gains and desired outcomes your prospects want to feel after finding a solution

You’ll need this information to correctly identify your prospects’ emotional triggers and understand how to increase conversion rates using emotional marketing.. If you really want in-depth guidance for how you can use this info (and everything else in this guide) with your audience, enroll in the Emotion Sells Masterclass.

6 Basic Emotional Triggers In Marketing

Customer research should always be your starting point when you’re trying to identify the emotional triggers that influence your customers. The next step is paying attention to the six basic emotional triggers in marketing. So, you’re using your research to identify the emotions that will influence prospects to buy.

1. Self-image

One of the most powerful ways to increase conversions is to help prospects feel good about themselves. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Manscaped. They’re a male grooming brand.

I think they have such a cool concept that would be a great fit for showcasing self-image. But their homepage completely misses the mark.

Everything on the page focuses on the product instead of how using the product can help men feel better about themselves. How do their customers feel after using manscaped products? It’s impossible to really know though without solid customer research.

Mistakes like these cause brands to leave a lot of money on the table. Sure, it’s expected that Manscaped will have annual sales over $275 million by the end of 2021, but what if that figure could actually be close to $1 billion? That’s how powerful changing a brand’s conversion optimization strategy can be.

I’ve used self-image as an emotional trigger with several of my clients. Here are some examples of self-image headlines we used for one of our clients, iPhone Life.

  • Make the most out of your iPhone, in one minute a day.
  • Feel confident you can do incredible things with your phone. The free Tip of the Day emails reveal new (and hidden!) things you can do with your phone (and other devices).
  • Now you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day. Without wasting time on google. Or having to ask your kids.
  • Go from iPhone-challenged to iPhone master in just 60 secs a day. All thanks to our free daily newsletter.

Source: iPhone Life

2. Social image

How do you want to be seen by others? That’s the question we answer when we use social image as an emotional trigger in marketing. 

There’s a story I love to share when discussing social image. A few years ago, I decided to try skydiving because I wanted to impress a guy I was dating. He was a skydiving instructor and I really wanted to look good in his eyes. That’s the social image I wanted to achieve. 

But I looked like the lady in this picture when I was about to jump out of the plane.

Scared out of my wits! I had no idea what I was doing or if I’d even be alive at the end of it. Yet, here I was trying to look good to someone else. 

I’m glad I did it though because I loooovvveee skydiving. In fact, I’ve completed over 1,000 skydives since then because I love the thrill. I now look like this when I skydive…

I’m in total bliss. 

You can use social image in your landing page headlines and bullet points. I’ll discuss this some more in chapter four. 

3. Trust 

A survey conducted by Edelman Trust revealed that 81% of consumers buy from brands because they trust them, but only 34% of consumers trust the brands they buy and use. Yikes!

If people don’t trust your brand, they won’t buy your products. It’s as simple as that. Trust is an emotional trigger everyone can relate to. 

Trust is also an emotional trigger that increases customer retention.Research shows that you’re far more likely to get a repeat purchase from an existing customer who has made two purchases than you are from a new customer who has just purchased once.

There are 7 ways you can immediately start encouraging your customers to put their trust in you:

  1. Be transparent.  Make everything your company does clear and public.
  2. Use testimonials. List reviews from existing customers. People want to trust something that is already working for someone else. 
  3. Reduce the risk. Offer a free trial or a discount to make it more appealing for a customer to try you for the first time.
  4. Be human. Show images of other people using the product or demonstrating how the service is already working for them.
  5. Associate yourself with trusted brands.  Whether it’s allowing payment through Mastercard or listing reputable publications that have promoted your product, customers will be more comfortable if you’re associated with other companies they already trust.
  6. Be honest.  Tell people what your product DOESN’T do. If you’re up front about the things people might think you offer, but don’t, they’ll be more likely to trust the things you advertise that your product does do.
  7. Be specific. List hard facts and statistics you can stand behind. Be realistic. Don’t exaggerate.

4. Leadership

Have you ever heard of SavvyCal? If you have, you’ll probably know that they’ve waged war on the real OG in the calendar scheduling world, Calendly. 

Since 2013, Calendly has been the go-to calendar scheduling provider for businesses globally. They were trendsetters in their niche because there was no other company at the time that was doing calendar scheduling quite like them.

One of the taglines Savvy Cal has used in their campaigns is, “Calendly was a pioneer. We’re picking up the baton.” And they really mean that. Their scheduling tool solves one of the biggest problems people have with Calendly, clients toggling between their calendars and available time slots on someone’s Calendly booking page.

Savvy Cal allows clients to overlay their calendars onto the booking page so that it’s easier for them to find the best possible slots. They’ve made meeting scheduling easier.

So, Savvy Cal has begun to set their own trends in the meeting scheduling world. They’re becoming the new trendsetters. That’s the type of leadership that tiggers the emotional responses we want from our customers.

So, what trends are you setting in your niche and how can you use them so that prospects view your brand as a niche authority?

5. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

FOMO is a well-known marketing tactic. It’s so well-known that some brands either overuse it or use it incorrectly. 

Marketers often say things like “Only X left!” or “Don’t Miss Out On This Amazing Deal”. But FOMO can also be about the fear of missing out on a personal growth opportunity, or the fear of missing out on a transformation in your life, business, parenting skills and so on. 

Here’s an example of how FOMO can be subtly used. Like SavvyCal, Twist has found a way to stand out from its main competitor, Slack. Those who use Slack religiously know that it’s possible for things to get lost, even when conversations are grouped based on channels, because there’s so much coming at you at once. 

You can’t easily find what you need, when you need it which leads to you dropping the wall somewhere and getting wires crossed. Two things you don’t want as a busy professional.

Twist also uses channels, but there are topic threads within each channel. That’s how Twist helps users stay organized in a way that Slack doesn’t. Information remains neatly structured and easy to find (even years later). 

Twist’s customers know they can’t afford to lose out on the great features of the platform. If they do, they’ll probably be in a communication mess that sets them back big time.

6. Instant Gratification

People like immediate rewards. A Salesforce survey revealed that 45% of consumers were likely to switch brands in 2020 if a brand didn’t actively anticipate their needs. Also, Retail Week states that “instant gratification resonates with the millennial and Gen Z Gen Z audience. Even when ordering online, they crave immediacy and have become fast adopters of click and collect.” 

So, how can you effectively use instant gratification as an emotional trigger? Show your customers that you can give them what they need to solve their problem or meet their goal right away. If they can’t do it immediately, give them a step they can take at that moment. That tiny step will help them feel marginally closer to whatever they’re trying to accomplish.

Email sequences are great examples of how instant gratification can be used in emotional marketing. Subscribing to a 5-day email marketing course won’t magically make you a better email marketer. But subscribers begin to feel a transformation because of the AHA moments they get after reading each email in the sequence. 

It’s the same with software. A project management tool doesn’t magically solve all your organization’s problems; there’s a learning curve. But instant gratification can even be in  showing check boxes where a user has completed setup or in reports that show them some data about how well they’re doing. Completing milestones is what causes the gratification.

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Chapter 4: How To Use Emotional Marketing To Increase Conversion Rates

Emotional marketing is backed by research and relies heavily on how well you can identify your customers’ emotional triggers. Emotion sells. But emotions will only help you sell if you know how to use them correctly.  

There has to be some type of practical application and that’s what we’ll be looking at in this chapter. I’ll explain how you can use emotional marketing to improve your copy, design, Facebook ads, emails, and sales funnel.

How To Use Emotional Marketing In Copy

Copy can make or break your conversions. It forms the foundation of a good website, landing page, ad, email and sales funnel. Everything else (design, CTA buttons etc.) revolves around the copy you use. As opposed to popular belief (or what most companies do these days), always start with your copy and then build everything else around it. 

Once you understand the real pain and challenges customers experience, it’s SUPER easier to write compelling copy that speaks to people’s emotions. Your customer research would have helped you understand those pains and challenges. 

The Headline 

The headline of any copy you create (landing page, Facebook ad, email etc.) has to stand out and connect with your prospects before they tab-jump to the next available solution. It’s the first thing people see, gives a general sense of what to expect on the page, and helps website visitors determine if your solution is a good fit. Any headline you use must convince your prospect it’s worth pausing and checking the rest of the page out. 

Here’s the thing though, it’s not easy to write a headline that captures attention (unless you’ve done your customer research). Once you have the data in your hands, all you have to do is place it in one of the hundreds of headline formulas available on the web. 

To narrow it down for you though, there are two headline formulas I use and teach in the Emotion Sells Masterclass. These formulas work because I’ve taken common headline formulas found on the web, and upgraded them to  leverage our two most common emotional triggers: self-image or social-image. 

Let me set the record straight about formulas though. Formulas are meant to guide you, but they aren’t the ultimate solution. They’re useful for helping you better conceptualize how to structure your copy in a way that resonates with your customers. 

The first formula speaks to getting or becoming something you can be proud of. It’s based on self-image because it focuses on helping people feel good about who they can become. Here are three examples.

Social image is captured in the second formula. Here are three examples.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to structure your headlines exactly this way all the time. Remember, these formulas are just frameworks you can use to guide your headlines. Ultimately, you want to create an emotionally-charged headline that grabs your prospects’ attention and compels them to read more.

The Body

The body of your copy is where you appeal to your prospect, connect with them on a deeper level and PROVE to them that you’re the right solution for them.. One of the most successful formulas you can use to do so is called PAS: 

  • Pain – Describe the pain they’re experiencing, 
  • Agitation – Show them how this pain affects their lives and why it needs solving immediately, while proving you know and understand their challenges,
  • Solution – Introduce a new solution (yours) and explain why it will work for them. 

Let’s look at an example from a landing page we did for Social Media Examiner’s annual conference. This page resulted in 15% more conference ticket sales! 

Step 1: Pain – Describe the problem or pain they’re experiencing .

We started by describing who these marketers are and the exact problem they’re experiencing. They  want to get more out of their social media marketing efforts.

Step 2: Agitate- Show how the pain affects their lives and why it needs to be solved immediately.

Next, we described their everyday challenges:

  • The pressure to improve their results
  • Trying to keep up with new trends
  • Lacking confidence in their approach and feeling alone on their journey. 

Any marketer serious about levelling up a social media strategy understands the pressure involved. It’s a statement that paints a clear picture of the problem and speaks directly to the reader’s concerns.

 

Step 3: Solution – Show that your product is the solution.

Lastly, we described our solution. This conference can achieve all of those needs for them, and then some. They’ll: 

  • Gain more marketing confidence
  • Accelerate their careers
  • Discover how to crush their marketing goals

Notice how these points speak to helping marketers improve their self image. These core emotional triggers are supported by a list of bullet points that make the expected outcome clear. The added social proof at the bottom of this section is designed to prove even further that this conference is the solution to one of their deepest pains, going it alone. 

It’s followed by a detailed explanation of four reasons this conference is the right choice for these marketers showing them that we understand them and their desired outcomes.

Each point is supported by a review from a past conference attendee, thus enhancing the social proof.

How To Use Emotional Marketing In Design

Conversion optimization is as much about design as it is about copy. Not only are you trying to make a page look pretty, but you’re also trying to design the best possible overall user experience. 

Visually, there are a few ways you can use the emotional triggers you’ve identified to amplify your message, connect with prospects and grab their attention within those first critical 3-5 seconds.

Use Color Psychology

I mentioned color psychology earlier in the discussion about Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for using colors in emotional marketing. It’s not about saying green means wealth and black means mourning. 

Colors don’t have singular definitions. In reality, color psychology depends on three things: culture, symbolism, and emotional experiences. Colors mean different things in different cultures. The same colors can have completely different meanings depending on where you are in the world. 

For instance, white represents the color of mourning in​​ Asian culture but it represents purity, newness, and neutrality in Western culture. So, you have to ensure you understand the cultural nuances relevant to your audience. 

Also, we attach different symbolic meanings to colors based on our experiences. For example, yellow may symbolize sunlight for one person but drive with caution for another. 

Our emotional experiences further impact how we perceive color. Blue may remind one woman of the pain she felt when she lost a loved one, while it may remind another woman of the happiness she felt when she got a special gift on her wedding day. 

Emotional experiences vary widely from one person to the next and that’s why it’s super important to not put colors into a box. You have to choose the colors that are right for your audience.  

So, use Google Analytics to identify the age, gender and geographical location of your target audience. These factors also contribute to color choices. Don’t forget to look carefully at your emotional targeting research so that you can align the colors you choose with the emotions you want to convey.

At GetUplift, we always use the colors, images and messaging that match the emotional triggers we’ve uncovered based on research. The colors by themselves won’t produce the emotional response but will complement everything else you’re doing on the page to create the best possible experience. 

PRO TIP: Never use more than three primary colors on your pages. Otherwise, it’s distracting and can have an off-putting effect on your customers.

Use The Right Images

You need an image strategy that specifically amplifies emotions. This image strategy should follow six rules.

1. Use real, relatable and authentic images. 

The images you choose should allow your customers to either see a representation of themselves or someone they want to become. Avoid stock photos! Instead, use real images of your customer and your team.

Here’s an example. GenXtreme is a German company we worked with a while back that sells clothing for work men and work women. The images they use show people in careers where their products would be most used.  

This is an image from their homepage.

These images work because they show you real people at work. People like you. We’re not looking at models, but hardworking men and women who we can relate to. 

That’s what you’re using images to do on your website, make your content relatable. 

2. Reduce The Noise

There are two things you don’t want your image to do. First, you don’t want a high contrast between the image and the page content because the image will drown out the text.  

Second, don’t use busy images.  You want your customers to only focus on the important image elements. If there’s too much going on, their eyes won’t know what to focus on. 

LandingKit’s page is what I call a noisy page because there’s sooooo much going on. It’s also very product focused and doesn’t help website visitors form any type  of emotional connection with the brand. 

3. Provide directional cues.

The main image on your landing page should direct customers to the next step. There are ways to do this subtly like in the image below where the main character’s body is positioned in a way that directs your attention to the call-to-action button. 

There are two things you don’t want your image to do. First, you don’t want a high contrast between the image and the page content because the image will drown out the text.  

Second, don’t use busy images.  You want your customers to only focus on the important image elements. If there’s too much going on, their eyes won’t know what to focus on. 

4. Avoid carousels and autoplay videos.

You may think that carousels on landing pages give your website extra appeal. They actually do the opposite. Website visitors will find it difficult to focus on the actions you want them to perform. These carousels and autoplay videos are conversion killers!

5. Optimize your images for mobile use.

An image may look and work great on desktop, but it may look bad and perform poorly on mobile. The same image from Here One that looks great on desktop has a completely different look and feel on mobile. 

  • The message of the image becomes unclear. The guy looks like he’s wearing a hearing aid rather than a pair of cool headphones.
  • The text is hard to read because the colors of the guy’s image don’t offer contrast.

So, remember that you may need a different image strategy for mobile devices. 

6. Create a hypothesis and run an A/B test.

All conversion rate optimizers know the value of A/B testing. You aren’t sticking to one image and calling it a day because you think it should work. Instead, you’re testing different images to see which lead to the highest conversions. You’ll then be able to test the validity of your hypothesis and support it with actual data. 

Use Value-Driven Bullet Points

The biggest mistake companies make with bullet points is making them all about the product. They’re a long list of features that the marketing team thinks will make customers immediately want to buy.

That’s not how bullet points work. People don’t buy products for features. They buy products because they want to experience better versions of themselves. 

Bullet points provide the perfect opportunity for you to explain how the product is going to make a meaningful difference in their lives. Essentially, you’re using emotional impact to make your bullet points stand out. 

Use An Emotionally-Focused Call-To-Action

Your call-to-action buttons should always highlight how taking action will have an emotional impact on the customer. Any call-to-action button you create should:

  1. Have one goal.
  2. Be clear about the outcome.
  3. Demonstrate value.

Here are some examples. 

Create the Best Possible User Experience 

About “88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.” Clearly, UX has a direct impact on conversion rates. 

Conversion optimization and UX have the same goal – create loyal customers. UX isn’t about adding elements. It’s about getting all the elements previously described in this section to work together to achieve the conversion goal. 

Consistency is important. Use the same colors, fonts and sizing whenever possible. The heuristic analysis mentioned in chapter three helps ensure the UX is good. It also helps you find errors and roadblocks so that you can fix them.

An Emotional Marketing Example That Brings Copy, Design, And Images Together

This emotional marketing example is based on work my team and I did for Upright, a company that sells posture correction devices. The Upright team hired us (GetUplift) to help turn more website visitors into customers. We started with emotional targeting customer research and uncovered that their customers fell into three groups:

  1. The Sedentary (Home) Office Worker – People who spend hours in front of the computer and are developing bad posture as a result
  2. The Aware Aesthete – People who want to primarily improve their posture to look and feel better
  3. The Health Conscious Seeker – People who are actively trying to solve their back, neck and shoulder pain to avoid the pain and future complications. 

This is the original homepage we set out to optimize:

Two main issues we identified were:

  1. The image mostly focused on the product itself, not the person behind it. The way this image is positioned doesn’t really represent the types of customers we uncovered, and doesn’t really speak to our audience (note that the words “Your Looks” were dynamic keywords that changed). 
  2. The copy doesn’t include enough information people can relate to. Since our research also highlighted the importance of generating trust, we needed to find a better way to invoke it and let people know Upright is trustworthy unlike other solutions that may have previously let them down. 

This is the version we created alongside Upright’s design team to test against the control: 

One of our main findings was that posture is an afterthought… even for the people that care. And while they really wanted to actively improve it, they didn’t have the time or room in their life to really focus on it. 

So, we included a section below the header that spoke to the people who really wanted to make a change, but hadn’t yet. This takes the responsibility from them and explains that once they purchase the device, we take care of everything for them (meaning they don’t have to invest more into it).  

The image we used here shows a woman working at her desk, a setting that fits Upright’s ideal customer. The phrase “The Simplest Way To Transform Your Posture” captures all three groups of customers and speaks to their need to find a simple way to improve their posture. 

Our version of Upright’s homepage resulted in a ​​33.69% increase in transactions and 25% increase in revenue.

How To Use Emotional Marketing In A Sales Funnel

1. Start With Your Social Media Ads

I’ve seen a lot of social media ads that are just plain wrong. They have product-centered copy and imagery that only mildly addresses the target customer’s pain points. 

Take a look at Sensibo’s ad below.

Good Features

  • They use social proof by showing their average 5-star rating along with the number of reviews (over 5,000). But this social proof is at the bottom and is likely to be overlooked.
  • The images show life before Sensibo and then an image of a smiling lady pointing at the product. The concept is good but it could be better executed so that the contrast of the before and after has a better impact. I would even remove the product imagery altogether.
  • The statistic at the beginning is great but it isn’t necessarily what will convince someone to buy.
  • They include one of the five star reviews that addresses objections people may have about how easy the product is to use.

Improvements Needed

  • The copy needs to focus on conveying emotionally-charged stories. People are drawn into stories that show how a product has changed someone’s life. 
  • The bullet point points should focus on the benefits and value rather than the product’s features.
  • The image should focus on better contrasting life before and after using Sensibo.

This Facebook ad from The Hand Massager uses a video as the focal point. But the video, ad copy, and headline all focus exclusively on how great the product is. There’s no emotional connection. It’s more likely that there will be higher engagement and click through with an ad that speaks to a customer’s emotional decision-making process.

I like to use a before and after approach with my Facebook ads. Here’s an example of an ad we used to promote one of our conversion rate optimization courses.

The ad shows the real results Steven Sashen achieved after applying what he learned from our Emotion Sells course. Notice the ad starts with Steven’s pain. He wasn’t sure about his brand’s positioning and sales funnel.

It then goes on to provide tangible evidence for how the course helped Steven. He got a 20.3% conversion uplift! There’s also a direct review from him that provides further social proof of the value the course provides. 

I must point something out here though. The conversion optimization process used for a FB ad isn’t much different from the process you use for anything else. A lot of testing is involved and, oftentimes, the initial messaging doesn’t work. 

Some people are tempted to go back to the old way of doing FB ads when this happens, but that feedback provides the perfect opportunity to test another variation. It’s through running tests that you’re able to find the emotional marketing messaging, audio visual elements, and CTAs that work best.

Your FB ads are the first part of your sales funnel so it’s important to get them right. They need to stand out in the newsfeed and create powerful emotional connections. 

Three things are required to create a great FB ad. First, the ad needs to focus on the customer, not the product. Remember that you’re not the hero of the story so you have to speak the customer’s language and explain the life-changing value of your product.

Second, all elements of your FB ad should help prospects feel the emotions you’ve identified that matter most to them. Colors, images, messaging…everything matters when trying to use the power of emotions to increase conversions.

Here’s why this example from Upright works. 

  1. It focuses on the pains. People have tried straps before and seen no improvement. They also don’t want anyone else to know they’re working on their posture.
  2. The reference to biofeedback science helps build trust. This is super important for a product like this because there are so many fake devices out there that don’t work. This device actually works (I use it and it’s incredible). 
  3. There’s social proof from a quote by a real customer.
  4. The image focuses on pain reduction, not features.

This ad specifically targets people who are product aware and are actively searching for solutions. 

Third, use your copy to tell a story. You could either tell a story of what the customer’s life looks like before using the product or you could tell a story of how great the customer’s life is after using the product.  The choice is yours, but tell stories people can connect with in real ways.

2. Use Landing Page Optimization Strategies

Your landing page has one mission. That mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help visitors solve a specific problem. Not two. Not three. One specific problem. (*cue Mission Impossible theme music*)

That’s the mistake a lot of businesses make. They create a landing page that covers a gazillion things because they don’t understand the true purpose of a landing page. 

Landing Page Definition: A landing page is a standalone web page that is related to a campaign and has one goal. 

Even if you have a separate page on your website for each of your offers, those pages aren’t landing pages. Website visitors can easily navigate to other areas of your website and, therefore, become distracted from the landing page’s goal. 

So, do you really need a landing page? I answer this question in one of my Youtube videos that you can check out below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qr_7-3HfSQ

Let’s explore how to improve landing page conversion using two landing page examples.

The first example shows what you should not do with your landing page. The second provides an example of some great ways to create good landing pages. 

The first example is from Clockify, Toggl’s leading competitor. They didn’t understand their special mission. Take a look at their main landing page (the home page).

Instead of focusing on the emotional value of using this Toggl alternative, all they’re saying  is that you get unlimited users. That most likely isn’t why most of their 100,000 + customers switch. 

A better approach would be to talk about the pains of using Toggl, feature an image of what it feels like using Toggl, and then describing the pain Clockify eliminates. Using unlimited users to try to attract customers isn’t a persuasive enough message.  

You’re greeted by the image below as you scroll down the page…

It’s 100% product focused and is there to show that Clockify has an interface that’s similar to Toggl. Sure, we need to know that the interface is similar to Toggl’s but that can be further down on the page. 

Where are the images that show the emotions people feel either using Toggl or using Clockify? There’s no emotion anywhere on the page. 

Compare Clockify’s landing page with this landing page from Twist.

Twist’s landing page is completely different from Clockify’s, in a good way. The pain Slack users feel is clear – they lack clarity and feel suffocated by Slack’s real-time chat. It’s also clear why Twist is the better alternative. With Twist, teams can breath.

The vivid imagery also helps paint a clear picture of the differences between the two platforms. On the left, the avatar is trying to balance multiple messages at once and looks really stressed out and overwhelmed. On the right, the avatar looks peaceful and happy. 

Each aspect of Twist’s landing page speaks clearly to the emotions that would convince their target customers to buy. Here’s another example of an area of their landing page that stands out.

“Ditch relentless distractions for focused work.” This statement gives a clear sense of what the prospect’s life looks before using Twist and what the prospect’s life looks like after using Twist. 

Their strategic use of the word “respect” in the sentence “Twist respects it” is also brilliant. Respect is an emotion people love to feel. Whether they’re being respected for something or someone is respecting their attention, it doesn’t matter. Respect is an emotion they value.

The “Find More” link that follows the statistic at the bottom leads to a page where Twist shares results from actual research they conducted. 

But what makes this page truly standout is the social proof that follows.

There are reviews from real users who explain how Twist has changed their professional lives. Of course, there are reviews on Twist’s main landing page. But having this additional support is genius. It’s an interesting way to use the results from your customer research to build your unique selling position.

So, what does my landing page optimization process look like? Here’s a breakdown of the key steps.

1. Set up the conversion goal in Google Analytics. Check out our free Google Analytics checklist for more details.

2. Do qualitative research. We discussed this in chapter two. Surveys, review mining, and customer interviews are the most crucial types of research you should do here.

3. Analyze the qualitative research.

4. Use the 10/90 messaging layout rule.

5. Ensure the copy is consistent. There shouldn’t be areas that don’t make sense or seem out of place to the website visitor. Don’t depend solely on your interpretation of the copy. Ask other people to read it and give feedback. Get an editor to double-check and provide suggestions. Do what you can to ensure there are no gaps in the copy. 

6. Double check the hero section using the following criteria:

    • Does it appeal to these prospects’ stage of awareness?
    • Is the promise clearly stated in a way that will instantly appeal to these prospects?
    • Is the desired outcome clearly reflected?

7. Optimize the body of your copy to reflect what you discovered during your research. Here are some questions you can answer to stay on track:

      • Do you only have one CTA and is it relevant to the audience’s needs?
      • Are you addressing all the hesitations and concerns identified during your research?
      • Is your copy supporting your value proposition?
      • Are you speaking to your customers instead of at them?
      • Are you using words, expressions, and a writing tone that appeals to your target customers?
      • Are the fonts you use easy to read?
      • Is your copy guiding your prospects and telling their story?

8. Use social proof and testimonials to increase trust.

9. Include case studies that further support you’re the right person for the job.

10. Use an actionable CTA.

11. Review images to ensure they support the value proposition and help prospects connect with the message.

12. Optimize page layout and color palette.

Also, your landing page should fit the overall messaging of your sales funnel. First, it should align with the ad or campaign material you used to drive traffic to the landing page. Second, whatever you promise on the landing page should be delivered to your prospect after they follow-through with the CTA. In other words, the prospect’s expectations should be met.

Here’s an example of how your ad should align with your landing page. Below is an example of another Facebook ad I used for my Emotion Sells Masterclass.

The CTA promises that the reader will learn more about Michael and other students’ journeys. That information is definitely found on the page. Here’s a screenshot.

So, my prospects’ expectations are met and the landing page provides social proof that helps me gain their trust. 

3. Build An Email Sequence 

Landing pages often lead to email subscribers, and email subscribers are generally led through an email sequence. Email sequences are one of the most important parts of a funnel because they help you convert warm leads (semi-interested prospects) into hot leads (prospects who’re so interested they’re burning to click through to your offer).

Here’s how email sequences make this possible:

  • These emails help prospects’ build trust in who you are and what your brand has to offer 
  • You’re delivering the right messages into your prospects’ inboxes that help you tap into the emotions that drive them to make decisions 

But a lot of entrepreneurs and marketers alike are afraid to send emails because they’re worried they’ll spam people. Here’s the thing; emotional marketing ensures you deliver the content your prospects want to receive every single time. 

So, you aren’t filling their inboxes with meaningless messages where all you’re trying to do is sell, sell, sell. Emotional marketing email campaigns are based on the foundation of you sharing relatable stories and experiences that help establish an emotional connection with your prospects. They want to feel like you truly understand what they’re going through and have a solution that can make their lives better. 

Here are some tips for using the power of emotions to drive more email conversions. 

Segment Your Campaigns 

A big part of emotional marketing is helping your audience feel like you know and understand who they are and what they’re feeling. That’s why audience segmentation is important if you want to create successful email campaigns. Audience segmentation helps you identify:

  • Who you’re talking to 
  • The appropriate messaging and language for them
  • What matters most to them

You’ll get better results with a more segmented audience. In fact, it’s been proven that segmented campaigns generate 760% more revenue for businesses.  

Understand Your Email Subscriber’s Goal

Don’t assume you already know what your customer’s want to achieve. Instead, use the results of your customer research to pinpoint exactly your customers’ goals. That’s the information you should use to build your email marketing campaigns and funnels.

Frame The Emotional Message You Want to Convey In The Email

People connect with relatable stories. Think carefully about a relatable experience you can convey in your emails that uses the PAS formula. The experience  should speak to the customer’s pain, agitate it, and provide a solution.

This is the email all our new email subscribers receive. 

It’s long, in-depth, and we’re not afraid to get into a lot of details. 

This email has a 60% + open rate and a 25% click through rate.  It’s a great example of the results you can achieve when you send your subscribers content they care about and find valuable. 

So how can you do this yourself? 

You could use the AIDA formula which stands for:

Awareness

Interest

Desire

Action

The AIDA formula is a great way to help structure your email and link it to the emotional message you want to highlight. 

Note here that the CTA doesn’t always have to be about purchasing an item. It could be asking readers to check out your latest Youtube video or blog post. It could even be asking readers to answer a question so that you can learn more about them and increase engagement. There are multiple ways to approach a CTA for emails.

Awareness

  • What do you want your reader to be aware of?
  • What stage of awareness do your readers fall into?

Interest

  • How does the topic relate to the reader’s pain?
  • What emotions does the reader feel towards the topic?
  • Why should the reader care?

Desire

  • What’s the solution?
  • Why is this solution important?
  • How will the person’s life change after using the solution?

Action

  • What is the CTA?

Use Your Customers’ Words To Tell Their Story

Stories make our brains light up. Literally. All these neurons fire up a storm and help us remember more information when a story connects with us.

Think about it. You’re more likely to remember a blog post or an email when the author is sharing an interesting story. Stories make our messages memorable.

Stories also trigger the release of oxytocin, the hormone associated with empathy, trust, and relationship building. We care about what we’re reading because of the story attached to it.

Use your customers’ words to convey their stories in your emails. You would have identified the specific words and language they like to use from your customer research.

So, share memorable stories people want to engage with. I love sharing stories that give people a sneak peek into my life while remaining true to the purpose of the piece. People engage with my content because they can relate to my stories and feel like they’re learning a bit more about me.

Create An Attention Grabbing Subject Line

There are a lot of email marketing guides, articles, and videos out there that share all these magical best practices. One of them is that email subject lines should be short. 

Oh no! You used 8 words in the subject line…your email is doomed! 

Big lie. I’ve learned that it’s not the length of your email subject line that matters. It’s whether it’s compelling enough to make people want to read more.

The key is to test variations with segments of your audience to determine what works best. I’ve used a wide range of subject lines that speak to my experiences because I find that experience-based subject lines make me relatable. 

It’s really important to get the subject line right. You could create a beautiful email but your subscribers won’t know that unless they open it. 

Here’s a checklist you can follow to create a click-worthy subject line. 

1. Is it clear? The subject line must set an accurate expectation for what’s inside.

2. Is it a little mysterious? Just because the subject line is clear doesn’t mean there’s no room for a little mystery.

3. Is it simple? If you want to avoid your subject line getting cut off, stick to 50 characters or less. Though,I’ve personally found that length is rarely an open rate factor. Whether short or long, you should use plain language that is simple and concise.

4. Does it highlight a struggle or a goal? Resist the urge to use self-serving subject lines. Not only do they raise red flags for human and bot spam filters, but they also don’t perform as well. Instead, highlight a struggle or benefit.

5. Does it include any stoppers? A period, for example, is known as a stopper. Anything that might “slow down” a reader is a stopper. This includes complicated words, certain grammar points, etc. Generally, you’ll want to avoid these.  

Keeping those checklist items in mind, feel free to try out some of my favorite subject formulas:

1. List it. 

We all know people love lists. Hey, BuzzFeed’s listicles might get a bad rap, but lists often drive up those open rates. Example: 101 Email Marketing Tactics to Try.

2. Open up. 

The more you’re willing to open up personally and humanize your brand, the better. Admitting to a fault or failure, for example, can be very effective. As can sharing experiences and lessons from your personal life. Example: What I’ve Learned from 10 Years in Email Marketing.

3. Ask. 

Asking a direct question is a great way to start a conversation and engage readers. Often, when you read a question, you will answer it in your head. It’s so involuntary that you often won’t even notice you’re doing it. 

Example: Do You Remember the Worst Email You’ve Ever Received?

4. What if? 

This format can be used to create a sense of fear or to merely pique interest. Example: What If You’ve Been Sending Lame Emails All Along?

5. Social proof. 

Sometimes the best way to sell yourself is to have someone else do it for you. That’s where social proof subject lines come into play. They’re most commonly associated with case studies. Example: Talia’s Email Course Increased Our ROI by 900%.

6. X said Y 

Where X is a respected authority figure and Y is a surprising statement or uncommon opinion. Example: Talia Wolf Said Email Is Dead.

 

7. Urgency

No one wants to miss out, which is why creating a sense of urgency can spur action from even the most disengaged reader. Example: Registration Closes in 24 Hours.

Don’t Forget A/B Testing & Conversion Goals

A/B testing is an integral part of each aspect of the conversion optimization process. You may have a strong gut feeling, but your research and data help other people buy into your testing process. 

Ultimately, you’re running these tests so that you can see how the conversion optimization has impacted the company’s bottom line. It can’t be enough to say that you’ve increased the number of leads and email signups without a clear indication of how those conversions impact sales. 

Once I see the impact of our tests, I deconstruct what’s working by looking at heatmaps, user testing, and website walkthroughs with customers to zero in on the impact so we can optimize even more. 

Conversion optimization experts never stop testing. My team and I usually continue testing other parts of the sales funnel while monitoring the landing page where we increased conversions. We’re continuously looking at how things improve with each variation even when we get great results.  

Why? Things change over time – pains change, audiences grow up, the brand (sometimes) gets traction and becomes well-known, global events (like the pandemic) change things…the list is endless. Conversion optimization is a process that never ends. 

Final Words: Use The Power Of Emotional Marketing To Increase Conversion Rates

 

You made it to the end! I hope you learned something valuable from this comprehensive guide. Remember, best practices won’t work if you want to increase your conversion rate in the long-term. Tapping into your customers emotions will.

Why? Emotions form the foundation of our decision-making processes. So, speaking directly to the emotions that matter to your customers will help them do what you want them to, convert. 

Want to do a really deep-dive into how emotional marketing can help increase your conversion rates? Enroll in the Emotion Sells Masterclass

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