5 emotions that evoke customer action

From the moment we’re born, we’re wired to connect with people. We’re built to collaborate, interact, and socialize – we crave connection. Dr. Edward Tronick of the University of Massachusetts Boston did a vast amount of research on this. In his famous study “The Still Face Experiment,” he illustrates that from a young age we’re wired to connect with people.

As business owners, we believe that just because we’re marketing to consumers we’re connecting with them. Being marketed to is completely different than being connected with. When you connect with consumers, you’re able to tap into emotions. Emotions lead to action and action is what every business owner wants.

Humans are irrational beings in the sense that sometimes logical reasons don’t motivate us to act. Emotions are often the driving force in the actions we take. If your goal is to have your consumers take action, here are five strong emotions that evoke customer action:

1. Belonging

Human nature is such that we have a strong desire to belong to a group, clan, gang, family, or social network. Just look at commercials – if you drink this beer or drive this car you “belong” to a fun, attractive, social group. Companies that focus on the feeling of belonging find great ways to monetize customer communities. Think American Express, Yankees or Red Sox, Mac or PC.

2. Fear

Fear is a powerful emotion, which is why we see it used often to create urgency. Companies play off the fear of “missing out” and fear of missing the “amazing one-time offer.” While this emotion is great for creating urgency, if used too often, it may cause your customers to purchase from you only when there is an “amazing one-time offer” on the table. Fear also sometimes inhibits customer action if people see you using only this tactic.

3. Personal value

Values are judgments about how important something is to us and are also often subjective – we make a judgment of how important something is relative to something else. Values may also be principles that help us make important personal decisions. These would be considered personal values. For example, if a person highly values creativity, they may strive to find a career that will allow them to be creative, with the value of monetary wealth further down the list of priorities. Companies that use personal value include Good Earth, GNC, and Toms.

4. Gratification

We live in a society of instant gratification. Injecting urgency into your marketing language such as now, today, instant access, within 24 hours, etc. will appeal to the emotional trigger of instant gratification. It is often in the benefit of SaaS-based companies to offer immediate free access to a product because of the sense of gratification.

5. Trust

If you’re in it for the long game, trust is what you’re aiming for. Once customers truly trust you, they will buy from you repeatedly, with minimal cognitive effort. Before getting to that point you need to prove to them that you can be trusted. This isn’t something you can fake. You must sincerely mean what you say and do. These tips will help you gain trust from your customer base:

Be transparent

Everything you do is now in public view. The McDonald’s “pink slime” incident and the Dominos “pizza turnaround” are examples of two global companies that managed to turn around major PR disasters with transparency. The result is increased trust and brand advocacy.

Display testimonials prominently

Link to great reviews, especially to those on third-party sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp.

Reduce perceived risk

Offer free trial and/or a rock-solid guarantee. For example, try adding a guarantee like, “If you’re not 100% satisfied, we’ll happily give your money back. No questions asked.” Again, ensure this statement is prominently positioned on your site.

Be human

Show human faces on your website – real people working. It could be as simple as a “team” page. Link to employee social profiles and show their lives outside of work, especially if they have accomplishments and contribute to social good.

Display trusted and recognized brands

This could be customers you work with, publications you have appeared in, awards you have won, or even a simple Visa and Mastercard image. A small piece of the trust instilled in these well-known brands – even if they really have nothing to do with your business – will magically transfer to you (same goes with employee achievements and contributions).

Use the blemishing effect

Tell people what your product does NOT do. It may seem counter-intuitive, but this “negative” information actually builds trust and can make your product seem more attractive.

Use specifics in your copy

Numbers, percentages, figures, and facts. If you’re a tech company and part of your audience is tech, tell them specifically what you build in. A designer? What tools do you use? What methodology? How exactly will you communicate with the customer? This level of specificity builds trust in an otherwise skeptical consumer.

Trust is the most powerful emotion a business can elicit in its customers and employees. You may make a one-time purchase from any company based off of any of the previous emotions, but you will purchase from them over and over again if you can build trust. Trust is probably the purest emotion related to customer action, and it is therefore the most important.

Skipio provides you with both the technology and the medium to connect with consumers and encourage customer action. The platform drives higher response rates but also helps automate your follow-up to keep it consistent, thus helping improve your customer retention strategy. Imagine having the ability to build a personal relationship focused around trust with each of your customers on a mass level. That has never been possible until now.

About Freddy Shelton !

Freddy is the Director of In-App Engagement at Skipio. His top strengths are Input and Connectedness.

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