From the moment we’re born, we’re wired to connect with people. We’re built to collaborate, interact, and socialize. We crave connection.

But sometimes we forget that 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 customer action and action is what every business wants.

Pure logic will never drive our decisions; emotions are often the driving force. So here are five strong emotions that evoke customer action along with tips for using those emotions in your sales and marketing.

1. Belonging

Humans possess a very strong desire to belong: to groups, families, networks, etc. Just look at commercials — if you drink this beer or drive this car you “belong” to a fun, attractive, social group. Businesses that focus on the feeling of belonging find great ways to monetize customer communities.

Many businesses successfully promote belonging by using the words and photos of their customers.

So link to great reviews, especially to those on third-party sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp, and share positive customer quotes. All of these demonstrate to prospective customers that other people enjoy belonging to your “community.” Similarly, use real photos of your customers on social media, on your website, and in marketing materials. Literally show others your community and help newcomers see what it means to become part of that.

You can also share customer-focused data. Most simply, think of the number of users you have or customers you serve. Beyond that, think about data that shows the positive impact of your business on customers and how they benefit.

Just make sure you follow through on providing “belonging” and not just marketing it. This is especially important for a true community-driven business, such as a gym or fitness studio. Potential members will be able to tell that you believe in providing a place where people can come together. And you’ll continue receiving support as you foster that community.

2. Fear

Fear is a powerful and nuanced emotion, so avoid scare tactics. That sort of fear pushes people away and causes them to distrust you.

However, the fear of missing out can be very advantageous for sales and marketing initiatives. Think about how enticing an “amazing one-time offer” can be. That type of offer brings in new customers who you can convert into long-time supporters.

You simply have to be careful not to over-do it. Because while FOMO is great for creating urgency, if every offer is a “can’t-miss” opportunity, there really isn’t any urgency. People will simply wait for the next deal to come around.

To demonstrate urgency, use specific dates, percentages, figures, and facts. Help people understand just how good the deal is by telling them how much money they’ll save. Tell them how long the deal will last. Tease the next time this kind of deal will come around. It should be long enough out that they’ll regret not buying right now.

Then, as the promotion continues, let people know when availability is low. If you have limited stock or limited spots, use that information to encourage people to act now.

3. Personal values

Values are judgments about how important something is to us. Values are often subjective — we make a judgment of how important something is relative to something else. Values are also principles that help us make important personal decisions.

Take the time to list different things that you, your brand, and your customers value most. Then make sure your offers and communication reflect those values. This might include:

– Mental and physical wellness

– Honesty and transparency

– Creativity

– Affordability

– Efficiency

– Environmental sustainability

– Dependability and longevity

For example, if a person highly values creativity, they may strive to support businesses that enable them to be creative as well as businesses that value creativity in their products or services. Because of this value, they also may be willing to spend more money at a business that honors it — even if a cheaper option is available somewhere else.

To showcase certain values, you may want to try the blemishing effect. That means telling people what your product or business does NOT do. It may seem counter-intuitive, but this “negative” information actually builds trust and can make your offerings seem more attractive.

Using the example of a gym again, if your focus is on overall health, you can say that your gym is not about losing weight. You then make it clear that the gym will help members make smarter, healthier decisions for mind and body. People will quickly understand that you have values that line up with theirs.

Along with that, humanize your business. 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. Try to demonstrate how your employees value the same things as your customers.

4. Gratification

Instant gratification has become integral to many businesses. 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 to the benefit of SaaS-based companies, for example, to offer immediate free access to a product because of the sense of gratification.

This type of urgency is different than the type of urgency fueled by fear. This urgency is about getting something right when you need or want it. And though instant gratification can sometimes exist in opposition to patience, when you’re able to provide a solution or answer quickly you often make a customer for life.

To take advantage of instant gratification and reassure people they’re making the right decision to choose you right now, reduce perceived risk. Offer a free trial and/or a rock-solid guarantee. For example, consider adding a guarantee like, “If you’re not 100% satisfied, we’ll happily give your money back. No questions asked.” Prominently position this statement on your site and stick to it.

You should also reach out and follow up via text instead of email. This makes it as easy as possible for people to ask questions and get the information they need. People read texts in minutes instead of the hours it can take to check email. They’re also more likely to respond to texts and have an actual conversation with you.

5. Trust

Long term, 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.

So to 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.

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.

In addition, display trusted and recognized brands. This could be other businesses 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 other 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).

So what’s the most important emotion?

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 the other emotions. But you will purchase from them over and over again if they build trust with you. That’s why instilling trust is key to any customer retention strategy. It leads to positive customer action every time.

Skipio provides you with both the technology and the medium to connect with prospects and customers. The platform drives higher response rates but also helps automate your follow-up to keep it consistent.

Imagine having the ability to build a personal relationship focused around trust with each of your customers even as you scale. That’s 100% possible with Skipio!

This post was originally published on July 5, 2017 and was most recently updated on July 14, 2020. The update included reorganized sections and additional examples for how to professionally use different emotions in sales and marketing.