Did you know there are only five core emotions? And that three of them are negative? All other emotions are combinations of these five core emotions. Understanding the “Emotionomics Matrix” will help you build your content strategy, and get better engagement.

I pulled this interview right out of our archives – an interview that I did a couple of years back – but it’s so relevant given our recent webinars, that I thought we should dust it off and make it more broadly available.

As a marketer, you always want to talk “happy”, but if you don’t appeal to negative emotions as well, you limit the emotional range of your marketing efforts to a single dimension. Happiness is just not as compelling for people (see our recent webinar: Use Content To Attract Customers).

I had the privilege of talking with Dan Hill, author of Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success. In the interview, Dan and I dive into understanding how emotions drive customer conversion. Watch it here:

Why Fear/Pain Gets Our Attention – Survival Instinct

The most fundamental survival element is, “defend yourself, your resources, your family, and your reputation” – and as business professionals, our survival instinct also encompasses the organization we represent. When we appeal to “survival instincts”, we are hitting an “emotional hot-button”. In other words, when people see an advertisement or a message that relates to defending what is really important to them, they automatically respond.

Listen starting at 10:03 into the interview, and hear Dan answer a question about tapping the negative emotions rather than keeping it all happy and positive. Are you using the full “emotional color palate” in your marketing content?

How can you leverage this in your marketing efforts? As a LinkedIn Article I wrote a while back explains, “don’t be a jerk with fear.” Use it appropriately. Let your customers know you feel the same emotions, and you care about them. People are always looking for a solution for their problems, or some guidance when it comes to tough decisions. Build content that leads people through how to deal with and solve the problem. Along the way empathize, and identify with them. Case Studies can be great at accomplishing this.

Do You Appeal To Pride?

Can you guess what core emotions combine to result in “pride?” They are Anger and Happiness. Weird, huh?! It’s one of the most important secondary emotions you want to pay attention to. You want people to feel pride in your offer and in your product when they buy it. (Listen to the video starting at 12 minutes in).

Tapping Emotions Effectively Ties Directly Into How Well You Know Your Target Customer

I know we say this a lot – and here it is reiterated with Dan Hill. The conversation starts at 24:45 minutes into the video. Go listen.

We brought in the top expert on persona development to present a webinar that gives you a foolproof way to build personas that work. Don’t miss it.

This also applies to lead nurturing, and building a smart nurturing sequence that will build relationships and yield results (like turning leads into customers). We’ve got a download that you want to read: Email Marketing: List or List-ening?

Three Ways To Tap Into Emotions

Converting customers requires an emotional reaction. Engagement is critical! You can add up numbers and go through facts all day but in the end, the product you choose to purchase will appeal to you through your emotions (and you’ll follow up with the logic that supports your choice).

So what’s the best way to influence someone’s emotions?

  • Stimulus – represented by faces, dominant visuals, etc.  Listen to the conversation at 3:04 into the interview. If you want to hit the emotional hot-button – pay attention. Half of our brain is devoted to processing visuals! You’ve got 3 seconds to cause an emotional reaction. Learn why clipart is less effective than pictures of people.
  • Value System – what is sparked in the target audience?  Listen to the conversation at 15:21 into the interview. Again, Apple comes to the top of my mind when I think about inspiring the target audience. Steve Job’s slogan was “Think Differently”. Apple’s commercials are powerful and effective at getting their target audience to buy their product.
  • Personality – the voice of your company and how you talk to your audience.  Does your company project a personality? Does it stand apart from your competitors? People respond to people. Your company should have a personality profile that engages your market.

At 9:09 into the interview, Dan talks about disgust, and boredom is “low grade disgust” – you’ll want to listen. If your marketing falls into this trap – the path is clear: You’ve got work to do!

Let’s face it; most B2B companies have ZERO personality. They’re too busy being “professional”, and adhering to “brand standards.” And with smaller B2B organizations, they think that will make them look bigger and more established. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – you do want some standards – but step outside of the conventional. Be relevant. Be accessible. Don’t fall into the “boredom” trap.

From Emotion to ACTION

Listen starting at 13:36 into the Interview. In order to make a decision, there needs to be an emotional aspect telling you to do it. From that emotion, there has to be a motivational response that physically provokes your customer, or you will not get the conversion.

So how do you use the emotion you’ve created to develop motivation in your consumers to purchase your product? There are two ways that work the best:

  • “Me” motivation – enhances self-esteem within the person who bought the offer.  It’s very simple; every person involved in a decision wants to feel proud. They want to feel like they made the right choice.
  • “We” motivation – appeals to the sense of belonging.  People want to feel like they fit in, they have a group, some friends, and they are with the companies that are on the forefront of their industry.

I want you to consider Apple’s strategy (I know, I’m Apple crazy today). However, they know how to motivate customers and get the conversion. Going from the least popular computing system in the late 1990’s to the most popular in the late 2000’s Apple has done everything right when it comes to converting customers. You might ask, which type of motivation does Apple appeal to? Definitely the “we” motivation.

Have you ever noticed how iPhones can make international calls for free to other iPhones/iPads? This is part of their strategy; it connects you to other Apple users and makes you feel like you belong.

Many small to mid-size businesses miss the mark and don’t provide the right content or visuals to appeal to their target market. Don’t be one of those businesses! Use the information I just provided to convert your customers and hit their emotional “hot-button!”

Watch the video to understand additional concepts that are well worth your attention:

  • The Four Core Motivations and the Emotionomics Matrix (starts at 16:20)
  • Buying Stage Emotions (starts 26:00)

Get Dan’s book: Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions For Business Success.