4 Insights to Attract More Customers During the 2020 Holiday Season

4 Insights to Attract More Customers During the 2020 Holiday Season

Amidst changing consumer preferences, new COVID-related safety measures, and supply-chain setbacks, many marketers are adapting their playbooks in preparation for an unprecedented holiday season. With the majority of consumers working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) events are bound to be unprecedented.

Big retailers are also closing brick and mortar locations to address public health concerns and to decrease overhead costs. As a result, the current climate is quite unpredictable and at times unsteady. How can brands cut through the noise ahead of the Holiday season to win big?

It’s important for advertisers and brands alike to take a close look at the recent consumer trends in order to properly pivot in order to have a successful Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Season. Read on for key pre-Black Friday insights and findings.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday Starts Early

Due to the unprecedented and sometimes chaotic nature of the global pandemic, it’s no surprise that consumers may feel overwhelmed or indecisive. A recent consumer report by Fluent revealed that 59% of consumers are unsure when or how they will conduct their holiday shopping.

Holiday shopping and black friday

This presents advertisers with a keen opportunity to help consumers make a holiday shopping plan. By making sure online offers and shopping experiences closely mimic in-person shopping experiences, advertisers can tap into consumers’ needs for a sense of normalcy and familiarity.

Further, many brands are launching their holiday and BFCM deals earlier this year. Walmart started promoting their annual Black Friday sale on the 4th of November. Some brands are even planning on continuing to have BFCM offers beyond the thanksgiving weekend as an incentive to get indecisive shoppers to engage.

This may be an advantageous tactic, especially because as we draw near to the holidays, shipping times are expected to increase because online orders have doubled during the pandemic — pre-Holiday season no less. As a brand, it’s important to be very vocal about shipping times. Having constant reminders on websites, in ads and on social media will help to ensure that consumers know when they need to place an order by to receive their delivery in time for the holidays. Recently, there’s also been a shift towards offering free expedited shipping, as opposed to just free standard shipping.


Was Amazon Prime Day Too Early?

Another big change this year was Amazon Prime Day. Amazon typically holds their annual 2-day savings event during the summer. This year however, they opted to have it in October.

According to Fluent’s consumer Pulse report, 22% of surveyed consumer didn’t shop this prime day. Prime day was likely too close to Black Friday to make it worth it for consumers who didn’t participate this year. These consumers are likely waiting for better deals, like the ones typically seen during BFCM. What does this mean for your brand? COVID-19 has led to individuals being placed on leave or furloughed. At this time, shoppers may be putting a greater emphasis on the value of offers and sales. As a result, there has been a recent shift towards deep discounting with some marketers promoting 70% off first-time purchases.

Amazon Prime Day

Another reason for the reduced Prime day participation could be that certain consumers could have been waiting to make up their mind. As we saw from Fluent’s findings, users may not know how to go about shopping this holiday season. This is an opportunity for advertisers to reduce friction and to remove barriers to entry. Making their holiday shopping as painless as possible is sure to be a strong motivator.

Lastly, those who did participate in this year’s Prime day savings event spent more than in previous years. This suggests that consumers who do have the means may be spending more online than ever before. There’s also been an uptick in ‘self-gifting’, likely as a result of restrictions and health guidelines and the impact they’ve had on people’s ‘self-care’ routines.


Mimic In-Person Shopping Where Possible

The pandemic has brought on quite a few unique shopping experiences. More than ever, there is an emphasis on Click and Collect, Buy Online Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup orders to ease tensions around shopping in stores. There is also a big emphasis on highlighting any changes that have been made to ensure in-store safety protocols.

Holiday shopping black friday

Where pickup or in-store shopping experiences aren’t possible, it’s important to make sure that online shopping experiences feel familiar and comfortable to shoppers.

This includes:

  1. Adding deep links to your emails, ads or app notifications and push notifications will make it easier for shoppers to find items they’re interested in.
  2. Adding a pop-up before users check out can entice users to grab a few more items like they would in a check-out aisle in stores.
  3. Offering ‘at-home kits’ for experiences users can no longer have in person (for example, a pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal or an at-home gel manicure set) can increase the bottom line by tapping into new audiences while filling a gap in the market caused by restrictions and closure.

If you’re pivoting, pivot with intention. This is a great time to do it!


Christmas Compassion – Give the Gift of Giving

Since a large number of people are concerned about savings, it’d be greatly advantageous for advertisers to lean into that; people are looking for help this year given that loads of folks have been affected by COVID-19. Any deal or offer that will lower a barrier to entry for shoppers will yield better results.

holiday gifting black friday

There has also been a shift recently where brands are leaning in to more philanthropic and ‘here to help’ messaging and offers to ease concerns around holiday spending and expensive items. Others are actually giving back (via their offers) to COVID relief initiatives, unemployment, or homelessness relief programs. There’s also a big focus on helping small and local businesses who may be struggling due to the pandemic.

Ensuring that messaging and collateral leverages these points where possible (and in a genuine way) is a great way to help consumers get through their gift lists while simultaneously giving back to the community.


Hit the Ground Running this Holiday Season

Given these insights, advertisers should aim to offer more aggressive deals, start Black Friday deals earlier and potentially after Thanksgiving to catch late buyers, and add ‘up-selling’ campaigns to their media plans to capture multi/big purchase consumers.

For more holiday shopping tips and tricks, make sure to watch Fluent’s latest webinar, Holiday Shopping Insights: Trends & Insights for Marketers.

If you are interested in taking your performance to the next level, let’s chat. We’re here to help!

The Untold Story of Long Tail Pro: How I Built and Sold a Software Company for 7 Figures

The Untold Story of Long Tail Pro: How I Built and Sold a Software Company for 7 Figures

In 2010, I launched Long Tail Pro, a keyword research software tool.  Over the next 5 years, I grew the company from 0 to about $1 million in revenue per year. I sold that company in 2016.

Although I’ve shared some bits and pieces of the Long Tail Pro story over the years, I haven’t really shared anything that’s happened since 2016.

Building and selling Long Tail Pro is a monumental event in my life and so I hope you don’t mind if I talk a little bit more openly about it than I have in the past.

Today, I share the “untold” story of Long Tail Pro and what has happened since I sold the company, along with some of the valuable lessons learned along the way.

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Please watch the video to get all the details of how I build my software company, why I sold the company, and what has happened since.

Overall, I hope you enjoy some of the thoughts I share related to selling my software company.

Hey everyone: it’s spencer, here and today i want to take a trip down memory lane. I want to talk a little bit about my previous software company called longtail pro. I was recently on a podcast and the story of longtail pro came up and i felt like i’ve, never really shared the entire story.

I’ve shared that i built the software that i sold the software, but i haven’t shared a ton of the details and actually what has happened since, and so i want to dive into that today. It’s. Really just a story of long tail pro how it’s dramatically changed my life and how it ‘

S impacted how i’ve done business in the future as well. So let’s dive into that. I started long tail pro back in actually 2010 is when i started developing the software tool. It really didn’t launch until the very end of 2010 and really early 2011, and so i won’t dive into it too much uh.

Other than it was an idea that i had on my own so that i could do keyword research a lot faster. I was out building tons of niche websites and i wanted to input more than just one seed keyword tools like market samurai.

That was really the one i was aiming for. You could only input one seed keyword. It would spit out a couple hundred results and that’s great. But i wanted to input 10, 20 30 different seed keywords in different niches and have it just spit out thousands of keywords, check and tell me if the exact match domains were available and give me all the metrics that i needed to make a decision.

Whether or not i should start a website on those keywords, and so i did the analysis i’m, not a developer, so i hired somebody and i built the software, and i launched it to my very small list of maybe 1500 people.

I actually had a blog back in the day called niche adsense challenge.com. If you go there, i don’t think it’s working anymore, so i did have a small list and i went ahead and i launched it to that list.

I also did a warrior forum special offer if you remember the warrior forum, and i got some sales, i think in the first month i made about 2 500 bucks, which was huge for me. I still had a full-time job.

I was working as a business banker at wells, fargo bank. This is right before i decided to quit my job, and so it was well received. I thought and then the the months after that you know you have a launch that goes really well and then it sort of goes down and i was making maybe a few hundred dollars a month after that for a little while – and i was happy with that – I had never launched a software tool, and so it was doing pretty well, i thought, but, as would happen with software, there started to be some bugs, and so i needed to go back to my developer.

Have those bugs fixed and for a while. That was fine for a couple of months, but then the developer was overseas and he started getting less and less responsive and i decided you know what. If i really want to build a business here, i got to have somebody that’s responsive.

I got customers breathing down my neck, saying: hey the tool’s broken it’s, not working. I think at the time you know it’s, definitely less than 100 customers, but still i wanted to make them happy and i decided i needed to hire a different developer.

I needed to get somebody that was more responsive in my own time zone that had english as a first language that i could communicate better with and i asked the developer hey. Can you give me the source code, and this is a story i have shared before? Maybe you’ve heard it a few years ago, but basically he said, came back and said: whoa you, didn’t, buy the source code, i own the source code and if you actually want the source code, it’s.

Going to cost you an additional fifteen thousand dollars, i had already paid, i think, a little more than fifteen thousand well, maybe less than fifteen thousand dollars for the very first version, uh of long tail pro – and so here i am with this dilemma of.

Do i pay this guy 15 grand to get the source code that i thought i already owned? Do i close down shop completely or number three? Do i go out and hire a new developer and just start from scratch and i ‘

Ll be honest. I thought about shutting down completely. I remember having a very vivid discussion with my brother, and he said: no, you, you, probably shouldn’t continue on with this business. It’s only making a few hundred dollars a month.

Why spend fifteen thousand dollars just just close up shop? It was a really tough decision, but i decided i’m gonna go out. I’m gonna hire another developer and i’m, going to build the software tool from scratch and just make it even better than it was before so.

Fortunately, i did that. I built the second version of long tail pro. It took about six months. I had to give a lot of refunds. I had to keep customers at bay. It wasn’t a fun time, because the old software tool stopped working pretty much 100.

If i recall correctly – and i gave everyone that had paid the new version of long tail pro – i basically said hold on it’s, going to be a few months. If you want a refund, i’ll. Give it to you, if not if you can hold on, i promise i’ll, get you a better version and i did.

I gave them uh the new version for free and i relaunched the software tool and fortunately, it sold even better. By that time i had a bigger list. I did another launch on warrior form by this point. I had quit my full-time job because my niche sites were doing well is making a little over ten thousand dollars a month, uh 10 15 ish thousand dollars a month.

When i quit my job and it grew a little bit from there and um. I felt like i had something on my hands here. I’ve got a software company that i can build now, the first full year. Sorry, not the first full year, the first year that i launched it was 2011 really um.

I guess that was the first full year and i made maybe thirty thousand dollars in sales uh. It definitely picked up in the second half of the year uh and then in 2012. I think it just cracked a hundred thousand dollars in sales, and so i definitely had something that was growing now.

It was not easy, it was tons of development work and you have to remember at this time it was still a desktop application, so it was no recurring commission, i sold it anywhere in the beginning, it was like 47 bucks, one time you bought it and you Had a lifetime license uh, you got all the updates for free at some point i bumped up the price to 97 bucks and so then in early 2013 is when i did this huge launch.

I re i i brought in mark thompson. He did. He helped me. Do this affiliate launch, he was really good at recruiting affiliates and we did something like 250 000 in sales in about 10 days, and that just blew my mind up to this point.

I was doing all the support myself all the sales and marketing everything other than the development work, and i was absolutely overwhelmed after the first day. Luckily, i reached out to my facebook group and i found a support person that stayed with me for the life of the company and actually still helps uh with some support for link whisper.

Now his team does anyways. He’s, a different story, but he’s, built an entire team now of support staff anyways. I started hiring people to help out with the business after that launch and then shortly after that, we introduced the recurring commission structure of the keyword, competitiveness.

It was called long tail platinum, and that was a big move for the business, because now i was getting that recurring commission and so the company began to grow from 2013 to 2014. The recurring subscription uh was growing.

I was just doing a lot of hustling. I was blogging on niche pursuits. I was doing podcasts word of mouth was huge for longtail pro had an affiliate program, guys like pat flynn and empire flippers, and lots of other people were promoting uh long tail pro and then again in 2015.

I did another huge launch with mark thompson again and this time it crushed it even more. I think it was like 500 000 in total revenue and again that’s, top line revenue before i paid affiliates right so affiliates made 50, and then i had to pay mark thompson, something like 25 of what was left over.

So it still was like well over six figures that i put into my pocket um from like a one week launch. So it was. It was huge and that really put long tail pro on the map. Even more and so 2015 was a stellar uh huge year and then 2016 was just even bigger.

I kept doing promotions recruiting affiliates. I had jake kane at this point, a full-time employee, helping me run the operations of the business, recruiting affiliates, uh and doing a lot. I mean i there so many lessons learned that i could dive into.

But honestly i’m, not an expert at this stuff. I i you know i was a business banker by trade. I wasn’t a developer, but i was very open about updates and ideas that i had for the software tool. I tried to always be very honest with customers and do the right thing by customers.

Um always try to make it easy to get a refund or if they saw a bug, we’d, update it for them. I would hop on calls with customers in the early days and fix things and and the business grew, and it did really really well in 2016, and let me see if i can actually find some of those stats here.

I wrote a blog post where i shared a lot of the uh results, and so well. This only goes to um 2015, but basically, 2016 was was even bigger. We uh the company, basically just eclipsed a million dollars in sales, a million dollars in revenue and no, i’m.

Sorry, no 2015 is the correct year, so uh just shy of one million dollars in revenue in 2015 and just over six hundred thousand dollars in net profit uh. That is more money than i thought i would ever make.

You know i was working as a business banker making way less than that. You know making less than six figures a year at my old job in 2011 and then in 2015 to be, and again i was the 100 owner i owned all of the company, and so after paying all employees development everything to have over six hundred thousand dollars.

Put into my own pocket in just that one year, um it’s, huge it’s, it’s, life-changing amounts of money, and i do have a blog post. If you search for how i sold my software company on niche pursuits, you can see this graph.

You know you can see in 2014 that the net profit was closer to 300 000 and then basically doubled in 2015, and a big part of that was that one launch where you know like i said i put over a hundred thousand dollars within about a week Period uh in my pocket, so it was already life-changing amounts of money, even if i had just held on to the company, but there were definitely competitors coming in a lot of additional keyword.

Research companies were coming in, google was making it harder to access the data and longtail pro was still a desktop application, and i knew to take it to the next level. It needed to be an online tool, and so i had to decide.

Do i take this company and create a whole new version of the software going from a desktop application to an online tool is no easy task and takes a lot of investment. Do i make that shift? Do i feel like i can still compete with all these new keyword, research tools out there am i still comfortable with the fact that google is having a very tight grip on the data.

There was a lot of decisions at play and i decided i was ready to sell the company. I had grown it to the point where i felt i could grow it and i wanted to sell and it just worked out that i told a few people hey.

I’m thinking about selling and word kind of spread a little bit and i actually got three different people that were interested in buying just privately. I never had to list it publicly anywhere and um.

I ended up going with wired investors if you ‘ Ve listened to the podcast, you’re, familiar with those guys and um my history with them there. I had known them for many years and i felt like they could take the software to the next level.

So, after negotiating several different points, i signed an asset per purchase. Agreement with wired investors and i won’t get the exact price. It does feel a little bit awkward to share how much money um i sold long tail pro for the exact amount, but i shared the income numbers of the last full year in 2015 and if you know multiples of software, you can do some math and get Pretty close to to what i sold the company, for it was a life-changing amount of money.

You know over seven figures again, i i was the 100 owner at the time and uh being able to see that amount of money hit. My bank account all at once. I have no debt, you know never took on any debt with the company, it was.

It was a good day. I’m, not gonna lie uh, it was a good day. I still worked from home and i basically walked downstairs and talked to my wife and said: well, it’s done, i’ve sold it and i took her out to a nice dinner and that’s, how he celebrated Um, it was a hard decision.

I i will be honest that i struggled a lot. I talked to so many people, my dad, my brother, my wife business associates several sleepless nights because i had a couple of employees and i knew i might have to either let them go or they would have to go with a new company and they may or May not like working with the new company, so it was stressful, but i i believe that i made the right decision, and so now i want to talk a little bit about what happened.

Next, i won’t dive into the process of hiring lawyers and negotiating price and all of those details, but i will share one detail that i left out here is that i actually only sold eighty percent of the company and so up until now.

I have been still a twenty percent owner of long tail pro, but i have zero operational responsibilities. I am not involved in the day-to-day responsibilities. I don’t, make any decisions for the company um anything like that.

The reason i kept 20 because i felt like there was still a lot of upside and i wanted to take advantage of that upside and so after the company was sold, uh wired investors. They wanted to do some promotion on their their blog and, if you may have been following along, you may be familiar with this story.

If not, you can can google, it um just some short commentary here they did some things in the first. I don’t, remember what it was two or three months, because long tail pro was the first acquisition of wired investors.

They wrote up, you know they did some things of longtail pro that that increased conversion rates and they sort of extrapolated okay. We’ve increased the conversion rates here, and the value per subscriber has gone up this much.

Thus we can project. Over the next year we’ve increased the value of long tail pro by you know 2x or i don’t, remember the exact amount, but it was a little bit uh sensational and again extrapolating out and they wrote this big blog Post and i kind of felt bad because it it made me, look bad, it looked like hey.

These guys could come in and double my company after just a couple of months and uh, but i worked with them in in a way because i had just gotten a ton of money from them, and so i didn’t tell them to take That blog post uh down and um, but it i kind of felt like i’ll, be honest.

It damaged my reputation a little bit in terms of my own business savvy. It made me look not that great. But what did i care? I mean? I just had the hugest payday of my life um, but over the next um year or two, it became very apparent that the changes that they had made wired investors made did not you know, double the company um at all, and so they actually went back and Changed that blog post and so it’s, been an interesting ride.

Um. I will just say that long tail pro uh actually did continue to grow a little bit in the first couple years, but it ‘ S definitely stagnated uh, but it is still a very solid company. Like it’s, i can’t share the exact numbers, but it’s.

It’s, still a very healthy six figure a year revenue business. I mean it’s, you know doing really really well, and i’m impressed with a lot of the changes, because wired investors did have a difficult task of taking it from a desktop application to an online version, and they did that.

There was lots of things that happened um and it was so tough for me because i couldn’t answer to the customers and say you know hey. I got your back because i no longer had any operational control, but if we fast forward now until about a year ago, wired investors decided to sell longtail pro again, and so there actually is now a new owner of longtail pro and they took over.

In about january of 2020, so they’ve, had it uh roughly 10 to 11 months now, and what did that do for me? Well, not not a huge change other than you know. It’s, a change in ownership. Again, i still don’t have any operational responsibilities.

I still do currently own my 20, and so i should clarify that over the last four years since i originally sold long tail pro, i have been getting uh quarterly payments, which is pretty nice. I’m, not going to lie kind of get 20 uh bonus check or you know just the recurring earnings every month and but i do expect in the next 12 months to be paid off completely.

So i will no longer have any ownership percentage in long tail pro whatsoever. You know after the next 12 months or so so that essentially brings us up to date with where long tail pro is today uh. But where does that actually leave the company itself? So longtail pro is still actually a very strong company.

Uh it’s, doing well. It’s profitable. It’s, earning money and uh. The new team that just bought the tool i’m actually optimistic that they’re gonna make some really nice improvements to the software tool.

They’ve, already made uh some decent improvements. There just different things: the the rank tracker is improved, the core keyword, research functionality is improved and they’re. Tightening up some loose ends that have been um with the online version of longtail pro for a little while, and so i’m, really actually quite excited about the future of the software tool itself.

I likely won’t, have any ownership percentage going forward? I don’t really do anything with the tool other than every once in a while. I’ll, say maybe every three to four months. I do actually hop on a consulting call with the current team and i walk through and give my advice, my tips and any strategies that i might have, which i think they’re still appreciative of, and so it’s been a Long journey uh, when i look back it’s now, actually been 10 years since i started long tail pro it’s a long time ago that i came up with the idea back in 2010 and launched the software tool, and here We are now at the end of 2020.

I still have a very small ownership percentage and but it’s been sold twice. Now i sold it once and then wired investors sold it again and the current company that owns it. I don’t know how much of their plans i’m supposed to go into other than uh.

They are likely going to wrap it up. They they own other companies and software tools. They’re likely going to package. It all up – and i think the dream and hope someday is for them to be publicly a publicly traded company which would be cool if someday, i could say, hey longtail pro is part of a publicly traded company.

So we’ll, see it’s been an amazing journey, it’s been life-changing, and i’ll. Just say that, even though i’ve had a huge payday with longtail pro. I still am ambitious. I still have new ideas. I’m, still excited to go out and build new software tools.

In particular, i’m working on link whisper right now, which is done very well, and i actually do believe that link whisper has as much potential as long tail pro had as well. And so i’m, going to see where i can take it.

Link whisper has been in existence now for about a year and a half, and i’m, very excited to see what happens over the next two to three years and beyond, to see where i can grow it, and so that’s. Where i am in my current business, that’s, the full story of long tail pro there’s, a lot of little details.

Of course that have happened since i sold the company, but because i’m not involved directly with the day-to-day operations, i didn’t want to dive into those too much other than i’ll. Just say that there’s, certainly been some bumps along the way there’s been a lot of new competitors come along the way, but longtail pro is still after 10 years a great tool.

I use it personally for keyword research tool as a keyword, research tool. Still i use it as a rank tracker almost daily. I’m in there checking where my rankings are and much more it’s, a profitable company, and so i feel very good about that that i was able to start something uh that has employed lots of people.

Now at this point – and i see a good future as well for the company – so there you have it – that is the full story of longtail pro. I hope you have enjoyed this episode and kind of listening to me. Re hash, the history a little bit of the software idea that i had 10 years ago.

So if you have an idea for a software tool, i definitely think it’s, a great business, a great avenue that you can go down. You can make a life-changing amount of money, no guarantees, but certainly, if you put in the effort, if you stick with it and if you truly come up with a good idea, this solves a real problem.

You can be successful at it. So thanks again for listening.

How Using Emotional Marketing in Content Can Help Drive Way More Sales

How Using Emotional Marketing in Content Can Help Drive Way More Sales

Whether you care to admit it or not, the decisions you make today will be driven by your emotions. In emotional marketing, we talk a lot about using psychological triggers to get customers to click, convert, engage, etc.

“By leveraging common psychological triggers all people have,” you might hear, “you can drive more sales.”

While it may feel like we make decisions with our minds, using logic and reasoning, the “mental triggers” we hear about are tied more to emotion than anything else.

Case in point, Antonio Damasio spent time studying individuals with damage to the area of the brain where emotions were generated and processed.

While these subjects functioned just like anyone else, they couldn’t feel emotion.

The other thing they had in common was they all had trouble with making decisions.

Even simple decisions about what to eat proved difficult.

While they could describe what they should be doing using logic and reason, most decisions couldn’t be settled with simple rationale.

Without emotion, they weren’t able to make a choice.

This is supported by data from Gerard Zaltman, author of “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market.”

Zaltman found that95% of cognition happens beyond our conscious brain, instead of coming from our subconscious, emotional brain.

ecards emotional marketing

Emotions are an X factor you can’t control, but you can’t afford to ignore them in your content marketing.

Why is Emotion Marketing so Effective?

When you make an emotional connection with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired outcome.

You’ve formed an emotional bond, however brief and fleeting, that makes them open to ideas and suggestions. It creates a certain level of trust that’s virtually impossible to artificially manifest.

Rob Walker and Joshua Glen found firsthand what an emotional connection can do.

In one experiment, they bought hundreds of items from thrift stores and similar locations — all cheaply priced.

The duo wanted to see if they could sell the products using an emotional connection through the power of stories alone.

With 200 writers on board, they generated fictional stories for the products and used those stories to sell the thrift store items at auction on eBay.

significantobjects example | Emotional Marketing

They raised just under $8,000, which was a profit of approximately 2,700%.

And they did it all using that emotional connection through storytelling.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for the logical or the rational in decision making.

This is where marketers often leverage the theory of dual processing in psychological marketing.

The theory holds that the brain processes thoughts and decisions on two levels.

Emotional Marketing dual process

The first level is that of emotion, which processes automatically, unconsciously, and provides a rapid response when we need it with virtually no effort.

The second level is the more deliberate and conscious thought process, where we handle decisions with reason and logic. It happens far slower than the emotional response.

In most cases, we fire back with a ready response from our emotions and then try to consciously rationalize it.

Think about some big-brand rivalries and preferences will surface in your mind.

How do you feel when you look at this major brand comparison?

brand rival in Emotional Marketing

Here’s another common one that has people divided, sometimes within the same family:

brand rival example in Emotional Marketing

And then there’s this brand rivalry we know all too well.

Jobs vs Gates in Emotional Marketing

In each of these, you likely have an opinion almost instantly about which you prefer, but it’s not because you have a logical reason.

It’s typically tied to emotion and/or experience; how you feel using their products, or how the brands left you feeling after an experience or reading a news article.

The brain then tries to rationalize that emotional response.

For example, your emotional response goes straight to Coke and then your brain works to rationalize the decision by deciding that it tastes better in a can, it’s fizzier, has a stronger bite than Pepsi, etc.

So, while you might feel like you’re making a rational choice about your beverage, it’s really just an emotional one.

The most successful marketers know how to lean on the emotional over logic in order to make their content draw in the audience.

That’s whynearly a third of marketers report significant profit gains when running emotional campaigns, but the number of successful campaigns dips if you introduce logic into the marketing.

emotion logic in Emotional Marketing

And those results get sliced in half when marketers switch to logic over emotion.

Emotion Marketing Doesn’t Guarantee Successful Engagement

We experience a laundry list of emotions every day.

Is it really as simple as leveraging some emotion to make content more effective?

Yes and no.

Emotion is certainly important, but there are also other factors like timing, exposure, the format of the content, how it’s presented, who produced or shared it, etc.

Despite understanding the role emotion plays in content, we still haven’t quite perfected a formula for what makes content go viral.

Take, for example, Intel’s five-part “Meet the Makers” series.

The videos profile a person around the world who uses Intel’s technology to create new experiences and build new technology that makes a difference in the world.

intel in Emotional Marketing example

Like 13-year-old Shubham Banerrjee, who used Intel’s technology to build an affordable Braille printer.

intel 2nd Emotional Marketing example

And of course, some companies try to leverage emotion and create viral campaigns that just don’t take off.

CIO reported a number of failed viral marketing campaigns, such as “Walmarting Across America.”

In this blog, two average Americans travel across the country visiting Walmart locations, reporting their interactions on a blog along the way.

After countless upbeat entries about how people loved working for the company, it was discovered that the trip was paid for by Walmart and the entire thing was a campaign created and managed by the company’s PR firm.

That didn’t receive a warm reception from the blogosphere, which deemed the content to be a “flog” or fake blog.

Which Emotions Attract the Most Marketing Engagement in Content?

Many emotions fuel our behaviors and our decisions, especially our purchase decisions.

Some more than others — especially when they’re authentic.

A study wasdone by Buzzsumo analyzing the top 10,000 most-shared articles on the web. Those articles were then mapped to emotions to see which emotions had the greatest influence on content.

The most popular:

  • Awe (25%)
  • Laughter (17%)
  • Amusement (15%)
popular emotion | Emotional Marketing

Conversely, the least popular were sadness and anger, totaling just 7% of the content that was most shared.

Two researchers at Wharton also wanted to dig deeper into virally shared content to find commonalities and better understand what makes that content spread.

What they found was the emotional element, and some very specific results tied to emotions.

  • Content is far more likely to be shared when it makes people feel good or it creates positive feelings such as leaving them entertained.
  • Facts or data that shock people or leave them in awe were more likely to be shared.
  • Instilling fear or anxiety pushes engagement higher, from comments being posted to content being shared.
  • People most commonly shared content that incited anger, leaving comments as well.

While some emotions are more likely to engage than others, every audience is different. What drives one to action may do very little for another.

This modern adaptation of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion,illustrated by CopyPress, shows the range under eight primary emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.

emotions wheel via copypress

For content to be widely shared and have an impact on your audience, it needs to leverage one or more of these emotions.

The proof is on the web, not only in the statistics I shared above, but also in the popularity of user communities that regularly share content.

Just look at Reddit and some ofthe most popular subreddits by subscriber count. Each can be tied back to emotions (some more obviously than others) like anticipation, awe, joy, and more.

subreddits Emotional Marketing example

Here’s how some of those emotions can play into the engagement with your audience:

Anxiety May Cause Uncertainty For Customers

You don’t want your audience to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to buyer’s remorse, which can paint your brand and the overall experience in a negative light.

But it can be helpful if you leave the audience a bit more open to influence.

A Berkeley study revealed that anxiety can be linked to difficulty in using information around us to make decisions. When we experience uncertainty, it becomes harder to make decisions and our judgment is clouded.

anxiety example in Emotional Marketing

Still, anxiety can also spur people to act as a result of that uncertainty.

Take a two-year study by Wharton Ph.D. student Alison Wood Brooks and a Harvard Business School professor.

They found that upon increasing the anxiety of certain subjects with video footage, 90% of the “anxious” participants opted to seek advice and were more likely to take it.

Only 72% of the participants in a neutral state, who viewed a different video, sought advice.

Capture the Focus of Your Emotional Marketing Audience With Awe

Awe is comparable to wonder, but it doesn’t always fall under the umbrella of joy or humor.

It’s intended to captivate the audience and keep them riveted.

You often see this kind of hook in headlines that seem so earth-shatteringly significant that no one in their right mind would want to miss it.

Here’s a good example of that kind of awe used in contentwhen Dropbox first launched.

dropbox start | Emotional Marketing example

Co-founder Drew Houston submitted his product to the website Digg, hoping to get some visibility from the social bookmarking site. That headline helped significantly.

Another great example of using Awe to capture attention is a video produced by Texas Armoring Corporation.

A study from Stanford University found that people experiencing awe are more focused on the present and less distracted by other things in life. They also tend to be more giving of their time.

When you have their attention and their focus, they’re more likely to have time to rationalize a decision.

Drive People to Action With Laughter and Joy Through Emotional Marketing

While joy and laughter can have their lines blurred, they’re really two different emotions when it comes to your content.

Because while laughter often leads to joy, not everything that is joyful is laugh-out-loud funny.

Still, next to awe, joy, laughter, and amusement were the highest contributors to social sharing and engagement in the above studies.

That influence goes all the way back to early childhood.

As babies, out first emotional action not long after being born is to respond to the smile of our parents with our own smile.

social smile | Emotional Marketing

Per psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, joy and amusement are hardwired into us from birth.

His studies tell us that our innate desire for joy increases when it’s shared. That’s the nature of the “social smile.

That explains why these feelings or emotions are such huge drivers behind the virality of content. Happiness, overall, is a huge driver for content sharing.

In fact,Jonah Berger’s study of the most-shared articles in the New York Times (around 7,000 articles) revealed the same kind of results around emotion.

The more positive the article, the more likely it was to go viral.

Brands have worked “joy marketing” into their strategies for decades, aiming to make their audience feel warm, comfortable, and happy.

That’s the intent of campaigns likeP&G’s highly successful and viral “Thank You, Mom” campaigns that are injected with a lot of emotion (especially joy) when celebrating the strength of mothers.

pg

Joy can take a lot of forms, though, and it doesn’t have to be commercially intended to elicit a direct sale.

Look at what Beringer Vineyards did with influencer marketing.

Russian Instagram sensations

Murad and Nataly Osmann built a following of more than 4.5 million people with photos featuring them holding hands at locations around the globe during their world travels.

They attached the hashtag #FollowMeTo on those posts.

muradosmann example Emotional Marketing

The couple teamed up with Beringer Vineyards to create some images meant to inspire joy, love, and of course the sense of adventure the couple already shared with their hashtag.

beringer example | Emotional Marketing

Immediate Gains in Emotional Marketing From Anger

Anger may be perceived as a negative emotion by some, but it can have positive influences as well as positive outcomes when leveraged in the right way.

A leading researcher in the study of anger, Dr. Carol Tavris, draws a parallel between anger and how it impacted society over the years.

Women’s suffrage, for example, developed from anger and frustration.

Anger can be empowering for the individual, bringing a sense of clarity and positive-forward momentum. It gives people a feeling of direction and control according toa study from Carnegie Mellon.

In the previously mentioned study on content shares in the New York Times, negatively perceived emotions like angerare equally associated with the virality of content.

angershare in Emotional Marketing

In fact, Berger’s study of the New York Times content found that content which incites feelings of frustration or anger is34% more likely to be featured on the Time’s most emailed list than the average article.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you deliberately create controversy by taking shots at readers or picking fights.

The key with using anger in content is to frame an issue that incites anger or frustration in a way that’s constructive.

You have to be thought-provoking and engaging.

This interactive graph from the New York Times is an example of how content can lead to frustration and anger over economic or societal issues.

interactive chart NYT in Emotional Marketing

This piece of content is simple, yet it provokes engagement as well as thought when results are revealed in comparison to what an individual perceives to be the truth.

Using the Right Emotional Marketing Words in Content

The difference between logic and emotion in content comes down to the words we use and how we position statements and information.

It’s just like the laundry list ofpower words used to improve conversion, orterms commonly used in e-commerce to get customers to buy more products.

ecommerce words in Emotional Marketing

When creating copy and content, you have to be acutely aware of whether you’re taking a rational or emotional approach to the information you’re sharing.

You need to think about the response you want to elicit to help guide your content development to make the right kind of

psychological and emotional connection with your audience.

rational and emotional mind in emotional marketing

The context of your copy can remain the same.

By changing the words you use, however, you can make content appeal more to the emotions of the audience and prospective customer.

The simplest approach to finding the right high-emotion words takes only three steps:

  1. Think about the action you want your audience to take when they read your content.
  2. Decide what kind of emotional state will drive that action. What would make them do what you want them to do?
  3. Choose emotionally persuasive words appropriate to the action and the emotion.

What you’ll find in researching the right words is that emotionally persuasive and impactful words tend to be abrupt. It’s the short, concise, basic words that appeal most to our emotions over our intellect.

Just look at this list fromthe Persuasion Revolution.

emotional words in Emotional Marketing

The majority of this emotionally weighted list (and there are over 350 items) is made up of shorter words.

The rational mind, on the other hand, tends to associate with longer and more complex words.

rational words in Emotional Marketing

You Can’t Assume When it Comes to Emotional Marketing

It’s not easy to make that emotional connection with your audience. You have to know them.

Like anything else in marketing, your decisions and the content you create needs to be based on data. In this case, that data is your audience research.

That same research that tells you what topics to create, where your audience spends their time, and the content they prefer to view, can clue you into how to make that emotional connection.

You just need to expand your buyer personas.

buyer personas demographics in Emotional Marketing

In this case, you want to build up the psychological profile of your audience. You can achieve this by asking the right questions to help steer your content research and production.

  • What do they find humorous?
  • What are the pain points that frustrate them?
  • What topics make them angry?
  • What are common problems they speak about?
  • What kind of content is being shared that clearly pleases them or brings joy?

Your research could turn up a common topic or theme that appears frequently in the content they read and share.

For example, you might discover that a certain segment or demographic in your audience has a strong affinity to family values, or health and wellness.

Turn that into a content campaign that shares the feel-good side of your company.

Delve into the family life of your employees, how your company supports the work/life balance, or better health initiatives.

Google is well known for its company structure, promoting flexible schedules, support of family time, personal projects, and a focus on work/life balance.

The company often shares behind-the-scenes images (visual content) showing off employees enjoying what they do. Here’s an example from Google Sydney’s offices:

google sydney | Emotional Marketing example

That can influence a positive emotional response toward the brand when targeted segments see that content.

Emotional Marketing Works in the B2B Process

Don’t get caught up with the dated idea that emotion is only applicable to consumer-focused businesses.

Emotional marketing has its place in the B2B marketing world as well.

You may be dealing with a longer buying process between one or more organizations, but the decisions are still made (and fueled by) people who are absolutely driven by emotion.

That includes emotions like:

  • Awe: over what a solution is capable of and feeling empowered to bring that solution to the workplace.
  • Anticipation: in finding a piece of the puzzle in a product or service that will help the company achieve its next goal or milestone.
  • Fear: in purchase decisions that could reflect on the individual, resulting in a personal risk associated with a B2B purchase.
  • Joy: in knowing that a B2B purchase is likely to lead to a positive outcome that will reflect positively on the individual.

Emotion absolutely influences B2B purchases, and in some cases, emotion matters even more than logic and reason.

Conclusion

You hold a great deal of influence with your audience when you’re able to tap into their emotions.

Once you understand your audience, you can better determine their emotional state.

From there, make the decision about whether you need to influence and exploit emotions that are already present, or if you want to create or give rise to emotions the audience wasn’t initially expecting or experiencing.

Even the most (seemingly) rational decisions are influenced by emotion — and that applies to everyone.

When you learn how to leverage that emotion in your content, you will see increases in engagement, social action, and conversions within your funnel.

How do you use emotion in your content and copy?