There are over 161 million photos and approximately 85 million videos on YouTube alone of cats and kittens on the internet.  Cats and kittens are entertaining, it’s true, but they also have the “awww” factor going for them.  That little tug of the heartstrings as we watch their antics, as we view those adorable and often comical faces feels good.  It’s like heart candy.  It’s become almost a cliche’ that if you want to get people’s attention, give ’em cats.

So what does that have to do with you marketers out there?  Why does it matter?  Because there’s a reason that cats and kittens, dogs and puppies tend to go viral online and you need to understand it.  People don’t generally buy with their brain.  They buy with their heart.  If you want to get their attention and keep it, you need to grab their emotions.  You need to capture their imagination.

Picture of an adorable kittenBut, Bonnie, I sell air conditioners!  Or I sell lawn-mowers.  They aren’t cute or cuddly.  I sell vitamins, they don’t make you smile when you look at them.  I sell knives, not exactly humorous or adorable.

The fact is, it’s all about emotion.  Nearly anything that anyone can sell has emotion attached to it in one way or another.  The trick is to find that little tug of emotion that can get people’s attention.  And the interesting thing is that it doesn’t even need to be a warm, fuzzy, positive emotion.  The insurance industry has used powerful negative emotions to sell life, health and accident insurance from the beginning.

So, let’s talk air conditioners.  Two emotions, one negative and one positive.  The negative emotion is that drawn out, nearly painful feeling of being entirely too hot.  How much harder it is to do things and how it saps your energy.  Then the positive emotion, that sigh of relief when you walk from the blazing heat into the relaxing cool of your home.  Make them feel that.  The frustration when your current cooling system doesn’t function properly and the satisfaction when your company relieves them of this irritation.

What about lawn mowers?  Negative:  How embarrassing it is to have an unkempt yard.  How hard it is to use their current lawn mower and what a pain it is to maintain.  Positive:  The pride they will feel when their lawn is meticulously manicured and with such ease!  Picture of a happy householder riding or pushing their excellent machine.  Maybe even a scene with the kids in the home arguing over who “gets to” mow the lawn today!

The point here is that when you include emotions in your marketing, you get attention.  This means great copy, great images and video.  This means testimonials that come from the heart.  This means giving them a reason to hear you out, because it will make them feel:

  • Happy
  • Fulfilled
  • Proud
  • Satisfied
  • Safe
  • Glad
  • Grateful
  • Pain-free
  • Relaxed

You get the idea.  And your product will help them avoid feeling:

  • Sad
  • Useless
  • Frustrated
  • Angry
  • Afraid
  • Concerned
  • Agitated
  • Stressed Out

And so forth.  You need to ask yourself the question:  “What’s so good about that?”  And you need to answer yourself with the positive emotions you can attach to your product.

The other question you need to ask yourself is:  “How will they feel without the benefit of my product or service?”  And you need to answer with the negative emotions use of your product or service will prevent.

Marketing messages that make people feel emotions are powerful.  They create desire either to continue a positive feeling or to prevent a negative one.  This is why slogans like “You deserve a break today.” create such movement in the marketplace.  Strong emotions are almost always followed by one kind of action or another.

This is why it is so very vital to know your ideal customer or client.  You have to understand their pain and how it connects to your product or service and how your product or service will alleviate that pain.  You need to find where they hang out and go there and listen to them.  Hear not only what they are thinking, but even more importantly what they are feeling.  This is how you know which emotions to express in your marketing materials.  This is how you can begin to empathize with them to the point that your conversations with them, your marketing messages, have real meanint to them that impel them to take action that will be meaningful to your brand, your product or service and your bottom line.

What it boils down to is that, although you may not put kittens in your next marketing video or your sales pitch, when you create empathy with your brand by embedding relevant emotions into your marketing materials, media and messages on all your brand’s marketing channels, you will not only get your customers’ attention, but you will get their loyalty and they will take action in your favor.



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Great post! I love the way you call out all the ‘1 hour a week’ empty promises – digital marketing can be time consuming, but when done well it also reps great results