Welcome to episode 30 of Write with Influence. The moral of today’s podcast is to pay attention to your customer’s emotions because if you don’t, you could really miss an opportunity to connect on a deeper level. All buying decisions are based on emotion. By using emotion and then adding in logical reasons to back up what you have said, you’ll be able to make the sale. In this show I am going to walk you through a pragmatic exercise for identifying and using emotion in your copy. It’s a very simple, easy technique, but it is useful for building a narrative that uses emotion without being over the top.
In this episode you will discover:
- How emotions influence buying.
- How to make sure that your copywriting is targeting the emotions of your audience.
- My four steps to writing copy that plays on emotions.
- Examples of robust, emotive copy that doesn’t sound whimsical.
Using emotions in your copy doesn’t mean being overly emotional – people think that sales copy has to have a dramatic element to be persuasive, but you don’t have to go over the top to make emotions work for you in your copy. I am going to show you how to tap into your audience by matching your sales narrative up to concrete, specific actions, features or benefits of your product, so that it sounds more grounded, logical, and conversational. I have embedded two sketches within this podcast to amuse you and highlight the significance of emotions – this time I am upsetting Captain Evil with a two-star review and investing my (imaginary) millions into things that make me smile including bouncy castles, jelly, crop circles and finding the Loch Ness Monster.
If you need help getting that emotional response from your readers, listen to this podcast and give my four-step technique a try. I guarantee it will help you to connect to your audience and write clear, powerful copy that spurs them to action.
A PRAGMATIC APPROACH FOR USING EMOTION IN YOUR COPY
Welcome back to another episode of Write with Influence. This is a short podcast about copywriting with some sketches thrown in for good measure. Now this week I’m actually working from my living room because I’m having my office redecorated. Yay! Very excited about that and I’m hopeful that it will improve my zoom background – as we all know, that’s very, very important these days, and I’ve got a plan to make sure that the correct books are shown on the bookshelf to show that I’m a learned and consummate professional, but with a dash of personality or at the very least look like I’m not trapped in a corner as I do now. Last week, a guy I was interviewing asked if there was a sink behind me and I had to explain that no, what he thought was a pair of shiny taps with actually a large stainless steel Beaver pencil sharpener and a large chicken that is a magnetic paperclip holder. When you put the paperclips on, it looks like feathers. Yes… a learned and professional. Have you modified your background to give the right impression? There wasn’t an unfortunate instance recently where a lady was being interviewed by the BBC and she had a very embarrassing item on her bookshelf, which was funny, but for some reason, all I could think about was the dust because it was on quite high shelf and those are usually the books that don’t get used as much and so the shelves tend to gather quite a bit of dust up there.
Anyway, onto today’s show. I want to walk you through a pragmatic exercise for identifying and using emotion in your copy. It’s simple. It’s a very easy technique, but it is useful for building a narrative that uses emotion without being over the top. You probably already know that people make decisions based on emotion, including buying decisions. That often means that someone is hiring you because on some level it makes them feel good, whether that’s feeling good because they know that their building’s insurance is going to cover them should they have an emergency leak or feeling good because they know those thermal socks are going to keep them toasty on a long woodland walk. If you go back to episode 10, which is “The real reason people buy a product,” you’ll see some examples of purchases that were made on emotions, including my dad’s salmon colored jumper, very snazzy, and my mum’s gold spray paint for the garden. And it’s not just small buying decisions that are influenced by emotion. It can be pretty big investments decisions as well.
[NEW SCENE – Bumbershoot Boondoggle – Global Wealth Management]
Mr. Bumbershoot Boondoggle: Miss Harrison, after extensive research by me and the partners are Bumbershoot Boondoggle, Global Wealth Management, we have a range of investment options for you to consider.
Mr. Bumbershoot Boondoggle: The first is Apple.
Mr. Bumbershoot Boondoggle: I know, now, some say the U S tech bubble is about to burst, but they did deliver revenues of more than a hundred billion for the first time over the Christmas quarter and we believe that there are further gains to be had.
Amy: I don’t like Tim Cook.
Mr. Bumbershoot Boondoggle: Concerned about his leadership style?
Amy: Concerns about his face. He looks the spit on my old chemistry teacher. When I think about Apple, I think about Tim cook. When I think about Tim cook, I think about Mr. Webb from chemistry. When I think about Mr. Webb from chemistry, I think about being yelled at a lot and also burning off my eyebrows.
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: Right.
Amy: What else do you have:
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: As security against inflation, we do recommend you consider gold.
Amy: Well, that song was the soundtrack to my first and last dance with Richard Briggs. Apparently, my moves were not quite in time with Spandau Ballet’s great hit. I mean, I was set up to fail.
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: Okay
Amy: You’ve got the heart attack of a drum solo on the one hand and a swaying saxophone laid on top. How do you dance that? Why couldn’t it have been just a bit of Topow? So no, no to gold.
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: You can’t make investment decisions like this.
Amy: You want me to review my portfolio only to be confronted by a tidal wave of shame, embarrassment and regret?
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: But you would be making money.
Amy: But at what cost to my emotional wellbeing? This really is a barbaric strategy. Look, I’ve been doing my own research and I do have some companies that I’d like to invest in. This company makes bouncy castles and jelly. I like to put 2.3 million into that.
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: What?
Amy: I’ve never had a bad time at a bouncy castle and jelly always makes me smile – if they make ice cream as well, double the investment.
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: Okay.
Amy: This company is heavily involved in bringing back crop circles and finding the Loch Ness Monster. Remember how exciting crop circles were? Bouncy castles, jelly, crop circles are Nessy – eeek – that’s how I want to feel when I look at my portfolio!
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: And hungry and penniless.
Mr Bumbershoot Boondoggle: Nothing.
Now, if your audience is making decisions based on emotion, you’ve got to make sure that your copywriting is targeting this, but how? Because we might think that our service makes someone feel more confident or relaxed or gives them peace of mind, but simply saying that isn’t as powerful as showing it. And this exercise encourages you to think about the emotional state of your customer before they work with you, after they work with you, and to think about the changes that there are, and then to list some specific reasons that relate to that emotional state. One thing I’d say is that using emotions in your copy doesn’t mean being overly emotional. A lot of classic copywriting really drives into the emotions and I think that’s a reason why people think that sales copy is sometimes over the top, that it has to have this dramatic element to be persuasive and hence, that’s why you do see a lot of headlines including “shocking secrets” and “saved marriages.” A lot of clickbait headlines still employ this over the top style and it might get attention in the short term, but it’s probably not sustainable as a long-term content strategy. You don’t have to go over the top to make emotions work for you in your copy. Here is my approach that I like to pin down and it breaks it down into four stages.
- What is causing trouble for your audience?
- How does that make them feel?
- What can you do to help with that problem?
- What are they likely to feel afterwards?
If it’s easier to think about this in a narrative form, you might say,
“Hey, you might be concerned about this thing. It’s making you feel this way. Well, we do these things so you can feel like this.”
Lots of “this” and “things” in there, but obviously you would include your specifics. And what I would say is that the more specific you can be to your customer, the better your copy will be and that’s just generally a great rule. Specificity – it’s great. So, let’s walk through an example. Let’s say you sell project management software and it’s software that can be customized based on a customer’s needs. Right now I’m working on some sales messaging for a product like this for a client that operates in a specialized industry. So, walking through that narrative, number one – what’s causing trouble for our audience? Let’s imagine that they’re using multiple tools to manage their products, spreadsheets, some productivity tools, maybe something like Trello, but these tools aren’t covering everything they need, which means they have to check multiple places for updates on tasks, sometimes things get lost or missed – it’s just a lot of high touch to move and track a task from started to done. So, number two – how does this make the customer feel? Well, frustration is probably high on that list, but also likely annoyance at their inefficiency. They know that they could be doing things in a better way, but they’re just not sure how. There may even be concerns around money and how much this inefficiency is costing them in overtime or in head count if they need multiple people to complete the different tasks, and maybe they may even worry that this inefficiency could be eroding their competitive edge because they can’t get work as quickly out the door as they would like to, or they can’t process orders as fast as they’d like to, or they can’t launch new, exciting product and initiative because all their resources are tied up with the current work. So, in section three, we would then move into how we help with that. In this case, for this product, we would explain that our project management software can be customized, but the customization is guided by a team of experts who go in, they see how you’re working, they see what you need and write the specific code and the tools you need to build it directly into the system, and what this means is, you don’t have to track multiple tools, you can do more with fewer resources. So how does that make them feel the final part? Well, it’s a logical step to say, “Look, when you do this, when you have this in place that you don’t have now, you can feel more confident in your processes. You can probably even feel excited and reinvigorated in your work because instead of spending 30% of your time on administration and tracking tasks, you’re doing the work that you love. You’re increasing your productivity, you’ve got a happier workforce, and in turn that makes your life easier and makes you happier. Now, right there is a very, very simple narrative that is all about emotion, but because you’re matching it up to concrete, specific actions, features or benefits of your product, it sounds more conversational, it sounds more grounded and logical, and it sounds more robust than simply saying, “Use our product”, and be more confident when you increase your productivity. It doesn’t sound whimsical or over the top and I would just put those four sections together in your copy:
- Here’s what you’re dealing with.
- Here’s how that makes you feel.
- Here’s what we do to solve that.
- Here’s how you can expect to feel differently.
Now that’s the episode for today, just a short shot in the arm of emotional inspiration for you – try it out. Oh, and if you have time and any redecorating office design tips to make the perfect zoom background, feel free to let me know. The moral of today’s podcast is to pay attention to your customer’s emotions, because if you don’t, you could really miss an opportunity to connect on a deeper level and you know, paying attention to emotions is just generally good advice because, well, if you don’t pay attention to the emotions of people around you, you could end up hurting someone’s feelings.
[NEW SCENE – Captain Evil’s Lair]
Amy: Afternoon, captain evil, may I say the lair is looking great.
Captain Evil: Oh, you noticed. I’ve been decorating, I’m getting my background ready for zoom calls. Got a new monitor just for evil deeds and some dead stuff pickling in jars. I’m not sure what you do with them. I got them off EvilBay, but I didn’t have any instructions. What have you got for me?
Amy: A scathing profile of you in The Times.
Captain Evil: Ooh, lovely.
Amy: By a Ms. Harrison. She does not like your evil ways. Let’s see. She thought it was terrible that you removed all montages from eighties films and made people watch them in real time.
Captain Evil: Yeah, that was a good one.
Amy: It made The Karate Kid seven weeks long – it took him three days just to paint Mr. Miyagi’s house. Captain Evil: Hahaha! So evil. So evil.
Amy: She hates your weather machine that makes it snow, but never settles.
Captain Evil: Oh, that’s a good one. “Mommy, Mommy, can we go out and play in the snow?” And do what? Lick snowflakes? You can’t have a snowball fight if it doesn’t settle, you can’t build a snowman, you can’t do anything. It’s no fun. Anything else?
Amy: Your fixed rate mortgage is coming up for renewal.
Captain Evil: Oh, I do need to look at that. They’re much more stringent when you’re self-employed.
Amy: And you got a two-star review on your rental.
Captain Evil: What? What did they say?
Amy: They thought the portcullis was a little unnecessary, made it difficult to get groceries in and out of the car. The bed was a bit too firm and the bathroom was outdated.
Captain Evil: That King size is brand new and I had that beautiful eiderdown from John Lewis. Did they mention the wifi? It’s a lot better since we got the booster, and that bathroom has just been done. I really thought people would like the metro tiles.
Amy: The curtains were garish.
Captain Evil: They were my mothers.
Amy: Well, you know what some people are like, they’re just hard to please.
Captain Evil: I know, I just really put a lot of thought into that bathroom … it’s put me down a little. You don’t fancy a drink tonight do you?
Amy: Oh, some of the others are going bowling and then karaoke.
Captain Evil: Well, I’ll come with you. I love bowling and I’ve almost perfected my muskrat love. You could be the Tennille to my Captain Evil.
Amy: If it was just me, I would, but some of the others find you a bit intense and sometimes they just want to leave the evil behind come five o’clock. Maybe another time?
Captain Evil: Okay. Yeah, sure. Yeah, no problem. Have fun.
Amy: Oh, and apparently, they’ve found the Loch Ness Monster. Some exploration company has made billions.
Captain Evil: Order for delivery, please. A large bolognaise pizza, a tub of ice cream, chocolate brownies … no, I haven’t broken up with someone, I’m just a bit down. It’s delivery to the evil lair, please. They’ll be fine – I’ll keep the portcullis open for them. Thank you.