How to Use Emotion in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
There is no doubt that emotion plays a role in marketing as a whole, but for ecommerce marketing emotion can be even more important. In theory, customers are considered to be rational, making choices after carefully weighing up their options. In reality, impulse and emotion can influence the purchasing decision far more than you may realise.
This comes down to the way that humans react. Despite the ability to weight information, absorb details, and think carefully, far more choices are made by gut feelings that are often automatic and in many cases not even conscious. That intuition forms part of the human learning that is rooted in emotion rather than rationality. Whether reacting positively or negatively, humans have a built-in emotional reaction that is used for new experiences and many decisions. Rather than having a single process for interaction, decisions, and the way that the world is seen, human behaviour is rooted in both emotional and rational processes.
While rational thought processes are slow, logical, careful, and often based on specific rules or guidelines (for instance, affordability, practicality, need or value), emotional thought processes are a little different. These processes are automatic, unconscious, and based on feelings. These could be anything from happiness to fear, aspiration or nostalgia. You could look at a rational response as customers adding items to a cart based on the value they perceive, versus the way the product makes them feel.
How exactly can you harness the emotional process in your ecommerce marketing approach? Keep reading to get some ideas on how you can use emotion-based marketing to drive more sales.
Using Emotion in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
Needless to say, emotion-based ecommerce marketing requires a certain amount of planning, as well as understanding your key audience. It is also important to approach your ecommerce marketing strategy holistically rather than trying to force emotional responses. When you instead focus on creating an authentic experience for your customers, it becomes far easier to trigger the right response. Some of the ways that you can achieve this include the following:
Know your audience well.
The very first step in emotion-based ecommerce marketing is to have as much insight into your audience as possible. Without understanding your customers, it will be very difficult to connect to them at the deepest level. You will need to understand the type of content and campaigns that drive responses. You will need to know your audience’s pain points, their goals or wants, their demographics, and anything else that gives you more insight into your customers.
Along with customer research, you can look at creating buyer profiles. You can also ask for information in a minimally invasive way. This could include competitions, quizzes, feedback surveys, and giveaways. You can also tie this into your loyalty programmes, offering points for completing feedback forms and completing extended customer profiles.
Avoid generic, impersonal, dull websites.
As practical as generic ‘cookie-cutter’ websites might be, they seldom create any type of emotional response. A boring, generic website will seldom reflect your brand’s personality. This, in turn, makes it harder for customers to connect to your brand. If they cannot forge a connection, let alone feel any emotion beyond boredom, customers have no reason to choose your store over any other store.
This applies not only to the look and design of your online store, but also to your content, layout, images, featured products, and usability. Stores that make customers feel welcome right away will make customers want to learn more. Creating a sense of warmth and encouraging customers to live your brand is therefore essential. For example, an outdoor clothing and accessories store could play on highly visual elements such as beautiful nature scenes that feature campers or hikers. This helps to build a sense of aspiration, making customers want to step into your world to experience their own magical outdoor experiences.
Develop a brand story.
Following closely behind, your brand story is equally important to build emotional connections. A faceless brand that has no voice or personality will never have the same ability to speak to customers compared to a brand that has a clear voice and narrative. Using our outdoor clothing and accessories store, the brand story could focus on a love for the outdoors, a passion for wild, remote spaces, a commitment to sustainability, giving back to wildlife organisations, a need to solve challenges, and an authentic brand image that speaks to the key audience of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Focus on clearly displaying your brand values, showing how you solve your customer’s pain points, what sets you apart from competitors, and what makes your brand authentic. Keeping your brand narrative honest and straight-forward is key, helping to build trust and influence emotional decision-making more effectively.
Create a sense of community.
Community plays a highly important role in ecommerce marketing. If you create a movement, you will have even more chance of encouraging an emotional response. At heart, online communities focus on integral emotions – acceptance, belonging, happiness, excitement, and even aspiration and determination. When customers are part of something bigger, they will feel even stronger emotional responses.
When you create a movement, you can give back, too, which further helps you to connect to customers emotionally. With our outdoor apparel example, this could be anything from a sustainability drive to a hiking community that organises forest clean-ups.
Focus on your visual marketing.
Visuals play a vital role in ecommerce marketing. For emotion-based campaigns, they are even more essential. Images help to create an instant connection, triggering emotions almost automatically. Our outdoor store might use the images we described earlier that make shoppers want to head out to the woods. It may also feature videos that further enhance that longing feeling. Models might be carefully chosen to reflect the rugged outdoor beauty that the brand projects.
Product images may also be chosen carefully, focusing on the key features as well as the background. A carefully shot image of a smiling, happy model in hiking boots, standing near a campfire in the fresh light of the morning would have more impact than a generic image of a pair of hiking boots.
Create personalised campaigns.
Finally, another important thing to include within your strategy is personalised campaigns that speak to your audience. Feeling understood and acknowledged is a strong emotion for humans. For customers, these feelings as essential. Although excellent customer care and details such as fast, free shipping, a good returns policy, a streamlined shopping cart, and other must-haves are par for the course, you can go over and beyond these basics to make your customers feel cherished.
This can be done through personalised campaigns that seem to speak directly to each customer. You can add notes from the store owner, with a digital signature. You can use copywriting and social media in a way that is deeply personal and approachable. You can inject personality into your marketing material. You can also personalise literally, creating campaigns according to customer behaviour.
Done carefully, emotion-based marketing offers plenty of rewards. To get the most from your ecommerce marketing strategies, investing in a marketing automation platform can make your campaigns far easier and more effective. Contact Grapevine Interactive today to learn more about how our platform can help your ecommerce marketing connect to customers on a deeper level.