Use the Power of Emotional Appeals

What were you thinking about right before you started reading this article?

Maybe you were worrying about paying your daughter’s college tuition. Or dreaming about the cruise you’re taking in a few months. Or regretting that off-color joke you told at the office this morning. Or perhaps remembering the first word your son spoke and cursing Uncle Pete for teaching it to him.

We are all emotionally preoccupied with our own wants, needs, interests, joys, fears, hopes, expectations and regrets. This preoccupation creates an almost impenetrable barrier. You can’t get through with logic. And you can’t get through with reason. The only way to get through is with an emotional appeal.

The right emotional appeal is like a hammer, smashing the glass between you and your prospect. It answers the unspoken question every buyer asks before parting with one red cent: “Why would I want this?”

This column contains a list of appeals. It’s just a starting point, something to get you thinking. For each message you create, imagine you are the prospect. What do you feel? What do you need?

People want to get things they don’t have and get more of what they do have, including:

· Time – for themselves, their families and their interests.

· Comfort – ease, luxury, self-indulgence and convenience.

· Money – to save, to spend and to give to others.

· Popularity – to be liked by friends, family and significant others.

· Praise – for intelligence, knowledge, appearance and other superior qualities.

· Pride of accomplishment – doing things well, overcoming obstacles and competition.

· Self-confidence – to feel worthy, at ease, physically or mentally superior.

· Security – in the home, in old age, in the form of financial independence or provisions for adversity.

· Leisure – for travel, hobbies, rest, play and self-development.

· Fun – feeling like a kid again, doing something for no good reason or just goofing off.

· Prestige – a feeling of importance, being a member of a select group and having power.

· Enjoyment – food, drink, entertainment and other physical contacts.

· Exclusivity – being in on something special.

· Better appearance – beauty, style, physical build and cleanliness.

· Health – strength, vigor, endurance and a longer life.

· Envy – having something others desire.

· Ego gratification – to support or enhance self-image.

· Business advancement – feeling successful, getting a better job or being one’s own boss.

· Social advancement – keeping up with the neighbors and moving in desirable social circles.

People want to avoid losing things they already have. The potential loss of any item on the previous list is a motivator, often stronger than acquiring it in the first place. People aim to avoid unpleasantness, such as: embarrassment, offense to others, domination by others, loss of reputation, pain, criticism, risk, work, effort, discomfort, worry, doubt, guilt or boredom.

People want to act in particular ways in order to:

· Express their unique personality.

· Satisfy their curiosity.

· Feed their appetite for something.

· Act or appear like their heroes.

· Attract the opposite sex.

· Acquire beautiful or rare objects that say something about them.

· Improve themselves physically, mentally or spiritually.

· Gain the affection of others.

· Be accepted into other social circles.

· Get ahead at work.

· Add beauty or elegance to their lives.

· Impress others as well as build and reinforce their reputations.

· Fulfill personal obligations.

· Get rich or make money.

· Protect themselves from harm.

People want to be and be seen as something special as well as: smart or savvy; first or best at something; unique; creative, either generally or in a special area; good parents; efficient; recognized authorities; up to date, well-educated or “with it”; gregarious, sociable; influential, able to get things done; independent; or part of a group (one of the boys).

Of course, an emotional appeal seldom works alone. Usually several appeals are at work in any given situation. However, if you have a good product or service, usually one appeal is more powerful than the others.

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