How Emotional Connections Will Grow Your Business
Why do customers choose to buy from one company rather than another? Most of the time, their emotions are driving their decisions. That’s especially true if you offer a product or service that is similar to that offered by other companies, and if your price is close to that of your competitors.
The more your organization can form emotional bonds with your prospects and current customers, the faster your business will grow. A Gallup study found that organizations that are effective in creating these bounds have a sales growth rate that is 85 percent better than organizations that don’t.
All too often, though, entrepreneurs and service providers leave this crucial aspect of business to chance. You could accelerate your business growth by deliberately setting out to create stronger emotional bonds with your customers and other stakeholders.
Emotion Versus Reason
People often think they make their decisions based only or mostly on rational thinking. Companies often have the same idea, and focus their marketing on logically comparing features.
However, we are guided by our emotions more than we may realize. Rational thinking leads us to draw conclusions from the information we have. However, emotions are what make us take action. When you want your customers to take that final step, you should appeal to their emotional needs.
What Motivates Customers Emotionally?
Everyone is driven by strong emotional needs, such as the need to belong, to be happy, to feel successful, to connect with others and to feel relief from pain. Customers respond positively when the people they deal with in an organization treat them with kindness and empathy, are trusting and make them feel special.
This is just scratching the surface, though. According to a study discussed in the Harvard Business Review, there are about 300 different emotional motivators that can make customers feel connected to a business. Which ones matter the most in any given situation depends on the type of business and the customers’ age and their stage on their buying journeys.
For example, younger adults may feel strongly motivated to protect the environment and will be drawn to companies that share that value. Older adults, on the other hand, may be more motivated by feelings of security. The feeling of security is also important at the beginning of a buyer’s journey. At a later point in the journey, the desire for success may become more important.
Emotional Needs Are Often Unconscious
Customers may have deep emotional needs that they are not even aware of. As a result, what they say they are looking for when making buying decisions may not be the actual basis of their decisions.
To the extent that you can anticipate the emotional needs of your customers, even or especially the ones that are unexpressed, you will be able to create strong and lasting bonds.
But how can you influence people’s subconscious minds? Researchers who have mapped the brain found an answer. You have to create multiple positive impressions of your business. This creates a network made up of positive memories and associations in your customers’ brains that is stronger than the rational parts of their minds. The effect is so powerful that it can make your customers repeatedly choose your business over that of your competitors without even knowing why.
Implementing the Strategy
There are concrete steps you can take to create this powerful network of positive emotions in your customers’ minds:
- Don’t focus all your marketing and advertising on a single idea. While conventional wisdom may advise being single-minded to create a brand image, you’ll have a more powerful effect on your customers’ subconscious minds if you present multiple themes. Writing a book, for example, is a great way to connect emotionally with your customers in multiple dimensions.
- Focus on the positive aspects of your business. If people have any negative associations about your company, don’t try to explain or justify the things they object to. Instead, replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, if you offer a service, look for opportunities to turn customer frustration into delight. Go above and beyond the basics when customers have a problem, and give them positive experiences they will remember—and describe to others.
- Storytelling is an excellent way to create emotional bonds. For example, a compelling story about the origin of your company can encourage customer interest and loyalty.
- Surprise your customers with things that are different and better than what they expected.
The key thing is to be deliberate about forging emotional connections with your prospects and customers. Make these bonds an essential goal of your marketing and advertising plans.