Your seasonal guide to emotive marketing for small businesses
The holidays are coming, and although the festivities may look a little different this year, people are still willing to spend.
A mix of recent retail studies project online shopping and eCommerce to explode this holiday season, with a growth of 18.5% expected across North America.
Whatever your niche, if you’re looking to grow your audience and drive a healthy level of sales this holiday season, creating an emotive marketing campaign is the way to go.
Emotive marketing is a powerful force and will strike a nerve with your audience in a way that offers real value. It will help you stand out from the crowd and steer you towards commercial success this holiday season.
Let’s explore emotive marketing in more detail.
What is emotive marketing?
Emotive—or emotional marketing—refers to campaigns or messaging that uses sentiment to connect with your audience, generating a buzz and driving sales in the process.
More often than not, emotive marketing taps into a single emotion— feelings including sadness, anger, happiness, fear, excitement, or on occasion, disgust—to encourage a consumer response.
As humans, we feel a range of emotions every day, and by focusing on a particular emotional response, your marketing communications will become all the more natural, meaningful, and potent.
Today’s consumers don’t fall for meaningless, one-size-fits-all sales messaging. In fact, 63% of people prefer to buy from purpose-driven brands.
Emotive, or emotional marketing, will help you showcase your brand values, create purposeful messaging, and help you make long-lasting connections with your customers. And, the holiday season is the time to strike.
Essential emotive marketing tips for the holiday season
We’ve covered the value of emotive marketing and how it can boost your sales over the holidays—now it’s time to look at essential tips that will make your campaign a success.
Understand your audience
First of all, to create a real impact with your emotive marketing campaign, you need to understand your audience.
If you take the time to understand your customers’ potential pain points, needs, wants, and preferences, you will create content and messages that resonate in a way that gets results.
Consult your Google Analytics and look at demographic data to gain insight into the kind of people visiting your website. Then research your competitors’ campaigns and social profiles for inspiration to help you get to know your audience on a deeper level.
Once you’ve conducted your research, you can create a holiday marketing buyer persona (a profile based on your model customer) by following our step-by-step guide.
Know your intent
Armed with your newfound customer knowledge and buyer persona (or personas), you should take the time to decide on your campaign’s intent.
What we mean here is the primary emotion your campaign is going to tap into. Are you looking to make your audience laugh their way through the checkout process? Do you want to create a tear-jerking holiday marketing campaign? Or do you want to make your customers feel all warm and fuzzy?
You can cover other emotions with your marketing campaign and communications, but to create a real emotional impact, focus on one main emotion. Doing so will make your campaign far more direct and powerful.
Tell a meaningful story
As far back as anyone can remember, storytelling has been an essential part of the human experience.
People love stories that stick in the mind and create strong emotional responses. That said, your emotive marketing campaign will not work without telling a story.
You don’t have to be a William Wordsworth to create an emotionally-driven story. Using your focus emotion as well as your buyer persona for direction, you can:
- Give your campaign content (blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, or otherwise) a clearcut beginning, middle, and end.
- Consider your brand values and find a way of sharing them within your content—this will show your audience that you provide value and have a real purpose.
- Make sure your tone of voice reflects your target mood or emotion. For instance, if you’re going for happy, you should be as conversational as possible, using positive adjectives and phrases. But, if you’re going for nostalgic or tearful, you should make your phrasing a little less snappy and direct, researching words that fit your overall tone. Whatever you decide, make sure your messaging and content are consistent from start to finish.
- Make your content easy to share across different platforms to help your story reach more people. Placing social media sharing buttons at the foot of your content or creating a call to action that enforces people to share your story are both effective approaches.
To help you achieve storytelling excellence, here are two resources for your reading pleasure:
- How to create thought-leading content for your business
- A step-by-step guide to creating engaging content ideas
Add a dash of color
Few small business owners take full advantage of color to enhance their emotive marketing efforts.
Color psychology is effective, and by choosing the right visual tones for your emotive marketing campaign, you can create the desired emotional response. And when that happens, your brand engagement levels will increase over the holiday season.
Here’s how to use colors to evoke emotions in your campaign:
- Red: The color of fire and blood, red is linked to passion, love, desire, energy, danger, and determination.
- Orange: Combining the highly energetic tones of red with the more mellow vibes of yellow, orange is often associated with joy, warmth, happiness, and optimism.
- Yellow: The color of sunshine, yellow elicits strong feelings of empathy, love, respect, happiness, and wellbeing.
- Blue: Conjuring images of the sky and sea, blue creates a sense of depth, introspection, respect, trust, faith, and truth.
- Purple: Like blue, purple creates feelings of depth and faith, but its slightly edgier tones are also connected with determination, ambition, and power. Both blue and purple are good for more sombre or nostalgic campaigns as they encourage deep thinking.
- White: Associated with innocence, white is often connected to companionship, faith, and sympathy.
- Black: Linked to power and elegance, black represents edge, action, and mystery and evokes a deep sense of passion.
Last but certainly not least in our rundown of emotive marketing tips, your campaigns and content should be aspirational.
What we mean is that the main hook for your emotive marketing campaign should aim at inspiring the impossible. Not literally, but by creating content that inspires your audience to achieve their goals or dreams, you will generate strong emotional responses that will drive engagement and, in turn, more holiday engagement.
Creating aspirational straplines that give your emotive marketing efforts direction will make your content all the more successful.
Skittles’ ‘Taste The Rainbow’, Coca-Cola’s ‘Open Happiness’, and Red Bull’s ‘Red Bull Gives You Wings’ are solid examples of aspirational campaign straplines.
Emotive marketing campaigns for your inspiration
Finally, we’re going to look at two excellent emotionally-driven content pieces for your holiday marketing inspiration.
To condemn the phrase ‘like a girl’ once and for all, transforming it from a term of weakness to one of inspiration and empowerment, Always created an emotive marketing campaign to demonstrate its core brand values.
#LikeAGirl creates strong emotions of passion and confidence by using real voices to challenge the negative associations connected with being a girl or, indeed, a woman. Its direct messaging and emotional content prompts positive action while positioning Always as a brand of empowerment and social justice.
Doing so has earned Always droves of engagement across social media, and to date, the original video has racked up over 68 million views (and counting). A masterclass in emotive marketing.
John Lewis #ManOnTheMoon
Skipping across the pond to the UK for a moment, John Lewis’s ‘Man On The Moon’ campaign is an incredible example of emotional holiday marketing.
John Lewis is celebrated around the world for its powerful Christmas campaigns, and this particular effort is one of its most successful efforts so far.
Here, the strong emotive hook, soundtrack, colors, imagery, and story all weave together to create a sense of sadness and nostalgia which, in the end, morphs into feelings of warmth and empathy without losing consistency.
This campaign alone earned the brand a 15.8% surge in sales during the 2015 holiday season and still stands up as one of the world’s strongest feats of festive emotive marketing.
Emotive marketing will set you apart from the competition this holiday season. Follow these tips, trust your creative judgment, start now, and those all-important festive sales will be yours for the taking.
Best of luck, and for more small business marketing advice, check out our five offbeat content marketing ideas for retail and eCommerce business owners.