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5 Ways You Can Use Emotion To Increase Conversions

For a long time, it was believed that people make decisions rationally, while the importance of emotions was not recognised. Nowadays, we understand that people tend to make decisions based mostly on their emotions and positive and negative affect.

Image credit: pixabay

Emotions have a stronger impact on what we do, what we prefer and what we reject, and the same can be said for what product or service we choose to purchase. In fact, one study by neuro scientist Antonio Damasio showed that people without emotion often struggle to make decisions at all.

A successful business is one that appeals to human emotions, and you can do that through your website, e-mails and social media efforts. Let's take a look at five tactics you can apply to engage human emotions to increase conversion.

1. Tell A Story

Stories and narratives are a powerful tool. We are designed to pay attention to stories, because this is the natural way in which we communicate information to each other. Using a story immediately draws attention and sparks our interest. It can engage our negative or positive emotions – a funny story makes us feel joy, while a sad story makes us feel sad or angry.

Image credit: ABC Copywriting

Story telling and optimization of language brings our emotions to the surface and makes us more interested in what you are offering. If we are emotionally engaged, it's more likely that we will choose your product or service.


Try creating a story around your product or service and optimize language for emotion based on your target audience. Boring product? You can still use stories via testimonials from your clients; place them on your website or to accompany your product. If you send out a newsletter, you might consider devoting a part of it to a customer success story.  Not convinced? Read how WikiJob increased sales by 34% by improving their customer testimonials.

2. Get Your Customers To Like You

If you offer your clients positive emotions, then you are engaging them on several levels. First of all, you are giving them reinforcements that will help them associate your brand with pleasant things. Secondly, you are applying the principle of reciprocity – we like someone more who seems to like us, and we want to do something for someone who helped us or offered us something nice.

There are several ways in which you can help your customers to like you. First of all, you can offer free things, such as free downloads, a free extra or free shipping, for instance. This appeals to the reward center of the brain and helps your clients like you more. Discounts and coupons offered to customers general and regular customers can also create positive emotions in your clients.

By offering free things or special offers, you help your clients associate you with rewards and instant gratification, something that brings joy, and also appeal to the principle of reciprocity. As  you are giving your customers something, it makes them more likely to give you something (a purchase or a recommendation) in return.

Deeper connections are created by gifts and experiences that connect emotionally. They may require more effort than standard promotions, but the reward returned is tenfold.

Image credit: flickr

Innocent’s Big Knit gives something to everyone, tells a story and certainly makes you smile.


Don’t just focus on the sale; focus on the quality of your relationship with the customer. Give them something first; a free download, informative blog posts or an extreme guarantee like shoe vendor Zappos. For high value ticket items and services, a small gift or ‘random act of kindness’ to a customer or a potential customer can work wonders. Social media can offer insight as to what to gift, be it a book, ticket or even just a recommendation of a great article. Feeling brave? Try something extreme like the big knit.

3. Answer Your Clients' Needs

If you are in a specific business, then you know what needs you are covering – the need for efficient software or for a quick delivery service or any other product or service you are selling. These are the specific needs of your clients. However, there are also general needs that everyone has and by appealing to those needs, you can engage them emotionally and help your clients choose your brand.

What are these general needs? Well, the ones that concern us the most are the needs for security, esteem, belonging and self-actualization. These are needs that are embedded deep in our unconscious mind, which is why we are more emotionally drawn to things that respond to those needs. As demonstrated in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid.

Image credit: Wikipedia

You can use Maslow’s pyramid to emphasize how your product or service can answer to each or one of those needs.

If it's security, you can mention how your product or service offers protection and safety. Esteem shows that your product or service is used by a select group of customers and is high-quality. Belonging can be appealed to when you mention that your customers form a group and are a part of a close-knit community. Self-actualization refers to personal growth and achieving one's true potential, so emphasizing those qualities of a product or service can engage the customer on an emotional level.


Review your business’s offerings, be they service or product and identify which of Maslow’s needs they align with. Tweak your copy and product descriptions towards those needs.

4. Show Your Customers The Human Side of Your Business 

We are emotional beings and tend to trust other people rather than just companies. If you can show them the best side of your employees, then those positive qualities will bleed onto your business. This is a psychological effect that appears in other aspects – for example, when we see a good-looking person, we are more likely to think they are also professional and competent. When we see a person with some positive qualities, we are more likely to assume they have other positive qualities and that the work they do is also more positive than negative. This is something that can be used to your advantage.

Image source: flickr

If you show your employees or the company's CEO, emphasizing their positive qualities, hobbies, work or charity, then those traits will be associated with your business. It will also give your clients a glimpse of the people who work in your company, showing a more personal approach and inspiring more trust.

Seniority shouldn’t be a barrier to customer interaction. Faceless businesses are a thing of the past, even though Ben & Jerry sold their ice cream empire in 2000, they are still the face of the brand to this day.


Look at your team. How can you give their positive qualities more public visibility? A team page? An opportunity to blog? Posting their achievements on your social media? If you don’t have a team you can even do this with your customers - share their social good and achievements on your networks and you will be seen in a positive light by association.

5. Keep it Easy, Keep it Quick

People prefer things that involve the least effort. There are two reasons for it – it helps save up our brain's resources and it activates the reward center of the brain. This is especially true on the Internet, as people have so many options that they don't need to stick out with a page where they can't find the necessary information or that takes ages to make a purchase.

There are two sides to keeping things easy and quick. The first side  involves usability. You website and especially your online store need to be easily accessible, load quickly and have all the information that the customer might need. The path to what the user is seeking should be quick and easy for them to navigate.

Image credit: Cyberfrog Design

On the other side, it's possible to appeal to the gratification that comes from not having to wait and having things easily accessible to you. You can appeal to this emotional affect by using words like “quick”, “instant” and others, as well as offering extra-fast deliveries and, suggesting that the whole process is easy and quick.


Step into the shoes of your customer and review your landing pages. They should provide the customer with the exact information they are looking for. There should be no distractions. This is especially true if you are running ad campaigns - never send them to a generic landing page.


Take one or all of the above, make them as big or small as you like. Incorporate them into your strategy, or take one and build your strategy around it. Even if you can implement just one or two of the suggestions, we’re sure you’ll see significant increase in conversions.

  • Tell a story and optimize language for emotion
  • Be like-able; give something away
  • Address core needs & desires
  • Be human; you are more than your product
  • Make it easy by stepping into your customer’s shoes

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