Use these two emotional triggers in your marketing

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In this episode Ross and Talia talk about the psychological triggers that make us buy. Get the breakdown of two of the most common triggers and the templates Talia uses to leverage these triggers in her headlines.

The Transcript

Ross: One thing that I do often that I need to really get control of is the late night Amazon purchases. A few weeks ago I ordered a book that showed you how to turn your home into essentially a fort and a castle. So it talks about how to build a moat around your home, it talks about how you can build catapults, et cetera, and this purchase was solely based on this idea that I thought for some reason, that amidst COVID, we were going to be going into the zombie apocalypse and I need to turn my house into a castle of some sorts. So the biases were running hot and heavy and I think that that lack of rationale that was going through my mind is something that we often overlook, that we all have. We all have our biases, we all have these little things about us that result in us buying things that we don’t necessarily need. And I got caught up in it 100% making this purchase. And now I look at this book, like, “Why did I buy this thing?” But here we are. Here we are with a brand new book.

Talia: That’s funny. Yeah, we love to think of ourselves as rational people that make rational decisions, and I’m pretty sure that if I would have asked you immediately after you bought the book you would have a really rational reason, and you’d be so logical and you’d know exactly how to explain, like, “Yes, this is a totally worth purchase, I should have done it. I’m really happy with it.”

Ross: Not so much. I should have took all of that money and just bought a stock or something, I don’t know what I was thinking.

Talia: Yes, or paid someone to build the moats, I don’t know.

Ross: True. True, that could work. That could work too.

Talia: But I think this is a really cool story because it does really touch on those emotional decisions that we make. Every single decision that we make in life is based on emotion. In fact, we have lots of different biases, as you mentioned, and psychological triggers that affect us. What that means is that our brain actually has all sorts of shortcuts that it makes to achieve results, because it’s slow, there’s a lot of thinking going on and it needs to take those shortcuts in order to make a decision.

So there’s many, many different things that trigger a bias. It could be the way things look. It could be things that people say, it could be a color of something. It could be an object that triggers a different psychological trigger, and it changes the way you think or how you make a decision.

Mostly that’s about emotions, our emotions dictate everything that we do. In fact, I love to talk about Antonio Damasio. Antonio Damasio is a neuroscientist. Maybe 20 years ago, he ran a research with people that had brain damage. The only brain damage that they actually had was that they couldn’t feel any emotions. So they went about their lives, everything was the same as everyone else, and what he actually found is that these people could live their lives in full, except they had one big issue and that is they couldn’t make any decision at all. Not what to eat, not what to say to people, what to choose between, like what shoes to wear. And that’s why we know that emotions impact every decision that we make, whether we want to admit it or not. So that actually leads me into today’s episode. We’re going to talk about two different emotional triggers that you can use in marketing.

Ross: Ooh, I love it. I think, yeah, this is an episode I’m really looking forward to dive into. I think one of the pieces that I try to talk about often amongst peers is if there was one subject that marketers should become very familiar with it’s psychology. So I’m pumped for this episode, we’re going to dive into psychology of humans, which is ultimately who we’re trying to influence with our efforts. So let’s jump in, I’m excited for this one.

Talia: Yeah. At the end of the day, we want to understand the people who are making decisions. Whether you’re B2B, B2C, you need to understand how people make decisions. So these psychological triggers and these emotional triggers, they’re everywhere. In fact, I’ve actually identified over 223 emotions so we don’t have time to cover them all today.

I want to cover two really important ones. And these are two emotional triggers that within the past decade I’ve seen them come up over and over again. Each of these emotions stands on its own but they’re also intertwined. So the first emotional trigger is called social image, and social image is all about how I want people to perceive me. Not just the general public, but the people who are closest to me, the people who I work with, my colleagues, the people who manage me.

This is an emotional trigger that’s all about how I want people to think or feel about me. And we’re all social creatures, most of us care what other people say or think about us whether we want to admit it or not. Maybe we want people to look up to us, maybe we want people to envy us, to admire us, whatever it is, social image has a huge impact on the way we make decisions. So we might actually purchase anything, this could be a B2B product or it could be a B2C product that will help us in our minds make other people feel a certain way about us. And I’ll give you an example. In the B2B world, because most people say to me, “Oh yeah, I get how emotional triggers work in B2C but I don’t get it in B2B.” And I do want to say that emotions work in B2B so strongly, it’s such an important thing to actually use emotional triggers in B2B, and the thing is that when you think about it, when we’re buying something for ourselves as a B2C customer, it’s for ourselves.

So we only have to think about ourselves and maybe our significant other. But when you’re buying something for a company there’s a lot of different emotions involved in that. It’s how people are going to perceive it, what are they going to think about it? How is my manager going to think? Is it too expensive? Are people going to use this product? There’s a lot of different triggers in that. And let’s say that you are a PPC agency. So people are hiring you to run ads for them on Facebook, they’re not just buying that, they’re not purchasing this service from you just because they want you to run ads, they’re doing it for a deeper reason. And that is for the outcome that they are looking for.

For example, a CMO could be hiring a PPC agency to make her look good in front of the board, or maybe because they want to deepen their knowledge on PPC and be able to get better and promote themselves and become better at what they do. So it’s about what other people are going to think about them. Other employee’s going to see them in a certain way, or is their board going to perceive them in a certain way. So social image is really about understanding, if you are a PPC agency, if you’re an SEO agency, if you are a HR software, what you want to think about are the social image triggers. When someone uses your tool and your software, how do people feel about them? What do they think about the person who purchases this product? But there’s also in B2C obviously, so if you are a parent and you’re buying something online for your child, and Ross and I know this oh, too well, when you buy so many irrational things.

Ross: Oh yeah, I hear you. Oh I do love that.

Talia: A lot of the times, I don’t know if this is true for you Ross but I know that it was like this for me, at least when I was a first time mum I had a lot of my purchases were, “What will other parents think of me. How will this be perceived?”

Ross: Right, 100%. 100% yeah, especially in the world of strollers. I’ve had so many conversations with other parents where you’re asking, “Which stroller do you have? Do you have a hiking one? Do you have the Citi DT? Do you have this one, this brand, that brand?” And you’re thinking in the back of your mind, “Oh, I better make sure that I have the right stroller to ensure that they don’t think, Oh, he’s not going to take his child out and walk in parks and take them out, et cetera,” 100%.

And I think that bias is something that we oftentimes overlook as playing a key role of the purchase. As much as we think, “Oh, we’re buying the stroller because we want it to be used to take little Sally and little Jimmy to the park.” In reality, sometimes you’re buying a certain stroller so you can look good in the eyes of the other parents at the playgroup. You’re doing all of these because you want to ensure that the other parents don’t think, “Oh wow, they didn’t actually invest too much into their little kid,” but 100%, I hear you. I think social image is definitely a key piece that goes into a lot of purchases, that is oftentimes overlooked.

Talia: Yeah, and I think it’s actually very, very strong in B2B. And I see this so many times when someone has to make a purchasing decision for that business and there’s just so many different ideas and emotions involved in there, and there’s so many people that could think a certain way about you. Just the simple decision of should I be using Buffer or should I be using Hootsuite, or should I be using a different tool can trigger so many different things from different people around you. So social image is super important and you need to think about it as a trigger for your audience.

The second emotional trigger is self-image. Now self-image goes hand in hand with social image but it also stands on its own. And basically what it means is how I want to perceive myself, how I want to feel about myself. And I’ll give you an example, I’ll give you a few examples.

People buy gym memberships just to feel good about themselves even though they will never go to them. Or my personal favorite is when you buy a bunch of business books, put them on the shelf behind you so they look good on camera, but you will never actually read them because you don’t have the time. But you feel smarter, you feel good about that decision.

Maybe you buy clothes because you want to have a higher self-esteem, and you’re not buying a t-shirt, you’re not buying a piece of cloth, you’re essentially buying something that’s to do with how you feel about yourself. So back to the parents example, it’s not just how other parents are going to feel about the stroller but it’s also about how you feel. Am I putting enough into my child? Do I care enough? Have I given this enough research? Am I putting everything that I can into it? So self-image really works on those different emotional triggers in terms of I want to feel the most professional. I want to feel like I am the best in the industry. I want to feel like I am better than my colleagues, it’s all sorts of different motions in there at play that really do matter. And that is too what’s something that you need to think about when you are doing your marketing.

Ross: Makes complete sense, I think you’re spot on. And so when we’re applying this thinking to our marketing, what are some of the things that we should be thinking about and how can we apply it?

Talia: So one of the things that I want to explain today is how you can use these emotional triggers in your copy and specifically for headlines on your landing pages, on your pricing pages, in your Facebook ads, in your emails and so on. And what I like to do, I work with frameworks and templates. So I’m going to give you a self-image headline. That is going to be the headline that makes it about yourself and how you’re going to feel about yourself, and it’s essentially something that you can switch the words in it.

So the template is have a, or become a, depending on your product, a desirable thing that you can be proud of. I’ll give you a few examples. So if you are a nutritionist, for example you would say, have a routine and a lifestyle you can be proud of. So that’s self-image, being proud of the lifestyle and the routine that you have. Or if you’re selling courses on parenting, we’re really into this today, become the parent you’ve always wanted to be, one you can be proud of. Or if you’re an email software provider, if you’re MailChimp or Drip or ActiveCampaign you could say write and send emails that make you money and proud.

It’s all about how you feel when you’re making that purchase, when you’re making a decision. And you can use this in a Facebook ad, for example, or you could even use this as a headline to a landing page. And I’ve used this template so many times and it works really, really well.

Ross: I love it. I think those are three great examples for how you can be desirable, create that incentive to make someone feel like, “Oh, if you click on this and you open this you’re going to be proud that you even made this decision.” So pride in itself is one of those things that it feels like, “Uh, should we… I’m not too proud to do X, Y, and Z,” but in reality we are. So I love these, I think the idea of just throwing at the end of it, this is something that you can do and be proud of, is a great way to really connect with people in that self-image bias and pull that to life. So awesome, I love it.

Talia: So let’s talk about the next template, which is for social image. So again, how people will feel about you. The only solution made exclusively to the most desirable social image outcome. So here’s an example. If you are a presentation software, you would say the only presentation software, that’s the solution, that will make you feel like a pro designer. Now this is actually a headline that I used for a presentation software that I tested, and notice how we mention this is the solution, so it’s also an SEO keyword that you would use. And then it’s made exclusively to achieve the most desirable outcome. That outcome is for you to look like a pro designer, because many people who create presentations don’t feel like they do it or they’re marketers who don’t have design skills, and they want to look like they pay the designer or they’re the designer that made it.

Here’s another example. If you are a virtual assistant you can say the only virtual assistant service that will make people ask, “How does she get all that done?” Virtual assistant is the solution, it’s the service that you’re providing, and the desirable social image outcome is that people will be saying, “Whoa, how does she get all this done? She’s a wonder woman. That’s amazing.” So that’s social [inaudible 00:15:03].

And lastly, we have an online cooking class, the only online cooking program that will have people asking, “Where did he learn to cook so well?”

Ross: I love it. All three of those are amazing, I think I would be down to buy the software, I’d buy an assistant, I’d take the class. I loved all three of those. And I think the virtual assistant one in particular, where you’re talking about how did she get all of that done? That’s something that everybody has heard in the office, so just using something that is a familiar sounding craze or quote as the way to highlight what that most desirable social image outcome is, I think is brilliant. I love this. I think there’s a lot of value in all three of these, 100%.

So before we jump off I do want to quickly just summarize it again for folks. So social image, you want to create messages and stories that really showcase, essentially to connect with people, to demonstrate this is how they want to be perceived.

So you want to create stories and create messages that are going to make people feel like, “Okay, by doing X, you are going to be perceived a certain way.” And then the second one is self-image, which is that secondary idea that you really want to ensure that you perceive yourself a certain way. So you want to again, make yourself feel good, so you want to buy books that essentially you never read just so you can look smarter.

People hire business coaches to help them push forward to the next level, et cetera. So if we can recognize that as a huge bias and something that everybody has intrinsically inside of them you can use self-image to help craft stories, craft messages that will ultimately resonate with your ideal target audience. So I love these, I think they are spot on in terms of the value, that you can use this insight to craft better headlines, craft better stories.

So let’s wrap this up, folks you know where to find us, please give us a five-star review on all of the platforms that is available. Don’t forget to join our Facebook group,, Action Driven podcasts. We would love to connect with you in there. And you will hear from us again next time.

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Ross & Talia
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