Have you ever heard someone say, “listen to your heart” or “go with your gut?”
When making small or large decisions, some people prefer a more cognitive approach, by carefully weighing options with logical reasoning. They make lists of pros and cons and take time to make decisions. And others, go with their gut and use intuition to make decisions. You may find it surprising to learn that “gut” decisions are typically more accurate.
For example, in a 2007 experiment by University College London, published in Current Biology and featured in Science Daily, researchers found, snap subconscious decisions are more accurate. In the study, participants performed better when they had less time to make the decision. Accuracy rates were 95% when subjects were given a fraction of a second to make decisions, which then declined to 70% when they were given more time.
In marketing communication, when an ad or social media post is intended to solicit an immediate response and encourage a consumer to take an action, using both emotion and logic together improves conversion. So, when crafting an Instagram post, an email newsletter, or an ad, begin by selecting images or videos and writing provocative copy to create quick emotional connections with your target audience.
Does your post inspire, entertain, or otherwise capture your audience’s attention in a second or two? Then, appeal to the brain’s rational side by giving your target relevant facts, benefits, descriptors, offers, and information to validate that their gut instinct is correct.
Take a look at this Facebook ad below showing an image/video of a woman using a fork to try to rip her pantyhose. It certainly grabs your attention and quickly strikes a chord with anyone who has ruined countless numbers of hose.
In a study by Jovanovic, Vlastelica and Kostic, Management: Journal of Sustainable Business and Management Solutions in Emerging Economies published in 2016, researchers found, that among women, using an emotional approach has strong impact. While men, on the other hand, prefer more of a rational approach. Surprisingly, using fear in ads also proved to be an effective emotion to stimulate an action.
Don’t Go Too Far With Fear
However, if the use of fear went too far, the ad was either outright rejected or reduced responsiveness. With these findings, marketers should consider their target audience first, before identifying which emotion or combinations of emotions and rational benefits to feature.
Sometimes small business owners and e-commerce retailers forget to mention to their audiences, where or how to buy. On Instagram, for example, you can find many posts which are focused on a place, a product, or a service, without any information about where to go, call or buy. This is quite unfortunate, since adding a link in your Instagram bio is an easy but often overlooked solution.
A call to action is critical and can be tested to optimize copy, color, and location in your communication. The below Instagram ad from the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Massachusetts showcases a strong, colorful, and impactful image with a simple, but highly effective call to action (Click link in bio to register!) with an emoji to catch your eye.
To maximize your marketing effectiveness, follow these 5 steps which capture both the hearts and heads of your customers in communication:
- Define the goal of the campaign, social media post, or ad.
- Create content to achieve your goal and appeal to your audience emotionally, using strong visuals, copy, strong colors, and video.
- Use compelling copy to convert prospects with an offer, benefits, or testimonials that connect rationally, and reinforce the “gut” emotional decision they want to make.
- Use a simple call to action link to encourage the audience to take an action or to buy.
- Test, learn and optimize until you determine which creative, offers, and benefits perform the best for your target audience.
In the age-old battle between the heart and the head, the real winner is the marketer who successfully learns how to tap into both. And by doing so, over time, you will see your conversion rate improve and your customer base and sales increase.