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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2017-02-22

Are the words you’re using in your email campaigns the right ones to persuade and motivate your target market?


According to author Steve Martin (not the comedian) and his book, “How Successful Salespeople Use Language and Intuition to Persuade Customers to Buy,” people interpret their surroundings primarily through one of three sensory filters: sight (visual), sound (auditory) or touch (kinesthetic). In turn, they use—and respond to—language that reflects their preference.


By mapping and personalizing email campaign content according to these filters and preferences, B2B marketers stand to engender greater trust and empathy, and, ultimately, generate higher response rates.


The three major sensory interpretation categories that have the potential to boost campaign results include:


  • Sight: People with a propensity to be more visual will often use language like “looks good from my end” or “I see your point.” These prospects want to see how your product or service works, and more importantly, how it provides value. B2B marketers can best address these individuals by employing more visual keywords such as “illustrate”, “illuminate,” “show” or “display.” Visual thinkers are also more likely to respond better to videos, charts, pictures or infographics.


  • Sound: People who prefer sound-based language might say “sounds good to me” or “I hear that.” They want to hear the benefits of your solution, and B2B marketers can pique this audience’s interest (and ears) with auditory words such as “describe,” “discuss,” “recap,” “talk,” or “rephrase.” These prospects should respond well to calls to action (CTAs) that include sound – such as videos (e.g. of keynote speakers) or podcasts.


  • Touch: Individuals who prefer kinesthetic words communicate in terms of touch or feelings, and use phrases such as “I can handle that,” or “let’s touch base next week.” These prospects will want to understand your solutions through touch, and perhaps trial and experimentation. For this audience, B2B marketers should utilize “touchy-feely” action words like “catch,” “feel” or “move,” or heighten senses through words like “soft” or “smooth.” Kinetic thinkers may also respond well to a product demonstration or perhaps a blog or article that shows how your product actually works in the hands of a user.


Align Your Sensory Words with Your Target Audience

Of course, the challenge in succeeding with this sensory language approach is aligning the proper sensory words to your target audience. If you target large-company customers with higher-value deals and a relatively small number of prospects – such as through account-based email marketing – you might investigate the key decision makers personally and their word preferences to identify and use the corresponding language. You can do so by examining their LinkedIn profiles, blogs, tweets, or the emails they’ve written.


If you operate on a larger scale to a large number of customers with a lower price point, you might include sensory word preference as part of your customer segmentation and buyer persona efforts. There may even be some generalities that marketers can tie into this strategy. For example, we know Millennials often have little patience, and, as a result, would prefer to see a video of your product as opposed to reading about it. Engineers and techies, on the other hand, would likely be more interested in being shown how your product works, and respond better to sensory words that support this.


Another key point: your product, service and brand itself might clearly reflect the sensory interpretation language preferred by your audience. For example, if your business provides sound equipment for concert organizers, your customers and prospects (presumably music fans themselves) might respond well to sound-based language.


Finally, if still in doubt about which sensory words best match your prospects, you can simply ask them which CTA they prefer – the infographic, the podcast or the how-to blog post. Through A/B testing, you’ll be able to zero in on the language that generates the best responses from your audience.


Taking the time to know the most effective sensory language to use with your prospects is an investment in moving your email personalization efforts to the next level. But, the investment should pay off by driving increased engagement and responses. You’ve got to like the sound of that!





Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing results, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database. 

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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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