B2B email marketers know that turning prospects into leads, and ultimately, into paying customers, requires audience engagement – opens, reads and click-throughs. And while I’ve dedicated my blog to providing tips on how to do this successfully, one area we haven’t covered yet is the power of persuasion and its impact on email marketing.
Recent studies have isolated the top emotional triggers that help generate the most email responses: gain, fear, scarcity and logic. How can you push these emotional buttons to generate greater ROI with prospects in your upcoming email campaigns? Here are four quick tips:
- Gain: Obviously, nobody will click on your email messages without expecting to get something in return – they want to gain something tangible and valuable. While this might seem obvious, I am sometimes surprised when email marketers shortchange their subscribers. Think about it and be honest – does the call-to-action (CTA) in your current campaign offer insight or information that will help your audience with some aspect of their job or daily challenge, or is your CTA more of a commercial for your company? If the latter, next time create a CTA that will actually help your audience (e.g. a how-to video or case study), and then clearly communicate what will be gained by clicking or downloading it.
- Fear: Depending on your audience and product offering, emotions such as uncertainty, alarm or anxiety can certainly be a motivating factor – even more so than gain. Think of the many data security consultants, pest control firms, mechanics, insurance companies or financial planners who have effectively used fear as an emotional button to successfully get you to act. Thus, instead of convincing your audience to act for their own gain, perhaps instead paint the scary picture of what could happen if they don’t act. Showing how your audience can avoid this doomsday scenario with your product can position you as their trusted resource. With the right message to the right audience with the right offering, instilling fear – with honesty and tact -- may get more prospects clicking on your email CTAs.
- Scarcity: While gain or fear can be motivating factors, scarcity creates urgency. If you’ve ever watched QVC or home shopping channel (“only 25 of these left!”) you know how scarcity can motivate some people to action. For this reason, to increase prospect activity from their email campaigns, marketers should communicate that what they are offering is somehow limited and will go away soon. For example, if you are recruiting for an event, you can offer reduced “early bird pricing” that expires at a certain date. You can also offer special promotions or coupons – but only for the first 100 respondents. Humans often need a reason to act – and act now. Creating urgency through scarcity can and should generate increased email responses and actions.
- Logic: Once you have motivated your audience to action with the emotional buttons above, you can help reinforce their actions with practicality, reason and logic to bring credence to your offerings. For example, use industry statistics (the average premium for an individual health insurance plan costs employers nearly $6,000); odds (1 in 10 computers will catch a crippling virus); or experts (how Warren Buffett’s brands handle employee 401K plans). Your company and product awards, press coverage, user statistics and customer testimonials can also be utilized for effect – and to reinforce that a prospect’s decision is the right, logical one.
These four emotional triggers can also be used in combination with each other – i.e. start with the fear message, justify with practical odds, and increase your CTA urgency through scarcity. However, you’ll want to mix and match your persuasion tactic to the product and service you are offering and make sure it aligns with your customer personas, your brand and the culture of your company. And of course, you’ll want to test your campaigns regularly in order to narrow down the emotional tactic that generates the best results.
Once the power of persuasion is successfully employed, B2B marketers can then enjoy the emotion of satisfaction for a job well done.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, 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.