Let's face it: I'm a feelings person. I like to talk and write and sing about my feelings. I like to analyze my feelings. I like to talk about and analyze other people's feelings.
Not everyone is a feelings person, and I get that. But the fact remains that everyone has feelings, even if they don't enjoy discussing or exploring them. Since the first, I have always approached marketing from a feelings standpoint because it's the connection you establish on some emotional level with a client that makes them 1) come to you in the first place, 2) stay loyal to you over time by continuing to come back, and 3) tell other people about you because you made them feel a certain way they were looking for.
Both of the above signs are local to me; I saw them while out driving and had to stop and take pictures. When I first saw the news billboard, I immediately said to my husband, "That billboard makes me feel 'yuck.'" And he agreed. While it sounds positive by use of the word "safe," the subliminal message there is that your family will not be as safe if you don't watch their news program as if you do watch. You might miss the one piece of key info that could protect your family if you don't tune in. Everyone wants to keep their family safe, right?
This sign uses the FUD tactic:
FUD is a common approach both in advertising and sales. It can be very effective at times to create enough fear in a person that things are going to go to pot if they don't buy what you're offering. (Brings to mind any given infomercial that shows a sad-faced woman before she used a product and her beaming face afterward.) But when people don't FEEL GOOD buying with you or working with you, they're unlikely to keep coming back for more. People, in general, just want to feel good. And if what you're offering doesn't make people feel good in some way, um, why are you offering it?
FUD tactics can also blur the lines between truth and lies, and that's why advertising commonly has such a bad rap. Will your family really be unsafe if they don't watch the channel 2 news? No!
The Memorial Tattoo sign, on the other hand, has so many things going for it! To start with, it's funny. It grabs and keeps your attention. It's memorable. It just makes you go, "Yeah, baby! That's me!" Even if you're not in the market for a tattoo right now, chances are good that you will remember that sign later on when you are. (For the record, one of my tattoos was done by Jett at Memorial Tattoo, so I already love them.) The sign just makes ya feel...you guessed it...GOOD.
Is it ever okay to inspire a little bit of uncertainty in the minds of your clients?
Yes, to an extent. My husband works in IT, and sometimes they tell their clients that things are gonna go all kinds of crazy bad if they don't implement a backup system. But that's just the plain truth. If you don't have a good backup system and your server crashes, you literally are screwed. So they're still selling them something useful for their own protection. The toothpaste ad I love so much - "if you're not whitening, you're yellowing" - uses the FUD tactic. But, in my opinion, it's still brilliant. And it's just plain true. I'm sure if I asked the channel 2 marketing team, they would tell me their intentions were good with this ad because they believe in helping people. But the bottom line is the news billboard creates a feeling of nervousness and just makes my heart and insides feel tight and constricted.
I could easily have entitled this post "Does Your Marketing Make People Feel Yucky?" And you still might have opened it if it made you feel nervous enough to check. But, instead, I turned it around into something positive. I like this tip from PostcardMania: BAD Headline - Don’t Pay a Stress Tax on Your Return. GOOD Headline - Get Your Best Possible Return for $100, Guaranteed!
How can you tell what feelings your advertising efforts are inspiring in your people?
One way is to stop for a second, close your eyes, and think about the ad/blog post/what-have-you from the perspective of a current or would-be client. If you feel a tightness inside your chest or stomach, you might be using the wrong approach. If you feel open, light, or empowered, chances are good you're onto something. (Side note: this strategy is also excellent for making decisions of any kind in your business or life.)
You can also just ask people. Ask a handful of repeat clients how working with you makes them feel. If they aren't feelings people, they might stumble over the right words to choose, so you could even help them with a list of suggestions. If you say a word like "empowered," and they reply, "YES!" then you've latched onto something. This is also an excellent way to procure testimonials from happy clients that you can use on your website and tons of other places so that the newer would-be clients can make an emotional decision on your business based on someone else's positive emotional connection.
The heart of pure marketing is telling people what you offer and how you can support them in some manner, in a memorable way that inspires confidence and good feelings in order to establish a genuine emotional connection. Even when the feelings aren't overtly displayed in your marketing, they're still there. I believe marketing is more about human connection than reaching a certain number of likes or comments. It's far more important (morally and financially!) to appeal to human beings, not search engines. Your people - your clients and your potential clients - are human beings and should be respected as such. They're also smart and can see right through dishonest advertising. Give them marketing that feels good, and they'll respond by making you feel rejuvenated about your business. Everyone ends up feeling good and getting what they need in their lives!
I believe in honest marketing that comes from a genuine place of caring about other people's well-being in some capacity and enriching their lives in some way. I don't care what kind of business you're in - assisted living, energy healing, photography - as long as it's doing some type of good in the world. Those are the kinds of businesses I choose to work with and promote. I, in turn, want working with me to feel good too.
So how can you use marketing to attract and keep clients that just plain make you feel good? Make them feel good. And, for the record, when clients occasionally come your way that just do not feel good to work with, respect yourself - and the Universe's ability to take care of you - enough to tell them you're just not a good fit.
What FUD-based advertisements stick out in your mind that make you feel "yuck"?
What advertisements just plain make you feel good when you see them?