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Tweak your headlines for emotional marketing value
02 November 2018 (Edited )
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Emotion plays a part in every conversion

In a 2013 article in Psychology Today consumer psychologist Peter Noel Murray PhD makes the case that emotions are at the core of consumer decisionmaking:

  • Emotions create preferences that lead to decisions.
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging shows that consumers primarily use emotions rather than information in evaluating brands.
  • Advertising research finds that a consumer's emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on stated purchase intent than does the ad's content: 3X for TV commercials and 2X for print ads.
  • In response to an emotion, humans are compelled to do something.
  • "An understanding of consumer purchase behavior must be based on knowledge of human emotion and include the paramount influence that emotions have on decision-making."

To which I would add, for B2B marketers: at the most granular and fundamental level, every conversion is a person-to-person, one-to-one transaction. Buyers buy primarily on emotion, and subconsciously rationalize their buying decisions as having been done on the basis of the evidence: features, benefits, cost, etc. At one time it was a Fortune 500 axiom that "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

And as Ogilvy & Mather founder David Ogilvy - creator of some of the greatest ads of all time for Rolls Royce, Hathaway Shirts, Schweppes, Dove - wrote in an article in 1974:

"I earn my living as a copywriter in an advertising agency. It is a matter of life and death for me to get people to read my advertisements. I have discovered that more than half the battle is to write headlines which grab people's attention and force them to read the copy."

So: when we publish ads, blog posts, articles, white papers, special reports or any other kind of communication aimed at prospects, we need to craft headlines that compel the viewer to start reading our piece.

A fast way to evaluate the emotional marketing value of a headline - and tweak and re-test - is provided by the helpful folks at the Advanced Marketing Institute, who self-describe as "researchers, educators, and developers who have come together to provide real tools and knowledge to businesses and individuals who are tired of struggling to control their chaotic systems."

Their Headline Analyzer tool is here and looks like this:

Just do as I have done in the graphic and enter your draft headline, pick from the dropdown the most relevant business or industry category, and click the Submit for Analysis button.

You should quickly get back a results page like this, showing a numerical (0-100) Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score and the primary emotion your headline touches in the reader's brain: Intellectual, Empathetic or Spiritual, with some explanatory notes.

It seems my headline appeals most to the reader's "intellectual sphere" and is most likely to affect readers by arousing their curiosity. (Makes you want to keep reading to find out what the opportunity is, right?)

I've added the Advanced Marketing Institute's Free Headline Analyzer to my copywriting toolkit. Maybe you or someone at your company should too.

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David Boggs MS    - David
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