Tremendous change is happening in the marketing world. Companies are moving the bulk of their businesses to digital platforms. Contactless transactions are becoming the new normal. Data privacy laws are emerging every day to keep pace with digital transformation efforts, defending customer’s personally identifiable information, also known as PII, as websites become more sophisticated at tracking consumer data.
Attention spans are shortening. Content is accumulating. And it’s harder to stay relevant in this fast-paced digital economy. How can marketers garner attention in what feels like an overly saturated digital world?
Buyer behavior is changing
With the rise of the internet and digital platforms, buyer behavior is changing. Customers expect to receive relevant content at every stage of the buying journey to support their decision making. And they prefer doing their own comparative product research. That means they’re not keen on talking to sellers while they’re in their “discovery” phase. Modern buyers tend to be self-sufficient and only want to talk to sellers when they’re ready – nearly at the end of their buying journey.
What does this mean for your business? Most consumers expect to find what they need online to inform a purchase. Brands with poor user experiences, outdated content, and a weak online presence can lose a customer’s trust for good. That’s why quality and timely online content is more important than ever.
How do you keep pace with growing consumer demands?
Meeting the demands of today’s highly educated digital consumer isn’t easy. We know online consumers need access to the right information at the right time. But companies are up against some major challenges. Today’s online consumer sees an average of 3,000 to 20,000 ads and brand messages every day. Simply generating piles of content and publishing it on different platforms is not going to win you more customers. Steady content cadences are certainly helpful, but to consistently capture your target audience’s attention, it’s important to consider the value of the messages you’re putting out into the world.
The secret sauce for effective content marketing: Emotion
Modern neuroscience tells us that humans use emotions to inform decision making. Most people believe that the choices they make are rational. But that’s not entirely true. As humans, we make an average of 35,000 decisions a day.ii It would be impossible to think critically about every single one of those choices. That’s why our brain opts for balance. Sometimes we have tough decisions to make that require us to turn on the critical thinking side of the brain. But more often than we’d like to admit, we rely heavily on emotions to help us quickly narrow down our choices and find solutions that just feel right.
When companies apply this understanding of human behavior to their content marketing strategy, it becomes easier to cultivate a relationship with buyers. Emotion is the key through which we as humans relate to one another. And it can be a powerful tool to captivate attention and authentically deepen online engagements when wielded in a positive and empowering way. So, what does this look like in action? How might a brand use emotion to positively impact their target audience? You need only ask yourself how you yourself might respond to certain types of content.
Wielding emotion in a positive way
Let’s say you are the proud owner of a startup company and are in the market for a new collaboration platform. Since the pandemic, most of your employees have switched to remote work. And you need to invest in an affordable solution that will help your people stay productive while working at home. This prompts you to open a new browser tab and begin doing some product research.
After 20 minutes of surfing the web, you find a brand online that feels like the perfect fit for your needs. This company is speaking your language and has a lot of valuable, educational content online to support your decision making. As you read through some of their resources, it feels as though this brand understands your personal situation. The content isn’t pushing any one product over another. In fact, it isn’t too concerned about selling you something at all. Instead, it’s offering you guidance. It names specific industry challenges and market trends that are impacting your business. The content demonstrates an affinity for your perspective, revealing a deep understanding of your personal goals and fears at work.
You feel seen. Deep down, you’ve been juggling other deep-seated concerns. On top of needing to enable a remote workforce, you’re also fighting to keep your leadership position while the competition threatens to take away everything you’ve worked for. You’re not innovating fast enough to keep pace with the industry, yet you don’t have the budget to make a risky purchase decision that may not turn a profit. What you’re really in the market for is an answer to these pains, and not just a quick bandaged solution for an immediate need.
As you read through this brand’s content, you realize this is the company that can help you conquer your fears and lead your business into a new period of growth and prosperity. Feeling confident in your assessment, you decide to contact sales with a purchase decision already made in your mind.
What influenced your decision in this scenario?
This brand’s content has earned your trust because the company did their research and provided useful information that appealed to your personal and professional needs. You likely still need to have a conversation with sales to get more product details and a cost estimate, and chat through the logistics of implementing their products at your company. But you already trust the integrity of this brand because they told you a story that deeply resonated with your experience. All it took was a few key ingredients:
- Emotional connection
Lead with the need
Emotion is one of the most impactful ingredients in a content marketing strategy. We are all emotional creatures, whether we’d like to admit to it or not. And that’s not a bad thing! Emotions help us relate to each other and find deeper connections. They can also help brands foster customer trust and loyalty by empowering online buyers to positively influence their business and solve for stressful problems.
It's worth noting, though, that the key to wielding emotion effectively when writing digital content is to use it for good. Positivity and empowerment are objectively better motivators than negativity and fear. Rather than telling people to avoid something terrible, tell them what they can attract and move toward. Empower business leaders through emotionally compelling benefits and give them the tools they need to not only navigate obstacles, but also to triumph in their market.
About the Author: Hannah owns the business strategy and execution for all content needs at Odigo. As Content Director, she’s passionate about writing for the tech industry and enjoys having a hand in many different creative projects at once, allowing her to better collaborate with teammates and bring innovative concepts to life. Hannah is highly people-oriented and lets her relationships with colleagues and partners inform creative direction and decision making. She’s also exceedingly customer centric and enjoys telling stories with the end customer in mind. In her free time, Hannah is an avid reader, learner, and traveler, diving into new genres, subjects, and skills while exploring remote towns with her partner, Marco.