How to Leverage Emotions to Grow Conversions (and Your Business)

how to leverage emotions in your business and marketing strategy

Many studies have been conducted around the world, and it turns out that human beings are pretty emotional creatures.

Leveraging Your Audience’s Emotions

Not only do we make tens of thousands of tiny, subtle expressions with our facial expressions and body language, but we also respond to nearly everything we encounter in a day in an emotional way. We see a picture of a puppy, and it makes us feel happy. We see a spider, and we recoil a bit in fear.

leveraging your audience's emotion with a picture

The good news is, you can tap into these emotional reactions in your marketing, social media posts, and even blog posts in order to encourage interaction and sharing from audience members.

Though it might require a little practice, it is possible to leverage your audience’s emotions to gain conversions and grow your business.

Happiness Equals Shares

A famous experiment conducted by Cornell University studied the activity of over 500,000 Facebook users.

They found that those who viewed mostly positive content in their timelines also posted mostly positive content on their own timelines. These results have been repeated time and again with similar studies at Tubingen University in Germany and the University of Pennsylvania.

People are more likely to read and share content that they find heartwarming, joyful, or amusing. You’ve probably been a part of this phenomenon yourself. Think of all the posts you’ve shared recently.

The content was very likely something that gave you a positive reaction, and you felt naturally inclined to share that feeling with friends, family, or coworkers.

Emotional Responses

There are many emotional responses that can trigger your audience to respond positively, which can come in many different packages.

From “liking” or “favoriting” your social media posts, to immediately sharing a product page or blog post, to creating positive dialogue in the comments section, all of these responses give your business the attention you want.

In fact, some very pleased customers may hustle directly to your product page to show you their support with a conversion.

Therefore, if you are looking for very positive attention from your audience, tap into feelings such as:

  • Amusement
  • Happiness
  • Delight
  • Pleasure
  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Affection
  • Excitement

How can you elicit these emotions? One popular go-to for many business owners is through a well-placed, meaningful photo or image.

Are Pictures Really Effective?

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and you’ll be hard pressed to find people who don’t respond positively to certain images, such as baby animals, groups of people enjoying themselves, or even people who appear to have accomplished an important challenge, such as hiking a mountain.

leveraging emotions in business: an example in this picture

These may seem a little cliche, but that’s because they are tried and true images associated with warm feelings.

You can also present a heartwarming story in blog content, or use a video to explain a situation in which someone overcame hardship. Quotes are really good for driving home positive stories, because it lends an authentic voice to the tale.

Making your audience feel warm with your ads, social media posts, and blogs will encourage them to spread those positive feelings to your business, as well. 

Another Ingredient To The Formula

Humor is another way to encourage your target audience to like and share your content. People love to share a laugh, and it helps them appreciate that you are a real human being who enjoys a little levity in between all of these important business deals.

A single witty comment can go viral in mere moments, but there’s a catch: You have to understand what your audience finds amusing.

One very important thing to keep in mind about any business using humor is that things can be taken the wrong way on the internet. If you’ve ever typed out a quick text or comment to a friend that accidentally offended them, you’re familiar with this phenomenon. 

There are a few ways to gauge whether your audience will find something appropriate or not.

First, if you have any qualms at all about posting it, that’s a good sign to leave it off of your site. If it makes you cringe, then your audience might not respond as positively as you hope.

Additionally, look at other businesses within your niche. What types of humor do they use, and what type of response do they receive? While there aren’t any posts that are guaranteed not to offend anyone, there are some types of humor that are safer than others.

Puns and corny “dad jokes” are good examples of the things that will usually receive a positive response.

While being witty can make you a viral sensation, it can also turn on you quickly if the joke isn’t appreciated by anyone.

Starting Trouble for the Sake of Conversation

Saying something controversial is bound to bring your post a lot of attention, but do you have thick enough skin to weather the resulting storm?

It’s true that a lot of people will be compelled to engage in dialogue if you post something incendiary, but don’t be surprised to find commenters arguing violently before you’re able to enact sufficient damage control.

In some cases, that might actually be alright, to a certain extent. For example, purposefully sparking a debate about an antiquated way of doing things in your niche, or a controversial comment made by someone adjacent to your business might be a good way to find out what your audience really thinks about the matter at hand.

Studies have shown that posting a question or topic in a slightly inflammatory way will gain a much greater emotional response than by simply asking the question.

For example: “John Doe says books are stupid, and that people who read are ignorant. What do you think?” will likely make you feel a bit differently than, “Do you enjoy reading books?”.

Again, if you start a dialogue with a bit of controversy, you’ll need to expect the discussion to become heated.

As a business owner, you likely won’t be able to sit ringside and gather information, either. You’ll need to provide your position on the matter, explain it clearly with cited facts, and play referee if things start to get really wild in the comments. 

But, as the saying goes, negative attention is better than no attention at all.

Final Words

These are just a few examples of how you can leverage emotions to grow conversions and your business.

Studies have shown that all humans are bound to have an emotional reaction to various types of online content, but tapping into that emotional reaction can help gain you the attention you need to succeed.

As your audience grows, positive attention on social media and your website, including reviews, comments, and likes will help you gain your footing as the trusted expert you want to be in your niche.



Teachingbiz provides internet marketing services and education to digital entrepreneurs and marketers who want to learn how to build and scale their businesses.

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