Words That Trigger Emotion in Marketing


People buy on emotion and justify with logic.


It's more important to know why someone buys than the purchase itself. When you know why, then you can create content that resonates and triggers an emotion that will generate higher quality leads that have a higher chance of converting to a sale.


The reason Richard Branson started his own airline was the frustrations he had as an airline passenger. "Screw it! I can do it better than you." he said, and you know how that story unfolds.


One of my clients came to me when she was frustrated with outsourcing her marketing to someone helping with social media posts. She wasn't receiving updates, seeing any posts that she was paying her for and most importantly was not seeing any impact on her results. "I'm not going to continue paying her to help me with marketing when she isn't doing anything. I need someone who is going to help me get my name out there so I can grow my business."


A different client contacted me when his plan to create daily content became inconsistent when he lost his marketing director. "I thought I could step in and do it until I hired someone else but I just don't have time with everything else on my plate. Everyone else on my team is already slammed with other priorities so creating content got pushed aside."


These emotions and so many others - whether it's frustration that prompted Mr. Branson to start an airline business or lack of time for one of my clients - are emotions that business owners and leaders experience every day.


And emotions trigger action which is why it's important to create content that responds to that emotion. By having personas defined, you know what keeps them up at night and what their frustrations are which helps create content that's relatable to them.


Depending on how your product or solution helps solve a problem, consider which emotions your ideal client is going through and how you can help them navigate to a solution. When you relieve that pain point, you are also relieving them of that emotion.

Here are the ANSWERS to my LinkedIn post:


A. Value - #4 You won't find a better deal anywhere else

B. Fear - #2 Don't get left behind

C. Competition - #7 Be the envy of your neighbors

D. Trendsetting - #6 Be like your favorite celebs

E. Guilt - #10 Your contribution can make the difference between these children eating dinner or going to be hungry

F. Time - #1 Clean your house in half the time

G. Instant Gratification - #8 Talk to one of our reps so you can stop worrying today

H. Leadership - #9 Be the first of your friends to take advantage of this offer

I. Belonging - #3 Join today and see what everyone's been talking about

J. Trust - #5 No gimmicks or hidden costs


1. Clean your house in half the time - F. Time

2. Don't get left behind - B. Fear

3. Join today and see what everyone's been talking about - I. Belonging

4. You won't find a better deal anywhere else - A. Value

5. No gimmicks or hidden costs - J. Trust

6. Be like your favorite celebs - D. Trendsetting

7. Be the envy of your neighbors - C. Competition

8. Talk to one of our reps so you can stop worrying today - G. Instant Gratification

9. Be the first of your friends to take advantage of this offer - H. Leadership

10. Your contribution can make the difference between these children eating dinner or going to be hungry - E. Guilt


How did you do? Which emotional trigger words do you use? Go back to the LinkedIn post and let me know!


Remember, having personas - your ideal customer - defined you have the information you need to create great, relevant content.


I create personas for business leaders who have a marketing strategy but aren't generating the results they expect. I also create personas for business leaders who DON'T have a marketing strategy.


Defining personas is one of the first steps a business leader needs to take in order to have a actionable and results driven marketing strategy. Do you have your personas defined?


I work with up to 5 business leaders at a time on defining personas due to the in-depth nature of my research, interviews and data gathering.


If you need personas for your business, here's how I help and next steps.


Note: This list of emotional trigger words is provided by Cox Business.


Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio with over 20 years of marketing leadership experience. She's the founder of KenKay Marketing, a marketing solutions company founded in 2011. Vicki hosts Connect the Dots a marketing and sales educational podcast for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. She recently launched a new podcast with her Gen Z daughters, The Power of 3X, to help individuals who want to learn about the youngest generation. You will find Vicki on most social media platforms but you'll find her mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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