How to use copy to deeply connect with your customers

When you offer a product or service, at the very least, it should meet your customers’ wants and/or needs. Otherwise, what’s the point of offering it? You’ve created an offering that logically is a no-brainer. It’s clear what you’re putting on the table will benefit those you serve. If only people made buying decisions based on pure logic.

But they don’t.

Research tells us that emotions drive our decisions more than anything else – 95% of our purchasing decisions occur in our subconscious mind.

Customers are more likely to buy when they see that a product or service aligns with their motivations and will fulfil their deep desires. It’s that emotional connection with your brand that keeps them coming back to you for more. And it’s through copy – social media, emails, website – that you can communicate how what you offer can meet those desires.

So, how can you use copy to establish emotional connections with your ideal customer? Let’s explore that now.

Copywriting 101: features and benefits

Traditional copywriting methods tell us that to persuade a customer to buy, we need to focus on not only the features of our offer but the benefits. In other words, what’s in it for them?

I often see brands confusing features for benefits. Websites are flooded with features but it means little to the potential customers reading. They feel nothing and move on to the next available option to see if it will tap into an unmet desire.

This approach considers what you want your reader to know (the features) and do (buy your offering). But it doesn’t consider how you want your reader to feel (benefits addressing desires).

For example, let’s say you’re an orthodontist. You’re a master at helping people fix their overbite, realign their jaw and straighten their teeth. But these aren’t the selling points. First, consider how your customers feel before they come to you. Maybe they’re insecure and self-conscious. They hate their smile and refuse to bare their teeth in photos. Now, consider how they want to feel. They probably desire more confidence and long to flash their pearly whites when they meet someone for the first time or pose for their dating app photos. Write copy that paints that picture for them – the feeling and vision they aspire to experience.

That’s how you address the trifecta of know, feel and do for your audience – emphasis on the feeling.

Why are emotional connections so valuable?

Differentiating your brand from competitors and customer satisfaction shared through raving reviews are both great for attracting customers. And they help with increasing your know, like and trust factors. But they don’t create emotional connections that encourage brand loyalty. It’s brand loyalty that increases your customer lifetime value, forming a strong foundation for building a sustainable business.

According to the science of customer emotions, customers are more valuable the further along they are on what’s called the “emotional connection pathway”:

  1. Not emotionally connected
  2. Highly satisfied
  3. Perceive brand differentiation
  4. Fully connected

As a customer moves along this pathway, their relationship with your brand deepens. On average, fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than customers who are just highly satisfied.

To guide potential and existing customers along this pathway requires a proactive pursuit of emotional connections. Appeal to the emotional motivators that drive customer behaviour. Here are 10 identified by the science of customer emotions study:

10 high-impact emotional motivators

Desire

What that feels/looks like

Stand out from the crowd

Project a unique social identity; be seen as special.

Have confidence in the future

Perceive the future as better than the past; have a positive mental picture of what’s to come.

Enjoy a sense of wellbeing

Feel that life measures up to expectations and that balance has been achieved; seek a stress-free state.

Feel a sense of freedom

Act independently, without obligations or restrictions.

Feel a sense of thrill

Experience visceral, overwhelming pleasure and excitement.

Feel a sense of belonging

Have an affiliation with people they relate to or aspire to be like; feel part of a group.

Protect the environment

Sustain the belief that the environment is sacred; take action to improve their surroundings.

Be the person I want to be

Fulfill a desire for ongoing self-improvement; live up to their ideal self-image.

Feel secure

Believe what they have today will be there tomorrow; pursue goals and dreams without worry.

Succeed in life

Feel they lead meaningful lives; find worth that goes beyond financial or socioeconomic measures.

Source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon from ‘The New Science of Customer Emotions’ November 2015

So, we now know the high-impact emotional motivators for our customers. What does that mean for writing copy?

The power of empathy-powered copywriting

Okay, this is the part that lights me up – when I get to write about words rooted in empathy.

That’s how you speak to the emotional motivators that connect your audience and customers with your brand. I call it empathy-powered copywriting. That means copy written with the main aim of creating genuine connections with your audience.

To connect with your audience, you need to know them. And that’s more than the traditional customer research metrics like knowing their age demographic, job, socioeconomic status and buying habits. Try to understand their deepest desires, fears, aspirations and what drives them. Without this insight, you won’t move them to stage 4 on the emotional connection pathway. Otherwise, it’s like writing a heartfelt love letter to a stranger – it just won’t hit the mark.

Get to know your audience – how they think, feel and behave – before writing a single word. To do that, you need to understand your customer’s emotions. In my earlier blog on writing with empathy, I cover the steps on how to do that but here’s a condensed version to save you time:

  1. Identify your customer – one effective way to do that is by using Carl Jung’s 12 Brand Archetypes, a framework commonly used by marketers. This framework helps you appeal more accurately to your customer’s desires and create a human connection.
  2. Do your research – now that you have a profile for your customer, it’s time to dig deeper. Get on social platforms and forums to see what your customers have to say about their experiences and how they feel.
  3. Listen – to hear real, personal experiences, try asking your existing customers about their stories through surveys, interviews and focus groups. Ask these five questions as a starting point.

If you want more practical examples of how to implement these steps, check out my blog on how to use empathy to write compelling content.

How to infuse your copy with empathy

Once you’ve gathered your intel on customer emotions and their desires, fears, motivations and drives, you can process this information using tools like personas and empathy maps. These tools help you gather your insights into a format that allows you to act on them.

Then, now that you’ve got a solid grasp of your audience or customer’s emotions, it’s time to start crafting your copy. But like I said before, don’t just list features and benefits. Tap into those emotions you’ve uncovered and let them guide your writing.

For example, let’s assume you’ve identified that your ideal customer desires a sense of belonging. You can help them feel this way through:

  • Clear copy that directly speaks to the desire, like “you belong here”.
  • Stories from customers who’ve used your product or service, sharing how they went from feeling like an outsider to being a part of something bigger.
  • Email newsletters that welcome them into your brand’s community and link them to other ways they can connect with others.
  • Language and “phraseology” that’s exclusive to those who’ve connected with your brand beyond passive viewing (e.g. signed up for your emails, downloaded a freebie, bought a product or service).
  • Sharing a brand value that resonates with the desire on your website, social media platforms and welcome email sequence. Something like, “we believe no person should be left out”.

Go-To Skincare nails their ideal customer’s desire to feel more confident through their copy:

Screenshot from Go-To Skincare website, it reads: Worry free, uncomplicated, effective skincare by Zoe Foster-Blake. Cruelty-free and created to make you feel confident.

Customer testimonial from Go-To website

Screenshot of copy from Go-To skincare website

Want to test whether your existing copy is already empathy-powered? Download my free website copy checklist to see just how empathy-powered your copy is!

And if you need some help writing words rooted in empathy and forging those strong emotional bonds, I’m here. Book a discovery call with me so we can chat more.

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