Using Emotion for Persuasion
By: Robert F. Abbott
The other day, I received last issue of a business magazine before my subscription runs out. Now, I like this magazine, but I'm swamped with reading matter so I won't renew.
Of course, I've received many reminders and offers about renewing; magazines try very hard to keep subscribers they've got. So when last issue came with a special promotional wrapper on cover, I wasn't surprised.
But, what made this one interesting was a clever piece of copy that hit an emotional chord: inside back cover of special wrapper were words, "You're about to be dropped from our list of active subscribers. Unless you act now."
Personally, I thought it was an effective piece of copy (even though I still won't renew). It made an emotional case for what is essentially a business-to-business offer.
Many people who write persuasive copy, whether in sales letters or internal memos, say rest of us underestimate power of emotion in getting response we want from our messages.
There's a sort of rule of thumb that goes like this: Consumers buy on emotion and justify on reason. In other words, we, as buyers, think we're being rational in making a decision to purchase, or in choosing among different offers, but in reality we make decision with our hearts and then justify that decision with our reasoning powers.
In case of magazine copy, I was about to be dropped -- Imagine! Me being dropped! -- from list of active subscribers. I'm not sure what active subscribers are: do they also have passive subscribers? But, meaning comes through. I'm about to get dropped from an exclusive club unless I act now.