Understand the Connection Between Emotions and Consumer Choices

Knowing that your potential customers aren’t always making decisions off pure logic can help you craft a more impactful marketing strategy for your business

Understand the Connection Between Emotions and Consumer Choices

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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It is no secret in the financial industry that sentiment plays a huge part in whether customers will invest or not. In fact, it’s the No. 1 driver of behavior and it’s based on an opinion or an attitude toward a situation or event. It doesn’t matter if the opinion or attitude is based on fact or not. If enough people believe something strong enough, it will sway their actions, good or bad.

A really good example of this was a friend who reached out for some financial advice in 2008 as the real estate market collapsed. He had several houses other than his main residence and a 401(k) that had lost over half its value. Being within five years of retirement, he was freaking out. Our advice was to stay the course, ride it out, and see if the value of all of the above would come back. 

The problem he faced was that everywhere he turned — his church, his coworkers, the news, his investment adviser — the message was the same: His world, as they knew it, was about to end. He was scared.

He was so scared he did not follow the known, sound financial advice for getting through hard times (unless you know how to time the markets, which is more art than science). He sold all his property, with the exception of his main house, for a loss. He also sold everything, stocks, and mutual funds, and put it in a money market account in his 401(k), which was getting less than 1% in interest. His attitude toward this situation was so negative that all he could see in his future was more loss and dread. And who could blame him, right? Things did look bleak back then.

What does this have to do with marketing a plumbing and drain cleaning business?

We wanted to talk about this so you would be aware that your customer is driven way more by emotions in and around sentiment than they are by anything else. While we all think we are making logical decisions, the truth is we are all driven by our emotions. Unfortunately, fear and anxiety are the two biggest emotional drivers. 

If you look at all the places we get our information and news from, fear is at the forefront of almost every conversation, article, and video. Inflation, debt, education, fairness, lack of resources, war — It’s a non-stop drone of fear and negativity. It’s also been said that each of us sees or hears up to 10,000 ads per day, many of which elicit a negative or fearful response of some kind. This has a huge effect on the sentiment of the economy, which in turn affects people’s comfort in purchasing services, even if they know they need them.

Harnessing emotions to change sentiment in your marketing strategy

How can your business navigate through these fear-driven sentiments and influence your customers positively? Understanding that your consumers are making decisions driven by emotion, rather than pure logic, can help you craft a more impactful marketing strategy.  

First, it's essential to establish trust and empathy with your potential customers. Trust mitigates fear, and empathy speaks to emotions. Showing your customers that you understand their problems and genuinely want to help solve them can be a powerful tool in changing the negative sentiment. For example, provide high-quality and reliable information on your website and social media platforms. Share expert advice on common plumbing problems, preventive measures, or simple fixes. By doing so, you're not only positioning your brand as a trusted expert in the field, but also giving your customers valuable insights. They may begin to see your business as a safe haven in a storm of negative sentiment.  

Second, highlight your company's reliability and credibility in your marketing messages. Emphasize how long you've been in the business, the certifications you hold, the positive customer reviews, or the awards you've earned. All these elements reinforce the perception that you're a reliable and trustworthy choice, thereby reducing the fear of making a poor decision.  

Emphasize value over price  

Moreover, in an economic climate where people might be wary of spending, it's crucial to emphasize the value your services provide, rather than focusing solely on the price. Make it clear that by investing in your services, they're actually preventing more expensive problems down the line. This approach can help shift the sentiment from viewing your services as a costly expense to seeing them as a worthwhile investment for their peace of mind.  

For those larger expenses, let them know there is financing available if that is something you offer. If you offer an annual checkup service on their plumbing and water heater appliances, offer a service agreement where they can spend a little each month. That way, they get the reassurance of having inspections each year to keep everything running smoothly, while keeping those larger ticket items at bay. Think outside the box for other ways to eliminate doubt and fear when it comes to doing business with your company.

We are all driven by our emotions

Emotions, particularly fear, play a significant role in the decisions that consumers make. As a business owner, it's important to understand this emotional landscape and use it to guide your marketing strategy. By building trust, demonstrating empathy, and highlighting the value you offer, you can positively influence consumer sentiment, leading to more customers ready to engage with your services. 

The world may be filled with fear and negativity, but your business has the opportunity to be different. Show your customers that your business is one of trust, empathy, and value amidst the storm they are being challenged with on a daily basis.

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the authors of Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love and the owners of Spark Marketer, a "no bull" digital marketing company that’s been getting sh*t done for home service businesses across the nation for a decade. They’re trusted thought leaders in the industries they serve, which is why you’ll find them regularly speaking at service industry trade shows and conferences and writing for trade magazines. Tired of empty promises and ready for focused digital marketing and balls-to-the-wall dedication that gets your business seen? Visit www.sparkmarketer.com.


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