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Emotional Targeting

It has been established as a fact that Conversion Optimization deals with much more than optimizing for Conversion Rates. Understanding how your customers think and catering to their emotional needs plays a massive role in optimizing your digital asset for conversions. In the world we live in today, we find that the motivation for people’s decisions are more emotional than logical.

Humans are stimulus junkies, and are almost always looking for the next opportunity to have a new experience. This concept is applicable in the world of marketing today where people don’t buy products; they buy experiences; they buy better versions of themselves.

“Hence, in order to have anything like a complete theory of human rationality, we have to understand what role emotion plays in it.” - H. Simon, 1983, Reason in Human Affairs

The only way to optimize your digital asset, increase sign ups, create a better user flow or even a better product is to constantly ask yourself, “What’s in it for my customer?” and, “How can I cater to their needs?”

What Is Emotional Targeting ?

Emotional Targeting is communicating to the target market using powerful emotional triggers. Emotional targeting helps you identify what changes to make for a better experience and higher revenues. Emotional targeting takes place on two levels; It is about understanding audience’s emotional triggers and then implementing your insights in your website.

The consumers benefit from emotional targeting too. They get a product which makes them feel good.

“For us to achieve our goals, we must first help our customers achieve theirs”. - Bryan Eisenberg

In order to optimize your site successfully and grow your business with conversion optimization you must first recognize that there’s more to customers than just gender, age, and type of device & browser they use. Behind each screen is a person not a hit/count/number. Remember that the root of every conversion is behavioral.

The better we understand how our customers make purchasing decisions the better of an experience we can give them which leads to more sales and higher conversions. It can be illustrated simply below:

  • Emotions affect Decisions

  • Decisions affect Conversions

  • Conversions affect Revenue

Now that you have a good idea of what emotional targeting is and what it can do for you, I can share with you, 4 Steps to implementing Emotional Targeting in your marketing strategy by Talia Wolf.

  • Emotional Competitor Analysis

  • Emotional S. W. O. T

  • Emotional Content Strategy

  • Testing

These sequential steps are necessary to optimizing your website or app to perform better at converting customers and satisfying their emotional needs.

Talia Wolf is a Conversion Optimization Specialist who helps businesses generate more revenue and sales using emotional drivers and persuasion.

Emotional Competitor Analysis

This process as the name suggests, allows you better understand the current emotional state of the market and shows you how you can fit in this market. Knowing what the competitors are doing — how they’re thinking about the market, which tactics they’re using, how they’re crafting messages and design — can make all the difference in the battle for customers.

Competitive analysis can be a treasure trove of conversion optimization insights. Choose ten to fifteen competitors (or as many as you can) and rate each one by four criteria.

  • What their base message is.

  • How they use color.

  • How they use images.

  • What emotional triggers they appeal to.

If you invest in competitive analysis, you’ll reap the benefits of clarity and confidence. You need a competitive analysis if you want to answer questions like:

  • What makes my company unique and how do I stand out ?

  • What do my potential customers feel about my competitors ?

  • How does the user experience on my website stack up to the competition ?

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions
Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions

Emotional S.W.O.T

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s a common way to generate market strategies in almost any context. Talia Wolf suggests that you consider these from an emotional standpoint.

Emotional Competitor Analysis by The Corner of Excellence
Emotional Competitor Analysis by The Corner of Excellence

As the info-graphic by The Corner of Excellence shows, the strengths and weaknesses pertain to our business as they are internal issue. Do we have a strong message? Are we using color and images powerfully? What emotional triggers are we tripping. The opportunities and threats relate to the industry we are in as they are external factors. Our emotional competitor analysis helps us define these.

Emotional Content Strategy

What makes a piece of content compelling? The secret ingredient to compelling content is emotion. When you make an emotional connection with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired outcome. You’ve formed an emotional bond, however brief and fleeting, that makes them open to ideas and suggestions. It creates a certain level of trust that’s virtually impossible to artificially manifest.

When we look at our emotional strengths and weaknesses, we can ask the question, “How do we want to make our customers feel?” This helps us define our emotional content strategy and related hypotheses. Let’s take a look at the ads below.

In the ads above, the products offer the same results but are marketed in different ways. The emotional triggers in each ad is different, giving customers the illusion of difference in the results the product gives.

You likely have an opinion almost instantly about which you prefer, but it’s not because you have a logical reason.

It’s typically tied to emotion and/or experience; how you feel using their products, or how the brands left you feeling after an experience or reading a news article.

The brain then tries to rationalize that emotional response. This is a clear example of how making use of emotional triggers in your content can improve your conversions.

If you want to find a unique emotional content strategy, you must focus on building relationships.


Regardless of how much research we do, we can never be sure we’ve hit the right combination until we do a test. As a result of testing larger concepts and hypotheses, we achieve more meaningful results. Rather than duplicating a landing page and testing a call to action button or a title, start with a more strategic approach and then continue by narrowing it down into specific elements.

Talia Wolf recommends creating two treatments to test. The first is based on our competitors’ approaches. The second is based on our research on emotional triggers and content. Each combines five aspects:

  1. Emotions

  2. Elements

  3. Words

  4. Visuals

  5. Color

This framework will help you understand better how to deliver your content in an effective way, satisfy your customers emotional needs and give your conversions a much needed boost.

This was fun! I hope you learned something today.


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