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Creating Emotional Connections in Online Marketing (part 3)

by Karen Talavera

08 31, 2011 | Posted in Audience & List Growth, Digital Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Vision, Social Media | 1 comments

In Part 1 of this series you learned about transparency and authenticity. Part 2 explained why creating resonance and cultivating magnetism are essential to generating emotional connections that are real and enduring.

Now in the last of this three-part series, let’s look at the final two ingredients that strengthen the emotional bond your market has with you AND each other: community and consistency.

In online marketing, making emotional connections is especially important because the digital world is immediate, urgent and can seem impersonal.  It doesn’t give us the time or intimacy to know and trust people like face-to-face interactions do.

But there’s good news – the online world also offers an expanded ability to connect with others and develop communities beyond the boundaries of our physical worlds. That’s why community is one of the final essential ingredients to creating emotional connections in your online marketing.

5) Grow Community

We’re always seeking community.  Humans are not meant to exist in isolation.  Deep down, we’re tribal dwellers, not solo wanderers.  We need social connections in order to thrive and grow.  What that means for you as a marketer iswhen your customers find something they love, or which solved a problem for them; they’re going to talk about it.  They’re going to share it.  And these days, the fastest way to do both is online.  When that solution is yours, there’s nothing so wonderful or effective as this “word of mouse”.

Take a moment to recall that most decisions in life are fueled at least in part by emotion, and that goes for buying decisions large and small.  Our brains are equipped with both reasoning and emotional centers, and each factors into decision making.  More often than not, people buy from emotion and justify with reason, so it’s important to know how to make strong, positive emotional connections right from the start.

Many of our emotions are influenced by groups. Enable online sharing by building your own digital community. Recognize the power communities have to no only extend your message, products and services, but sway sentiment.  With email, social media and blogs, it’s easier than ever to cultivate community and “build a fence around your herd”, as one marketing guru likes to put it, to keep them happily in your pasture.

A few of the faster and more recognizable ways to build community online are

1) Create a Facebook group.  Invite current favorite connections to join

2) Tie a blog into your web site and require people to register before they can comment

3) Get on Twitter and start following people you’d like to have in your community

4) Start a group on LinkedIn

5) Develop a free or paid membership club or subscription.  Unlike social media, blogs and membership sites provide a more intimate, private place for community members to share opinions and information.

There is another thing online communities do that helps strengthen emotional connections with your target market.  Communities give people a chance to converse not only with one another, but also with you or your employees on a personal level – like we can on Facebook for example – and that creates trust and credibility.  Now, your marketing communications (and customer-service) can look more like real time conversations with your market rather than simply talking “at your market” (as is done with traditional mass advertising).

Enlightened Emarketing Tip:  It’s simple. When people trust you and trust what others are saying about you or your products, they’re more likely to invest with you.  By building a community you create a buying environment that doesn’t seem sales-y, because your people know you’re serving them with information, content, or entertainment that is relevant.  As a result, when you do make an offer they are far more receptive to it than they would be if they weren’t already part of your community.

Cultivating community creates a comfort zone in which you and the people who are already interested in what you offer can intersect.  Within your community you’re marketing in your target zone, not just shooting aimlessly.  I think the community-building power of social media in particular (and online marketing in general) is possibly the greatest asset of the Internet as a marketing channel, and the most underutilized.

Here’s a final compelling reason to invest in building community: the financial payoff.  Ask yourself, what’s the annual value of each additional new subscriber you add to your email list?  For a lot of companies, it’s at least a couple of hundred dollars.  What’s the lifetime value of a new customer?

If you invested in growing your online community through social media and that in turn generated just fifty new email list members who then resulted in ten new customers a year, what would that be worth to you?  $5,000? $10,000? $50,000? And if you’re going to be in business for another twenty or thirty years, what’s it worth then?

6) Stay Constant and Consistent

The final essential for building emotional connections online is consistency.  When it comes to email and social media marketing, it pays to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.  Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once, but once you start, you should be prepared to commit to a schedule.  Strive for consistency, publishing and mailing on a regular if not predictable basis.

That goes double for blogging. Once you begin posting, your readers and customers will begin to look forward to what you have to say next. It’s important to both manage their expectations and balance them with your own resources, so plan to post on a schedule you can keep up with.  Many bloggers post daily, although I don’t recommend this for beginners.  Weekly or even every other week is more reasonable.

Besides frequency there’s another important dimension to consistency:  voice. Remember, the entire point of this is building emotional connections online; to do so successfully you’ll need to communicate with consistent authenticity, personality and transparency. Your unique voice, tone and style should be clear and unchanging, not shifting any which way the wind blows.

Enlightened Emarketing Tip:  Don’t be who you think your market wants you to be.  Don’t infect your blog with multiple personality disorder.  Don’t shift your writing style on your customers to the point where there is a brand disconnect.  Instead, just be yourself.

Now that you know the six essentials to creating emotional connections in your online marketing, tell me in comments below where you’re using them successfully and what the results have been?  Or if you’re struggling, what are your greatest challenges?

Any by all means, let me know how I can help.

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  1. Pingback: Synchronicity Marketing | 10 Emotionally-Provocative Email Subject Lines

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