" "

Guide to Using Emotional Triggers in Your Marketing Copy

emotional marketing

Believe it or not, studies have shown that in advertising, it’s more effective to appeal to the emotions than to logic. Specifically, 31% of advertisers report achieving significant gains in profit with emotionally targeted campaigns, as compared to just 16% with rational copy. in other words, if you’re not already using emotional triggers in your digital and print marketing copy, now is the time to begin. In writing effective marketing copy, your goal should be not only to trigger your readers’ emotions, but to lead them to act on those emotions as well.


Consider the Emotions You Want to Play Off

Start by deciding on the specific emotions you want to elicit from your audience that would be most successful in leading them to act. This will require you to have a solid understanding of your audience, so identifying and researching your audience here may be a prerequisite step as well.

For example, fear is one of the most commonly targeted emotions in advertising. Playing on customers’ concerns or fears of missing out or making the wrong decision can be extremely powerful. Consider the example of purchasing insurance. You’ll often see insurance marketing copy playing off the common consumer fear of not having enough of a certain type of coverage.

A sense of community and belonging is another emotion that can be successful to target in marketing copy. More than ever, today’s consumers want to feel that they belong to a special group or community. They want to feel valued and as though they matter to the companies they give their business to. Therefore, language that implies a purchase or subscription would make them part of an elite or special group can also be effective.

Some additional emotions that can be successfully played off of in effective marketing copy include:

  • competition
  • instant gratification
  • trust
  • guilt
  • leadership


Choose the Right Language to Elicit Those Emotions

Once you know which emotions will be the most successful in leading to action, it’s time to write compelling copy. For many, this will require some practice in “translating” terms that would typically elicit a rational response from your audience to phrases and terminology that will appeal to the emotions instead. For example, rather than saying something like, “Additionally, if you subscribe immediately, you’ll gain access to our eBook download,” you’d more successfully trigger an emotional response with, “There’s more! Subscribe right now and you’ll get FREE, immediate access to our sought-after eBook!” Feel the difference?


emotional triggers


Take a look back at the common emotions targeted in marketing copy. What kinds of marketing terminology do you think would best elicit a trusting response? Today’s consumers tend to be more skeptical and less trusting of businesses than in years past, so language that earns their trust is also more likely to earn their business. Consider language such as:

  • “no hidden fees”
  • “satisfaction guaranteed”
  • “proven results”


To provide another example, you can use language creatively to appeal to the average human’s innate desire to belong with phrases like:

  • “become part of the family”
  • “join our team today”
  • see why hundreds of people have used our services”


Many of these tips and tricks can come in handy in both digital and print marketing, so whether you’re working on developing an email or direct mail campaign, learning how to craft effective marketing copy that appeals to the emotions will serve your business well. At the end of the day, remember these key components:

  • eliciting the reader to feel and act on an emotion
  • knowing your audience and the right emotions to trigger
  • using the right language and phrasing to elicit those emotions


Looking for more assistance with your marketing copy? Connect with our team at Ballantine today. With decades of experience in print and digital marketing, we’re here to assist you.

Website | + posts

I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!