Creating content that feels good builds trust and relationships with future customers. That part is obvious. But there’s subtlety to the art of creating content that feels good. It can be the key that makes content “click”, and start gaining traction. Audience surveys might not uncover what is (or isn’t) resonating, because a lot of the action is taking place on a sub-conscious level. Numerous cognitive neuroscientists have conducted studies that conclude that “Only 5% of our cognitive activities (decisions, emotions, actions, behavior) is conscious whereas the remaining 95% is generated in a non-conscious manner.”
Learning and improving subtle language patterns can create a shift that gets online marketing to finally “stick”.
Eliminate the Words “Should” and “Have To”
When we use “should” or “have to”, there’s an unspoken flip-side to the statement that points to a flaw in someone not doing what we’re saying “should” be done, or “has to” be done.
Let’s use email marketing services as an example. Ideally, the audience reading my blog posts about email marketing is learning from them. They are not yet doing what I recommend. If I say “Every brand should have X in their email marketing program by now”, I’m also saying “…but you don’t.”. The flip-side is that I’m making a negative statement about the reader who hasn’t done X already.
The truth is, no one has to do anything. Phrases like “should” and “have to” are disempowering.
Eliminating these phrases guides me toward using language that’s empowering and fun to be around.
Use “You-Centric” Language
Think of a time when you were in a conversation and felt disconnected. It might have seemed like someone was talking at you, rather than to you. There might have been thoughts like “What does this story have to do with me?” or “When can I get a word in?”.
A common reaction is the “smile and nod” approach. It becomes difficult to stay focused on what the person is saying. No matter how interested the listener might have been at the start, the internal dialogue becomes something like “How can I end this conversation.. And what do I want to eat for dinner tonight?”. The connection and the willingness to pay attention is lost.
We can apply that same understanding to online marketing content like emails and blog posts. It can be difficult to gauge connection because the audience isn’t sitting right in front of me while I’m writing. One trick that I use to check myself is to edit for “you-centric” language. This requires my brain to check whether what I’m saying is connected with the audience or not. Look for first and third person phrases, like “Company A offers..”. Then flip them to either second person (you), or a “we” that includes the reader.
For example, “We’re flexible. Our priority is to make sure we’re making it easy for the customer every step of the way”, becomes “(you) Expect simplicity throughout quoting, ordering, and post-sale support”
“We nurture contacts with content and email marketing” becomes “Let’s turn your contact lists into more opportunities for your business”.
Focus on Positive Action
Fear leads to inaction. Have you ever found yourself so worried about the consequences of a decision that you ended up avoiding making the decision until the decision kind of made itself? That’s the kind of response fear-based messaging gets; fewer purchase decisions, more avoidance.
People have a lot of choices. In my experience, the action fear-based messages trigger is “I’ll reach out to someone else for information”, and the organization with the fear-based messaging is avoided.
For example, “There might be chemicals in your home that are making you sick”, becomes “You’ll breathe easier after clearing out in-home chemicals”.
To build relationships with email and content marketing, write in a way that feels good for the audience to read.
Help, inspire, motivate, entertain, be kind. That way, the audience will stay interested and engaged with the brand. Emails will continue to be opened, blog links will continue to be clicked and shared. This comes through setting an intention for the marketing program to cultivate trust and confidence in an organization long-term. And then each individual piece that gets published provides value.
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