Consumers are the epitome of what it is to be a human being. Constantly (if unconsciously) seeking a sense of security and gratification, humans as consumers are naturally attracted to things with which they can easily understand, readily identify and empathize. Over a century ago, when companies began marketing mass-produced products, they quickly realized the power of tugging at and exploiting human emotions for selling products. That’s why early advertisements reflected poignant images of children and women surrounded by connotative rather than denotative product descriptions.
Although the images and words found in today’s modern advertisements present obvious differences from those of a century ago, the concept of persuasion through emotionally connecting with consumers remains the same.
Descriptive Copywriting vs. Emotional Selling
While consumers want to see a picture of the product in which they are interested, they also want to read about the product’s specifications to determine whether it suits their needs. This kind of “descriptive” copywriting is based on facts about the product and contains only necessary words. For example, a simple description of a digital camera consists of information about its shutter speed, lens type and video capabilities. All words used in a product description are denotative, or words that impart no other meanings other than a one-dimensional definition intended to educate.
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However, this description does nothing to persuade the consumer to purchase the product because it does not appeal to his or her emotions. Rarely does a person make a decision based solely on rational analysis of a situation. Instead, we tend to rely on immediate feelings that are closer to the surface of our awareness and easier to process.
Famous behavioral psychologist John B. Watson once asserted that effective advertising must provoke three basic human emotions–fear, anger and love–before consumers can be persuaded to invest in a service or product. Selling something using connotative words also facilitates the ability for a consumer to remember the product. Connotative words are words that present a generic definition but also have sociocultural or personal meanings that compel people to view it out of context. Examples of connotative words include “slovenly”, “ugly”, and “immature”. Now substitute “slovenly” with “untidy”, “ugly” with “unattractive” and “immature” with “young”. Notice the difference in the emotions and images elicited by connotative words over the less evocative, denotative words? So would a potential customer reading sales copy containing connotative, implicative words.
You’re Not a Copywriter Until You Make Somebody Laugh, Cry or Break Something
Competition among businesses selling products and services is now more intense and cutthroat than it has ever been–and it’s only going to get worse.. The ability of a business to effectively use the power of emotional persuasion in writing sales copy is essential to its long-term viability. When a company needs to hire a competent copywriter, it’s imperative that they find a copywriter who has a keen understanding of emotional selling techniques as well as the skills to craft dynamically persuasive and memorable sales copy .