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When it comes to copywriting, many ecommerce business owners and marketers focus on the features and benefits of their products. And while this approach has its merits, if you really want to increase engagement and conversion rates, you need to appeal to your customers’ emotions.

Think about it: when was the last time you made a purchase based solely—or even mostly—on logic? More than likely, it was largely an emotional decision. Whether you were feeling happy, excited, or even just a bit anxious, your emotions played a role in your buying decision. 

So, how can you evoke sales-making emotions through your business’s copy? Keep reading to find out!

Types of Emotional Language

There are two main types of emotional language: positive and negative. And while both types can be effective, it’s important to use them appropriately. Positive emotional language should be used when you want your readers to feel happy or excited about what they’re reading. Negative emotional language, on the other hand, should be used sparingly and only when it’s absolutely necessary. After all, you don’t want to turn your readers off with too much negativity. 

The Power of Positive Emotion

When it comes to copywriting, one of the most important things you can do is inspire positive emotions in your readers. After all, people are more likely to make a purchase when they’re feeling good!

There are a few different ways you can go about evoking positive emotions. First, try using images that elicit positive feelings. If you’re selling a product that’s particularly beautiful or visually appealing, make sure the photos reflect that. Second, focus on the benefits of your product rather than the features—benefits are what really matter to customers. Finally, use positive phrases throughout your copy. For example, instead of saying “this product won’t cause breakouts,” try “this product will help improve your skin.” 

Some examples of positive emotional terms include words and phrases like “amazing,” “incredible,” “life-changing,” and “must-have.” 

Appealing to Negative Emotion (in a Good Way)

It may seem counterintuitive, but another effective way to increase engagement and conversion rates is by appealing to negative emotion—specifically, the fear of missing out (aka “FOMO”). 

People are more likely to take action when they feel like they might miss out on something good. So, if you want people to buy your product, try using language that creates a sense of urgency or scarcity. For example, if you’re running a sale, make sure to let people know how long it will last and how many items are left in stock. You could also highlight customer testimonials or reviews so people can see how popular your products are and how quickly they’re selling out. 

Some examples of negative emotional language include words and phrases like “fearful,” “anxious,” “afraid,” and “panic.” 

The Impact of Emotions on Buying Decisions

Emotions play a big role in buying decisions. In fact, according to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchase decisions are based on emotions. And while positive emotions like happiness and joy are obviously important, negative emotions can be just as effective at driving conversions. Fear, for example, is a powerful emotion that can motivate people to take action. And when it comes to copywriting, using emotional language is one of the best ways to tap into those feelings and motivate your readers to take the desired action.

When to Use Emotional Language in Your Copywriting

Now that we know what emotional language is and how it works, let’s talk about when to use it in your ecom store’s copywriting. The most important thing to remember is that it should always be used in service of your overall goal—whether that goal is to sell a product or simply get people to read your blog post. With that in mind, here are a couple scenarios where using emotional language can be particularly effective:

  • You want people to buy your product: When you’re trying to sell a product, it’s important to focus on the benefits, as mentioned earlier, and using emotional language is one of the best ways to do that. For example, instead of saying that a product is “lightweight and durable,” you could say that it’s “light enough to take with you anywhere, but tough enough to withstand any adventure.” See how much more impactful the second example is? It speaks directly to the reader’s needs and desires—and that’s exactly what you want your copywriting to do!

  • You want people to sign up for your ecommerce store’s email list: Email lists are incredibly valuable—but only if people actually sign up for them! To increase sign-ups, try using emotionally charged language on your opt-in forms and call-to-action buttons. For example, instead of saying “sign up for my email list,” you could say “join my thousands of happy subscribers.” Again, notice how much more persuasive the second example is? That’s because it speaks directly to the reader’s desire for happiness—and who doesn’t want that?

Wrap-Up

If you want to increase engagement and conversion rates for your ecommerce store, start by appealing to your audience’s emotion through your copywriting using the techniques—both positive and negative— we discussed above. Remember to focus on benefits rather than features, and use persuasive language throughout your website’s copy and ads. And finally, don’t forget to highlight legitimate urgency or scarcity so people don’t miss out on a good deal! If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting people to engage with your brand and site more, and making more money to boot!

Resources

Mahoney, Manda. (2003). “The Subconscious Mind of the Consumer (and How to Reach It).” HBS Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School.