1 week Emotions can be the key to making your firm unforgettable InvestmentNews    

Emotions, something we all have, can be the key to making your firm unforgettable and to building a deeper connection with your target audience.

For example, take “Like a good neighbor,” State Farm’s motto, which has been around for a long time. In fact, Barry Manilow crafted the jingle back in 1971. That’s right: 50 years ago. Talk about a successful marketing campaign.

At first glance, repetition is responsible for our ability to sing back the latter half of the jingle with little hesitation. Upon further research, we can see an emotional connection between the popular jingle and State Farm itself.

And it’s this pattern of emotional association that cements State Farm as a caring company in the minds of millions of consumers and TV viewers. Commercial campaigns like “Jake from State Farm” and the “Neighborhood of Good” reinforce our feel-good emotions about the company.

Emotions are powerful, especially when it comes to making memorable marketing campaigns. How someone feels after they come across your marketing has a strong effect on their lasting impression of you — and whether they will even remember you at all.

Sad, happy, humorous, thoughtful, warm — how do you want your clients and prospects to feel when they think of you? What elicits this emotion in your target audience?

Let’s dive deeper.

REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION

Remember, a large reason you remember the State Farm jingle is the sheer number of times you’ve heard it. Repetition breeds familiarity. Even in cases when the first encounter with something is strange — or even negative.

In his 1967 paper, “The Attitudinal Effects of Mere Exposure,” psychologist Robert Zajonc cited an Associated Press article that told the story of an Oregon State University student who attended class wearing only a large black bag for two months. At first, the other classmates felt hostile toward the costumed student. But over time, their attitudes softened to curiosity and eventually friendship.

This supports what’s known in psychology as the mere-exposure effect or the familiarity principle. When we turn this psychology lens onto marketing, it explains why email campaigns can be so successful.

The goal of such a campaign, as you know, is to nurture a prospect or lead with the goal to convert them to a client. This is accomplished through a series of emails that prove your firm’s credibility, keep you top of mind and show that you care about them.

The key to a nurturing email campaign is to let repetition and emotion work in tandem. Relying on repetition alone can have the same effect as beating a dead horse. And getting by on only emotion without a cadence might make a great first impression, but it won’t leave a lasting one.

A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE

We built an eight-part personal email series for an adviser who was well-known for hosting events. From those events, the firm naturally had collected quite the bank of names, email addresses and phone numbers. After combing through the list, we had nearly 1,000 prospects.

The campaign would send them an automated email every other week for eight weeks. This email would come from the founder of the firm. The email copy would be personal. A lot of these prospects hadn’t heard from this firm since handing over their contact information. They’d likely scoff, ignore or breeze through a generic-sounding email.

These emails needed to read as personal to stand out to these prospects and start to build a relationship with them. One that would hopefully end with new clients.

Over the email series, the founder apologized for losing touch and softly reminded the prospect of what the firm did and its value, without pushing too hard. At the end of every email we had the founder write, “By the way, I have a question,” which resulted in 120 replies to the first email.

By the end of the email series, the firm converted 20 of those prospects into clients — at an average annual revenue of $4,200 per client.

Automation sounds impersonal but it doesn’t have to be. Because our emails were repetitive over a period of time and relied on emotion and a personal touch, they struck a chord in the target audience.

POSITIVITY LEAVES AN IMPRESSION

If repetition breeds familiarity, positivity most certainly breeds memorability, because, of course, we want to remember happy memories.

Positivity is the key to a first (and lasting) impression.

Think about Chick-fil-A. When I mention their name, many people probably think about their chicken, waffle fries and tea. But just as many probably think of their customer service. They’re well-known for their friendly, attentive and polite employees, who always respond “my pleasure” when you thank them.

Finance is a service industry and the impression you leave on clients and prospects matters. A positive first experience will encourage someone to return to your office or website. In a way, positivity breeds repetition.

We want to revisit people, places and experiences that make us feel happy and good — whether that’s in real life or just in our memories.

But repetition, positivity and emotions aren’t enough to cement a brand as memorable across the board. This is where omnipresence factors in. Consistently show up in familiar, enjoyable ways and places.

You can’t expect someone to remember you after one interaction or email. Additionally, someone may not be at a point in their lives when they need your services. But when they near retirement or have a life-changing event, you want to be top of mind when they decide they need an adviser.

This is where memorability comes into play. Marketing is a long game. First impressions matter, but lasting impressions matter more.

Be there for your clients and your prospects. Leave them with a certain feeling — a derivative of happy is best. Continue to evoke that emotion through emails, campaigns, etc.

Ultimately, your audience will connect your firm with that positive feeling. And you’ll be almost impossible to forget.

[More: The case for curiosity as a marketing strategy]

Robert Sofia is the CEO of the digital marketing firm Snappy Kraken.

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