smb-tech-trendsCan you imagine your customers camping out in front of your small business waiting for the next generation of your product or to sign up for your latest service offering?  If you’ve wondered how Apple manages to evoke that kind of devotion among its fans, you need to look beyond the features of its latest mobile devices, however impressive they may be. The secret of Apple’s success lies not only in its innovation but in its ability to forge an emotional connection with its customers.

Tapping into the emotions of your customers is essential to the success of your marketing efforts. While feature and pricing are important considerations, the emotional connection you make with buyers is what sets you apart from the competition and makes your business a preferred brand.

In “How Emotions Influence What We Buy,” in Psychology Today, Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D., principal of a consumer technology practice, points out that “Functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).” He goes on to say that “studies show that positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments which are based on a brand’s attributes.”

Find your emotional appeal

If you’re not sure exactly what kind of emotional response your brand evokes among your customers; spend time finding out. Inquire how they view your brand and what emotional connection they have with it through conversations over the phone, face-to-face or via chat or email; social media interaction and surveys. The feedback will help you develop the messaging to support your brand to distinguish you small business offerings from the competition.

Reinforce the emotional bond

ResultsOnce you’ve identified the emotional benefits or attributes that connect your customers to your brand, keep reinforcing them throughout your marketing initiatives – marketing materials, advertisements, social media content and more. Also review your sales and ongoing customer support processes and procedures to be sure every step reinforces the desired emotional connection with your customers.

You continue to nurture the emotional connection when you:

  • Show your appreciation: Whether you send your customers a thank you card, treat them to a lunch or offer a loyalty program or special promotion that meets a specific need, find some way to say thanks for your business.
  • Keep the conversation going: Continue to ask questions of your customers to find about their changing needs and aspirations and what they value about their relationship with your small business. By doing so, you can adjust your offerings and interactions to accommodate their evolving needs.
  • Get personal: Share some information about your business or your experience in the marketplace to inject yourself into the relationship to strengthen the emotional bond.
  • Deliver on your promise: Be consistent in delivering on your promise whatever it is.

Do you know what kind of emotional connection your customers have with your brand?