Get Emotional: Three Ways to Build Emotional Connections with Customers


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Logistics, like function and price point, might be top of mind for customers looking to make a purchase, but what about the emotional motivators deeper in their psyche? Whether a customer is shopping for a home appliance or something more personal, emotions heavily influence whether they ultimately make a purchase.

When customers judge a product or service on objective features alone, they often end up with buyer’s remorse, as it won’t take long for them to find a “better” or cheaper version of what they bought on the market. While offering a competitive price point can persuade shoppers’ final decisions, helping customers imagine how they would feel with your product or service can be a powerful sales differentiator.

Customers engage with brands they feel connected to, which is why your brand needs to appeal to prospects’ emotions during interactions. Consider how a camping gear manufacturer could build emotional connections in the way it advertises a tent’s value proposition. Instead of explicitly saying that the tent is easy to set up, the manufacturer could run an ad showing a family arriving at a camping site and setting the tent up in minutes, thereby demonstrating its portability and ease of use. The ad resonates with the experience prospective customers hope to have when using the tent, and they still understand the functionality of the product without feeling as though they just read the user manual.

Marketing with emotion may sound like an abstract approach, so how can your business speak to customers’ emotions without sacrificing business integrity?

1. Identify and address your customers’ emotional motivators.

It’s essential to understand what customers hope to accomplish through doing business with you—i.e., what their emotional motivators are—so that you can tailor your engagements to them. The top emotional motivators that drive consumer behavior include, but are not limited to, a desire to feel secure, to stand out from the crowd, enjoy a sense of well-being, and succeed in life.

It doesn’t take extensive third-party consumer research to understand your target audiences’ emotional motivators. Small businesses can learn a lot from conversations with customers and listening to their feedback. Are your prospects and customers looking to feel a sense of community? A sense of financial security?

Once you identify your customers’ emotional motivators, consider how you can embody them. For instance, a small herbal apothecary whose customers are highly concerned about environmental protection might offer a video tour of their fields that shows how ingredients are grown and harvested. When customers feel like their emotional needs are being met by a brand, they are often more inclined to engage with it and remain loyal to it.

2. Prioritize quality throughout the entire business

Marketing isn’t the only area of business where you can forge connections with customers. First and foremost, you need to offer a quality product to establish a baseline level of trust with customers. That quality should extend to every area of the business. At the end of the day, no amount of savvy marketing can overcome rude employees or product defects.

Should a product or service breakdown occur, your business must be proactive in addressing the situation with customers and work to right it. Failure to do this risks losing business by pushing customers away and forfeiting sales that could have otherwise been saved. Transparency garners trust, and taking ownership of the situation shows customers that it is under control.

3. Tell an authentic corporate narrative

When trying to convince customers why they should do business with you, it can be tempting to boast about professional accomplishments to convince them of your credibility. To reiterate, logistics are a factor for customers, but only to a certain point. When telling your business’s story, be sure to also be human, humble, and relatable. While your customers do want to know that you’re an expert at what you do, they are also interested in the personal journeys that led you and your business to where it is today.

Authenticity facilitates those emotional connections that translate to sales. By hearing your own story, customers may identify with it and feel encouraged to share their own. Through this conversation, you can better understand your customer’s emotional motivators for engaging with your brand so that you know how you can tailor your offerings to fulfill their needs. Knowing what provides customer value, and how you can provide support in a moment of need, is one of the best ways to create lasting emotional bonds and customer retention. Likewise, the customer is now more invested in the brand and more receptive to your products or services.

Whether it’s the concept behind an ad campaign, how your sales team interacts with prospects, or the stellar after-sale support you provide, forging emotional connections with customers is a powerful way to differentiate your business from the competition. Catering to your customers’ emotions not only demonstrates that you have their best interests at heart, but solidifies your offerings in their mind—turning a single sale into an ongoing relationship with your brand.

Ellen Brezniak
As Chief Customer Officer at Act!, Ellen focuses on building, growing, and nurturing relationships with the brand’s customers. With 30+ years of experience in technology, she is responsible for establishing a high-caliber customer experience across the customer journey and exceeding customers’ expectations by driving CX optimization efforts across Act!’s portfolio of products. Prior to Act!, Ellen held roles including SVP of Customer Success at Intralinks and SVP of Customer Success and Operations at Constant Contact, where customer retention and engagement skyrocketed under her leadership.


  1. TY Ellen –
    Some great insights on marrying emotional motivators to sales & marketing tactics
    as well as leveraging genuine authenticity to foster stronger customer bonds.


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