You’re Going to Hate this, but You’ll Still Click on it!

Everyday some 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created, so it’s not surprising that one of the monikers this era goes by is “The Information Age.”

But information alone doesn’t get people moving. I would suggest that maybe even a better label for the days we are living in would be “The Emotional Age” – especially if you depend on successful digital marketing.

Every day no fewer than 27 articles are posted on the Internet that explain how providing your prospects with invaluable information is the way to keep them in your audience, build trust, and eventually make a sale. I won’t argue with that.

Consider this: encyclopedias are full of invaluable information but they never motivate anyone to do anything. Information by itself is merely data. Information plus emotion is a recipe for action.

The Motivation with Emotions

The relationship of emotions to sales has been studied for a long time and these are the emotions that seem to motivate people toward making a purchase decision:

  • Fear
  • Envy
  • Greed
  • Shame
  • Pride
  • Alturism

Further, to arouse people’s interest in order to get them to click on a link, you can add other emotions to that list. Such as humor, anger, curiosity and others.

The world’s best copywriters have been pushing these emotional buttons in buyers for a hundred years or longer. Below are a few headlines from the famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz that made a lot of people rich. Consider the emotional responses they generated in the people who ended up buying the products.

  • At Last! A Plastic Surgeon’s Diet!
  • How to Stroke Wrinkles Right Out of Your Face!
  • You can lose 20, 40, 60, 80 EVEN 100 pounds and never gain an ounce of it back.

These kinds of headlines still work. Of course, the words you use in your digital marketing must be tailored to your audience, and the people Eugene Schwartz was targeting may not be your target. But the approach to your audience should be the same.

For example, often you need to understand which fears are the biggest motivators among your prospects. In fact, if you can’t identify those fears, you probably don’t understand your customers or clients. Once you know what those fears are, you need to leverage them in your online marketing materials.

There are several places within your online marketing where you need to consider emotional impact as your primary consideration. Among those are:

  • Headlines
  • Tagline’s
  • Slogans
  • Calls to action
  • Social media posts
  • Graphics


Often the only element of a post you create or a landing page you design that people actually see and read is the headline. Also, remember that people searching via Google will only see about 57 characters of a headline you have written, so you need to push the emotion button early.

You don’t have to go “over the top,” but you need to be able to recognize the emotional element you’re trying to create. With the headline to this article, I was trying to generate just a little bit of anger, or maybe “rebellion” is a better word.

Tagline’s and Slogans

I’m lumping these together because they tend to serve the same purpose. They capture an important idea in very few words. Consider the slogan Las Vegas used for a long time, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” That stirs up all kinds of emotional feelings – desires for tasting the forbidden fruit, relief by escaping shame, and others.

Calls to Action

Here is where the list of six emotions is fully operable. Virtually every successful call to action will be built on one or more of those emotions.

Social Media Posts

The competition for eyeballs on social media is cutthroat. People will only see your post for half a moment, so it needs to connect to their emotions immediately. This has given rise to “click bait,” which is a dishonest use of emotions to get clicks. You need to be honest but nonetheless strive to generate a response that is at least emotional in part.


By their very nature graphics touch us emotionally and that’s reflected in the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Keep this in mind as you select graphics to use in social media or on web pages. If you’re choosing between two photos, for example, select the one with the greater emotional impact.

As a final word, let me say that you still need to provide useful information to your prospects and followers, and if you couple it with emotional content, more people will benefit from the information you share.