If you had to guess, what do you think is the driving factor for decision making, emotions or rationale? Most people believe that every decision they make is based in facts and not at all clouded by emotions.

The same goes for purchasing decisions. If you ask your customers, they´ll probably tell you that their purchasing decisions are mainly based on the information you provide about your products and services. That the decision is a result of careful consideration and comparison.

It might be, but probably not!

Psychology Today did some experimenting to find out just how much of an influence our emotions have on our purchase decisions. They discovered that visitors of e-commerce websites who were provided with detailed information about a product or a service tended to be less likely to purchase than those who were only exposed to an image and a general description.

So, what are the factors that drive our purchasing decisions?

You guessed it: emotions! Some may call it a hunch, a gut feeling or maybe a sign from the universe.

Our emotions play a huge role in our decision-making process and are often so influential that they determine our decisions. That´s why appealing to emotions is crucial in marketing!

The role of emotions

There is a field within marketing known as emotional marketing. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Brands use emotions to capture their audience´s attention. The goal is for their audience to notice, remember, share, or purchase a product or a service based on an emotional reaction. The emotion can be happiness, anger, eagerness, excitement or even fear – the point is to elicit an emotional response.

But what are emotions?

We often tend to miscategorized states of mind as emotions, like feeling tired or motivated. The distinction between emotions and other feelings can be tricky, even for those who are in tune with their emotions. But when trying to appeal to an emotion, you´ll have to know what you´re aiming for!

Psychologist Robert Plutchik (Ph.D.) created what he calls an emotion wheel. It depicts 8 core emotions, each accompanied by less intense variants of the same emotion. This is a helpful tool to use when trying to decipher what kind of emotions you´re trying to elicit from your audience.


But I thought we were rational beings?

As much as we wish that we were rational beings driven by facts and numbers, this isn´t always the case. More often than not humas are driven by emotions - unless you´re a Buddhist monk that’s completely detached from your ego. We feel deeply and those feelings have a lasting effect on us and influence our impression of the world.

Let´s look at an example.

Say you’re an avid tennis player looking for a new racket. You come over two different commercials, one from Nike and one from your local Sports outlet. This is what you see:


Which commercial is more likely to elicit an emotion from you?

Most likely you´ll feel some type of empowerment looking at the picture of Serena Williams and reading the inspirational quote, especially if you´re a woman. Seeing a living example of what you can become accompanied by word of encouragement might just be enough for you to buy the tennis racket from Nike.

Or maybe you prefer Adidas and just keep scrolling.

The point is that emotionally charged messages tend to make an impression on us. And that´s exactly the goal! What kind of impression your audience forms about your brand is decided in a matter of seconds. Don´t gamble on them forming that impression after reading tree and a half paragraph about the specifics regarding your product. You don’t have time or space for that, especially not in an SMS message.

How can you appeal to emotions with only 160 characters?

This is where the magic happens.

You will have to keep your message short and sweet, and yet powerful! Look at Twitter for instance. Yes, the character limit is slightly higher, but you have the option to send several SMS in one text message and get approximately the same number of characters. But that isn´t always necessary!

Take the ongoing beef (pun intended) between Wendy´s and McDonald’s as an example.

Its short, simple, and straight to the point (or heart depending on who you are). Wendy´s are consistently and subliminally placing themselves above McDonald´s in the consumers’ minds by having fun of and taking jabs at their competitor. They don´t explicitly ask the audience to choose them over McDonald´s, but because they elicit emotions in form of humor, they´ll most likely stay on top of mind.

Mcd vs Wendys

Don’t be afraid to be a little cheeky with your messages. Take the brand Shinesty as an example. They use humor to appeal to their customers and have made it a core part of their branding. This is a part of an email campaign they sent out to their customer:


And the best part? This could have been an SMS! They could have added a link to their website and still have had some characters left for good measure.

All you need is a bit of imagination, some balls and no fear of consequences when brainstorming creative text for your SMS campaigns. Easy-peasy!

But don´t worry, we´re here to help! Here are three things you should keep in mind when forming your next creative SMS campaign:

1. Catch the reader´s attention within seconds by appealing to their emotions

2. KISS – Keep it simple, stupid!

3. Finish off with a Call-to-Action

Are your ready to appeal to your customers emotions? Let´s get started!