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Forget Search Engine Optimization – Here’s Why You Need to Focus on Emotional Engine Optimization

Google AdWords is an interesting platform for digital marketers. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon targeting keywords and ‘playing the game’. We’re all looking for ways to rank that little bit higher in the auction and get the CPC (cost-per-click) down, whilst raising the CTR (click-through-rate).

The thing is, whilst it is important to try and win that coveted top spot in the auction, we get so wrapped up in the battle that we forget this important truth: Search engines don’t click, people do.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned conversions yet – This is because the actual ads themselves aren’t what drives conversions. I’ve seen many Google AdWords campaigns with a ridiculously high CTR, but no conversions. That’s because there are 2 parts to the campaign:

  • The ad stage (this includes targeted keywords, ad copy, extensions and more), which wins the click and leads you onto…
  • The landing page stage, which is where people end up if your advert has sparked enough curiosity. If your landing page isn’t up to scratch, people won’t convert.

The important part to notice here is that in order to get the conversion, you obviously need to get people to click on your ad and get to that second stage. It all starts with a click.

What Sparks a Desire For Somebody to Click an Ad?

The simple answer is that people have developed enough of an interest to want to click on it and find out more about your product or service. This is only scratching the surface though, as the important part within that sentence is the word interest. This is an emotion and it was the emotion itself that caused the person to click on your ad.

Before jumping ahead, let’s first get an understanding of how emotion works in us as a species, meaning we need to look at the ‘Limbic System’. This is the area within our brains that controls our emotions and instincts: Our ‘Emotional Engine’.

Emotional Engine Optimization

Regardless of how much of a control-freak you may be, our subconscious (which is where the limbic system is located) is what drives our actions, decisions and overall behaviour. What this means is that when we make some kind of action and we are then asked to explain why we committed that act (this is bringing back memories of being the class clown at school), we cannot actually give a truthful explanation.

The answer we give when asked is processed by our ‘neocortex’, which is located in the conscious area of our brain. This enables us to bend the truth and even lie when we choose to, but also means we aren’t aware of why our subconscious chose to commit the act.

The video below gives an explanation of how emotion works in the brain. What you see towards the end is a showing of a woman’s brain activity when shown a stimulating image. The intense colour that shows high levels of activity is the subconscious, where her emotions are happening. The area with less activity is the conscious neocortex, where she is thinking about the image and processing the information.

Through studies on the brain and stimulation, our emotions have been categorized into 3 main compartments, as you can see below:

Limbic Map

The stimulation category refers to pleasure and enjoyment – This is activated when we go on dates or indulge in a hobby. Dominance is all about assertion and discipline: When you’re making a sale, sitting an exam or exercising at the gym. Finally, balance is linked with safety and trust, meaning you will likely activate this part of your limbic system when handling money or locking the door to your home.

Inside each of these areas, you can insert individual emotions that further categorize how you’re feeling. Some will be located very much within one category, while others may cross between 2 areas. As an exercise, you should try printing out a copy of the map above then try writing as many emotions as you can think of into the categories you think they fall within. To start, think about where interest would fit.

How Does Emotion Play a Role in Winning The Click?

To reiterate something that was written before: Search engines don’t click, people do. What this means is that we need to understand what makes people actually want to click on your ad. The first question to ask yourself is simple:

Do I click on an advert simply because the headline is exactly the keyword I searched for?

I’m going to guess that your answer is probably no. Instead, try to think about what actually makes you want to click on an advert or purchase a product. Odds are, it’s probably because you had an emotional reaction. We actually see this happen all the time with television adverts for perfume.

It’s actually quite a dull product if you break it down and realize that it’s just liquid in a bottle, but the adverts we see on TV make it seem like the ultimate purchase that you just absolutely need in your life. A person will spray themselves with the perfume and suddenly find themselves surrounded by people of the opposite sex. What this is doing is giving you an ‘implicit signal’, meaning it is showing you where you will be after using the product: If you buy this perfume, you will become irresistible to the opposite sex.

Suddenly, this opens a whole new avenue when it comes to writing copy for your ads. Instead of simply writing ‘Perfume’ or ‘Cheap Perfume’, you should consider ‘Seductive Perfume’. Instead of the usual ‘Sale’ copy in the description, try using phrases like ‘Be Irresistible’.

This same thinking can be applied to a service as well as a product. Let’s use business coaching as an example: What implicit signals can we use to get clicks from business owners when advertising a business coach?

  • Get rich
  • Have more time with your family
  • Retire young
  • Realise your business dreams

Google Ad

These are just some of the reasons why somebody might want to hire a business coach. There is much more possibility out there! As an exercise, try thinking about the examples discussed above and how you could incorporate implicit signals into your existing ads.

How Can I Understand the WHY Behind Somebody Searching for My Product or Service?

In order to truly understand which implicit signals you should be using in order to win clicks for your product or service, you need to dig beyond the surface of why somebody would require your services. Simply saying that somebody needs, for example, a free powerpoint presentation template because they have an upcoming meeting is lazy-thinking. By simply asking why in an almost child-like manner can really help you to get the real answers:

Why did this Person Search for ‘Powerpoint Presentation Templates’ on Google?

Because they have a business meeting in the near-future.

Why is this Person Presenting at the Meeting?

To sell their product or service and acquire a new customer or client.

You can keep asking why continuously to each answer, but in just two steps we’ve already established something here: They person searching for is looking to make a new sale to a prospect during their upcoming business meeting. Therefore, we can guess that the reason why they’re looking for templates is to create a good-looking presentation that’ll impress the audience, whether it be one, two or two-hundred people.

Here, we’ve discovered an emotion: The person searching on Google wants to impress their prospect or prospects. Therefore, we can use this emotion when creating ad copy to let them know that your Powerpoint templates will help them to impress their audience.

Moving Forward

The golden rule today is to always consider and research the people who will be searching for the keywords you are targeting. Find out why they are searching and use the emotions involved to maximize the number of clicks you’re getting. Use implicit signals to inform your audience where they will be after using your product or service, then back up your claims with statistics or accolades if necessary.

Looking beyond the click, the same concept of Emotional Engine Optimisation can be applied to your landing page as well. It is a great way to create a positive first impression with your audience and improve your conversion rate. It probably doesn’t need to be said at this stage, but please do make sure that your landing page is relevant to what you are saying on the ad copy, of course.

I am genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say about this article and how you have applied these ideas to your own campaigns. Please do keep me informed on your progress and experiences by leaving a comment below, and please remember to hit that Thumbs Up button underneath as well!

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George Wakerley

With aspirations to become a professional musician, George discovered his passion for digital marketing whilst studying guitar at the Brighton BIMM institute. Fast-forward to today and he is currently a Digital Marketing Assistant at Growth by Design as well as a freelance copywriter. Find out more about Growth by Design at Growth by Design George still keeps up with music, playing with his band K.G, which you can discover at Facebook or Kgmusic.

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