Writing aimed at driving sales often takes an emotional angle--it taps into feelings of happiness, of sadness, or relief.  It evokes empathy, and makes the reader feel an emotional response that suits the sales objective. Think about recent ads you've seen for pet food. The copy was probably aimed at reminding you of how much you love and adore your pet, right? That's a writer tapping into empathy--which primes you for the sales pitch.

It's like a one-two punch: Activate emotion, present solution.

Empathy and Neuroscience

The reason for that, according to researchers, is because emotional writing impacts intent to buy--and that writing to evoke empathy can be as much as three times more effective. But what causes that emotional response is best described by a neurological process.

Neuroscientists who studied macaque monkeys in the 1980's discovered mirror neurons, which activated within the monkeys' brains both when they performed an activity and when they watched it being performed.

Some believe that the same phenomenon happens within the human brain. The theory is that mirror neurons are associated with our tendency to react--even when something isn't happening to us as individuals. It's the reason we gasp during a scary movie or our tendency to cringe when we see someone get hurt. Even though we're not personally experiencing it, we empathize with the other person's pain.

Mirror Neurons in a Marketing Context

Empathy, as an emotional primer, sometimes puts our brains in the right frame of mind to be sold to. It's the basis to the Problem-Agitator-Solution formula that copywriters use for sales writing. Find a problem, stir up the negative emotions associated with it, and then present a simple, easy solution.

Marketers have been using this process within a writing context for years. By making audiences feel empathy, they can drive up conversions, make more sales, or build interest around their messages.

The key takeaway for you: The next time you need to write to increase sales, think about how you can activate your readers' mirror neurons by making them empathize. The emotional primer will help put them in a "buy now" mindset, which helps you accomplish your objective.

Published on: Apr 21, 2016