With all of the emojis flying through cyberspace these days, we’ve been taking actual emotions for granted in how we communicate and market products and services these days. Advertising has come a long way from the Mean Joe Greene Coke and Crying Indian type commercials of my generation and with our attention spans becoming shorter and shorter, it’s become a huge challenge to make our appeals touch the hearts of our prospects and customers. However, when some of these do show up on our virtual radar screens – most notably our Facebook feeds – it’s hard to look away and easy to get drawn in to a truly compelling story that jerks tears from our eyes and melts our hearts for a fleeting moment before we turn back to our busy lives. The best examples I’ve seen in recent years are these two insurance commercials: Daddy Lies and Unsung Hero.
I’ve unearthed an example of an emotional appeal penned by yours truly that generated an impressive result. The backstory is that I spent about four months searching for my first home in the Northern Virginia area and after looking at many communities and about 80 homes in-person, I narrowed my search to a specific community. This was during the housing bubble of the early 2000s and home values and prices were rising daily and most homes were receiving multiple bids that often would rise above the asking price.
An ideal home came on the market late on Friday, June 13, 2003 and after reviewing the listing and some amateur photos I knew it was what I was looking for. I arrived early Saturday to meet my agent and take a look at the home. I was the first to view the home and as I entered the owners were leaving after sweeping the last bits of dust and dirt into their dustpan at the front door. I introduced myself and thanked them for preparing the house for my viewing. The house was perfect and I told my agent we needed to go to their office to fill out the paperwork to put a bid on it. We did. As the agent prepared the forms, I asked if I was allowed to add a letter to the package for the owners to read along with my offer. My agent thought that was a good idea, so I typed it out on one of their computers, printed and signed it. It took all of 5 minutes. The package was sent over to the seller’s agent and we waited. They had an open house the next day and said they would not review any offers until after that. I learned later that there were seven offers with bids escalating above the asking price. Mine was not the highest bid ☹. Here’s the letter I wrote,
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Dear Mr. And Mrs. ———-,
Thank you so much for allowing me the pleasure of viewing your beautiful home Saturday morning. It was a pleasure meeting you both.
After looking at many homes in the last few months – some even in your neighborhood – I’ve learned that first impressions are extremely important. My first impression of your home was that it is treated like one of the family. The condition of the home demonstrates that you care greatly for it and I assure you I would be interested in carrying on that tradition as a first-time homeowner.
I’m a director of membership at a national non-profit organization in Alexandria and if I’m lucky enough to meet the right woman and start a family, I’d be proud to be able to offer them a home as beautiful as yours when that time comes.
I greatly appreciate your considering my enclosed offer and enjoyed touring your home.
My agent called me late that Sunday night to inform me that the sellers accepted my bid and wanted to sell me their home. The older gentleman was an original owner of the home and had been an amateur architect and had put his blood, sweat, and tears into making unique modifications to the house. He had a hard time deciding to sell it and his wife admitted to me at the closing that it was my letter that convinced them both to sell to me regardless of any other bids they received. It was my first home and I lived there for seven years. I ended up getting married and living with my wife there for about a year before moving.
Take the time to make your marketing message an emotional one if you truly want someone to pay attention to it. Get into their hearts and they may fall in love with you and your product.
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