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9 Ways to Discover the Hot Buttons That Convince the Target Market to Buy Now

by Marcia Yudkin

When marketing, you inevitably experience some campaigns succeeding far beyond your expectations while others hit without much response at all. What makes the difference? In many cases, it's whether or not you appealed to the hot buttons of buyers - the emotional needs, values and concerns that convince people they simply have to spend money on certain items.

Apart from reading up on common motivational drives, you can carry out a series of action steps that sensitize you to observe such drives at work in yourself, in others and most especially in the population you are hoping to sell to. Try these exercises.

1. To warm up to the idea of emotional hot buttons, go to your closet at home and pull out four items of clothing you haven't worn in a year. Then ask yourself: Why did I buy this? Why have I kept it? Listen for wishes, hopes and fears in your answers.

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2. Find a marketing pitch of yours that didn't work well and identify the emotional needs it appealed to. Then look at one that did persuade buyers and identify which needs it targeted. Jot down any insights that emerge.

3. Get a bunch of friends together and open up the Yellow Pages to a random page. Imagine that you had to compete with those vendors with an offering that cost twice as much as theirs. How would you persuade customers to prefer doing business with you? Repeat on another page. What did you learn about emotional reasons for buying?

4. Attend an industry meeting or conference and during the coffee breaks, ask everyone what their biggest challenge or obstacle is this year. Also ask your informants what business issue has most kept them awake at night over the years.

5. Create a free report related to what you sell. Sign up for a Google AdWords account, if you don't already have one. Create at least three little text ads for your report that appeal to different emotional needs. Test these against each other to find out which hot button reigns supreme in your market.

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6. Once you've identified your strongest text ad, create another version of it for the same report that's somewhat more rational and straight-laced, and yet another version with more emotional hot sauce. Then test these against each other to determine what level of enthusiasm clicks most with your crowd.

7. Find or buy a small notebook. Then tomorrow, throughout the day, pay attention to all the ads that come your way. Jot down the reasons to buy presented in each ad. The day after tomorrow, scan through your list for at least three fresh reasons to buy that might make sense for your business.

8. Go to and browse its lists and sublists of trend reports. Phrases like "experiential eating," "hobbitats," "nerdy nuptials" and "pity journaling" will jolt your creative thinking about motivators into overdrive.

9. At a networking meeting or any other business get-together, identify the difference between people discussing something they very much care about and those delivering their information from habit. How did you tell which was which? Research shows that people get much more animated and engaged in reference to the values, needs, beliefs, feelings and experiences that truly drive buying behavior.

Copyright 2013 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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