Emotional Intelligence in Online Sales
At its root, the internet is a paradox. It connects the world, but in so doing it misses some crucial parts of the human experience. Social media posts ironically lack a personal touch, which leaves everyone at a disadvantage when interpreting intent. What’s needed in the public sphere is something whose importance many have only just begun to recognize: emotional intelligence.
I’ve talked about emotional intelligence in this space before and likely will again, because of how vital and largely forgotten it is in the modern landscape. Today, I’m going to discuss applying emotional intelligence to a place where it’s often lacking but sorely needed: online marketing.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence encompasses a broad range of skills in the social arena. Think of it as having an awareness of not only how you feel, but of how you’re presenting yourself and how others are reacting to you. A degree of control over your moods is essential. I’m not talking about turning yourself into an emotionless robot, but rather curbing outbursts of temper and the like. Empathy is perhaps the most important cornerstone. People with high amounts of emotional intelligence tend to be leaders, have lots of genuine friends, and are good to have at parties.
Isn’t it hard to be emotionally intelligent online?
Oh yeah. When interacting online, you’re doing so at a remove. Emotional intelligence in-person is often practiced with a high degree of nonverbal communication as you read someone’s facial expressions and body language, both of which are hard to do on a Zoom call, let alone in a text-based environment like most social media.
Fundamentally, though, marketing is about emotions. Buying decisions are made primarily at an emotional level, and any effective marketing must address that. So as difficult as it might be, emotional intelligence is required for good marketing.
How do you start using emotional intelligence in marketing?
The goals of online marketing are to be personalized, unobtrusive, and effective. Data collection is part of the first, although it can run into the second. For you, as an automotive dealership, most of the data you get are either going to come from submitted leads or from previous purchases at your store. But that’s just the technical angle. Emotional intelligence is about moving beyond the technical and into the personal.
Making your marketing unobtrusive and effective is about empathizing with the needs and desires of your customer base. Understand them, and you will be using emotional intelligence in your marketing.
Is it about branding?
To an extent, yes. Emotional intelligence on a personal basis involves knowing oneself first. You can do this with your brand as well. Are you a family-oriented business where everyone is welcome and the atmosphere is informal? Or are you a luxury store where everything from the clean decor to the smartly-dressed sales associates just screams class? Either way, your online marketing needs to reflect this personality.
What about the audience?
Good news, that’s exactly the kind of question you should be asking. Empathy with your audience shows a high degree of emotional intelligence right off the bat. If I could distribute reward cookies, I would.
It’s more than that, of course. It’s about caring what the response is. Think about what your audience cares about. In our example, the former store likely has a customer base that is more concerned about cost and wants a low stress purchasing experience. The latter store has a customer base that highly likely wants a vehicle with all the bells and whistles.
As a rule of thumb, ask yourself how your customers are feeling, and then how you can address those fears.
Great! So I’m done.
You’re never done. Emotional intelligence is a process that should inform every aspect of your marketing. Never stop asking the questions about yourself, or about your customers. Who knows, the answers might change over time. Simply asking those questions puts you in the right headspace to be understanding and empathetic, which will take you a long way.
Got it. I’m going to go think about my feelings.
Me too. And if you find you have any other questions, just add a comment below.