Getting your business’ message to the right audience is difficult enough. So many marketing pros end up spending a lot of their effort on increasing the audience SIZE rather than crafting the perfect message to deliver to that audience.
Be sure to infuse these three ingredients into your advertising and you’ll be smooth sailing.
A Quick Introduction from Aristotle
Aristotle Introduced the three modes of persuasion in Rhetoric (written in 350 BCE). In Rhetoric, Aristotle writes that persuasion is the counterpart to dialect. Where “dialect” signifies discourse and discussion, “persuasion” suggests an intent to seducing an audience to your position.
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are all modes of persuasion capable of shifting an audience in their thinking. Some will be more susceptible to one mode, but the combination of all three into your messaging will hook your audience in a deep way.
Ethos – Trust, Character, and Reputation
There isn’t much more valuable to a business than trust. Trust helps a business go from 100 to 1000 customers. Trust helps overcome PR nightmares. Trust is the lubricant that keeps business moving.
Great marketing messages will reinforce trust to your audience.
There are several ways to do this:
- Use a spokesperson that your audience trusts. (AKA celebrity endorsements)
- Use relatable people in your advertising (testimonials from current clients)
- Use research from reputable institutions
- Build a reputation so that your logo speaks for itself (see Apple)
- Include people in your advertising with whom your target audience will empathize
Logos – Logic, Reason, and Evidence
Hopefully, it’s not too hard to come up with a logical reason why customers would choose your business. Typically, we see businesses relying TOO heavily on this mode of persuasion; “We’re cheaper!” “We’re better!” “We’re faster!”
Including a logical argument in your advertising is key. Outlining benefits, objections, or data that will speak to your audience helps build a logical argument in the brains of your potential customers. If done well, they’ll begin to see you as the logical solution to a given problem.
Dollar Shave Club connects with the logic of their audience. How many times have you shaved with a dull, disposable razor because you’ve forgotten to purchase more razor heads? They send you a new set each month, so you never have to shave with a worn-out razor again. They also have some pretty fantastic Ethos & Pathos going on with their advertising.
Pathos – Emotion, Feelings, and Identity
Pathos is the most often neglected aspect of successful marketing messaging. Appealing to your audience’s emotions can feel fluffy and aloof. In reality, it is the most powerful of all the modes of persuasion.
Have you ever tried to – logically – argue with an iPhone snob that your Android phone can do everything that their phone can? Ever tried to convince someone that a local coffee shop has better coffee than Starbucks? Ever tried to have a “logical” political conversation? The truth is that all of humanity is emotional. When we only appeal to our customers through logic and credibility, we’re missing out.
Ideally, you want your clients to be so emotionally connected that they stick with you even when approached with a more logically sound argument.
Are you selling enterprise software to Fortune 500 companies? You can spout logic all day long, but the truth is that you’ve got to overcome the buyer’s emotional connection to their current provider (or the fear that they’ll get fired if your solution doesn’t deliver).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a business card from someone immediately followed by the statement: “Don’t look at our website, it’s not very good.” One of our most powerful phrases when selling Shout Out Studio’s services is “We’ll give you a website you’re proud to send prospects to.”
I repeatedly recommend Keep Financials to fellow small business owners. The phrase I use is this: “They make it really easy for my wife and me to sleep at night knowing all the complicated financial stuff is taken care of.” They’re selling accounting services, but what they’re delivering is peace. For them to miss out on this bit of persuasion would be a tragic mistake.
How to Apply Ethos, Logos & Pathos to Your Marketing
One of the exercises I love to do with clients is to grab a whiteboard and brainstorm three extensive lists: Trust, Logic & Emotion.
Once you’ve taken an hour to brainstorm from this perspective, you’re able to easily mix & match in order to create a compelling marketing message. Here are some examples from Shout Out Studio:
“I’m Tom, a founder of a tech startup. Shout Out Studio handled my logo design and the printing of all my business cards and marketing materials. Potential investors continually comment on how sharp my materials look.”
“As a 26-year-old starting my own business, I wasn’t really sure where to spend my marketing dollars but I knew I needed to be doing something. Because of Shout Out Studio, I’ve seen a steady stream of new customers. Now I can focus on the parts of the business that I’m more excited about.”
“I didn’t understand a thing about the internet and marketing online. I always thought our website could be better and everyone is telling me that social media is important. I was drowning in a sea of providers, marketers and information. Shout Out Studio helped me make sense of it all and helped us get the web working for our business.”
“Because most of my products are sold online, I’ve been able to easily track the increase in revenue Shout Out Studio has created for me. Investing in a relationship with them is the best dollar spent for my business. I’m happy to write them checks because I know it’s turning into new revenue for me.”
Make sense? In each example, you’ll see trust, logic & emotion being appealed to. If you do this well, you won’t have to worry about losing clients to competitors, you’re going to worry about how to handle the increase in new business.
Who do you see doing this well? What companies do you see using Ethos, Logos & Pathos in their marketing? Which sticks with you more?
Leave a comment to discuss.
Photo credit: Zyada