What Emotion Are You Selling?

What do you sell through your IndieMade site? Jewelry? Handbags? Handmade clothes, signs or soap? That might be what you send your customers but what you're really selling is an emotion. Think about the last thing you bought that you didn’t absolutely need. Why did you buy that one instead of the one next to it or the one from a different shop?

You bought the one you bought because it triggered the right emotional response. We buy a lot of thing because they make us feel happy, but we also buy things that make us feel powerful or more spiritual. We even buy things that make us sad. I know that sounds ridiculous but look at the concept of "nostalgia". When we feel nostalgic, part of us is happy but part of us feels sad over the loss of that era, so we buy the item to recapture the feel of those days.

We also buy items that remind us of those who have passed on in our lives. It's sad to think about but at the same time, having a bracelet or toy or photo that reminds us of the person is a great comfort.

All emotions, even negative ones sell. People buy t-shirts with angry slogans and books about tragedy and despair. In this case, the only bad response is "I don't feel anything at all".

Now, I ask again. What are you selling in your store? Happiness? Hominess? Peace? Confidence? Love? If I visited your store right now, would I feel what you want me to feel?

This entire marketing concept falls under the topic of branding because it's not just about the objects you sell but the colors and images and words that you put all around your site that count. Imagine a site that greats you with neon green and purple clowns. If they sell birthday party supplies, then why not? But what if they sell calming bath products or thoughtful quote bracelets? The incongruity is off-putting and that means no sale.

Try this experiment. Select images from your store and put them into a collage. No text. No color, just a collection of images. You could also do this on Pinterest or in a Facebook album. Ask people you know, and strangers if you can, to tell you what emotions they feel when they see your images. For the sake of this discussion, we use the term emotions in a very broad sense. Outdoorsy may not be an official emotion but it still evokes a very particular feeling so it works.

After you have those answers. Ask another group of people to go to your website and tell you what emotion they feel. Do the answers line up? If not, you need to redesign your website to match the feeling of the images.

Did either group say words you didn't expect? If so, then you have some thinking to do. That means you don't understand your target audience. Doesn't matter if you think your work is calming and inspiring if your customers think it's happy and chaotic.

Once you've nailed down those emotions, use it. If customers come away feeling powerful and confident, offer an ebook with power quotes for women when they signup for your mailing list.

If nostalgic is the word, write a weekly blog post about memories from the past. If you want to grow you have to get past the idea that you're selling individual items to individual people. What you want is to be a memorable brand with a loyal community.


What do people feel when they visit your IndieMade site? Don't assume. Find out.

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