Three ways you can appeal to your audience and customers

Are you trying to promote your blog and sell products that share your expertise with your audience? How do you appeal to your readers and potential customers so they will connect with you and what you have to share?

If you want to be a professional blogger, and especially if you want to monetize your blog and sell your own products, you need to get into the head and heart of your audience.


Bloggers who want to sell their professional expertise with products or on a monetized blog can take a lesson from advertisers. There are three ways you can appeal to your audience.

If you’re going to sell your products, you have to function like an advertiser. In your case, the product is you and your products. You may not be airing commercials on TV or buying billboards next to the highway, but you are advertising yourself and your products in other ways. Every time you promote your blog on social media, or by commenting on someone else’s blog, or by writing a guest post, you’re advertising yourself.

This is why bloggers who sell a product, whether it’s the blog itself, a book, an e-course, or another product, can learn a lesson or two from advertising. An advertisement for a product or service begins by identifying a reason for you to buy that product. This is called an appeal. Ad agencies then build ad campaigns around this appeal.

Just like advertisers, bloggers can also use appeals to connect with their audience. The three main types of appeals are emotional, rational and moral. Ad copywriters start by determining which appeal works best. Bloggers can do this, too.

Emotional Appeals

Emotional appeals are based on our emotions, those powerful feelings that affect our behavior. When we react emotionally, feelings take control over our thinking. Emotional appeals in advertising are used to elicit either a positive or negative emotion that will motivate us to make a purchase. This is done by emotional arousal – or making consumers feel a particular emotion. We seek products that arouse an emotion, and advertisers capitalize on this.

For example, if you’re a pet owner, you love your pet, right? They’re a member of your family, and you’ll do anything to keep them healthy for as long as possible. Think about what impact pet commercials have on you. People have strong emotional attachments to their pets, and advertisers play on this.

Advertisers use emotion reduction, which comes from products aimed at reducing unpleasant emotions, such as shame, guilt or helplessness. One example is weight-loss products or systems such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or Gold’s Gym.

As a blogger, you can use emotional appeals to cause positive or negative emotions in your audience. You can use persuasive blog posts, or you can show your audience how your product will make their lives better.

Rational Appeals

Rational appeals are based on thinking and logic. If you are being rational about something, you put your emotions into the background and act based on the best logical outcome.

In advertising, rational ad appeals are usually based on price and quality. We want a good price on our products. But we also want a quality product that’s going to last and be worth the money we pay. Retail stores that advertise their lower prices or better quality products are using a rational appeal.

Bloggers can use rational appeals to explain the logical benefits of a product, or appeal to a reader’s intellect. How would your product make them smarter, or help them improve a skill?

Moral Appeals

Moral appeals are aimed at our sense of what’s right and wrong. This appeal is frequently used for social support causes. For example, you’ve seen those ads pleading to sponsor a starving child in an underdeveloped country, right? They say that for just a few dollars a week, you can help a child have an education, clean water and enough food. That’s an example of a moral appeal.

On your blog, you can use this type of appeal to show your audience why caring about a cause or issue is the right thing to do. Or you can show how your product will help them be a better person.

You can use one or more of these appeals in your quest to sell your blog and your products. All of these appeals might not all be right for your blog. But using one or two might help you connect better with your audience.

Figure out which appeal works best for your audience, and connect with them on that level. What has worked for advertisers for decades can work for bloggers, too.

Readers, what do you think of using appeals to connect with your audience? Have you done this yourself? Let us know in the comments.


Three ways you can appeal to your audience and customers — 9 Comments

  1. I’m often confounded by the principles of advertising when I’m thinking about my blog. I think I’d be a better (more successful) blogger if I had an advertising degree! Thank you for sharing this, for people like me. :)

  2. I do not blatantly advertise on my blog. I offer education, advice, my life experiences, and information. If my readers want to pursue working with me, they can easily click just about anywhere on my website or Google me to contact me directly. I agree, there is a very blurred line between marketing and advertising these days. I tend to give first and think about “the sale” after a relationship has been established.

  3. Blogging and advertising are but two channels to reach target audiences. Your message needs to be consistent across all channels so that awareness builds over time. Hopefully, this awareness will convert to a paying customer.

  4. Hi Jennifer; this is the first post I’ve read since joining the google bloggers group. this post was not only well written but has such a natural flow to it. I know that for me the posts that have gotten the highest response were ones of a personal nature or this that described how i overcame a particular challenge. being a blind blogger people have been telling me for a while that I needed to be more open about my blindness. they have been proven right, but now thanks to google I’m wrestling with whether or not to start a second blog. thanks for the post, max

  5. Great article, Paul. In my branding work, I refer to the appeals as being of the Mind, Heart or Spirit – a little different slant, but essentially the same. There has been much research showing adding emotion to your rational appeal really ups the ante in terms of engagement. It is all a matter of emphasis.

  6. HI Jennifer -I would say that these days the lines of distinction among advertising, marketing and social media are fading. Marketing is the main driver and encompasses the way we present the written word, visual appeal and product placement. Most important is knowing precisely who your target audience is and molding your message to solve a need or enhance a lifestyle.

  7. I agree with Paul. If you’re a commercial blogger these can be a great benefit. I am just a blogger, but I do have an extensive background in marketing and advertising. Because of that, I find it amusing when some make some obvious mistakes that can and do turn of a reader.

    Nevertheless, whatever your purpose, these appeals can be used in many ways for varying reasons on any sort of website. Just my thoughts. :-)

  8. I am not a commercial blogger per se, either. But that doesn’t mean that I am not seeking an audience. My customer is the person who likes my writing style…hopefully that will lure them to buy my current book and any future books that I publish. I think the same principles apply.

  9. Hi Jennifer. I agree that a commercial blogger will benefit from thinking like an advertiser and asking for the order or the desired course of action based on one of the three basic appeals that you identify. As a non-commercial blogger, but one with some background and general interest in advertising,I observe a lack of clarity in some commercial blogs, possibly due to not deciding which appeal should predominate on a given post.