Do you know which persuasion tactics work to get people to take action? Do you know how to use that information and apply it to marketing yourself, your business, and your ideas?
As a journalist/psychologist and content-marketer, I’ve studied the research on persuasion, and the findings are significant for any small business owner or professional who wants to write effectively for the web.
Neuroscience has revealed compelling information on what triggers action in people. If you want to write like a professional, you may need to shift your thinking and writing.
In the past, it was believed that people made decisions based on facts: clear compelling arguments and rational thinking. As such, presentations and online pages focused on logical steps to solutions. Writing centered on problem solving:
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- The problem
- The impact to the target market
- Reason for lack of resolution, obstacles
- The new solution
- Next steps – call to action
- The impact of not taking action
While this makes sense, it may not yield the best results.
Today, small business professionals and people who write blogs are using a different approach. You have seen this on television (think of the numerous Super Bowl commercials), business blogs, e-newsletters, and even direct mail. These content marketing professionals are appealing to your emotions, rather than your reasoning.
Professional writers understand that not only do emotions guide our decisions and actions, they determine whether or not we make that purchase. This writing centers on emotions:
- Grabbing attention – outrageous headlines, images
- Appealing to desire or basic human wants
- Including emotional hot buttons
- Using compelling persuasion triggers
- Motivating through fear – scarcity, urgency
Because we use the emotional part of our brain to make rational decisions, the most effective writing includes both rational and emotional tactics.
The decision making process can occur in a split second, and out of our awareness. When we make a decision, information is sent to the brain and received by the amygdala. This emotional center quickly determines if a “gut” feeling decision can be made. If not, the information is passed to the cerebral cortex for further cognitive evaluation.
Typically, if the brain registers no discomfort with a feeling decision, it will bypass the labor of reasoning to conserve energy and save time. (Fueling the cortex requires a huge amount of glucose – think of the fatigue and hunger you felt after a time of making big decisions or purchases.)
As such, when writing marketing content that persuades action, you need to primarily appeal to the emotional center of the brain, rather than the rational.
This is not new, however many small business owners and professionals have not yet incorporated an emotional approach in their marketing.
Appealing to emotions doesn’t have to be “touchy-feely”, nor “sob-sister” soapbox evangelism. It means exercising restraint on bar graphs and spreadsheets when creating web pages, slides and sales presentations.
Just like life, it’s about balance: appealing to the emotional and rational center of the brain in just the right amounts.
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