3 Marketing Tactics Prospects Find Impossible to Ignore

February 21, 2014 by

Whether your goal is simply to get read - or to make an immediate sale - you can count on three marketing tactics to spike your success rate.

Each is easy to use, proven in-market and backed by the research of social scientists.

What makes these three tactics so powerful?

The thing that unites these strategies - and makes them so powerful - is that each triggers a decision-making shortcut in the human brain. Social scientists have proven that people, in an effort to conserve mental energy, have developed certain shortcuts when making decisions. There are actually quite a few of them, and science has shown that we’re all hard-wired to rely on them.

So, savvy marketers need only tap into these “decision defaults” in order to get more of the behavior they seek. Here are three ways you can begin today:

1. Show faces - especially eyes. Social scientists have found that people are drawn to other people’s faces. The face is the first thing we look at when we meet someone. Long ago, it may have been to assess a person’s status as friend or foe. Today, it’s just instinctive behavior.

When we see a picture of a face, we automatically look at it. And, as psychologist Susan M. Weinschenk notes in “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People,” it’s a real attention-grabber if the face is looking right at you.

So, use a photo that “makes eye contact” with your reader; it will stop prospects and invite them right in.

The other smart way to use eyes in your advertising is to have the person featured in your marketing look at your product or the text about it. Your reader’s eyes naturally follow the gaze of that person and look exactly where you want.

Related Class: Foundations for a Visual PR Strategy

2. Include a dashed line. People have become so accustomed to associating value with coupons that our eyes are drawn to them wherever they appear. In tests, Starch Advertising Research discovered that an ad with a coupon gets 23 percent more readership than the exact same ad without the coupon.

It gets even better. Turns out the ads are read regardless of whether or not there are any actual savings in the coupon. It’s the mere presence of the dashed line that compels readership.

So, if there’s something in your email, blog, web page or online ad that you absolutely want your target to notice, put a dashed line around it. They’ll go right to it.

3. Use “eye magnet” words. Some words in the English language attract the human eye more than others. Heat maps, in-market tests and, most recently, experiments involving fMRI machines prove it.

“Free” is one such word. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely devotes an entire chapter to the pulling power the word has in his book “Predictably Irrational.” In it, he describes “free” as nearly irresistible.

Another eye magnet word is “you.” As the human eye skims and scans text, the word “you” jumps out and pulls it in. After all, who’s more interesting than ourselves?

Arguably, even better than “you” is your target’s name. A person’s name commands almost magical power. Scientific research proves you’re more likely to do a favor for someone if you share the same first name. You’re also more likely if you have even similar-sounding names.

Researchers have found your first name can influence career choice (dentists are 43 percent more likely to be named Dennis), and even donations to hurricane victims (people whose names began with R were 260 percent more likely to donate to Hurricane Rita relief funds).

Placing these eye magnet words in subject lines, headlines and other prominent pieces of marketing real estate prompts automatic readership.

Now all’s that left to do is infuse these three tactics into your marketing and watch as your target finds your message impossible to ignore.

For more techniques to boost the effectiveness of your digital and social campaigns to engage customers and drive response, watch Nancy Harhut's class How to Use Psychology-based Marketing to Drive Online Response.

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