By Tom Trush
As a business owner or entrepreneur, it’s easy to focus your marketing on common persuasion principles like reciprocity, scarcity, or social proof.
After all, these concepts have been crammed down our throats since the dawn of commerce.
Sometimes, however, you need to shake things up a bit to keep your marketing interesting.
So, here are four not-so-common ways to take advantage of the mind’s natural tendencies to persuade more prospects.
1. Incorporate unexpected words into your messaging
Look at the following images. Which one would you have an easier time describing to a friend 30 days from now?
Without question, you can’t forget the first image (my apologies for giving it a permanent place in your brain).
Your ability to easily recall odd items ties into a theory called the “bizarreness effect.” To apply this concept to your messaging, simply combine unexpected or unusual words with common phrasing.
Author and mail order advertising legend Joe Karbo was brilliant in using this trick when he titled his book The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches.
In fact, Karbo supposedly wrote the first ad for his book before he even wrote the book itself. He then tested the idea with an ad in a single publication. The response was so overwhelming, he had to refund all the orders.
He then took the next 6 weeks to actually write the book.
2. Position critical information early and late in your content
Read through these 10 benefits of running:
Now that you’ve gone through each one, look away and jot down the benefits you remember.
Go ahead, it’ll only take a few seconds…
Okay, so which ones were easiest to recall?
My guess is that the benefits at the beginning and end found a spot on your list – while those in the middle were forgotten…
This is known as the serial position effect. Use it to your advantage by placing your most critical information near the top and bottom of your content, especially when you use lists.
You might want to draw attention to a big benefit… A thought that piques curiosity… A special offer… An interesting idea… An unknown fact… A surprise promise…
Whatever the case, you now know where this information will have the greatest impact.
3. Repeat and keep what’s important
So, how’s this for crazy?
You’re well aware that repetition can help you remember a point, but what might surprise you is that repetition can also make a point more believable – even if it’s not true.
Of course, politicians know this. They repeat themselves so often that their speeches eventually start sounding the same.
This concept also carries over to music. Ever notice how a song you didn’t like at first eventually becomes tolerable?
That’s because our brains like patterns. Repetition creates a pattern that draws attention and a sense of familiarity.
According to psychologist Jeremy Dean, who is also a researcher at University College London (and runs the incredibly awesome PsyBlog), people have maximum confidence in an idea after hearing it 3-5 times.
“Because TV adverts are repeated many more times than this, advertisers now use subtle variations in the ads to recapture our attention,” he added. “This is an attempt to avoid the fact that while familiarity can breed liking, over-familiarity tends to breed contempt.”
Mastercard is a prime example of a company that varies its messaging, but keeps the same theme. Their “Priceless” campaign has been running for two decades!
No doubt, you’re familiar with the tagline: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
4. Sell with stories
In a Carnegie Mellon University study, researchers compared the effects of marketing with story vs. data. Their first pitch used facts and statistics about food and water shortages, while the second one told the story of a starving girl – Rokia – and showed her picture.
Subjects who read the story donated nearly twice as much as those who received the fact-based approach. Surprisingly, even when statistics were added in the story, donations collected were far less than the version with just the story alone.
In December, I read an article that told the story of Donovan Janus. You probably don’t recognize the name, but you may know the software he created – 17hats.
Janus came up with the idea for 17hats after watching his wife struggle with her growing photography business. The bigger the business became, the more trouble she had managing the mundane tasks that kept it going.
So, Janus created a software, specifically for solo entrepreneurs, to help them create quotes for clients, keep bookkeeping in order, and manage contracts and invoices. Or, as the 17hats website describes it, Janus built “the all-in-one business system for entrepreneurs.”
After reading the article, I came across several videos of entrepreneurs telling their stories of how 17hats solved their business struggles.
Within just minutes, I went from not knowing the company existed to signing up for a year of service.
And I wasn’t alone…
In just its first year, 17hats picked up 10,000 paying users and generated $2 million in subscription revenue.