Blogs are popular marketing tools for reaching consumers and driving conversions. Yet, what is it about your blog that touches a reader and leads them to take a desired action? Well, according to neuromarketing science, it’s how you use 6 key stimuli to appeal to the reader’s brain.
What are these 6 stimuli, or brain events, that influence consumer behavior? How can a blogger use neuromarketing to improve business results in 2021 and beyond?
Understanding the behavior of blog readers and consumers and their decision-making isn’t a simple task. Nonetheless, this post offers some general guides on how marketers can use the following 6 stimuli to influence reader decision-making.
Humans are at their core, selfish and self-centered beings. Even though we apply our sophistication to seek higher ideals, we are still a ‘me-first’ species. Much like Pinkerton, the pink, plump, and pushy pig.
Because of our self-centered nature, people read your content to find out what YOU can do for THEM. They don’t really care about you and your pursuits. All they want to know is how you can serve their interests and solve their problems. So make your content language more about your readers and less about you.
Humans are much like frogs. You put a frog in boiling water and it will jump right out. You put the same frog in lukewarm water and boil the water, the frog will enjoy the lukewarm water and soon die as the water heats up.
Just like the frog, humans take immediate and decisive action when presented with high contrast. In the absence of contrast, we find it difficult to make a decision.
Because we instinctively spot differences and act on them, marketers apply contrast to push us into action. For example, most of us are familiar with before and after photos of people losing weight. You’ve also seen marketers and advertisers use contrast in kitchen remodel projects, makeup tutorials, cleaning appliances, and many other before vs after content.
To use contrast in your blog content, show the reader the difference between what it would be like if they apply your solutions and if they don’t.
For instance, show how one company improved their sales volumes and profit margins by taking their sales team through negotiation training. The before training and after training scenarios should provide high contrast, enough to shove a decision-maker into considering training their sales staff. Without contrast, the reader may be confused about expectations, and confusion leads to delayed decisions.
Our reptilian brain struggles to translate our senses into intangible benefits. We prefer a direct approach and we scan for tangible input.
For example, a business consultant promising to “transform your business to optimize shareholder value” may not be tangible. Another consultant promising to help you make more money is direct and tangible. The two may be offering the same solutions, but with the latter, you know exactly what to expect. More money.
In your blog content, promise tangible benefits and eliminate reader confusion. What are you offering?
We are attracted by novelty. We want new things, new ideas, and new methods. Novelty trumps normalcy when it comes to content marketing.
In the days when humans were hunters and gatherers, our brains learned to identify patterns. We learned how to ignore the usual. The routine stuff, repetitive events, predictable moves, or boring stuff held no interest. It’s the breaks in patterns that alerted us of prey to hunt and predators to avoid.
In digital marketing, our content consumers are not paying attention to the plain old boring stuff. Blog readers will quickly switch to new tabs if your content seems like the same ol’ same ol’.
You can spice up your content by introducing some novelty. In blogging, novelty may be as simple as introducing funny GIFs in between text blocks or changing text positioning to create unusual writings.
Light travels faster than sound. Likewise, our optical nerve works at least 25 times faster than the auditory nerve. Meaning our eyes give meaning before any of our other senses have time to react.
To liven up your content, add sensory images that excite your readers’ visual cortex (the section of the brain that processes what your eyes see). Visual stimuli not only make text interesting but also makes explanations easier. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.Other advantages of including images and other visual media in your blogs include:
- Generating appealing thumbnails.
- Boost SEO through image Alt Text and image descriptions.
- Blog posts with images enjoy more social shares.
- Helps visualize concepts, making the meaning of your post clearer.
The old brain (decision-making layer of our brain) is triggered heavily by emotion. Our old brain receives information from the rest of the brain through the reticular system. This system regulates arousal by translating emotional stimuli.
For example, you want me to contribute towards a homeless shelter? Show me a picture of a homeless family facing harsh weather conditions under an old bridge.
In your blogs, you can gain a psychological advantage over your readers by using emotional hooks. There are two main types of emotional hooks:
Positive emotional hooks
These work on love-based emotions such as joy, trust, compassion, satisfaction, happiness, and caring.
Negative emotional hooks
These work on fear-based emotions such as inadequacy, shame, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and hurt.
To stimulate your readers, engage them with an emotional hook. A negative hook could be you describing your target audience’s common pain points. Induce negative emotions by describing how inaction will escalate these negative fears and result in much worse pain.
On the other hand, you could use a positive hook to describe what success could mean to your reader. What would the result be if your reader took the desired action right now?
For example, at the end of 2020 I was struggling with writing my blog posts. It seemed I wasn’t growing. Though clients still loved my content, I wasn’t touching my readers’ hearts and minds the way I felt I should.
So my negative emotions were that if I continued on that path my writing would be dull and no longer bring my clients positive business results. Something had to give and that’s when I took on the CXL minidegree course – Digital Psychology and Persuasion.
The positive hook that drove me to join the course was I knew after completion my content would be more focused and probably more interesting.
Marketers don’t necessarily need to know the science behind neuromarketing, but you get better results if you know what makes your audience tick.
What attracts readers to your blog and keeps them consuming your content? What drives buyer action and encourages them to share with their networks and bring you more readers?
For me, knowing my audience and knowing how to use these 6 stimuli is the key to high-converting content. What about you? What stimuli are you using in your blogging?