6 Brain Triggers Copywriters Use to Drive Sales

6 Brain Triggers Copywriters Use to Drive Sales

It’ll change the way you write copy. Moreover, it’ll inform the psychological triggers -- the words and angles — you use to compel prospects to buy things. That’s what makes it such an effective buying trigger. Marketers and copywriters use it to create ads that command attention -- always have, always will. High Prices Hopkins writes: “We learn that cheapness is not a strong appeal. It made people feel unique. That’s the power of personalization. Words like “Free” and “Sale” and “Guarantee” get used so often that they lose their meaning, their appeal. If you don’t like it, then we’ll return your money.” MEAD’s “Try Before You Buy!” campaign was effectively the same offer: “Try it for a week. Persona-Based Exclusivity Hopkins writes: “An offer [that] is limited to a certain class of people is far more effective than a general offer.

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brain-triggers

In 1923, master copywriter Claude Hopkins published a book called Scientific Advertising.

It went on to sell more than eight million copies.

Today, the book is widely considered the foundation of direct marketing.

“Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times,” wrote renowned ad man, David Ogilvy. “It changed the course of my life. If you read this book, you will never write another bad advertisement.”

Scientific Advertising helped Ogilvy, and it will help you, too. It’ll change the way your research your market. It’ll change the way you write copy. Moreover, it’ll inform the psychological triggers — the words and angles — you use to compel prospects to buy things.

Let me explain.

6 Brain Triggers Copywriters Use to Drive Sales

One of the most important chapters in Scientific Advertising is “Chapter 6: Psychology.”

“The competent advertising man must understand psychology,” writes Hopkins. “The more he knows about it the better. He must learn that certain effects lead to certain actions.”

Throughout the chapter, he highlights a handful of specific effects (i.e., triggers) that compel consumers.

Worried this information is outdated?

Don’t be. Our brains don’t evolve that fast.

“Human nature is perpetual,” writes Hopkins. “In most respects it is the same today as in the time of Caesar. So the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learn about them.”

That said, feel free to use these triggers across just about any marketing asset, including your next landing page, email sequence, press release, pay-per-click campaign, banner ad, or direct mailer.

These triggers are timeless and versatile. They’re proven after decades of testing countless ads. Now, they’re yours for the taking. Here’s what you need to know:

You can trigger prospects with:

1. The Unknown

Hopkins writes:

“Curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives. We employ it whenever we can.”

People love exploring. It’s in our nature, meaning we’re biologically driven to investigate our world rather than merely respond to it. This drive is the basis of human curiosity, which is baked into us.

Our brains are hardwired to want to satisfy our curiosity. That’s what makes it such an effective buying trigger.

Let’s look at this modern example:

This Facebook ad leverages something called the information gap.

“Information gaps produce the feeling of deprivation,” writes behavioral economist, George Loewenstein. “The curious individual is motivated to obtain the missing information to reduce or eliminate the feeling of deprivation.”

“See the $1.5 million Kickstarter,” reads the copy. The Kickstarter’s success generates curiosity: What could be this good?

Of course, the only way to satisfy that curiosity is to click the “Learn More” button.

Editors at Buzzfeed use this tactic to create compelling headlines. Writers on TV shows use it create cliffhangers that keep audiences coming back episode after episode. Marketers and copywriters use it to create ads that command attention — always have, always will.

2. High Prices

Hopkins writes:

“We learn that cheapness is not a strong appeal. [People] are extravagant. They want bargains but not cheapness. They want to feel that they can afford to eat and have and wear the best. Treat them as if they could not and they resent your attitude.”

How much something costs tells the consumer a story — consciously or otherwise — about that product’s quality. The price of an item can paint a vivid picture.

Imagine a $10,000 watch. What do you see? Is it a luxury timepiece? Is it gold-plated? Is it powered by a mechanical movement that will last a lifetime? Are you picturing a Rolex? Now, image a $100 watch. What do you see? Is it utilitarian? Does it run on a battery? Are you picturing a Timex?

“An item’s price, by itself, delivers…

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