Magnify Your Website Persuasion With the Science of Branding

December 28, 20111 Comment

Learn how to implant an associative memory with a recall cue and your product and/or company will dominate the minds of your customers.

Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard about the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center towers?

More than nine years later, you still remember that moment vividly.

That’s a stark example of procedural memory, the deepest of three levels of memory in the brain.

Procedural memory holds the key to the treasure chest of branding and website persuasion. Unlock that chest and your business will be swimming in booty.

Branding isn’t simple name recognition. It’s much more than the color scheme of your logo and website.

It is the complex mental imagery and emotional associations triggered when a prospect or customer hears your name or sees your logo.

  • Harley-Davidson: Rugged individualism, freedom, confidence, toughness.
  • Apple: Innovation, imagination, energy, art.
  • Coca-Cola: Joy, good times with friends and family, refreshment.

So how can you consciously implant mental images and deep emotional associations into the minds and hearts of your customers to increase your website persuasion?

It starts with understanding the three levels of memory.

Working Memory

Working memory is the most shallow level of memory.

Working memory is short-term and electrical. It is imagination, conscious awareness, the thought you are thinking now. It can roughly be compared to computer RAM.

Working memory has three components, or functions:

  1. visuospatial sketchpad
  2. articulatory loop
  3. central executive

Imagine a pink elephant with white stripes running in a field of wheat.

That image was projected onto your visuospatial sketchpad, which is responsible for the manipulation and temporary storage of visual and spatial information, thus allowing you to “see” things in your mind.

Ever had a song stuck in your head? That’s the articulatory loop at work, a phonological memory store which holds acoustic or speech-based material and rehearses sounds in the mind.

The central executive is a messenger that determines which sensory information is important enough to be relayed to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for planning, decision-making, and judgment.

In other words, it is the brain’s screen for relevance.

When you go to sleep, working memory is erased.

Declarative Memory

The intermediate level of memory, declarative memory, stores memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts and events. It’s what you remember from the day before when you wake in the morning.

Declarative memory is divided into two categories: semantic memory, or factual information, and episodic memory, which stores specific personal experiences.

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory is the third and deepest level of memory. Long-term, chemical, involuntary, and automatic, procedural memory consists of three categories:

  1. Conditioned reflexes (swerving when a car encroaches onto your lane on the highway)
  2. Skills and habits (playing the piano, tying your shoes)
  3. Emotional associations

Procedural memory is the product of salience, or relevance, multiplied by repetition.

Information of extremely high salience can be implanted into procedural memory with a repetition factor of only one (think 9/11/01).

Implant Your Brand

Here’s where the rubber hits the road for website persuasion. Roy H. Williams explains:

“Branding is the implantation of an associative memory with a recall cue. It occurs in procedural memory, and causes the public to immediately think of your name at precisely their moment of need.
 
“Having successfully created an associative memory through your ads [or website copywriting], the recall cue of ‘need’ triggers a chemical, involuntary reaction and your name will pop into their minds unbidden.”

Remember that information enters procedural memory through salience and repetition — increase one and the other is less important.

The challenge for advertisers and website copywriters is that repetition costs money. Want to save money and accelerate your branding and increase your website persuasion? Increase your salience. In other words, say something people actually care about.

Roy Williams calls this the “Impact Quotient.”

“The average message needs to be heard about three times a week, every week, to have a shot at being transferred from short-term, electrical memory to long-term, chemical memory. But that’s the average message. The higher the impact quotient (saliency), the less repetition is required to store it.”

Add the Secret Sauce

Want to turbo-charge your salience for even greater website persuasion? Add a spark of adrenaline.

Adrenaline is the bio-chemical adhesive that switches electrical, short-term memory to chemical, long-term memory.

  • Surprise
  • Laughter
  • Sexual stimulation (Can you say “Hello ladies”?)
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Awe

(Remember: In your creative attempts to induce adrenaline, relevance and credibility trump creativity. You can make someone laugh, but if the humor isn’t relevant to your product and their felt need, it won’t increase your website persuasion or sales and strengthen your brand in their minds.)

And now you have the key to branding and long-term website persuasion. Ready to cure your gold fever?

To Get Your Lead Generation Website, Do You Need a Local Web Design Team?

October 5, 2011Leave a reply

It’s a common misconception that you need a local web designer to build your small business lead generation website.

The truth is that you can work with any good web design team remotely — and that may actually be preferable.

We’re able to build lead generation websites for small businesses all across the country.

Consider the locations of just a few of our small business website clients:

How Do We Do It?

Global communication technology has shrunk the world and eliminated the need to work with a local web designer.

It’s very simple and hassle-free for us to work with our small business clients via teleconferencing, Skype, and email.

Is a Local Web Designer Better?

Some business owners think they’ll have more control and that they’ll get better results with their lead generation website by working with a local web design firm.

But working with a remote small business web design team can actually be better, for a few reasons:

Better Selection

By choosing a local web design team, you’re limited to a much smaller pool of talent and capability.

Would you rather choose from a dozen small business web developers, or thousands?

Will you be able to find a local team that actually knows how to build a lead generation website using persona frameworking? Will they know how to write your content to cater to website personas?

More Objective Analysis for a More Persuasive Website

As a small business owner, you want service providers to get inside your box — to really understand you.

The problem with that is that by getting inside your box, we become subject to your blind spots.

We don’t see your business objectively or from your customers’ perspectives, which inhibits our ability to make your website persuasive.

By staying outside of your box, we’re able to identify selling points and blind spots that you may not see.

We don’t work with your same assumptions, so we can see your business and approach your lead generation website with a fresh perspective.

If graphic design is all you’re looking for, then a local web designer is probably fine.

But if want a lead generation website design that really gets results, you need to find a small business web development team that writes all your content using persuasive copywriting, organizes your page structure for maximum lead generation, and understands the art and science of website lead generation.

Order your free website analysis now to experience working with our team remotely.

Increase Your Website Conversion Rate By Getting Out of Your Box

September 7, 2011Leave a reply

I don’t like to swear.

But to make a vital point I’m going to swear. Multiple times. The vulgarity will gush.

Brace yourself – and don’t say you weren’t warned.

The single most important attribute website copywriters must possess and cultivate is empathy. And your, ahem, “box,” is strangling yours.

There. I said it.

See, “box” is a four-letter word when it comes to website conversion rates. I feel nasty just writing it.

Your–(cringe)–box is your view of the world.

Your preferences and desires. Your perspective and attitudes. Your view of your offerings and qualifications and why your customers should care.

Guess what? Your prospects, customers, and website visitors don’t give a hoot for your box.

They live in their own box, and if you want to sell them, you’ve got to crush yours and live from theirs.

Your box harbors your blind spots and limiting factors.

Only by getting out of your box can you identify and overcome those to grow your business.

For example, I’ve consulted with dozens of financial services clients.

There’s one question that tells me everything I need to know about their business: “How have your clients fared in the recession–have they lost money, maintained, or gained?”

You can guess what the answer is for 95% of them.

Still, they want to spend hours explaining to me how they’re different, that they “really care” about their clients, that they’re more qualified and educated than other advisors, etc.

It doesn’t matter if they have dozens of official designations with important-sounding initials oozing from their business card.

Only one thing matters to their clients and prospects. Find out how to give them that and you’ve got a message worth sharing — something to make your website conversion rate jump.

What do your prospects and customers care about? Why should they switch from a competitor to you?

Which of their problems do you solve (versus the problems you think you solve)?

What are your flaws and weaknesses in the eyes of your customers? Are you seeing them?

Does your website copywriting try to educate your customers on why they should care about you, or simply give them something they actually care about to begin with?

Empathy is the magic ingredient that will increase your website conversion rate and grow your business. That is the secret sauce, the x-factor of successful businesses and persuasive website copywriting.

It’s what gets you out of your box and into the box of your prospects and customers.

And when you see through their eyes, feel through their heart, experience their frustrations, envision their goals and dreams, you’re able to craft your offerings and message to resonate with them.

Here are a few questions to help you do this, as provided by copywriter and consultant Jeff Sexton:

  • What are their fears?
  • What are their secret hopes and dreams?
  • What (and who) do they most admire?
  • Who (or what) holds power over them?
  • What frustrates them?
  • Where have they come up against limitations and failures?
  • What’s their current worldview when it comes to your offerings/message?
  • What conventional wisdom do they subscribe to?
  • Where is the system and the conventional wisdom letting them down and leading them astray?
  • How do they see themselves?
  • What’s the biggest threat to that self-identity?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What do they wish for before blowing out the candles or while seeing a shooting star or when praying?

You can spend your life trying to sell people your box. Or you can simply give them what they crave inside theirs.

Which do you think is easier and more profitable?

Now, enough swearing for one day. Go cleanse your mind by cultivating empathy for your prospects.

Get inside their heads. Figure out what they want. Then give it to them on their terms.

Empathy is the key that will unlock your limitations, increase your website conversion rate, and boom your business.

The Most Crucial Ingredient of Persuasive Website Copywriting

July 21, 2011Leave a reply

There’s a story about Jim Camp, a leading global expert on negotiations, that can teach you volumes about how to make your website copywriting more persuasive.

Jim has been featured on CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Inc., and more. He has trained and coached more than 100,000 people through thousands of negotiations in more than 500 multinational organizations.

Jim started his career selling water softeners door-to-door.

He was given a typical script slicked up with cliché sales techniques.

He spouted that script for two weeks.

The result? Utter failure. Not a single sale.

So he junked his script and started asking prospects if they wanted softer hair.

He translated his product features into relevant benefits for his prospects.

Sales boomed.

No One Wants a Drill

You’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase, and it’s absolutely true: No one wants a drill; they want a hole.

If you want to sell drills, don’t talk about the drill. Talk about what it will do for people.

In other words, be relevant to your customers.

Relevance is the single most important element of persuasive website copywriting.

Conceptually, that’s a simple concept to understand.

But the trick is this: What you think is relevant may not be relevant to your prospects.

To be truly relevant with your website copywriting, you must ditch your preconceived notions and understand what your customer wants.

Don’t Bury the Lead

In Made to Stick Chip and Dan Heath share a story that also illustrates this principle well.

Journalists are taught to start stories with the “lead” — the most essential elements of the story.

The phrase “burying the lead” refers to journalists shoving the most important element of a story deep into the story structure.

Screenwriter Nora Ephron, responsible for the Academy Award-nominated films “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” (among others), started her career as a journalist.

The first day of class, Ephron’s teacher announced the first assignment: to write the lead to a newspaper story.

The teacher reeled off the facts:

Kenneth L. Peters, the principal of Beverly Hills High School, announced today that the entire high school faculty will travel to Sacramento next Thursday for a colloquium in new teaching methods. Among the speakers will be anthropologist Margaret Mead, college president Dr. Robert Maynard Hutchins, and California governor Edmund ‘Pat’ Brown.”

Ephron and most of the other students produced leads that reordered the facts and condensed them into a single sentence:

Governor Pat Brown, Margaret Mead, and Robert Maynard Hutchins will address the Beverly Hills faculty Thursday in Sacramento…blah, blah, blah.”

The teacher collected the leads and scanned them rapidly. Then he laid them aside and paused for a moment.

Finally, he said, “The lead to the story is ‘There will be no school next Thursday.’”

Ah.

He translated the dry facts into a relevant concept for readers — the essence of the story they would truly care about.

He translated the “what” details into why they mattered.

Why do your products and services matter to your customers?

Why do they buy from you? What do they truly want?

If you sell shoes, do your customers want cured leather and quality stitching, or do they want to get rid of blisters and foot pain — to feel like they’re walking on air?

If you sell low gas mileage cars, do your customers want low gas mileage, or do they want more cash in their pockets and less financial stress?

The most important — and trickiest — step with your website copywriting is to determine what’s relevant to your prospects.

Once you’ve won the battle for relevance, website leads and sales are certain to follow.

Want to see how we can make your website more relevant and persuasive to your prospects? Get your free website analysis now.

Use Strategic Website Copywriting to Conquer 2 Ruthless Meters In Your Prospects’ Brains

July 19, 20119 Comments

If you can’t move the needle on two deeply-embedded mental meters with your website copywriting, you’re sunk.

But if you learn how to bounce those needles with strategic website copywriting, you’ll bask in a surge of new, qualified website leads.

These two meters are:

  1. The “Who Cares?” Meter. According to a 2008 Yankelovich Research study, consumers are exposed to 5,000 marketing messages per day. How will you stand out?
  2. The “Bulls@*t” Meter. With this barrage of marketing messages, consumers are more sensitive than ever to chest-thumping hyperbole, unsubstantiated claims, and corporate gobbledygook.

How to Move the Needle on the “Who Cares?” Meter

It all comes down to relevance.

A few technique for becoming more relevant:

1. Speak to Felt Needs with Your Website Copywriting

In other words, speak to your website visitors in their language about things they care about.

2. Provide a Big, Highly-Beneficial Offer

Offer something so irresistible that anyone in need of your product or service simply cannot refuse.

For example, in our case our prospects are small business owners who want to generate more website leads.

We offer our free website analysis. 4-6 pages of custom, detailed, specific recommendations to help small business owners generate more qualified website leads.

What can you offer in your business to make your competitors’ jaws bang holes in the floor and make your prospects come running, waving money in the air?

What do your website visitors actually care about? Are you speaking to that with your website copywriting, or are you answering questions no one is asking?

3. Translate Your Features Into Benefits For Your Customers

Demonstrate how your competitive advantages benefit your customers.

The website copywriting for a data center company website we reviewed was all about themselves, their new state-of-the-art facility of which they’re very proud.

It’s fine to be proud of and to highlight your competitive advantages.

But it needs to be done strategically so that the focus is always on benefits to customers, not “look at how cool we are.”

We recommended they change their home page copy to something like so (translated benefits underlined):

We invested $150M in a new state-of-the-art data center to give you greater peace of mind. Our master-planned data center features redundant power, network feeds, and water lines to safeguard your precious data. The result for you: Less downtime, greater security, increased savings. Learn more about how we make your company safer and more productive.

4. Focus On the Customer, Not Yourself

Suppose you’re on a date. How attractive is it when your date spends the entire night talking about themselves, rather than being focused on you?

And why would you think this principle would be any different than your website messages?

Here’s an example from the website of an online data backup company we reviewed:

[X Company] is…the category leader and one of the most established SaaS vendors in the market.”

It’s company-centric chest-thumping, as well as unsubstantiated claims.

Not to mention they’re speaking industry jargon without translating it into why prospects should care; it’s meaningless to prospects, and therefore has no impact. Those are just wasted words.

How to Move the Needle on the “Bulls@*t” Meter

In a word: credibility.

A few ways to demonstrate credibility:

1. Substantiate Claims With Facts, Data, Statistics

Never spout claims without backing them with proof.

Speak the language of honesty, not hyperbole.

Another example from the same online data backup company:

[X Company] is the most awarded, and best performing backup system.”

“Most awarded” could probably be proven, yet it’s not on their website.

But “best performing”? Based on what parameters? Says who? The company? And who else?

There’s zero credibility when a company says they’re the best — unless they substantiate the claim with facts, proof, data, industry awards, etc.

Another example from the same company:

It is also one of the most recommended online backup software.”

Say what? How could you prove that? Whose recommendations? Tech reviewers with vested interests? Actual users? In which case, how can you possibly substantiate that?

These types of claims set the Bulls@*t alarm clanging, red lights flashing.

2. Case Studies & Testimonials

Show proof that your solution actually works, and share what actual users say about your experience.

WARNING: For them to be effective, testimonials must be raw, unscripted, unedited. There’s nothing like a “polished” testimonial to set off the Bulls@*t alarm.

3. Authenticity/Transparency

Have the guts to admit your downside, rather than blaring obnoxious hyperbole.

Instant trust and credibility.

Strategic, persuasive website copywriting can move the needle on the “Who Cares?” Meter and the “Bulls@*t” Meter.

And once you’ve done that, qualified website leads are certain to follow.

Get your free website analysis to see what else you can improve on your website.

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