- Grab their attention
- Get them emotionally engaged
- Make a memorable impact
There you go, right? Easy-peasy. This is what you need to do whenever you write any content designed to market your products and services. Attention, emotions, memory.
Neuroscientists are now showing that the two most important elements of persuasion are emotional engagement and memory. Of course you can’t get either of these unless your marketing messages gain readers’ attention first.
Why this is so important? We’ll go into how to do it another day, since this involves quite number of suggestions and tips.
These three goals for your content marketing are required if you want to write stuff that is effective to attract prospects, and get them interested and primed for making a purchase or other desired action.
This information comes from research on neuromarketing and what makes people buy. If you’re interested in learning more about the brain from a marketer’s viewpoint, I recommend The Buying Brain and Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brains.
Neuroscientists are monitoring brain activity in consumers as they are exposed to marketing messages. You probably don’t have access to the brain imaging that is being generated by these studies, and quite frankly, you don’t need it. All brains are alike.
We have the same brains as our ancestors of 100,000 years ago. Sorry, we may know a lot more, but our “old brains” still make most of our decisions.
This is the first task you must address: is your content going to be noticed and read? Attention is a fundamental function of the brain. We pretty much know when we’re paying attention, so you can ask readers about their experience with your marketing materials.
However, attention fluctuates moment by moment. And, we can’t be aware of the factors that precede our conscious awareness and trigger attention, unless doing brain scans.
Emotions also come and go over time. We’re aware of a certain amount of feeling, but not all. Our subconscious mind is constantly updating our second-to-second engagement with the exterior world.
Asking readers/consumers about their feelings is tricky. The emotional brain doesn’t have language capabilities, so in order to report back what we’re feeling at the moment, we use our neo-cortex, the thinking brain. Much is lost in translation. Our cognitive brain makes interpretations and the truth gets distorted. Brain imaging is the only true measure of emotional engagement. Barring access to that, we can try reading people’s faces, body language, and other signs of reactions.
This is the third fundamental building block for establishing an effective marketing message. This is obvious: if a reader/consumer can’t or doesn’t remember your message, it cannot influence a buying decision. Memory consists of two parts, encoding and retrieval. We commit something to memory, then we have to retrieve it.
There is also something called implicit memory that enables memories to influence attitudes, decisions and behaviors without entering conscious thought. A few days ago, I wrote about Content Marketing Biases and suggested you take the Implicit Associations Test, the IAT presented by Harvard on the Project Implicit site.
How implicit memory affects buying decisions was brought to light by the Pepsi-Coca Cola neuromarketing test done here. People liked the taste of Pepsi better in a blind test, but rated Coke as a better product because of the memories associated with the product through effective marketing images, songs, and slogans.
I hope this is useful to you and you can see how to apply this to your own blog writing and content marketing. I’ll be writing more in the coming days about how you can improve on each of these three key elements.