10 Brain Hacks to Boost the Bottom Line

The internet is constantly changing, but the human brain is not. Here are 10 easy tricks to hijack the human brain, so you can rest for a couple million years.

As marketers, we’re constantly trying to adapt and find better ways to increase results. We want cheaper clicks, hotter leads and increased sales. We want more. It’s hard to adapt in the digital age — especially lately with so much competition and new tools to try every day.

Just a little perspective for you. The internet is only about 27 years old right now, but the human brain has been around for about 7 million years. Overall, the human brain is not changing very quickly, and that’s good news for marketers. If you can master the basic principles of neuromarketing, you can relax for a while. Maybe take a vacation for a couple million years.

During Pubcon Las Vegas, I attended an amazing workshop featuring Roger Dooley. He taught us these 10 brain hacks to boost the bottom line:

#1: Be Precise

People feel that precise numbers are more accurate, so in most cases, you’re better off not rounding. For example, when using social proof, you’ll be better off giving an exact number of how many fans like you on Facebook. That’s usually true with prices as well. However, if you’re selling a luxury item that’s a status symbol, you might be better off using the round number.

#2: Add Images

If you add a related image to your statement, it seems more believable. Roger used this example statement, “The giraffe is the only mammal that cannot jump.” Is it true? We don’t know, but it seems more believable next to a picture of a giraffe.

#3: Anchor It

The first piece of info sets the anchor for what is expected. First, give a higher price value, and then everything afterward is anchored by that information. Whenever in doubt, use the infomercial strategy, because they are based on testing. For example:

  • You’d expect to pay $499
  • Thousands sold at $399
  • Today only $199
  • Plus get one free!
  • And only 3 easy payments of $66

#4: Frame It

Most things sell better with positive framing, such as, “Get tickets to our amazing Christmas festival, where you can experience the true meaning of Christmas and spend an enchanting and unforgettable day with your family to treasure for the rest of your life.” Much better than, “Don’t miss our Christmas festival, or you will regret it for the rest of your life.”

Always test, but negative framing is generally most effective with products that help eliminate risk, such as anti-virus software. For example, “Act now to purchase our anti-virus software to avoid losing all your data, money and hard work!”

#5: Make it Memorable

Studies show that if something is easier to understand, it’s easier to remember. And if something is easier to remember, it sticks in your brain and seems more ”true.” Leverage this principle by using metaphors in your marketing. Here are a few examples for you:

  • Remember Donald Trump and “the wall.”
  • People with easier names seem more honest.
  • Shorter guarantees work better in marketing.
  • Big words tend to make people seem less truthful.
  • A short slogan or jingle helps cement your brand in people’s heads.

#6: Storify It  

Many marketers find that writing a story around something can sell more, especially around luxury or hand-crafted items. They say that when someone tells a story, both brains flicker simultaneously in the same locations. The J. Peterman Company has been very successful at selling clothes and accessories with a story to bring romance and uniqueness to otherwise everyday items. Also, some high-end restaurants are able to sell more expensive food items with a bit more descriptive text than usual.

Paul Smith says you need a story database — one for every possible question someone could ask. Whatever kind of business you have, find a way to weave stories into the fabric of your messaging: the stories of your founders, your values, your products, and your successes. Find your stories, and tell them every chance you get.

#7: Be Sciency

Studies show that people tend to believe anything that seems more scientific, even if it is complete nonsense. Scientific equations, math formulas, charts, scans and graphs can make things seem more legitimate. They’ve even found fake brain scans to fool real neurosurgeons. So a few charts and graphs could help your marketing message, but try to find real ones.

#8: Reduce Ambiguity

People tend to feel insecure about going somewhere unknown. So you can improve performance by keeping them informed of the next steps. Here are a few ways:

  • Use longer URLs, not shortened ones often used in social. Studies show people are more comfortable clicking when they know the full path or domain.
  • Add FAQs and Glossaries to help answer any lingering questions and concerns.
  • Let people know what to expect with online forms, especially e-commerce. Use Amazon as a good example, making sure everyone knows that they can review their carts before submitting the order.

#9: Increase Exposure

Studies show that the more often you hear something, the more you like it. That’s why brands like to get their name out there as much as possible. In that way, creativity can work against the exposure effect. You can still be creative, but you might want to repeat your name a few times in the process. Aristotle Aristotle Aristotle.

#10: Avert Loss

By the principle of loss aversion, most people would rather not lose $10 than to gain $10. You can maximize this by offering risk-free trials. Then when someone tries to cancel, remind them of what they have to lose. For example, if someone tries to cancel their subscription to your service 2 days early, remind them that they could miss out on 2 full days of access. Then if they try to cancel after the trial expires, remind them of what they’ll be missing, and offer them an alternative to canceling. If they really must cancel, let them, but keep sending them messages to renew and reactivate their accounts.