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Leading business to consumer (B2C) companies like Google, Yahoo, eBay, GM, Chevron, and Coca Cola are doubling down on their neuromarketing investments for one good reason: it works. While these firms are focused mostly on human brain reactions to advertising stimuli, the principles behind this science can also help us improve our B2C or business to business (B2B) web presence.
Leading neuroscientists, such as Dr. Paul D. McClean, tells us there are three main parts to the human brain that respond to input in distinctly different ways. Our Neocortex is our “newest brain” from an evolutionary standpoint and it likes numbers, words, facts and figures. In other words, it’s our logical brain. Our Limbic system is more emotional and relishes certain visual and kinesthetic (touch) stimuli. It does not respond well to written copy. Our Reptilian Brain is our oldest brain evolutionarily and it’s motivated by instinctual messaging, such as fear of loss or harm.
Knowing this, how can marketers improve web landing pages to appeal to all three brain areas equally and effectively? By adhering to three Neuron-Selling Principles, which I’ll cover briefly here but have outlined in great detail in my next book titled Neuron-Selling: How to Use Science and Sincerity to Win Minds and Hearts.
-Neuron-Selling Principle One: Familiarity
The word Familiarity has its roots in the Latin word Familia, which as it sounds, refers to “family.” Most of us are familiar with and therefore trust and like (usually) our immediate family. Sure, we might squabble occasionally with siblings and parents, but a majority will lend money to a brother or sister long before we’ll do so to a complete stranger. Marketers can tap into a prospect’s Limbic System by creating emotional and familiar “heart-string” videos. A great example is the Coca Cola polar bear commercials. Most of you probably just nodded your head and felt a bit warm and fuzzy when you pictured little baby polar bear smiling and squealing as he slid across the ice and shared a bottle of Coke with daddy bear. Picture that video commercial in your mind. Is there an annoying announcer or any screen copy? Nope, just charming music, smiling adorable bear faces, and an occasional happy grunt. What works here?
This commercial activates our Fusiform Face Area (FFA), which is the part of our brain that triggers face recognition. The FFA draws a straight line to our Limbic emotional brain by forming familiar social bonds. Coca Cola’s neuromarketing experts understand clearly that activating the FFA, especially by showing family bonding in the video, can help customers love their brand. While covering the topic of neuromarketing, the Harvard Business Review recently stated that: “strong emotional activation is the key to success.”
Neuron-Selling Principle Two: Generosity
Some experts refer to this as the Law of Reciprocity. I believe Generosity is more accurate as it requires the act to be unselfish, wherein the giver does not expect anything in return. This is tricky for marketers, as it’s almost impossible to hide our ulterior motives. Of course we want something in return. Regardless, there are ways we can leverage this principle on landing pages quite effectively. Nearly all of my clients offer a vast majority of their downloadable assets—often more than 90% of them—in an ungated manner. That is, they allow website visitors to download these for free without requiring anything in return. No email address, name, title, company, etc. Sometimes they’ll ask for a little information for more valuable assets, but rarely do they ask several sales qualification questions, which can be VERY valuable to their sales teams. While this seems “generous,” it’s actually not and also lowers the value of these assets in the mind of prospects.
Here we have the opportunity to appeal to someone’s Reptilian Brain, which is instinctual. We hate the idea of losing out on something because we have an instinctual fear of loss. We can also appeal to the Neocortex, which is logical and very curious. By using the right approach combined with just the right questions written in just the right way, we can stimulate prospects to answer several questions to reveal their Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timing, in other words, the age-old BANT formula that sales pros crave. We can also discover their personality profile, which offers salespersons a flashlight and roadmap into a customer’s brain.
Neuron-Selling Principle Three: Simplicity
This sounds obvious, but a quick scan of most landing pages reveals that it’s not. A good example is Southwest Airlines. For a company that depends entirely on web sales, their marketers could use some training in neuromarketing. Too much noise, color, copy, and flashy action is confusing to our logical Neocortex, which seeks to make sense out of chaos. If we flood our customer’s brains with chaos, we’ll drive them away. There are several subprinciples we need to consider here: the Principle of Threes and the Principle of Contrasts are two. The first tells us that our brains think in threes. One, Two, Three. Ready, Set, Go. Things happen in threes. Never flood your site with more than three value propositions, three choices, three pictures, three anything at a time. It’s too confusing. Also, use contrasts and use pictures or videos to show them. Would you rather have this, Mr. Customer (bad results) or this (good results)?
The final subprinciple here is Escalation. Start small and simple and build upward, and never use a firehose. Our logical brain loves a mystery. We love solving puzzles and we love to discover. Sprinkle tidbits of information and use “cliff hangers” to arouse curiosity. Want to know how we solved this mystery to help our customers? Click Here to find out.
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