Ah, the holiday season. Your prospects are moving fast these days in an always-on world, with all the trimmings of distractions and stress. Fast thinking normally trumps slow thinking, yet sometimes you need to slow down thinking long enough to convert your prospect into a paying customer. Your most challenging task during these last days before the holidays may be slowing down your prospective customers just enough that they don’t skip over your sales message.
Fast thinking is always on. Fast thinking is instinctive and automatic. Whatever pops into the mind of your prospect often happens with no voluntary control. And sometimes fast thinking works in your favor with a quick, impulsive decision to buy.
But, not always.
So, as you set out to grab attention during these frenzied times, remember that when the mind is in fast thinking mode, short, simple sentences, with short words, are more effective. Content that’s breezy in style usually prevails over hard-to-read copy. And this helps to explain why it’s best to write copy that is readable at about a ninth- or tenth-grade level.
But how do you get the fast thinker to slow down when you want them to make a decision?
Here’s where you can create speed bumps in your message, so the mind doesn’t slide down its established memory grooves too quickly and pass you by.
One way to get attention is by introducing numbers. Numbers—especially dollars and cents—are effective speed bumps.
For people to respond to numeric data effectively, they need to be able to do three things:
- Comprehend the number.
- Interpret it in proper context.
- Act on it.
When our daughters were small children, one of the ways that I discovered how to get them out of an emotional tantrum was to ask a question requiring a numerical answer. Questions like “how old are you?” or “how old will you be on your next birthday?” worked like a charm to move our kids from their right brain emotional state to a left brain logical state to slow down their impulsive thinking.
So, when using numbers in marketing copy, you can slow down the readers’ thinking with these five speed bumps:
- Ask a question that requires a numeric answer.
- Reveal pricing in small chunks, such as a cost per day.
- Display discounts in dollars, not percentages. Not everyone quickly grasps that 30 percent off a $100 item equals $30. Better to say “save $30.00.”
- Illustrate improvement or satisfaction increases using specific numbers. Better: give numbers visual life in charts or graphs.
- Guarantee your product or service for a specific number of days (more time, such as 60 or 90, is stronger than 30 days).
All said, you may be able to get a prospect to make a purchase decision in your favor from snap thinking and decision-making (and if you can close them quickly, then why not?). But most people don’t act that impulsively. And impulsive decisions are a slippery slope to buyer’s remorse. Slow them down, if you can, in these final days before the holidays with a few strategically placed speed bumps.