Triggering Dopamine Shots in Copywriting

When your phone rings, or you hear that chime telling you an email, text or other notification has come in, what do you do? Most likely you drop everything to see what it is. It’s a conditioned response, and there are reasons why your brain stops thinking and checks what just came to your attention. It’s called …

Marin blog brainWhen your phone rings, or you hear that chime telling you an email, text or other notification has come in, what do you do? Most likely you drop everything to see what it is. It’s a conditioned response, and there are reasons why your brain stops thinking and checks what just came to your attention. It’s called the fear of missing out.

But let’s dig a bit deeper for a moment about what happens in the brain. It’s actually dopamine at work. And in a moment I’ll share three ideas about how marketers and copywriters can use it to grab attention.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to sense rewards, but to take action to move toward them.

When we’re alerted, a dose of dopamine is naturally released. It makes us feel important. When we’re rewarded, we feel good. And if the reward is unexpected, the mood of pleasure will soar.

Technology, it would seem, is wiring the primitive human brain more and more to expect and crave dopamine. We want to hear a chime to distract us (especially if we’re bored or need an attitude boost). We’re rewarded when that happens. The more dopamine “shots” our bodies release, the more it takes to experience the same lift next time. It’s a vicious cycle.

How do we inject a dopamine shot in our marketing and copywriting? Three ideas:

  • Alert prospects and customers so they’re the “first to know.” When people fear missing out, they want to be the first to know of an important development, new product or news. And, when your prospect is the first to know, they get another dopamine fix when they’re first to tell others and pass it along (to your benefit).
  • Share an inside story. People like to know the inside scoop. Combine insider information with storytelling. Then spin insider information as your unique selling proposition.
  • Leverage limited time offers. When there is a limited time a product is available, it intensifies desire to acquire it now.

What other dopamine shot ideas do you suggest in copy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Want more tips and advice about how to align your messaging with how the primitive mind thinks so you can attract more customers? I’ve put together a seven-step guide to help you titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.” Or get all the details in my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore.

Use Neuromarketing in Your Direct Mail

So what is Neuromarketing? It’s marketing that focuses on the brain. Since the brain makes all of our decisions, we should target our marketing there. Most current direct mail marketing is focused on upper brain function that involves reasoning, sometimes with emotion. This is the wrong approach.

So what is Neuromarketing? It’s marketing that focuses on the brain. Since the brain makes all of our decisions, we should target our marketing there. Most current direct mail marketing is focused on upper brain function that involves reasoning, sometimes with emotion. This is the wrong approach. It involves too much thinking and is a turn off to many recipients. So let’s take a look at the brain and where we want to target our direct mail.

human brainOur brain:

  • Upper Brain: Your upper brain is the high functioning smart brain. It is rational and processes information slowly. This is your conscious thought area and is somewhat controllable. This part of your brain is off when you are sleeping.
  • Middle Brain: This is where your emotions are. When emotions are triggered here, they get processed in the upper brain.
  • Lower Brain: This is the fast processing area of your brain, but it is limited to all your unconscious systems, heart, breathing, nerves and so on. This is the oldest part of the brain. This area focuses only on what is happening immediately. It is your auto pilot and is always on. We cannot control this part of our brain. This is all about system response such as fight or flight.

Now that you know what part of the brain controls what functions, you are ready to see where we should be targeting our direct mail. That target sweet spot is the lower brain. Since it deals with immediate processing and does so without our input, marketers have a better chance at eliciting a quick response when we can tap into that area of the brain. You have about five to six seconds for your message to be understood before the recipient moves on to something else. Because of that, you need to keep it simple.

How to target the lower brain:

  • Self — The lower brain is all about protection and is selfish. Tap into that with concise statements including the word “you.”
  • Limited Choice — Provide a two-choice scenario, one where disaster strikes and the other where your product or service either prevents it or fixes the problem.
  • Connect — You need to connect your product or service with a real world example. This must be believable, not a far-fetched story.
  • Start/Finish — You need to start fast and effective, and end the same way. Limit the middle message so you don’t move to the upper brain.
  • Visual — You need to convey your messaging visually with images and graphics using a very limited amount of words. The eyes are the gateway directly to the lower brain; use that to your advantage!
  • Emotion — It is important to use emotion that starts out in a negative way and is solved by you in a way that creates positive feelings.

You need to factor all six of the above elements into your direct mail campaigns in order to reach the lower brain and increase your response. Direct mail is very visual, so keep your message simple and incorporate that into your images and graphics.

One more thing to keep in mind is to not overwhelm the brain with too many images or graphics. Give the eyes one focused focal point that gets your urgent message across fast.

Lastly, stay away from using numbers, they bring in the use of the upper brain. As with all marketing, direct mail works best when messaging is repeated, so find your focus and go after it.

If you are interested in learning more about neuromarketing check out www.salesbrain.com.

Brain Research: The Next Direct Marketing Breakthrough

What will be the new exciting breakthrough for direct marketers in 2016? I believe its brain research. Insights from the BRAIN Initiative can give direct marketers new perspective and ideas for creating more attention-grabbing and emotion-based messages that lead our prospects to give themselves …

Gary Hennerberg's upcoming book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code," goes deeper into the neurological mysteries of marketing.
Gary Hennerberg’s upcoming book goes deeper into the neurological mysteries of marketing.

What will be the new exciting breakthrough for direct marketers in 2016? I believe its brain research. Insights from the BRAIN Initiative can give direct marketers new perspective and ideas for creating more attention-grabbing and emotion-based messages that lead our prospects to give themselves permission to take action.

Why is brain research in the spotlight now? Because millions of dollars are being poured into brain research that exposes fresh perspectives on how we think, and how we respond to marketing messaging. In a moment, I’ll share three primary benefits for direct marketers that are expected as an outcome of continuing brain research.

This new research is recognized as the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. It’s intended to massively deepen our understanding of the human mind. The goal is to uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

At first glance, brain research may seem to have nothing to do with direct marketing. But look closer, and the implications are game changing.

The links between how to understand deeper thinking and how the pathways in the mind motivate people to take action are spelled out in my new book, Crack the Customer Mind Code, Seven Pathways from Head to Heart to YES! It will be published soon by Morgan James Publishing and available to readers of Today @ Target Marketing.

I’ve long had a curiosity about the mind. Here’s why:

I have lived with a mysterious obsessive-compulsive disorder since the age of 6. Having consumed me since I was a child, it has driven a lifelong curiosity of how and why the mind is wired and works as it does.

The compulsive — and uncommon — disorder that has highly influenced my life comes with a rather unflattering name: trichotillomania, or compulsive hair pulling. As a child, I believed that I was the only person in the world who pulled my hair. Yet today we know the medical and psychiatric communities estimate that perhaps 2 percent of all children will pull noticeable clumps of hair. Most of us live with the disorder in silence, full of shame. I was no different. But in 2007, I resolved to go public with my disorder and be a role model for children and adults who suffer in shame. I shaved my head, lifting decades of burden from my shoulders. I wrote a book, titled Urges, about my childhood of living with this disorder, and have met with other hair pullers at conferences from coast-to-coast.

Knowing my brain was different from others, I’ve always wanted to peer inside and see if a wire was crossed. I dreamed that my brain could be opened up, the misguided wire that created those urges to pull hair would be gently moved to its proper place, and that I would stop pulling and my life would be normal, just like everyone else.

But of course, the brain can’t be opened and misconnected wires and pathways uncrossed to change the code. And certainly, a “normal” brain is a matter of perspective.

Since the BRAIN Initiative was announced in April, 2013, dozens of technology firms, academic institutions, scientists and other key contributors to the field of neuroscience have made significant research commitments. Millions of dollars continue to pour into the BRAIN Initiative.

The impetus for funding the research was borne from a disturbing World Health Organization statistic, and with this additional reporting of the economic impact of brain injuries, diseases and disorders in the Washington Post:

One in four families worldwide includes someone with a brain injury, disease or disorder, including psychiatric illnesses and developmental disorders, according to the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. In the United States, the economic burden for neurological problems is nearly a half-trillion dollars every year.

The good news is that research is already in progress. The findings and treatment could have a profound impact on the health of people everywhere.

But the findings of these studies could also reshape how marketers approach how to access deeper emotional, and logical, levels of thinking through our messaging. Studies are already revealing insights about how short- and long-term memory influence how the brain processes information and makes decisions.

Three benefits of the BRAIN Initiative to direct marketers are:

  1. Economic Improvement. When one in four families is impacted with brain injuries or disease, their financial wherewithal or attention to engage with and respond to our offers is likely diminished. If some of these families are helped, it follows that the entire economy benefits.
  1. What Influences Emotion and Decisions. By understanding brain function, marketers can better understand the influences of how people absorb messaging, react with emotion, and make decisions. It can also deepen our ability to better imagine personas of our prospective customers.
  1. Focus Marketing Messaging. By unlocking mind mysteries, findings from research can help marketer’s better focus marketing messaging that connects and resonates more deeply with people.

The opportunities for individuals, families, our culture and the world will most surely be expanded because this research promises a better future for us all.

In 2016, more exciting breakthroughs in brain research will surely occur. New findings may well lead you to new insights about your marketing strategies and messaging. Get more insights on this topic and the seven mind pathways revealed in my new book at CustomerMindCode.com.