Stimulating Awe, Goosebumps and Chills in Copy

When your copy stimulates awe, your customer should experience a physiological reaction like goosebumps or chills. A physical reaction comes from stimulation of the mind. And the positive emotion of awe is more likely to move a person to action. Direct marketers and copywriters have the opportunity to create these physical sensations with awe-inspiring copy

When your copy stimulates awe, your customer should experience a physiological reaction like goosebumps or chills. A physical reaction comes from stimulation of the mind. And the positive emotion of awe is more likely to move a person to action. Direct marketers and copywriters have the opportunity to create these physical sensations with awe-inspiring copy.

The link between positive moods and the physiological reaction we get with goosebumps is proven. So if you give your prospects goosebumps, surely you can sell more.

Research at the University of California, Berkeley between emotions such as compassion, joy, and love, versus the levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6)—a secretion which causes inflammation in the body—finds that those who regularly have positive emotions have less IL-6. Researchers noticed the strongest reaction with one particular emotion:

Awe.

You may not think of creating awe and wonderment when writing copy, but you should. Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor and the senior author of the study, gave examples of awe by saying “Some people feel awe listening to music, others watching a sunset or attending a political rally or seeing kids play.”

So what is this emotion called “awe?” Look at a dictionary and you’ll be told it’s “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear, produced by that which is grand, sublime, or extremely powerful.” It can also result in a subconscious release of adrenaline.

An adrenaline rush causes the contraction of skin muscles and other body reactions. Adrenaline is often released when you feel cold or afraid, but also if you are under stress and feel strong emotions, such as anger or excitement. Other signs of adrenaline release include tears, sweaty palms, trembling hands, an increase in blood pressure, a racing heart or the feeling of ‘butterflies’ in the stomach.

If you create a strong new memory in your message that reminds your audience of a significant event, with the adrenalin rush they may feel goosebumps or chills. Past awe emotions can resurface with the right triggers.

Most importantly, how do you spark awe in your direct marketing campaigns?

  • Stimulate emotions that recall a strong past positive memory
  • Use powerful visuals that accompany copy that paint a picture
  • Stir memory that resonates so strongly that it “feels” right

For your next marketing campaign, deliver that sense of awe so your customer feels goosebumps and chills. And there’s a chance you may feel them, too, as you look at your response rate.

5 Copy Approaches to Influence Gut Reaction

Call it a gut reaction, but oftentimes our prospects and customers make decisions and respond based on intuition, a hunch, or professional judgment. In direct response, we want quick action. We know if the prospect drifts away from our message we’ll lose them, usually forever. So while the logic and quantification of your sales story may be overwhelmingly in your favor, it can be intuition that turns the prospect away because

 

Call it a gut reaction, but oftentimes our prospects and customers make decisions and respond based on intuition, a hunch or professional judgment. In direct response, we want quick action. We know if the prospect drifts away from our message, we’ll lose them, usually forever. So while the logic and quantification of your sales story may be overwhelmingly in your favor, it can be intuition that turns the prospect away because of something that felt too good to be true, leaves room for skepticism, or an unintended nuance in copy that you overlooked and loses the sale for you.

Even if all the arguments you’ve made in your content are authentically and credibly in your favor, a person’s gut decision often prevails.

And here’s what is frustrating: Studies suggest that often a person’s gut reaction is wrong because it’s subject to bias. Your prospect might overestimate his or her ability to assemble a product, for example. Or may think it takes too much time to read your information, learning materials or book. Perhaps when your prospect has made a mistake related to what you’re selling, he or she doesn’t understand why, or is hesitant to ask for help or feedback. And she or he forgets. That is, customers forget the last time they made a poor decision based on their gut instead of listening to logic.

How do you overcome gut emotion and reaction? You have to help your prospective customers or donors through the decision making process. Do it with these ideas:

  1. Lead your prospect to a sense of revelation. That happens when the obvious in your conscious mind finally learns something that your subconscious mind already knew. Ask yourself: When are you most creative (what you might consider right brain thinking)? For most people, it’s when we are exercising, walking, jogging, listening to music, in the shower, or in an unfamiliar environment. Some of my best ideas have struck me while on vacation, when my mind is suspended from the consciousness of day-to-day responsibilities. Lead your prospect to an awakening.
  2. Give ’em chills. A reaction inside the mind often is accompanied by a physical sensation. It could be chills or goosebumps. For some people, it may be an unusual feeling in the stomach or throat. You can create these physical sensations when copy is accompanied by strong visuals that paint a picture. Music is another way to stimulate a physical reaction. While you can’t pipe in music to printed material, you can use music in video or on your website.
  3. Past experience recall. Your brain’s hippocampus stores long-term memory. Long-term memories are with you for your entire life, unless something comes along to pave new grooves and create a new memory. You aren’t likely to replace past long-term memories, but you do have the opportunity to create another memory that neutralizes a bad memory, or enhance a good memory. Creating new memory is harder to do than drawing on a past memory. When you can, allow your content to take your prospect to a positive place, or hit a negative memory head-on with something so strong you can overcome the negativity.
  4. Challenge the perceptual rules made up in the mind. For some people, changing an ingrained rule is impossible, even if it’s wrong. If when a person can’t articulate why the rule exists, you may be able to use an overwhelming amount of empirical data or statistics from credible third party sources to turn around a rules-based individual. But don’t count on it.
  5. Recognize Patterns and Cross-Index. Help your prospect see something familiar to engage intuitive skills. The more material about your product or service that you can provide to cross-index in the mind, the higher likelihood your prospect’s intuition will kick in on a positive note for you.

You won’t always be able to prevail over intuition or gut reaction, but when you anticipate that probability in your copy, you can turnaround a potential lost sale.