Back to Learning Center
Subscribe to THE LATEST

Brainfluence

100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing

By: Roger Dooley

Reviewed By: Ramona Sukhraj

One of the fundamental steps in developing your Inbound strategy is identifying the right people your business should target (buyer personas) and crafting the right marketing messages to appeal to those people.

Although this seems like marketing 101, in practice, it’s surprisingly challenging.

Effective targeting requires you to get inside the head of the person you’re trying to sell to – that’s where Roger Dooley can help you.

Dooley is the author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing as well as a marketing consultant, author of the Neuromarketing blog, and host of The Brainfluence Podcast.

Brainfluence combines research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and neuromarketing to help you understand how consumers make decisions and how to apply that knowledge to marketing. It can help you:

  • Write more effective ad copy
  • Describe your offers in a way that’s more enticing
  • Choose design elements that spark certain emotions
  • Increase the perceived value of your products and services

If you’re diving into the world of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) or you simply want to increase sales, this book is a must-read.

You’ll have to pick up a copy to learn all 100 tactics, but this summary will cover four of the most valuable insights marketers should take away from this book. (There’s also a few more shared by a member of our team here.)

1. Reduce The Pain of Paying High Prices

In Brainfluence, Dooley discusses studies from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford University which analyzed the brain waves of people being encouraged to make a purchase.

When they looked at the brain scans, they found that when an offer didn’t resonate with the participant, activity was stimulated in the same sections of the brain as physical pain.

In other words, making a purchase that feels expensive (relative to each person) is literally painful to them.

Not only is this going to limit sales, but it will also lead to more instances of buyer’s remorse.

A simple trick to overcome this problem is to present the price in a way that’s less painful -- aka lowest terms.

For example, if an annual software subscription costs $240, to make the price more attractive, the software company could position it as only $20 per month (or even $0.66 per day, if they’re feeling wild.)

Another way to overcome the pain of a high price is to give your prospect a logical reason to support their purchase.

For instance, another study from Carnegie Mellon University found that when “thrifty spenders” were offered a massage, people were 26% less likely to buy if it was positioned for pleasure, while they were only 9% less likely to spend their money if the massage was pitched as back pain relief.  

The more ways you can help your prospect justify their purchase, the less painful it will be for them.

2. Baby Faces Sell More

Everyone love babies, so no big surprise here, right?

Research has found that emotional brain activity can be triggered from as little as 150 milliseconds of seeing a photo of a baby. Even babyfaced adults were found to have a similar effect.

The theory is that it is because babies are vulnerable and innocent and humans naturally have an emotional connection with children as an evolutionary instinct. Also, babyfaced adults represent youth, health, and energy – all traits that people of all backgrounds aspire to have more of.

Another tip that Dooley mentions regarding faces in your marketing images is that the face should look at what you want the viewer to focus on.

That could be the product, a CTA button, or anything else. Since faces are so engaging to us, we can’t help but look at what others are looking at.

3. Catch People Off-Guard

Most of our brain functions on autopilot, without us thinking (i.e. the act of breathing, pumping blood, or even habitual behaviors, and daily routines.)

How many times have you left work in your car only to get home and realize you don’t remember much of the drive at all?

This is thanks to our brain’s hippocampus. The hippocampus predicts future events and sets expectations for us.

When you step foot on a car dealership, for example, chances are you have already “predicted” that you will be approached by a salesperson and you likely already have a response in mind.

Whenever situations go as we predict, our brains take note and operate on autopilot in a passive state. When something unpredictable happens, however, it wakes the brain up and forces us to pay closer attention so we can decide how to react.

In marketing, we can use this to our advantage by saying or doing things that we know our prospects won’t expect. For example, at IMPACT, we do a monthly Website Throwdown where you can have your website “torn apart by marketing pros.”

Most people expect an agency to offer a free consultation where we try to be as nice as possible to win your business, but instead, we hold nothing back because we know that even if it offends you, it will ultimately provide real, constructive value.

How can you do or say something unexpected? What’s a familiar phrase or saying that you can put your own twist on? Keep this lesson in mind the next time you’re writing a value proposition or headline.

4. How to Sell the Right Way in Person

This last insight is a fun one that applies to in-person marketing and sales, such as at a tradeshow or your local office.

According to the research from Dr. Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli at the University Gabrile d’Annunzio, people are more compliant with what you request of them when you speak into their right ear. -- Crazy, huh?

This idea was tested and proven in many locations including a busy nightclub where the  subject had more luck (twice as much) bumming a cigarette from someone when asking into their right ear instead of their left.

The current theory as to why is that information received through the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain, which is more logical and better at deciphering verbal information than the right side of the brain.

The next time you’re at a marketing or networking event, try it out for yourself.