The other day I read that if you see an ad where the subject’s pupils are dilated, it makes you more impulsive.
Apparently, dilated pupils are a sign of sexual arousal, and even though we have no conscious idea about that fact, our subconscious instantly picks up on it and tells us to act accordingly—which is on impulse.
I was so fascinated by this I even brought it up on a first date I had later that night. (I’m a real charmer.)
Such below-the-belt (pun intended) methods to generate sales aren’t right, if you ask me, but there are some things some of us marketers with a straighter moral compass can learn.
And rather than using borderline mind control techniques via imaging, we can use words in our landing page copy to get our prospects to notice us and want to act… but in a way where people willfully participate in the exchange, rather than being seduced into a state of recklessness without knowing why.
Why Your Readers MUST Be Intrigued
Like I said, I’m not a fan of the mind control techniques employed by shady ad agencies to get us to do things without us realizing why.
But have to do something to stand out.
In 1965, you could remember 34% of the commercials you’d seen that day.
On a typical day in 1990, you could remember 8%.
Nine years ago, in 2007, you’d be considered a genius if you could name two commercials you’d seen that day. (Data from Brain Scripts.)
It’s 2016 now, and though I don’t have cable or Netflix or anything like that, I do spend enormous chunks of time behind my computer screen surfing the internet. But as I am typing these words, I honestly can’t remember one ad that I specifically remember seeing today.
Maybe I am a little scatter-brained, but I do know I’m not stupid. And I’d reckon that your ideal customers sway more towards my memory patterns than the super genius from nine years ago who remembered a whopping grand total of two ads on a given day.
(And, FYI, it’s not because we simply don’t see as many ads. Consumer reports estimates we see 247 per day, and Newspaper Association of America estimates we see 3,000.)
So, in short: Your readers must be seduced because there is literally no other way of getting their attention.
Ego Appeals: A More Ethical Route to Customer Intrigue
So if you decide to slap hot women with dilated pupils on your website to convert more of your visitors now that you know it works, I guess that’s up to you.
But I’m not endorsing that approach. And I’m sure your customers would be happy if you didn’t try to pull one over on them.
But we all love a good ego stroking. It makes us feel good. Important, even. Powerful. Noticed. Heard. Valued.
And we like them so much because we have a constant dialog going on in our heads about our insecurities.
Going back to that first I mentioned, I might know that I looked good that night because my clothes, eyeliner, and lipstick looked great. I might even know that the guy thought I was interesting.
But, omg, did he think I was too boring? Should I have used more open body language? Will he want to meet me again or am I just a hopeless teenage romantic everyone gets annoyed with?
Sure, it’s easy for me to rationally tell myself that those insecurities are silly. But tell that to my brain, who doesn’t shut up until I have the security of getting a second date set.
So when I have this insecure dialog running through my mind and someone comments on what a catch I am?
Oh god, I drink that up like a good spinster drinks her first glass of wine…. which is in gulps and pouring another glass seconds later.
Why Ego Appeals Work
So just like I have insecurities in regards to my dating life, I also have insecurities in every other aspect of my life, too:
- Do my new friends like me?
- Why is it so hard to make new friends in this city? Is there something wrong with me?
- Why can’t I get more clients?
- Shit, I hope I have enough money to pay that medical bill at the end of the month…
- Why can’t I ever get my website to look the way I want it to?
- Is my home page copy too corny?
- Am I too corny?
- I feel like I should be way more productive than I actually am…
- How do these other online entrepreneurs get so much done? Do they know something I don’t?
- What if so-and-so suddenly decides they hate me?
- What if all my clients suddenly drop their projects all at once?
You get the idea.
The thing is, your readers have a long list of insecurities too.
And guess what?
The reason they’re on your site is to deal with one (or more) of those insecurities.
So speak to them.
And speak to them immediately.
Employing Ego Appeals in Your Copy
“It suggests that your product or service is purchased by people who need the image that your product reflects,” says Drew Eric Whitman, “such as sex appeal, confidence, power, and status, and that they’ll buy it to fill a hole in their personalities and thus satisfy a deep craving for things they feel they’re lacking.”
So essentially, stroking a person’s ego in direct relation to an area where they might feel insecure is a sure way to seduce them into both paying attention to you and remembering you at the end of the day.
So let’s say you’re a business coach.
There’s a huge chance that the reason people are on your site is because they’re considering your coaching services for a very specific reason: to grow their business and make more money.
They probably feel like they’ve been flailing around like an incompetent idiot for long enough and are tired of constantly living on the edge of their cash flow.
The reason they’re not making more money though, isn’t because they’re incompetent. It’s just that they don’t know which items on their long to-do lists they should be prioritizing, which is what you’re there to show them.
Deep down, they know they’re smart. They know they’ve got what it takes to be uber-successful.
So remind them of that with your landing page copy. Show them how competent they are.
Seduce their egos, and they remember you for it.
Or if you sell gym memberships.
Going around telling people what fat slobs they are might get you some signups. But only signups out of fear and grudging obligation. Not signups out of the kind of seduction that makes people want to keep coming back.
Sure, your prospects might be a little out of shape, but they don’t need you telling them that.
They’re successful, smart, and do a lot with their lives already. They’ve got a lot to be proud of. Tell them that. Acknowledge that.
Then point out how getting their heart rate up and sweating a little bit on a regular basis can improve the quality of their already wonderful lives.
They’ll want to be around you more after that, don’t you think?
Start Seducing Your Readers… You Sexy Fox, You
As you can see, there’s no mind control in ego seduction. You’re just shifting the way you talk about yourself away from text that registers as “boring” or “whatever” to “Ohhhh…. THAT sounds interesting….” Which is what your readers want you to do for them anyway.
A person looking for a new gym doesn’t need you to tell them that your space is only a five minute drive from their house… they want to know that you get them and that it’ll be a place where they enjoy working out.
A person looking for a business solution doesn’t want to read more industry jargon, they want to know why your solution is the best one for them.
And by speaking to their egos, you help banish their insecurities, and they love you for it.