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5 Brain hacks for more powerful copy

Are you looking for a new way to supercharge your writing and increase conversion rates? Neuroscience and consumer psychology can teach you a few tricks. Check out these five brain hacking tricks you can try today!

For years, scientists have studied the best brain hacks that build trust, persuade consumers, and drive sales. You see these copywriting and design hacks everywhere – from skin care marketing and B2B advertising to marketing copy selling airline tickets, software, and watches.

Good news – you don’t have to be a consumer psychologist to write brain hacking content. Here are five techniques you can try today:

Use the rule of three in your content

Schoolhouse Rock was right — three really is a magic number.

According to Sean D’Souza’s post “Harness the Psychological Power of “3” to Improve Communication:”

“The brain finds it relatively easy to grasp threes — elements, colours and fonts. Push that marginally up to four and the brain gets confused about where to look and what to do, and sends the eye scampering like a frisky puppy on a sunny day.

The rule of three is everywhere. You’ll see it in book titles, (Eat, Pray, Love.) In famous statements (“I came. I saw. I conquered.”) and even design. For instance, if you look at Apple’s marketing for the new Apple Watch, you can see the rule of three in action:

It’s all about the rule of three


You’re given three options: Experience the keynote, see all models, or watch the TV ad.

Use decoy marketing to set prices

Another way you can leverage the rule of three is through decoy marketing. The premise behind decoy marketing is you can add a third, less attractive option and drive more sales. This technique has even been proven through brain scans. A third option actually makes decision making easier — not harder.

SEMrush offers buyers three levels of access. Notice how the middle option is highlighted and called out as the “most popular.” If you’re looking for a solution, what option immediately draws your eye first?

Hmm, what package do you think they want me to notice first?


This post by Roger Dooley goes more in-depth about decoy marketing.

Use “textural adjectives” in your copy

Want to be a silky, smooth writer? Words like rough, smooth, and fuzzy aren’t just a good way to make your copy more specific. Your brain can picture what jagged or slimy feels like — and these textural adjectives activate the brain. Here’s a great post by Roger Dooley that explains more.

The skin care industry tends to have textural adjectives down pat. For instance, check out this La Mer moisturizer name.  You can’t get more benefit-specific and textural than “The Moisturizing Soft Cream” (which is actually the product’s name.)

Soft AND moisturizing? Wow!


Encourage your readers to trust you

A huge mistake I see B2B companies make all the time is around how they structure their testimonials. They may not have any testimonials, or the testimonials are signed with initials “R.C., large B2B company” and sound canned. Maybe it’s an O.K. testimonial — but not one that’s going to wow a reader.

Testimonials provide powerful social proof and help conversion rates — when they’re done right. Try to get influencers to provide testimonials, include their picture, and encourage them tell their story. Here are more great social proof and testimonial tips.

Deploy limited-time offers

You see this technique used everywhere. Informercials are famous for their “if you call in the next five minutes” calls to action. Apple’s limited-edition Apple Watch is a mere $10,000. Don’t forget the airlines. How many times have we booked an airline ticket because there were only two left at that price.

Oh no! I better book right now!
Oh no! I better book right now!

Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: Science and Practice, lists “scarcity” as one of his six pillars of persuasion. Why? We’re more sensitive to potential losses than potential gains. If we think we can’t have something, we want it much more.

Ready to start revamping your content? Try out one (or more) of these five brain hack tips and let me know how they worked. Post your comment below!

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