I’ve been pretty busy lately. And it’s been the holidays. But that’s no excuse for me not telling you about my first guest post on the very excellent, wildly popular (138,894 subscribers at the time of this writing), and downright inspiring blog about creating compelling content, Copyblogger. I’ve got to tell you, it was pretty cool to see my name up there.
The post ran Monday, December 20th. In case you missed it, I thought I’d run it here for you. Enjoy.
How Your Prospect’s Brain Becomes Your Secret Persuasion Partner
What if you could have a secret ally working behind the scenes, steadily working to convince your ideal customer or client that you are absolutely the right person for her to choose?
Well, you can. One of the most potent marketing forces you can use in capturing, holding, and influencing the attention of your prospect’s brain is the power of consistency.
You can easily trip yourself up without meaning to. Many bloggers get bored with their message and think their prospective clients are, too. This can lead to the thought that you have to constantly reinvent yourself to liven things up. You think you should start to write new things, put out new opinions, shake things up a little.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
About the time you’re getting tired of being The Fish Pickling Guru, your prospects are only just getting used to it. They’re just starting to “get it” and really hear what you’re saying. They don’t want you to change it, especially if your message is a good fit for you and for them. Change it, and you risk losing the attention and influence you’ve gained so far.
You also risk confusing their brains. And you want their brains on your side.
The brain remembers relentlessly repeated messages
The brain can’t pay attention to everything and it doesn’t let everything in. It figures anything that is repeated constantly must be important, so it holds on to that information.
Consistent, emotionally-driven messages are remembered too, for the same reason: your brain thinks those messages must be important.
Advertisers know this. How many of us can still repeat commercial slogans from our childhoods when we can no longer remember our fourth-grade teacher’s name? That’s the power of repetition and consistency.
Some experts say that it takes a minimum of 7 to 9 impressions for direct mail to make an impact on you, and it can take up to 56 times for an ad to enter your conscious awareness. So even the most clever, catchy ad needs to be repeated so often it would certainly seem to most of us like it’s becoming boring.
But it hasn’t. It’s just starting to sink in.
The brain likes to group things
It assumes that elements having something in common go together. Your awareness may see a group of messages like this:
At the same time, your brain is trying to organize the information. It saves time and energy by processing things in groups, and is categorizing the messages like this:
This is a really good reason why you want to be consistent — so that your clients’ brains can recognize your repeated messages and put them in the correct group “container” in their brains.
Every message you put out, they immediately group in the “Fish Pickling Guru” category, which means they have a steadily-growing supply of consistent messages that show what you have to say is important.
By sheer volume, those messages become more influential.
The brain likes to link things
The brain links new information with existing knowledge it already has stored, from the conscious to the subconscious, so it will pay attention faster to information it’s already used to.
Think of the Nike logo. Just by bringing up the image in your head, your brain thinks: There’s something familiar! I’ll let that enter my attention, and I’ll file that with my already large depository of Nike information.
This is why so many companies work so hard and spend so much on their branding. Inconsistent branding won’t encourage the brain to link one piece of information to another. Those messages wind up in different categories in your brain and become less influential.
Know your personal brand and make sure your messages stick with it to hold the attention of your prospect’s mind.
The brain values consistency
Familiar things are comforting to us. That’s why you always go back to the same restaurants even if it’s not your favorite food. It’s because you know what you’ll get — no surprises. As far as your brain is concerned, familiar things are safe. No danger, no worry. And that’s just what your brain wants.
Your consistency develops trust with your audience — we trust people who consistently behave in the manner we expect them to. You probably didn’t trust Uncle Eddie if he picked you up after school some days and not on others. On the other hand, you trusted your brother even if he was consistently a total pest, because you knew what to expect.
Building meaningful consistency takes time, but there’s one thing anyone can do. When you’re getting bored with your message, when you feel the urge to shake things up just to do something different, resist. Don’t throw it out just when it’s starting to work.
Being consistent can be one of your most powerful tools for growing your business — all by making an ally out of the human mind.