When people ask me about PRL… or more tellingly, when they don’t ask me… it seems to me that they assume there’s some sorcery going on.
Almost as if I’m able to
Cast Magic Spells to Control Everyone’s Thoughts!
Now I know this isn’t true… and perhaps you know this isn’t true… but the facts remain that people are vulnerable to influence and persuasion, and we are learning how to communicate with these tools.
That said, unless we’re engineering a scenario to the levels of Derren Brown (have you seen his Netflix specials yet? they’re wild), we’re not really able to control people’s behaviors. (Even Brown’s stunts don’t always turn out as planned, because humans are complex.)
Then I came across MindControlMarketing.com by Mark Joyner. (Yes, it’s a book with a dot-com name — very 2002.)
Within MindControlMarketing.com, Joyner lays out some of the mental shortcuts the human brain uses, such as Social Proof and Foot in the Door, and then describes how to harness those ideas for your marketing.
If you’re a long-time reader of PRL, you know about many of the topics discussed within this book. We’ve covered a lot here on PRL, and I’ve read even more that I’ve not been able to pour into our webpages (or the free daily email list).
There is a decent amount of overlap with other books that cover similar territory, such as Influence by Robert Cialdini. Like I said, little of the information was new to me.
Yes, illustrated examples. As in, Joyner has fun little cartoons to help drive home the concepts and ideas he covers. And knowing as we do that humans are highly impacted by the visual, these cartoons are a great way for us to “see” the techniques in action.
Joyner’s book is an excellent read. The principles within are timeless and most are easily applied to your marketing efforts.
10 Things You Can Learn from MindControlMarketing.com
1: Target, Tie-in, and Collect
The ‘Foot in the Door’ idea says that once someone has done a small favor for you — once you have your foot in the door — they’re more likely to continue the relationship.
Joyner suggests Targeting your customer and offering them a free Tie-in, which must be related to the relationship or offer in general. That tie-in is the foot-in-the-door. Once they’ve expressed interest in your product or service, you then continue marketing to them, you make a sale — and you Collect your cash.
It’s the reason people exchange an email address for a free report or ebook — and then continue to stay on that mailing list (thanks!) where marketing pitches take place.
2: The Zeigarnik Effect
The Zeigarnik Effect says that people like stories to complete (known as a “closed loop”). When stories are left incomplete (an “open loop”), your brain feels as if it has unfinished business.
Unfinished stories tend to stick in your mind. You can see their effectiveness in daytime soap operas which open one dramatic plotline after another.
You might recognize this from some story-based emails. An email might open with a story (loop), open another loop within the first, close that, talk about a product, open another loop, talk about the product, close the loop, talk about the product some more… and finally, at the end, the first loop is closed.
And because your brain wants to close that loop and know how the story ends… you end up reading the whole marketing email.
3: Prepare for Cognitive Dissonance
When we behave in a way that doesn’t fit with what we believe, or we receive information that doesn’t fit our beliefs, we experience Cognitive Dissonance. Our brain is uncomfortable with the new behavior or information. That discomfort can turn off buyers (or for that matter, anyone that you might be trying to persuade).
Knowing that this might happen, it’s your duty to give customers a reason to justify their behaviors. You don’t want customers upset with themselves (or with you) if someone asks your customer why she’s done something and she cannot answer.
As Cialdini pointed out in Influence, even the simple word because — followed by a lame excuse — can give people a reason to believe and accept different behaviors or information.
Of course, you want to give people good reasons, but you still need to make sure they have reasons.
4: Tap into Maslow
In 1943, Abram Maslow released his now-famous Hierarchy of Needs. The idea was that our food, safety, love, and esteem needs must be met before humans can appreciate beauty or start to grow into our own potential.
If you’re looking to sell someone on an idea or a product, it’s not the product itself that they’re looking for.
It’s the benefit of owning that product or accepting that idea, a benefit that must speak to their needs. That’s what people are looking for, and that’s where you should focus your message.
5: Framing… even before guests arrive to your site
If your website is getting a lot of traffic, but not a lot of action, perhaps visitors aren’t arriving in the right frame of mind.
Joyner suggests reviewing every aspect of your site to ensure they’re communicating with authority and credibility.
Beyond that, however, is the frame people are in when they first click your link. If they’re coming from a website that has a positive connection to your industry and your product, they’ll be receptive to your message.
However, if they’re following a link to gawk at what was promised to be a hot mess, they’re not going to suddenly change their mind. It’s a case of confirmation bias — they’ll likely see what they expected to see.
Your website might be the same either way — the difference is in the ad or description before they even clicked your URL.
6: The Heisenberg Principle
Nothing is certain. This is a tenet of Buddhism and of almost everything I wish to express here on PRL.
The human mind is unable to see a clear reality because, well, we cloud our own vision and judgement. Also, our senses are limited to various light and sound frequencies… our brain and memory is forever changing and modifying our history and our understanding… we’re always assuming the mental state of others…
Therefore, you must embrace uncertainty. You cannot know that your copy is persuasive until you test it. You cannot know the outcome of any efforts until you go through it. And you must always be open to a wider understanding than what you already have, including the possibility that you may well be wrong.
7: Remove Junkmail Tells
People are instinctively driven away by a blatant advertising pitch. Perhaps it’s evolutionary and we’re trying to protect our assets. Perhaps we’re just cynical.
Eugene Schwartz spoke famously of the A-Pile and the B-Pile of mail. People sort their mail based on envelope cues, and if you don’t make it into the A-Pile… you’re toast.
Study the mail and email that you receive. Find the cues that signal to you that it’s a marketing pitch. Adjust your own marketing accordingly to eliminate those cues.
8: Your Dispersion, His Dispersion, Your Concentration
Business is war between competing companies, each trying to take the largest slice of the market.
When marketing your offerings, it’s a good idea to line up your strengths against your competitor’s weaknesses (but not too early in the process, mind you).
Recognize that your competitors are doing this same thing, of course.
Joyner suggests intentionally displaying a weakness — a dispersion — for your competitors to try to exploit.
Everyone and every company has limited resources. If your competitor is trying to exploit your perceived weakness, he is likely shifting resources away from another crucial aspect of business.
And once his dispersion opens up, once his resources are spread thin in an area of competition, you concentrate your power to focus on crushing him from that dispersion.
9: Factors of Recognition
Your business wants to be seen, needs to be seen. That where customers come from, and therefore your income.
Pulling from US Army Field Manual 20-3, there are apparently seven factors of recognition that soldiers need to look for if they want to survive.
As a business, we want to use these seven to our advantage:
- Reflectance, aka shiny
- Noise and audio
We want to stand out. Using these seven factors — in a limited capacity — our marketing can get attention without being overwhelming or unwelcoming.
Joyner suggests that you maximize what you can get for free. If you don’t have to pay for something, if there’s another way to accomplish a similar outcome… opt to maximize the free option.
- Ads on Craigslist are free (and where I currently focus my copywriting offers).
- Mailing lists on MailChimp are free (up to some number that I’ve not reached yet).
- Even web hosting is free when you use a site like BlogSpot.
These might not be the most beautiful, vanity-focused options out there. They don’t need to be. If you have a compelling offer you can start with these tools to see how well your offer is received. You might even score big and still never have to purchase anything.
This is just a sample of the excellent information contained within Mark Joyner’s MindControlMarketing.com book.
If you’re in marketing or are looking to apply many of the psychological ideas that we discuss on PRL, this is an excellent read. While it’s a slim book, under 200 pages, it presents the ideas well and the illustrated examples help the ideas to stick within our brains.
There is much more to learn from Mark Joyner’s book, MindControlMarketing.com. It’s one I recommend reading more than once, perhaps every year, to continue to absorb and apply the lessons within.
Have you read MindControlMarketing.com or any of Mark Joyner’s other books? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.