Push and Pull, Managing the Twins of Marketing

In marketing, we get the same magnetic push and pull found in magnetic polarity.  Whether it’s teaching about polarity or singing a rap song about the push-pull of chemistry, the impact is the same. Energy attracting or pushing apart.

The coronavirus has made teachers incredibly creative. I recently saw a news story on them teaching magnetic polarity virtually.  

Push and pull in nature…

With the help of assistants, in this case, the teacher’s children, she placed two large magnets on a table with their horseshoe shapes aligned. The magnetic poles were aligned directly across from each other.

Then she handed her son and daughter each a magnet and had them hold them in the same position. “Now, try to slowly move the magnets directly toward each other,” she guided. 

“That’s good, keep the ends pointing toward each other.”

A look of surprise crossed the little boy’s face as he encountered resistance from the magnet as he tried to move it toward his sister’s.

“Excellent, now pause a moment.” She stepped closer and shifted the magnets so the poles were no longer aligned and that one pole from her son’s magnet touched the opposite pole of his sister’s.

“Okay, now what happens when you try to pull apart.”

“It’s stuck!” The little boy said, then he put in some effort and jerked the magnet away from his sisters.  

“I did it!” He grinned victoriously as he brandished the magnet in both hands.

“Yes, you did!”

“The resistance you felt was the magnetic polarity being attracted to its opposite force. When the magnets were perfectly aligned they repelled each other. When aligned to an opposite pole, it took your force to move them apart.”

Push and pull marketing

In marketing outbound marketing is also known as push marketing. It takes your product out to where your prospects are to make it easy for them to find.  The focus is on your brand or product.

On the opposite side, inbound marketing or pull marketing the focus is on relationships. It relies on prospects that are looking for your product. 

Push creates demand by making them aware of your brand and the solutions it offers. Pull offers a way to fulfill that need.

The blend you need in your marketing efforts depends on where you, your brand, or a specific product are at a given moment. I’ve seen this over and over again with clients and former students I was mentoring. 

All businesses need a mix of both as they grow and build.

What many don’t realize 

For new businesses, you can’t start with pull marketing. First you need to help your “hungry crowd” find you have a solution.  That means you need to get your product out there in front of them. You need to use the push.

Once you have created the demand, then you can use the pull to bring them to your website and guide them to their solution.

However, push and pull must be adapted to their times to be relevant and get on people’s radar.  Some push techniques don’t work well in a pandemic. 

Face-to-face meetings are going virtual. Showrooms are going virtual. Trade shows have one option – go virtual. These are all backbones of push marketing.

Pull has also gotten more challenging due to the sheer volume of companies now focused on online marketing.  

Here are 3 techniques to get your push and pull marketing working together

In today’s environment, both push and pull need a client-centric focus. Start with your push and have your pull set up to provide the solution…the sales.

Push marketing  a crisis

There are still some classical push – outbound marketing techniques that work. Things like billboards, television, radio, print, direct mail, and eye-catching packaging. 

You can also use social media posts and paid ads.

The goal is to get your brand/product out there in front of people so they can learn about it. 

I’ve seen clever use of YouTube infographics to create brand awareness. 

Interestingly, local television stations are trying to boost local economies by getting the word out to help small businesses.  If you’ve been wanting to try some television spots and have the capital, it might be a time to consider it.

The goal of push marketing is to get attention. It should be a disrupter. Something that interrupts the flow of the day. Something that makes people question, “what was that?”  

Bingo, you got their attention.

So what are you going to do with that attention?

Pull marketing

If you have their attention you need pull-marketing to move them from where they saw you to a place where they can learn more or make a purchase.

The consumer is seeking a product based on need. They saw you and want to know more.

Pull marketing uses your reputation, consumer interest, effective SEO, pay-per-click, blogs, content, and social media. It requires your brand to be in the right place at the right time.

For pull marketing to work effectively, it must be ready and in place at the moment you need it.  You can’t wait to start building it out to when you now have traffic or you’ll be missing sales.

Finding the balance

If you already have a good reputation and a known brand, your push marketing will probably shift to push-notifications. 

These sort of blur the line between push and pull.  They are designed to be used both on your website and via social media marketing to help guide the prospect to finding their answer.

These are designed to engage visitors both on and off your website and keep your product in front of them.

However, there is a catch. You must have their permission in order to send them. 

At a time when daily emails have doubled or tripled, people are a bit more protective of giving out their email address.  You’ll need to give them a good reason for doing so. It will need to be something of value.

Value might be bonus information. It could be, a guide, a discount, easier tracking for an order, or another type of reward. Whatever you chose it must resonate, be relevant to, and focused on your target customer.

Time to Evaluate

With our changing business environment and more intensive competition, it’s a crucial time for businesses to evaluate how they are using push and pull marketing.  

  • Where is your business now? 
  • What does your outbound and inbound marketing look like? 
  • What modifications or enhancements will make you better able to connect with and engage clients…and convert them into loyal customers?

Need assistance with a quick look or more intensive updates?  Message me: judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Marketing Myths You May Not Know

Is what you know about marketing on the web compromised by common myths? It’s highly likely. Especially of concern to brands and marketers is that clicks don’t mean what we think they do.

Back in 1994, a direct response specialist, Ken McCarthy,  introduced the idea that if they counted how many clicked on their landing page they would have a good indicator of how well the marketing piece did.

Marketing Myth #1 Clicks equal reads

Over 25 years and lots of major changes later, businesses are still counting clicks as a measurement of success.  There’s just one problem…it doesn’t mean they read anything.  It only means they clicked on something.

Clicks do NOT mean sales or response to a call-to-action, (CTA).  The market became flooded with spam click-bait trying to see how many clicks they could get. Consumers became guinea-pigs. People became frustrated with junk and many quit clicking at all.

Marketers focused so much on clicks they became tied to spam, linkbait, poor design, and trickery. Even so, counting clicks is still the gold standard.

Engagement is the secret

There is something far more important than clicks…It’s what happens between and after a click.  What did the person do?  Did they go away? Did they share without reading, (happens a lot,) or read just part of the message? Maybe they got distracted. Perhaps there were family or work interruptions.

Our real goal is to keep the visitor on the page and engage them.  We want to keep them there and focused. Engagement time is of much higher value than clicking.

Studies actually showed content is what makes the difference.

For an average click, less than 55% stay on the page for more than 15 seconds.  If it is an article they engage longer.  Only 33% leave in under 15 seconds.

Engagement is higher for actual news… new information, useful, relevant.

The more generic it is the less engagement there is.  In the best-case scenario, the engagement levels can be five times higher in the first case…useful news.

For marketing success, the goal should be to keep your audience on your page and returning back again. That takes fresh, content, targeted, and relevant to the viewer.

Social media marketing myths

The same type of myth has also hung around in the social media marketing world.  The reality is that shares don’t mean the recipient read it or even that the person who sent it read it.

Chartbeat conducted a study of 10,000 articles shared via social media,. They discovered there was no relationship between sharing and engagement.

Social is just being social, not that you have their attention and engagement. That makes the job a bit tougher.

Native Ads

Native ads look like a page’s editorial content. However, it is paid content designed to promote a product or service. 

Fewer people read native ads than other content.  In an average article two-thirds of the readers will spend over 15 seconds.  In a native ad, this drops to less than one-third.  Only 24% of readers scrolled down the page. The normal content rate is 71%. Less than one-third of visitors read more than one-third of the native ad.

Banner ads also get poor positive statistics. In part, this is due to placement. To get optimum results they need to be below the fold…not the common above the fold positioning.

The Good News

For both Native Ads and Social Media, the landscape is changing quickly.  There are ways to get information read using special tools. Apps like Gizmodo or Refinery 29 help with the problem. 

Newly devised techniques work within social media systems like Facebook and Instagram to generate leads, conversions, and more loyal customers. This employs systems like remarketing, lookalike audiences, Facebook AI, as well as Messenger, and paid marketing.  Facebook also owns Instagram. That means the two can be coordinated to work together.

However for this to work,  if you want the viewer to read and take action, there must be real value. It must be current, relevant, and free of gimmicks or tricks. 

This style of marketing takes more effort and may cost a little more however the rewards are more loyal repeat customers. ROI and lifetime value are heightened.  We aren’t just trying to get clicks, we are trying to engage and keep the reader’s attention longer. Longer attention increased sales opportunities.

Right Now is the Perfect Time to Engage!

During an economic upheaval, people either contract and wait for it to blow over or dive in and take advantage of the opportunities.  It’s time to take action.

Giants like Walmart, Target, Amazon, and many, many others are doing the second and seeing massive increases in sales.

Have you asked yourself these questions? What would an increase in sales do for you?  What would it look like? What would the outcome be?  

Can you really afford to sit on the sidelines and let the missed opportunities leave your business struggling?  

There’s an alternative. We can talk and look at how focusing on client engagement via web and email plus using the power of social media can not only help you survive but thrive…become stronger and more recession-proof.  Message me or visit my website to schedule a call. www.jculpcreativecopy.com.

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8 Quick Seconds Will Make You More Money

8 -second rule means you have 8 seconds to engage a viewer before they click away
Focus on Ease and Clarity in 8 Seconds or Less

If your website can’t pass the 8-Second Marketing test…you are losing customers and money.  It’s true… you have only eight seconds to get their attention before they click away. Microsoft’s research proved a goldfish will hang around a second longer than people will. The argument might be that goldfish aren’t as smart.

That’s down from 12 seconds in 2000. Canadian researchers have been tracking the changes in a survey of 2000 participants. In another study, they used EEGs on 112 volunteers to validate their findings. Reduction in attention correlates exactly with the rocket-paced evolution of technology.

What it boils down to is with so much information coming in, it’s harder to hold our attention. Our brains try to sort out what is most important to us and protectively operating on semi-auto pilot, delete the rest.

Choices Evolved and Exploded

Back in the early 1960s, there were three television choices and no internet. You could watch ABC, CBS or NBC.  That changed rapidly over the next two decades. It blossomed to over 700 UHF and VHF stations.  By 2013 the growth had stalled and the number of stations peaked at 1781.

If you had access to cable your choices became far more vast than stations broadcast over the air. Today it’s not uncommon for the average viewer to have access to well over 200 choices.

At the same time television was evolving, so were computers and the internet. By 1991, the first chatrooms on the internet became open to the public. From what started as small private forums choices exploded. 

Home computers, popular for work tasks, took on a whole new life. We could work, socialize, play games, stay in touch with family and friends. All you needed was internet capability and your choices exploded. 

The internet race was on.  Now we have access to entertainment on our televisions, and on every electronic device, we own. Small wonder it became the new marketing playground.

It’s a Mistake to Underestimate Your Viewer

The research documented a decreasing attention span. Somehow this got linked to less intelligence. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.  We’ve had to become more choosy.  

We don’t have time to deal with every option, email, or offer that comes our way. So we let our puzzle-solving brains help us out by filtering and deleting what it sees as not of interest.

It’s also a mistake to think that this only applies to websites.  When you’re driving at 60 miles an hour you are whizzing past marketing. Billboards and roadsigns have 6 seconds…think six words or less…to get read. 

Direct mailers have long known we can decide in three seconds whether to put their mail in the open file, or the trash.  

Short, clear, and concise is always better.

Three Ways to Pass the 8-Second Marketing Rule

Everything you put out there, emails, content, articles, needs to pass the scan test. Test the message by getting feedback from a shopper for their first quick impression.

Marketers and brands work so closely with projects, they can miss what a shopper won’t.  Get outside feedback.  

Kill Clutter

Make sure each page, article, email has one clear message. Eliminate confusing.  Reinforce that concept with the right images, videos, and scannable content.

Graphics and images reinforcing the single clear message increase engagement. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words,” holds true.  It helps us remember what was important.

There is one common problem I see repeatedly. Graphics departments tend to go for visual over readable. They take that carefully crafted message and put it into a long-lump of single content so it fits beautifully next to an image.

The mistake is that the paragraph is hard to read.  It fails the scan test.  We need white space built-in for easy reading. White space is like breathing room for the visitor. 

Unfortunately, many web designers would take each of my sub-sections and make them a single paragraph.  You will lose the reader. Give them room. Make it easy to scan and read.

Engage with Emotion

We can’t help ourselves, we respond non-verbally to visuals, images, color, and sound. 

Fast food restaurants have used color for years.  Red and yellow energize us, however the colors are so stimulating, we can’t stay in the environment for a prolonged period of time. That worked to generate quicker turn-over of the tables and more customers in the store.

Now, living in an age of stress and uncertainty, we crave calm and soothing colors. Look to see more serene blues and greens and gentler background music for all sorts of businesses. 

If you offer a website with a diversity of products for different needs, make navigation easy. Avoid confusing navigation. Anything that brings up roadblocks or frustration is a negative experience. Negative emotions lose customers.

Entertain, educate, and engage their attention.  

It may be harder to make your first sale to people with all the choices out there, but engaging, educating, and entertaining, will keep them coming back.

8-Second Rule Wants Simple Clarity

Sacrificing clarity to put something clever and catchy on your website backfires more often than not.  Clever and catchy are often vague. They create frustration and stop any chance at conversation.  

When it comes to the viewer’s number one question – “Do they have what I need?”  straight forward, clear and relevant is what they want.  Avoid meaningless, vague jingle or clever slogans. There are too many better choices to put up with those.

I love the phrase I’ve seen repeatedly, “If you confuse them you will lose them!” 

Your copy AND your graphic design need to be clear and straightforward.  Get your design department thinking in terms of helping the viewer…not being cute or clever.  

Quality content counts. Copy written for scanning and quick reading, it’s far more useful to the viewer.

Make sure to clearly answer all the questions the visitor may have. You want them to know you can solve their problem, and improve their quality of life. 

Visitors want proof like testimonials from other clients. They want to know what makes you different from the other two billion websites out there.

Guests want to see and feel you are reliable and honest. And a key sticking point can be how to contact you to get questions answered.

Most of all…they want it clear, simple, easy.

How does your content measure up?

If you haven’t had an outside take a look and give you feedback, you should. I have a quick service that I offer to first-time clients to do just that. Message me or book a call on my website.

You may also enjoy these articles on customer engagement.

Empathy Based Marketing

3 graphics depicting empathy, caring, listening.

In the best of times and in the midst of crisis, customer connectivity is core to business success.  That means we need to focus on helping them as real people, not clicks, and dollar signs. 

An Empathy Lesson I Learned Early

I spent over 20 years in the spa industry offering skincare and cosmetic tattooing. They are optional services and high-ticket. 

At first, like any field,  you are trying to get your skillsets perfected. Then you have to learn marketing…it’s not taught in the training programs.  You have to build the client’s trust, help them like you, let them get to know you. 

You are a coach, educator, someone who has had their problem and understands what they are feeling.

I learned that listening with empathy, focusing on the client, learning from them, and engaging with them was key. My total goal was to help them feel better about themselves and make their lives easier.

I developed great friendships with many caring, professional colleagues with successful careers.

I also met some that were of a very different nature…transactional. The client was a job, money. Regardless of what they said, they weren’t really engaging with them. And their careers were short-lived.

I’ve seen the same thing in many alternative health businesses. Supplements, CBD, skincare, and beauty products. Engaging with empathy makes a big difference.

Something to Remember

What most businesses don’t tend to keep in mind in their marketing is customers don’t decide to buy logically. 

We are feeling beings who think, not the other way around. Even the most analytical person you know depends on discipline to control letting their emotional thoughts impact their decision.

A respected neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, discovered that every human decision depends on emotion.  Every single decision. 

We must focus on emotional connections and let them lead naturally to see conversion. That relies on really deeply knowing your customer and their emotional motivators.  

3 Ways to Enhance Your Empathy Marketing

A lot of marketing tends to be random.  A study by the CMO Council reported that 80% of markets don’t know what the next best action for their customers is.  

They need to automate to enhance customer engagement. However, automation is transactional. That makes it harder to employ emotional marketing.

Here are three ways you can apply empathy today.

Start with Your Customer

“Walk a mile in their shoes.”  You need to go into their world, their mindset to really understand them. Look for how you can make their lives better, solve their problems. What do they want?  How is their problem impacting their life? 

Do they want their pain to stop? Do they want to sleep better or perform better? Why? Feel better? Why? To enjoy life more? Enjoy their family more? 

Look for ways you can help them.

Let them know you understand their problem, feel their pain. Show them how to solve their problem. Validate it. Other customer’s success stories can be very effective at doing this. A real person they can identify with. They build trust.

Develop Digital Conversations

Think conversations first, then let them slide into fulfilling the steps of a buying journey.  None of us like to be “sold to.” We like and are quite willing to buy if something will make us happier and solve a problem.  Focus on the conversations. Extend an invitation to talk, to converse. 

Social media can be a great opportunity for this. 

Start with the conversation…invite dialogue. Listen and learn. Converse with them. Finally, recommend something that will help them.

When we focus on helping, the relationship changes. We’re there to help them…not focused on getting a sale.

Bring that attitude and those emotions into your marketing. Treat them like you’d like to be treated in their place.

Provide Empathy Content 

Customers and prospective customers don’t want more content.  They want helpful, empathetic, useful information. It needs to be customer-centric. It needs to show them a solution to their problem. Support them. Sometimes it’s hard to make a change.

Use the terms customers use. Helpful blog posts. Useful case studies. Fantastic articles. Amazing videos. It’s all about feelings, emotions, and the right word choices.

Support this with one of the things that customers want most…quality interactions with your team. Your team needs to feel your empathy, incorporate it into your company culture and share it with customers.

One Last Thought

Emails are a great place to include empathy.  Every business is ramping up an email’s place in marketing. However, I see a lot of emails that are stuck in the old long-form sales letter format.  Or on the other side…purely transactional.  

For an article on using RAS Triggers to activate empathy, you might find this article interesting. Read it Here.

It’s time to update to empathetic emails that follow modern guidelines if you want more opens and conversions.

Need help bringing more empathy into your marketing efforts? Message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Pain…a Core Motivator

Pain has many faces. Physical pain, anguish over a loss, or fears of emotional pain. We, humans, are hard-wired to stop or flee all forms of pain.  Everything from an embarrassing moment to a stabbing level eight agony.  

Just like the rest of humanity, I’m a pain avoidance specialist. 

I used to love horses. I’d wanted one from the time I was old enough to read Black Beauty. 

The first thing I did when the man in my life moved me to the country, was to buy a horse.  Did I know what I was doing? No. Did I have all the right gear, stabling, and place to learn? No. 

Yes… I was a walking recipe for a disaster.  I have the healed bones, bruises, and emotional trauma of accidents to prove it.

The last time was a finisher for me.

I’d sent a three-year-old filly for training.  Three months later, the trainer announced she was ready to go to the stable where I was going to lodge her. (Doing it right this time.)

Since the trainer had to be out of town, an experience horsewoman friend went to help me move her.

The trainer had been rather spotty in her communications on techniques, etc.

When we went to load Brandy in the trailer, Linda asked, “Does she ride tied or untied?”  

“I don’t know…Kathy never mentioned that.” 

“Well, I don’t like to tie them unless I have to.  She’s quiet, we’ll just leave her loose. You lead her in and then hand me the rope through the side.”

I led Brandy in and handed Linda the rope through the open window.

As I reached the open rear ramp, I heard Linda unsnap the lead.

“Careful, she’s turned and coming toward the door.”

I can still feel the surge of disquiet and adrenaline as I type these words. Goosebumps form on my arms.

 The next thing I knew Brandy hit the back of my head with the full force of the length of her face. She felled me like a tree to knock me out of her way and lept over me to get out of the trailer.

Facedown in the dirt, I could see her feet coming down on both sides of me. Pain stabbed through my right hand where one foot had grazed.

I lay there shaking with terror, knowing the outcome could have been far worse.

Marketers need to understand pain.

I think the New  York Times summed it up well in their article, “Pain is the secret of neuromarketing.”   I’ll explain more on that in a minute.  

Most of us know that we need to find the customer’s “pain points.” However, we don’t always really understand what that means or how to use it appropriately in marketing.  

An article on MarketingLand on Pain and Conversions had some great insights that aligned beautifully with what I’d learned from a marketing coach.  It filled in some missing blanks.  

Better armed with the neuroscience behind pain, I want to share some tips that can help you help your customers. Help them understand pain. Stop pain. Avoid pain.  

It works equally well for mental or emotional pain and physical or psychological pain.

The Primal Brain is the Secret

The answers are found deep in the oldest part of our brain, the amygdala often called the reptilian or the primal brain. This is the survival part of the brain.  It’s the home of our fight-or-flight response.  

When faced with danger, it lights up and triggers us to take action. In mild cases like the guy in front of you suddenly braking, you too stomp on the brake.  Then feel that leftover adrenaline tingling in your veins.

In the case of severe danger…we flee. 

In an article on psychological pain by David Biro, he shares that all pain follows a simple formula.

An attack or assault leads to injury and then to withdrawal.  We have to escape. Whether the threat is physical or happening in our head, the result is identical. We feel pain and we need to stop it.

When neurosurgeons tested subjects, they discovered the amygdala lights up when the person felt threatened.

They tested a variety of pain and danger signals and saw the same response.  

Then they tested people who were shopping for chocolates and buying them. Interestingly, the area again lit up.

While the triggers were very different, they came from the same area of the brain. The area with a very powerful “action” drive. 

3 keys to using the primal brain

To effectively incorporate this powerful drive we need to focus on helping our customer or prospective buyer.  Every single one of us wants to remove fear, remove pain, and feel pleasure. We are reward focused. When we escape danger, fear, or pain, we get a pleasure surge in the same area, the reptilian brain. The feel-good is automatic and elemental.

Feel their pain – identify it.

Successful conversion starts with your customer.  You have to understand what they are feeling. 

Is their pain from a physical problem? Joints lose cartilage.  Muscles can strain or tear. Bones break and accidents do nasty things all over. Kidney stones and delivering babies trigger intense pain.

Emotional health is your ability to express your feelings about the information you have processed. 

Emotional pain like anxiety, stress, financial fears, insecurities, guilt, and grief are emotion-based. All forms of loss trigger emotional pain. Non-physical pain can lead to loss of sleep and depression. In its most severe form, it prevents the person from living a normal life. 

Nothing matters but the pain. 

Whether emotional or physical the person feels and describes what they feel in the same terms as physical pain.

Help them see hope

One unfortunate aspect of pain is that the longer we endure it, the more we feel it. We don’t want to leave prospects to wallow in their pain. 

It’s our job to help them find a glimmer of hope. We want to help them find relief.  

A word of caution, avoid pain as a sales gimmick. A good example is the poorly acted television commercials of a company in the late 1980s. Selling a protective device to seniors they slogan was ‘I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”  They turned a serious situation into bad comedy.

They made US Data Corporation’s top 15 marketing blunders list. Right up there with NEW Coke and NOVA.

There are plenty of ways to take the high road and still take advantage of the pain principle.  It can be done with words and images without focusing on the pain. 

Check these examples and think of the emotions tied to each:

You’re selling a pre-natal supplement…protection for mother and baby.  (What are they feeling?)

Selling a super door lock with a camera…you’re selling Theft protection. (What emotions?)

Can you identify which emotions a photo of a flooded row of homes would trigger?

How about a picture with a nasty black spider graphic situated next to a happy family?

As badly as we want to escape pain…we seek pleasure. We want to feel good, enjoy our families, feel safe, find love, belong, and have confidence and esteem.  Help them see themselves feeling better and having fun.

Showing hope and reminding them of the potential pleasure rewards guides them to your solution.  

Help them get the reward

If you’ve done your work and guided them forward, the desires are activated. The need to take action is strong for us pain-avoidance pleasure-seekers.  

Buying triggers a feeling of satisfaction and that activates the brain’s primal reward region. We feel pleased with our purchase. 

Proper post-sales nurturing can reinforce this feeling, set the right expectations, and continue the positive experience. The positive experience draws them back to you to repeat it.  

Help them get their next dose of happiness with lots of nurturing.

Would love to hear how you implement the pain motivator in your marketing.

Oh and Brandy and I…I’ve never been back on a horse. I got out of it with a minor concussion and a broken little finger on my right hand. I was very lucky. I never wanted to tempt that fate again. My time as a dare-devil risk-taker was over.

Key RAS Triggers Drive Sales – Including CBD

Emotional RAS Triggers are Key to Sales
Key RAS Triggers Work to Make Sales

The RAS or reticular activating system in the brain alerts or arouses us. When selling something, tapping into and activating the RAS system is a key way to trigger sales.

Think back to your last car purchase…

I’ll not quickly forget mine. My 20-year-old car was starting to have reliability issues. While still okay as a backup, get-around-town vehicle, I was no longer feeling safe about road trips. 

I’d been pleased with all the years of reliable service, so decided to go for the same brand. It was safe, reliable, and made me feel good driving it. 

The salesman did all the right things.

He asked questions and listened.

“What are you looking for?”

“The same great reliability, but I’m thinking I might need something a dash bigger so it’s easier to get my Mom’s rolling walker in and out.”

“Okay, let’s start there.” He took me to the model that was the next size up.

I’m just under 5’2”. Short/petite…pick your choice. I slid behind the wheel. I felt like I was in an old sit-com I had seen on television. Carol Burnette dressed as a little girl, sitting in this monstrous chair. The car felt like it was ten feet wide and twenty feet long.

“It’s nice,” I murmured, but it’s so big.”

“All right, now let’s go see the C300.”

I remember the first adjectives that popped into my head were muscular and sexy. I’m a marketer…I know better…yet, that’s how the brain works.

I slid behind the wheel and it felt… “right.” 

The fact that it was the previous year model that had been purchased as a fleet car, but had only 34 miles on it didn’t hurt. It would be sold as a “certified used” vehicle. That meant a great warranty…just like a new car, with a lower price tag. 

Emotion first…appearance, touch, feel. Validation justified by value for investment.

Emotional triggers are tightly nested in the RAS. They serve to alert and protect us. Friend or foe. Threat or suitable mate. And they also trigger a buy response.

30 years of marketing…

Not just being a woman, but dominantly marketing to women for the past thirty years, I realized how effective RAS triggers could be.

Women expect to be treated with respect, we as marketers have to keep that first and foremost. 

Give us a great buying experience that caters to our emotional RAS triggers. Then help us validate it with the proof to back up the value.

Keep your customers Key RAS Triggers in mind

To effectively use RAS to trigger sales, you have to take into account who your customer is. Male, female, demographics, psychographics. We all have slightly different triggers. 

When selling B2C or D2C you are selling to the end-user. Their RAS triggers are different than if you were selling B2B – one business to another. 

Selling B2B you are selling to someone whose job is tied to their performance. Poor performance, making a bad choice, not only costs the business money, it could cost them their job. The sale process is uniquely different.

When dealing with the end-user, the more clearly you have her defined, the easier it will be to trigger a sale. 

Her? Yes. Studies have revealed that 85% of all consumer goods have a woman making the buy. When you consider her circle of influence, husband, kids, parents, friends and colleagues…she influences 95% of all sales.

3 Key RAS Triggers

There are numerous ways to approach the use of RAS in marketing. You can find techniques divided into eight or more categories. However, there is a fair amount of overlap. I group them into Urgency, Avarice, and Dopamine Rush.


A sense of urgency triggers us to take action. It ties back to the fight or flight syndrome. If we see fire coming, we get out of harms’ way. If we’re in the grocery store and hear the intercom announce a five-minute sale or free-gift, we may head on over…now.

We don’t want to be left out. We don’t want to be excluded from an opportunity.

Holidays and events trigger a sense of urgency for desirable items. Christmas gifts, decorations, and food choices. Fourth of July grills, hotdogs, hamburgers and beer….and don’t forget the fireworks. Ski slopes opening. Camping season starting. Back to school deadlines.

For a product, we particularly like or want, and there are only three left…scarcity triggers our urgency button.

Urgency is often tied to time, a deadline, or physical limitation… like limited quantity. “While supplies last,” or “ends at 3 PM” both trigger a sense of urgency. 

You can also see the trigger of urgency in action on the television sales channels. The clock is ticking, the stock is limited and the phones are ringing.


Some might call this greed, yet that is a word with a lot of negative connotations. Everyone likes to feel they got a good deal or good value for the money or time invested. That doesn’t make them greedy.

We like the feeling we get for our savings and value. Discounts, bonuses, free shipping, reward points. 

When we see holiday items on sale…that triggers two buttons both urgency and avarice. 

Keep in mind, it’s not always a discount sale. 

Rewards programs, a special gift with purchase, packaged vacation deals all offer enhanced value and trigger purchases.

Bonuses are a superpower that can dwarf discounts in sales analytics…ROI. 

A great example is those infomercials where the guy is selling a pack of knives. They focus on what the knife excels at. Only at the end to they start stacking on the bonuses. At this point the viewer can’t help themselves, they pick up the phone and call, or click the buy button.

The bonuses enhance the central product.

Bonuses make it work better, more efficiently, provide additional information and at FREE, they enhance value. The bonuses are typically a limited time offer, so we add scarcity and urgency to the mix.

Dopamine Rush

Dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone. It is released when we experience pleasure. Having sex and eating chocolate are both tied to a dopamine rush.

A sense of belonging is important to both men and women. Fitness centers, elite clubs or groups use this. So do Harley Davidson, Husqvarna, MAC and IT Cosmetics, and numerous soft-drink and beer manufacturers. Brand advocates.

The higher your ranking with an airline…the earlier you get on and off the airplane.

For men, the triggers also tie into sexual prowess, self-esteem, and manliness.

Women have the equivalent of the masculine triggers. As caregivers, they add a broader range.

Among the female triggers are benevolence, social value, empathy, and personal gratification.

Charities frequently play to remorse and benevolence to get people to chip in and help out. The viewer/reader is better off and needs to lend a hand, donate.

When your social values align with a company, you are more apt to spend with them. “Family-oriented,” “your trusted source,” both promote social similarities. Helping humanity can do the same.

When we give a gift and the recipient enthusiastically loves it, we get an emotional empathy response…we get to share their joy. So purchases that create joy give women a dopamine empathy response. They feel good and are likely to repeat the pattern. Find that perfect item and buy it quickly.

Studies have shown women get a dopamine rush every time they have a positive buying experience. It’s similar to the rush men get from an exciting sports event. 

Marketers behind the modern department store capitalized on the dopamine rush. 

They invited women to come in, not occasionally, but frequently. Decades before they could vote, women could grab their purses, visit, connect, and shop. And shop they did. It triggered a social change. They had found a place they could act independently. No one monitored their every movement.

Shopping empowered women. When you combine that with the quest for a perfect gift to trigger an empathy response, you have potent buying urges.

Key RAS triggers are powerful

When you create a buying experience that combines these three triggers the power explodes into sales. Urgency or scarcity, getting a great deal or bonus, and a positive user-focused buying experience is a great formula for successful sales. 

This is equally true in person, or online. It’s something I keep at the forefront when I work with clients.

  • In-depth knowledge of the customer.
  • A clear understanding of the product being offered.
  • Then tie it into a fabulous experience complete with urgency, and a great value

Need help with RAS triggers to connect with more customers, make more sales and keep customers loyal? Message me: judith@jcupcreativecopy.com.


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