Author: Lea Gaillard

How to use neuromarketing and copywriting techniques to write persuasive texts?

. What is copywriting and neuromarketing?

Firstly, will start off with the definition of both copywriting and neuromarketing.

Copywriting, is the activity of writing the text for advertisement or publicity material.

Neuromarketing, is the application of cognitive neuroscience to marketing and communication.

Moreover, in this learning paths we will work on understanding what exactly make you take a certain decision in your brain and how we can use that knowledge (combined with several other techniques) to write persuasive text in order to increase our sales as well as our customer’s interest in our project.

Will first of look into how the studies in neuroscience and neuromarketing help us understand the way our brain works. Neuroscience proved that we actually work with 3 different brains:

  • The fist brain is the Primitive/Reptilian Brain, it’s the oldest brain since it has more than 500 million years. Its function is to guarantee our organism’s survival by controlling the most vital functions (ex. heartbeats, breathing, digestion…). Its also responsible for our instinctive behaviours (ex. our flight or fight response). Neuroscientist also call it our preverbal brain, since its incapable of understanding words or language and yet we use it to make each and every one of our decisions. 
  • The second brain is the Limbic system/Midbrain, it has around 60 million years. Its in charge of more complex functions like memory and emotions. Furthermore, it plays on the affective part of decision making as well as being the centre of creation for souvenirs and emotional bonds.
  • The third brain is the Rational Brain/Brain Cortex, it’s the base of reasoning and reflexion. It allows us to think rationally and analytically. On the other hand, it also manages language.

We usually think that we use our third brain to take our decisions. But in fact, it’s the reptilian brain and limbic system that guide our decisions. Moreover, these tree brains work independently form each other and don’t communicate well to one another (ex. when we really want to do something even though we know it’s not logical).  Nevertheless ,the brain cortex it the most evolved brain but it’s also the slowest, while the reptilian brain is the fastest and the first one to react in dangerous/stressful situations.  Which explain that in certain situations we react on instinct and we are unable to make any logical or analytical thinking. 

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Now that we know that these three brains exist, let’s look at how they work when we have to make a decision. Firstly, its important to know that decisions are not made through our conscious, matter a fact 85% of our decisions are irrationals. Decision making really relies on an emotional procedure. As professor Antonio R. Damasio stated “We are not logical machines with emotions. We are emotional machines that are sometime logical”. We can then conclude that it’s our reptilian brain that is in charge of decision making, while our brain cortex, works to rationalise and justify our decisions. 

But as we said previously our reptile brain doesn’t understand word or language, so how can we influence it?

. Neuromarketing and copywriting techniques  

We’ll first talk about the technique used in neuromarketing to influence our decisions and then we will correlate them with the techniques used in copywriting in order to sale something. 

Here are the 6 stimuli described by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin, in their book Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brian:

1- Talk to his ego, the reptilian brain is self-centred so your communication must be centred solely on him. For this don’t use word like “we” or “our” but instead use words like “you” or “your”. Furthermore, it also loves hearing it’s first and last name, so make sure to use your clients name if you know it.

2- Use contrasts, the reptilian brain is very sensible to differences. We can for example use contrasting colours for our logo, since it will attract the reptilian brain’s attention.   

3- Be Simple, the reptilian brain is unable to understand words, expressions or even complex intellectual notions. So, in order to communicate with this brain, we need to use an everyday vocabulary and evoke simple things with short sentences.

4- Put all the emphasis on the beginning and on the end, since we all have an attention span that peeks at the beginning of something and another one at its end C:\Users\leleg\Documents\Learning Path\attention curve.gif 

So, make sure to say the key parts of your message right as you start and when your about to end. 

5- Use visual stimuli, our brain is made to understand visual material the fastest.  So, make sure to always use a visual support.

6- Use emotions, since as we stated before, we are emotional being. So, emotions speak to us much stronger that facts or statistics. This explains why storytelling works so well in persuading because you are directly communicating with the limbic system.  

In addition, there is a multitude of technics used in copywriting I’ve taken form the book Neurocopywriting, la ciencia detrás de los textos persuasivos from Rosa Morel. I have decided to sum up the ones that I found most relevant to what I needed to use for my text application.

Firstly, the author explains two main law that I found very interesting. She first explained the Law of Hick, which implies that the time a human being takes to decide expands as we increase the number of alternatives. In this case, we can understand that if we provide too many options and variants on to a product, it will most likely repel the client form choosing it. Which I found ironic since, in our project we always prone customisation and personalization, thinking that it would make our product more attractive for the client. This corelates perfectly with what neuroscience tells us about the brain preferring simplicity over complex things like customisation.

The second law she refers to is the Law of Fitts. This one explains that the time necessary for someone to reach their objective, lies on the size of their objective as well as the distance needed to reach it.  In other word if we want to have successful sale, we need to make sure the client can feel and see that its objective is within reach. This can be something as simple as make the check-out button on a website bigger or with contrasting colours. (therefore, also playing with an other technique form neuromarketing)

Next the author talks about adding a fear factor to your text. In order to present your product as solution to it. She illustrates that the magistral formula for any advertising text follows the same structure: eliminating fear 🡪 reduction of energy 🡪 increase of pleasure.

Since our brain focuses on increasing whatever makes us happy but always doing the minimum effort to reach it, so it’s important to point it out. 

Moreover, she puts a lot of emphasize on making sure the drafting flows and uses simple and everyday words. Similarly, she recommends writing our text following Freytag’s Pyramid, which consequently has the most important aspects of it at the beginning and at the end, therefor following our brain’s attention curve.

Freytag’s Pyramid:

1- Exposition (present your product or service)

2– increase in action/complication (pain points)

3- climax (call to action)

4- descent of the action (recap)

5- outcome (closing sales)  

To conclude we can say that both neuromarketing and copywriting use similar if not identical techniques to persuade the brain to execute an action. As a matter of fact, Rosa Morel was very specific about the very fine line between persuasion and manipulation. She explains that just like a knife can be use a practical tool to cook it can also be a deadly weapon. In the same way these neuromarketing and copywriting technique can both be used to give reason to someone to do something (persuasion) or to distort reality with lies for self-interest (manipulation).

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