Persuasion case study: 2 ads using psychological “mind reading” techniques
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One of the things I almost never do is post the material from my Insider’s List here on the blog.
In fact, for the last two years, I’ve written far more material for the people on my list — including a 4,355-word email that had the internet buzzing — than for this blog.
Today, I want to give you an example of the stuff you’ve been missing if you haven’t subscribed yet. Here’s an email I sent out a few months ago.
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Today, a live teardown on two different ads I spotted during recent travels.
You’ll learn how a simple flyer can seem so simple on the surface, but how you can use psychological principles to dramatically improve flyers…and use this same ability to read others’ minds and improve your relationship, workplace performance, or even your ability to earn more money.
In the first example, someone named Brittany is advertising her services as a babysitter. I found this in a coffee shop in Los Angeles while strategizing a new project I’m creating:
I’d give this ad a “B-” because Brittany did a pretty good job — but she could have dramatically increased her chances of getting hired and added a minimum of 20% to her hourly rate.
- She includes the fact that she is a student, which is good since parents need flexibility
- She notes that she has CPR experience (great!) and is willing to cook and do light cleaning. Perfect
- She does not include her hourly rate, which would have been pointless. With babysitters, first get them to love and trust you, then discuss price
- She wastes space by saying things like “I love children.” Of course you do. I love oxygen.
- More importantly — and now we’re getting into the psychology of this flyer — what do parents care about? REALLY care about? What’s their #1 fear?
#1 fear: THAT YOU’LL MISTREAT, HIT, OR RUN OFF WITH THEIR KID.
#2 fear: That you’ll be IRRESPONSIBLE, like flaking out on an appointment, leaving them stranded.
Solve those two concerns and price essentially becomes a mere triviality.
Yet 99% of babysitters will waste time talking about their love of children (duh), their college major (who cares?), or their interests (talk to me about ME, not you).
Brittany actually has hints of a terrific banner — but she falls short where it really counts.
For example, she talks about how she has 6 years’ experience. Where are the testimonials from past clients?
Where are the SPECIFIC things she helped prior kids do (e.g., learn to read, take them to swimming lessons, coordinate their weekly meals)?
Where is the testimonial from her boss, which says “Brittany is the most responsible analyst I have ever worked with…she has never missed a deadline.”
Do you see the point?
This is just a FLYER right now. It’s not true, deep marketing. It’s actually pretty good, but it’s not GREAT because she hasn’t thought carefully about who she wants to reach out to.
She’s targeting “everyone,” when she should be targeting a VERY specific list of people. Moms, who have kids (which age?), are upper-middle class, and are looking for their (first-ever?) babysitter. Each of these characteristics subtly changes the way she approaches her marketing.
Once she’s clear on who EXACTLY she’s looking for, all tactics fall from that. For example, once she knows precisely who she’s targeting (not “everyone,”) she would probably reconsider hanging flyers in a coffee shop.
The takeaway: With training, you can start to see deep psychology — or the lack of it — everywhere. And with some subtle tweaks, you can dramatically increase your chances of earning money on the side with better clients who pay more.
What the valet knows
Let’s look at a valet sign I shot in San Francisco:
This sign gets a solid “A” for its simple brilliance. Why?
Ask yourself: What’s the #1 thing that people care about when considering a valet?
That’s it. Price represents 99% of the concerns people have when considering a valet.
Accordingly, the sign highlights the price — and nothing else.
The sign owners may not have even known the deep psychology here, but they still executed extremely well.
The takeaway: When trying to persuade someone, try to understand the NUMBER ONE concern they have. Of course there will always be numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5. But if you can adequately address the top concern — which usually represents 80%-90% of what they care about — you win.
How can you use these techniques?
I’d like you to reply to me with 2 examples of how you can use these persuasion principles in your own life.
Send me a quick note by replying to this email. I read every message.
On Friday, I’ll send you an applied example of how IWT readers could have used mind-reading to secure thousands of dollars.
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This is the kind of stuff my subscribers have been getting for years. There’s over 80,000+ people who I send new material to every week on psychology, marketing, persuasion, personal finance, and earning more.
This gives you an idea of the caliber of material I send out on my Insider’s List — which I never publish publicly.
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