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Marketing Psychology

One of the lowest paying writing jobs I've had was also one of the most educational for one very important reason. It taught me about positive marketing. If you happen to read my Student of Motherhood blog, you'll see that I am on a perpetual journey to increase the positive elements in my life. As such, and since I have such a fascination with psychology and how the brain works, I did some reading on positive thinking.

One of the things I learned is that the brain processes negative expressions in kind of a backward way. For instance, if I tell myself that I don't want a cigarette, my brain first understand that as I do want a cigarette, then kind of has to loop around to understand that I was trying to talk myself out of it. By the time that happens, I've probably already lit up.

Marketing is all about psychology and this is where the low paying site I worked for comes in. One of their main rules was to avoid negative expressions in any way. That's actually pretty hard to do sometimes. For instance, notice that I said "avoid negative expressions" instead of "not write negative things". One statement guides you toward what to do which your brain can process easily. The other makes your brain backtrack. Get it?

When you're doing your marketing, think as if you are the one being marketed to. That means thinking about everything, from color, to text, to how the brain processes information. For instance, the color red is commonly known for danger. Yes, it gets attention, but is that the signal you want to send? Positive experiences lead to repeat experiences. Hence the site that wanted me to only use positive wording. Their logic was that the brain would interpret positive messages and the idea of coming back to the site would stimulate positive memories, even if they are subconscious ones.

This post was actually brought about by a Facebook question asking how people felt when they read an author's statement of "Buy my book". As a reader, when you read that, it tells you to buy your own book. You interpret it the way it was meant, but the original impression on your brain is that you should buy your own book, which completely takes away from the idea of buying anyone else's book. Now, if you read "Buy <title>", then you just put a message into your brain that gives you clear directions. If you extend this by relating the phrase to a positive experience, like "<title> is the best <genre> work this year!", you're reading (or writing) a very powerful statement that makes a correlation between a specific title and a interest you have. Below is a kind of formula you might use to create such a positive flow.

"<positive action message><title><positive experience>"

Used in a message to sell a book, this formula might translate into something like this:

Read "How Men Can Survive PMS" for relationship survival tips and good laughs!

Note how there are actually 2 positive experience phrases. It's also a tight sentence, with no fluff; exactly what Internet readers are looking for. (That particular article also happens to be one that I had a blast writing.)

Remember that you can create a positive experience for the reader from beginning to end. That's a key point to remember when you're trying to create a fan base and at the same time, avoid annoying your Facebook friends.

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