In an increasingly complex, competitive marketplace, there are more and more companies vying for customer’s time.
And those customers have an increasingly shrinking attention span.
According to a recent study by Microsoft, people now have an average attention span of just 8.25 seconds before losing concentration, less than that of a goldfish.
So, how do you capture people’s attention in a way that makes them choose your brand over any of the others in your area?
Market to the subconscious
In addition to the paid campaigns that you’re running, there are several ways that you can attract customers without them even knowing that you’re advertising with them.
Although a fairly complex idea, I’m going to break this strategy down for you so that you can use it in your home services business.
As you read this, you’re going to learn how to turn cold prospects into paying customers, without them realizing you even had a strategy!
What is the Subconscious Mind?
Do you remember the first time that you stood up and walked?
Are you able to count the number of repetitions that it took for your to master an athletic maneuver?
Have you ever learned how to play a musical instrument?
If you’re a normal person, it’s likely that all of these (and any other complex actions) were difficult for you when you first started. However, continuous practice leads these actions to becoming natural.
So natural that you don’t have to think about it.
All of these automatic movements and skills that we perform throughout a normal day are guided by what is called the subconscious.
Where this gets interesting for business owners is that scientists believe that the subconscious mind can actually be manipulated in ways that allow you to drive buyer action.
Back in 2007, the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany ran a study where they asked participants to make a decision between A or B, and the scientists then analyzed the blood flow in the brain as they were making the decision.
What they found was that our brains actually make decisions for us before we even come to a conscious conclusion.
For marketing purposes, this means that a vast majority of the decisions that people make when buying or responding to Facebook ads are actually made by the subconscious.
So, how do you leverage that?
Leveraging the Subconscious
Before we jump specifically into how to leverage the subconscious to increase your sales, it’s important to understand the three parts of the brain:
- Reptilian: Fight or flight response
- Mammalian: Emotions
- Mammalian: Emotions
We are primarily driven by the reptilian section of the brain, which is driven by fight or flight (subconscious).
So, let’s take a look at how some companies are leveraging the subconscious to improve their sales.
First, we’ll look at Campbell’s Soup.
Everyone is familiar with Campbell’s, and you would probably even recognize their label if someone set it in front of you. However, what you might not know is that they changed their label a few years back from the historic metallic spoon on a white background to a large white bowl filled with steaming soup.
So, what they did in 2010 to determine whether or not the new label was working was to put people into an MRI machine. Scientists then studied the participant’s brains to see which label they reacted to more positively.
What they found was that the brain reacted more positively to the new label, which showed warm steamy soup, even though people couldn’t even describe why that was.
That’s what we mean by subconscious marketing.
Another company marketing towards the subconscious is Apple. When Apple was designing the iPad, they wanted to create a design that actually caused people’s brains to release endorphins when they interacted with it.
So, Apple put people in MRI machines and had them interact with different designs until they found the one that had the most positive impact on the brain.
Although your business likely can’t afford to use MRI machines to design the ads that have the most positive impact, there are techniques that you can use in your marketing campaigns to influence people on a subconscious level.
Everyone is talking about social triggers right now in marketing, but I want to suggest that you should actually be using subconscious brain triggers to hook your audience in.
The best way to do that is by grabbing your audience’s attention.
More than likely, everyone remembers the Billy Mays commercials. But do you remember IBM commercials from 10 years ago? The reason that one is so effective and the other is not is that one commercial actively grabs your attention.
In your ads, you need to start with something shocking, something startling, or something that people didn’t know. The reason behind that is that people tend to operate on autopilot for much of the day, so you have to shake them out of that mental state by using a pattern interrupt.
A pattern interrupt is just a way to change a person’s state or strategy so that they sit up and take note of what’s going on in front of them.
Once you have someone’s attention, you have to be able to hold it.
That’s where images come in.
Although not everyone experiences the world in a mostly visual way, imagery is one of the strongest senses that we have.
Imagine for a moment that you’re going through an instructional booklet for how to put your weight machine together. But it doesn’t have a single picture. It’s just a wall of text.
How much is that manual going to help you if it’s just one giant wall of text on a page? Probably not very much because we need visuals to help us learn and experience the world.
While actual images are one way to accomplish that, you can also use metaphorical imagery. It’s much more powerful to say something like, “He drowned in a sea of grief,” than it is to say, “He cried,” because the brain wants to think in images.
There are several other ways to grab people’s attention using visuals as well.
Yellow is the most effective color for pulling someone’s attention away from what they were doing, and you can also get creative by doing things like placing your ad upside down to confuse someone.
The more you play with it, the more there is to do with imagery.
Aim to be Different Instead of Better
Imagine for a moment that you’re working in college admissions for a prestigious university, and you’re looking at a stack of applications. Almost all of them are going to have a great GPA, great recommendations, and great extracurricular.
However, it just isn’t enough to try to be better than everyone else.
Instead, you have to be different. The student that’s going to be remembered and get selected for admission is going to be the student who has something different about them.
It’s the same with your marketing.
There are probably several brands in your area that do work that is just as good (or almost as good) as the work that you’re doing.
So, if you want someone to choose your brand over someone else’s, you have to find a way to market your brand in a way that’s different and more memorable than another company.
One of the easiest ways you can do this is by telling your story. Let your customers know and why you started the company. What the journey has been like, and where you are now. This will build a personal connection as your customers relate, and want to feel part of the story. Although seemingly trivial, it can make a huge difference.
Position Yourself as ‘New’ or Unique
Another brain trigger to use is to position you or your product as new or unique in some way.
So, what does that mean?
Most of your competition is probably marketing themselves in the same way. Maybe they’re saying that they lay the best floors or they build the best patios.
Everyone can say that.
You need to think about how you can position yourself as a new service or a unique service. Maybe you use specific materials that nobody else is using yet or maybe you have a specific technique that not very many people use.
Think about words you can use that will trigger someone’s brain to make you stand out from the crowd.
It could be as simple as putting the word ‘new’ in brackets in the beginning of your ad. That will interrupt someone’s brain process and get their attention.
Admittedly this can be tricky in the home services space where there is relatively low innovation.
Make Your Claims Concrete
Abstract claims are everywhere, and they’re usually bullshit.
If you put out an ad that says something like, “We’ve worked with tons of clients and handle a lot of high-value contracts,” that isn’t nearly as powerful as using concrete language that people can understand.
Abstract thoughts use a whole different part of the brain.
Instead, it’s much better to say something like, “We’ve worked with 67 clients and have handled contracts of up to $1,000,000.”
Doing this makes people more comfortable and helps them understand what you’re saying much quicker. While using hard numbers in conversation is possible, it’s best to get the numbers out front in your marketing content and website.
Hit Pain Points
People’s brains are wired to constantly being aware of anything that might cause it pain, so the more pain you can put people in, the quicker they’re going to act.
That’s why the headlines that you read are always things that put you in some sort of pain.
So, when you’re marketing your service, you want people to be acutely aware of what they’re missing out on by not using your service. You want them to feel the pain and then see you as their only way out of that pain.
For example, maybe you repair driveways.
If you can show people the dangers of having an unrepaired driveway (i.e. bad for your car or dangerous for elderly folks), people will be much more likely to take action.
One pain point that generally works well across all home services is, the thought of what neighbors see when they look at the home, or what guests think on the inside. Back to the driveway example; you could touch a pain point by saying
“I can see why you’re calling us. The driveway is certainly noticeable by anyone who drives by”.
From there you can the customer through your solutions towards pleasure point – and drop In some imagery.
Use Hypnotic Language
Before you even go for a sale, you need to enter the conversation that your prospect is having in their own mind.
So, what this looks like in conversation is that you kind of help guide people along to have the thoughts that you want them to have. For example, you could say, “As you’re sitting there listening to me talk about my project history, you’re probably thinking about the different ways that you can upgrade your home.”
Confession; I did it to you. Recall that line up near the top of this page:
“As you read this, you’re going to learn how to turn cold prospects into paying customers, without them realizing you even had a strategy!“
Even if they weren’t thinking about that already, they probably are now since you said that, and you can then segue into you talking about the different ways that they could upgrade their home.
You can do the same thing with objections that your prospects might have.
For example, one of the most common objections that you probably get is that your service is too expensive for them. After discussing the scope of work in detail, you can say something like, “I bet you’re thinking that this is going to be too expensive for you.”
You’re in their head. You can lead from here, and it will also open up some more candid discussion.
You’ll find customers usually either:
- Want to display their wealth and indirectly say “ah no I can afford anything”. This naturally discourage them from objecting to the price.
- Open up to financing needs.
- Open up to financing needs.
The Price Conditioning Barometer
An alternative is: “You’re probably thinking this is going to be pretty pricey”. I like to think of it as my price conditioning barometer. Their response will indicate how successful you’ve been at price conditioning. Based on your customers response to this line you can go into further price conditioning if needed before calculating the final price.
Both lines also easily open up the dialogue for you to describe the value that you’re bringing to the table.
Although marketing to the subconscious is an excellent strategy for increasing sales, it isn’t a replacement for a product or service that provides real value to your customers.
Instead of trying to use subconscious marketing to sell a product or service that nobody really wants to buy anyways, use it to support the solid marketing plan and product that you already have in place.
When the time is right, you can use the strategies that we’ve discussed to tip the scales in your favor.
If you have any questions or thoughts about marketing to the subconscious, feel free to leave me a comment below!