Using Behavioural Economics for copy

You can use behavioural economics for copy.
Will they help? Yes.
Better than ‘real creativity’?
Here’s what Chris West recently posted:

Behavioural economics tricks are good to know.
But their effects are trivial and short lived, compared to real creativity.
There are 4 behavioural tricks for copy that will help boost your copy’s performance.
They can boost conversion rates.
They’re easy to learn.
You can read them below.
But once you know them, move on to the real stuff.
(More details on the ‘real stuff’ at the end.)

1. ‘Social norms’ are now just table stakes

Every SaaS website shows a strip of client logos.
This tone of voice agency‘s website does the same. 😜
Used to mean something.
Just a point of parity.
A hygiene factor:
“You know Alphabet, John Lewis, and all these brands you respect?
They worked with us.
You can, too.”
But we know big companies now love trying out funky niche companies.
It’s not a proof of success.
(Though, 10x-ing a big corp’s content is.)
Included your social proof?
Move on.

2. “Here’s some advice you never asked for.  And it’s free.”

People who push you to use behavioural tricks in copy say:
Give them something for free, then they feel they owe you something.
Except, they won’t.
You’re bombarded by free advice.
Most of what’s given away is rubbish.
Instead of encouraging reciprocity, it encourages churn behaviour.
Here’s a test:
Does it hurt you, even just a little bit, if you give it away?
If not, it’s not worth anything to anyone else, either.

3. Politicians killed pre-commitment

Behavioural economists claim humans need a consistent self-image.
(Check out Cialdini, 2008 if you’re into this).
The problem is, we’re now live in an era of excuses.
People will sign up for your event.
They’ll put the date in their calendar.
They’ll believe they’re gonna turn up.
But come the hour, they believe more strongly in autonomy.
Pre-commitment can actually be a turn off for some people.

4. “Take the puppy for a walk. See if they like you.”

“Enter your postcode. See if we cover your area.”
“Welcome to the Wynn Las Vegas. Wow! You’re lucky. You got upgraded!”
“Here’s your ticket, with your name on it.”
Different ways of presenting a ‘personalised’ offer.
Except, your reader senses they haven’t really cost you anything.
They’re lightly customised. Not personalised.

I’m not saying behavioural economics tricks won’t work.
Behavioural economics for copy will help your copy perform better.
I already used three of them with you.
And you’re still reading. 
(Want to see 4th trick? Just buy me a coffee and I’ll show you.)

So, what works better than tricks?

Creativity comes from imagination.
It’s not linear.
It can’t be optimised.
What works?
Do something no one else is doing.
You’ll start cutting through.
That’s creativity. Not trickery.
It works. Harder.
It builds relationships as well as responses.
It’s long term, as well as short term.
Want to read a book on it?
I recommend this one
(It’s an affiliate link. Buy it and you divert 2p from Jeff Bezos to me.)

“Yes, but I still want me some sugar”

I get it.
Anytime I can see a quick win, I’ll take it.
So, I’m running a workshop on boosting conversion with behavioural economics.
All your peers will be there.
I’ve saved a seat for you.

Email me so you don’t miss out.
If you want to find out more, email me here and now.

“Relationships, not just responses”

We’re the language animal.
It’s language which builds engagement with customers.
When you’re trying to build something, language is the solution.
The fastest solution.
The cheapest solution.
The smartest solution.
Defining your own brand voice is important.
(Otherwise you’re building someone else’s brand for them.)

Building your brand voice is a creative act.
And like with all real creativity, no shortcuts have yet been discovered in brand voice.

But frameworks help you: you’ve got to know where you’re going.
Here’s the framework I used to help Alphabet’s moonshot factory.
It defined their own brand voice.
And helped them 10x their content.
With no add on costs.
We’ve used it with b2b, b2c, small and large companies.
Pre-launch. Start-up. Series A. Series B. Global corporation.
Tech, Edtech, fintech, luxury, skincare, gutcare.
It works.

So, what do you want to do next?
1. If some kind friend sent you this, you can sign up
 to receive the next one here.
2. Want to fix a small brand voice issue? Talk a bit more about behavioural economics for copy? B
uy me coffee, we’ll work it out together.
3. Language also fixes non-language problems as well.
Like churn.
Value perception.
Dropped baskets.
You can read a best-sellling book* about this stuff.
Rory Sutherland called it ‘a cracking book’.
It has over 50 five-star reviews.
Or you can ask its charming, brilliant, modest author some questions – with no obligation to do anything after. Just book a 30 minute chat.
Just turn up, that’s all.

About Verbal Identity

We are writers, strategists and linguistics experts: super-specialists in the magic and mechanics of language. We know how language creates thinking. And how – if you shape the language of your company, your comms and your customers – you shape what people think and do, read more…

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