Category Archives: Blogging

7 Neuromarketing Hacks To Skyrocket Your Blogging Success

Our natural instincts still drive most of our decision making and neuromarketing and help us utilise strategies that trigger these instincts

Natural Instincts Drive Our Behavior:

Guest post by Jenna Brandon

Would you believe me if I said that deep inside we are still those savages who lived in caves and walked around in leather thousands of years ago?

Of course, modern human beings are advanced and sophisticated creatures. We have iPhones and Tesla cars; we live in fancy houses and wear nice clothes (even though leather seems to never go out of style). But our natural instincts haven’t changed much since ancient times, and our brain still follows the same thinking patterns.

In fact, humans are so predictable, that there are even psychological explanations for why we buy. Neuromarketing is a relatively new science on the verge between psychology and marketing that studies consumer behavior, and it turns out there are a lot of buttons in our brain that can be pushed to make us take this or that action.

Wouldn’t you like to know about them?

Today I want to talk about 7 cognitive biases that neuromarketing can leverage and explain how to apply this knowledge in order to grow your blog.  

1. Confirmation Bias.

How often do we buy certain products simply because the ad somehow repeats our own thoughts and feelings? “Oh yes, I know everything about not sleeping well. Don’t tell me about those dark circles under my eyes and tons of coffee in the morning! What is it you’re saying? Your mattress can help? Hmm, can I pay with a credit card?”

Fortunately or not, it’s no magic. It’s simply neuromarketing concept called “confirmation bias” being used by smart marketers.

“Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities” (Wikipedia).

Simply put, people are more susceptible to notions that confirm or restate those that already exist in their minds, and are less likely to react positively to something new or strange.

How you can use it: Give your readers what they want and don’t try hard to change their mind. For example, create a poll on your blog and ask your readers what interests them the most. What topics would they like you to cover? Which questions do they have? It is a brilliant way to get into the heads of your readers in order to later create content that would resonate with their moods.

Another great hack is to use confirmation bias when creating various banners for your website. Start the copy with “Have you ever” or “Don’t you want” to show you know exactly what your readers are thinking. Get inspired by this amazing Porsche ad:

Porsche using the confirmation bias neuromarketing technique
Image Source: Porsche

2. Mimicry Effect (Commonly Known as “Mirroring”).

 

Mimicry is an old psychological concept and rapport building trick suggested by every smart networking book. In layman’s terms, mimicry is a conscious or subconscious imitation of someone’s behavior, gestures, facial expressions, etc. Such act supposedly creates an invisible bond between two people and makes a person you imitate immediately like you (since we tend to be more attracted to people who remind us of ourselves).

According to this theory, if you want to make a good impression on someone, you have to “mirror” the behavior of this person. If he/she rubs his/her nose or smiles – do the same. You can even try to copy the accent or fashion style of this person.

How you can use it: Since copying your reader’s gestures and intonations is impossible when you have no idea how they look like (ok, ok, maybe sometimes you see Gravatars, but that’s not really helpful), the only thing that’s left is words. Study your comment section and analyze the language they speak. Talk like they talk, use exact words and phrases that they use when shooting emails or commenting on your posts. Use colloquialisms and buzzwords if that’s what your audience needs, and stick to very formal tone when jargon is not appropriate.  

3. Law of Reciprocity

“If you want to be loved, love,” Seneca said. Why? Because there’s a neuroscientific law that states that people feel obliged to return favors.

In as much as we feel lucky when someone offers us a freebie, a quiet voice in us wakes up urging to give something in return. This is why various giveaways are so popular: people are thankful and feel the need to express their gratitude, so they tip more, buy more, or recommend you to friends.  

How you can use it: Give’em some love first; don’t wait for a special moment. Reward your readers for visiting your blog with a free trial, e-book, or a cheat sheet. Let them know you appreciate their trust, and you’ll see how much more repeat visits, comments, and shares such approach generates. This is, for example, how Ducttapemarketing does it:

Image of www.ducttapemarketing.com use of neuromarketing reciprocity tecnique
Image Source: Ducttapemarketing.com

4. Power of Emotions

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion (Dale Carnegie).” Boy, was he right! How often do we turn a blind eye to logical reasoning and get obsessed by something completely useless simply because it’s cute? Or stop at the supermarket to get some milk and end up carrying 2 bags full of products?

In fact, we are more human than we think. Ads that appeal to emotions are proven to be more effective than rational ones, but only if those emotions are positive, not negative. People are more willing to buy when they subconsciously associate the brand with feelings of comfort, safety, pleasure, or joy. This is why many marketers bend over backwards to create sentimental commercials and funny billboards. Needless to say, it works.

How you can use it: Obviously, emotions you put in your writing influence how your readers treat your blog. If you want to get positive and thankful readers, you should first feel that happiness yourself (law of reciprocity). If there’s no inspiration in you, chances are high that your writing will not touch or motivate your readers.

Apart from approaching your writing with the positive mindset, you can also use various neuro-linguistic tricks to pull the right emotional levers. Here are some of them:

5. Hot-hand effect

Nobody wants to hang out with losers, let alone buy from them. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to establish yourself as a successful and prosperous brand, and the hot-hand fallacy tells us that it is enough to win once to make the world think you’re a champion.  

According to Jeremy Smith, “the “hot-hand fallacy” (also known as the “hot hand phenomenon” or “hot hand”) is the fallacious belief that a person who has experienced success has a greater chance of further success in additional attempts.

If you achieved something once, many people would presume that you are sure to win next time as well. And, of course, everyone wishes to go with the winners. This is how you get more customers and Facebook followers.  

How you can use it: A good way to establish credibility is to add logos, trust badges, awards, and stuff like that to your blog. Such things look really impressive and help to build a reputation of a winner, since your readers associate your brand with other successful companies, and a part of their good reputation automatically gets assigned to you.

Another thing that helps to join the big leagues is guest posting and influencer marketing. This one sort of goes hand in hand with logos, certificates, and trust badges, since if your partner with the big fish, displaying that on your blog will have a HUGE impact on your reputation. This is an example of how you can do it:

Image of logos of well known brands using the neuromarketing hot hand technique

6. Ambiguity Effect.

As Simplicable states, “The ambiguity effect is a tendency to avoid choices that involve uncertainty.” In simple words, people like knowing exactly what will happen if they make this or that decision. What they don’t like is risks, unpredictability, and complications.

The more customers know about certain products, the higher are the chances that they will buy, even if there are cheaper or better alternatives, but certain information (e.g. country of origin) is yet to be found. Most people won’t Google. They will simply buy what they already know.

How you can use it: Remember all those readability rules that teach us to write 25 word sentences and 3 sentence long paragraphs? Well, it’s definitely time to remember them. Do not confuse your readers with long, complex sentences and bulky paragraphs, use plenty of whitespace, avoid jargon, explain complicated concepts with the help of metaphors. In other words, make your content as clear and understandable as possible.

Apart from that, offer one clear call to action and don’t give your readers too many options to choose from. Instead of helping to make a choice, it will cause “decision paralysis” and make them completely unable to decide. The problem is that choosing among more than 2 different options makes readers work hard and think, and working hard is the last thing they want to do when reading blogs.

7. Processing Difficulty Effect.

This one sort of contradicts the ambiguity effect, but, on the other hand, it even complements it. This theory (or rather a scientific fact) states that the harder it is for us to process the information, the better we remember it.

It happens because we spend more time thinking about this particular piece of content, and thus it sticks in my mind for a longer time. The more effort we put, the more precious the information becomes.  

How to use it: This doesn’t mean, however, that you should ignore all the readability rules mentioned above and write complicated articles that no one can understand. Instead, write longer, more informative, and actionable posts that would stun your readers and give them some food for thought. Aim at no less than 2000 words and cover your topic in as much detail as you possibly can.

 Final words

If you own a blog, you definitely want it to become a number one resource in the industry. And, you probably spend your days (and nights) writing in-depth posts, checking if you’re already on the front page of Google, and writing outreach emails.

However, I hope this little glimpse into what’s going on in your readers’ heads will make your life easier. Have you ever used any hacks like this? What else do you recommend? Let me know in the comments down below!

Author Bio: Jenna Brandon is a blogger, copywriter, and digital marketer at Writology.com. When she’s not busy writing articles and studying modern marketing trends, she cooks pizza or goes hiking with her friends. Jenna is also an avid traveler, and she is secretly Italian at heart.

5 Ways of Using Word Clouds to Enhance Digital Marketing

Word Clouds For Digital Marketing:

Word clouds are a great creative tool that many of us love to play around with. They generate an image composed of words from content that has been submitted in the tool. The size of individual words in the word cloud indicates its frequency or importance.

However, word clouds are also very useful tools for content creation, brand evaluation, competitor analysis, SEO keyword targeting and customer insight.

1. Marketing Content:

Finding images that are suitable for your blog or social media posts can be time consuming and problematic as many images are protected by copyright and have permissions which restrict usage. However, we know from research that blog posts with images have much higher engagement levels and are more likely to be shared. So, to save time and money copy and paste your new blog post into a word cloud to create a free and unique image for your new content.

2. Evaluate Your Value Proposition:

Word clouds are also useful to evaluate how well your value proposition messages are embedded in your content.  Check how well your brand messages are being communicated by plugging in your website address or social media URL.

Image of word cloud for Conversion-Uplift.co.uk homepage
Word cloud of Conversion-uplift.co.uk using jasondavies.com

 

World cloud tools like Tagxedo allow you to input your Twitter and social media feeds. This can highlight the value of the content you are sharing and allow you to identify the themes that are occurring most often. Do these correspond with how you want to be perceived by your social media followers?

Analyse your LinkedIn profile in a word cloud generator to ensure your profile communicates a professional tone and is using the best words to promote your expertise.

If you have a Yelp page, use a word cloud to assess how your customers describe your service.

3. SEO Keyword Audit:

Word clouds are a great SEO tool as they instantly indicate which words are most prominent in your marketing content and how Google or other search engines are likely to assess your content.

4. Competitor Research:

Just as you can evaluate your own marketing content and keywords using a word cloud, you can also use the same approach to undertake some competitor research.  Plug in your competitor’s URL into a word cloud to identify the keywords they are targeting and how consistent their value proposition is communicated.

Image of word cloud of sitetuners.com
Wordcloud of www.sitetuners.com using Tagcrowd.com

5. Analysing Customer Feedback:

Customer feedback is not just collected through online polls and surveys. Customer conversations are also a great source of feedback, whether via telephone calls, live chat, product reviews or emails. You will probably be surprised at the number of sources potentially available to you and the volume of feedback.

Don’t let the volume of feedback put you off as word clouds are an excellent means for processing verbatim customer conversations to obtain quick and clear insights. Such conversations can be a great source of insights for developing hypothesis for A/B and multivariate tests.

However, before proceeding with using a word cloud to analyse customer conversations it is wise to do some preparatory work to clean up your transcripts or survey responses. Otherwise you may find that duplicate feedback or similar meaning terms reduce the effectiveness of your word cloud at communicating key insights.

Duplicate Responses:

It’s not uncommon for some visitors to answer a survey or leave feedback multiple times. Unless this is dealt with a single customer can skew your analysis, especially if they have repeated the same comments on multiple occasions.

This is often easy to spot if the respondent has to leave an email address or another unique identifier. Once you have identified the culprits go through and review their feedback and delete all but the first response. It’s better to be consistent with your method as otherwise you will be bringing in subjective bias into the analysis.

Combining Terms:

I once launched a poll on a homepage on a mobile responsive website by asking the open-ended question; “What is missing on this page?” We received lots of comments from mobile visitors about being unable to login, sign in or see the login box. All of these responses obviously related to the same issue and so it was sensible to combine the terms. This can easily be done by using the “Replace” function in a spreadsheet.

It’s also worth looking out for plurals and replacing such terms with the singular version of the word.  Acronyms can also be problematic if some respondents use the full phrase and so search for such inconsistencies to replace acronyms where necessary.

Weighting Results:

When presenting word clouds you sometimes want to give more weight to certain terms because of what you know about their impact on your business. For instance you may want to give more prominence to feedback on your most popular webpages or blogs in your word cloud.

Word cloud tool Wordle allows you to change the weighting of certain words by making adjustments in the advanced mode. For example you could weight words according page views to reflect the popularity of a page or blog they relate to. However, make sure you make this clear when you present your word cloud as otherwise this can create a misleading impression of the feedback received.

Conclusion:

Word clouds are flexible and free tools that can save you time and money. Before you splash out money on buying competitor analysis, SEO keyword audits or text analytics tools try out word clouds first.

Below are nine of the best free word cloud solutions available.

The 9 Best Free Word Cloud Tools:

My recommended word cloud is Wordclouds.com as this is an easy to use but flexible tool with some great advanced settings. Visually it also looks superior to most other tools.

Image of word cloud generated by Wordclouds.com
Word cloud from blog post using Wordclouds.com

 

  1. ABCya!:A word cloud for kids that may be relevant if your website is of interest to children. Type or paste text into the box below and press the arrow button to view the word cloud generated.
  2. Jason Davies: A great tool if you want to generate a word cloud from a blog or website.
  3. Tagcrowd: Allows you to set specific criteria for your cloud such as language, maximum number of words and minimum frequency.  Allows you to create a word cloud from a webpage URL, Twitter ID and other social media feeds.
  4. Tagxedo: Create word clouds from a URL, Twitter ID, Del.icio.us ID, news, search, RSS feed, uploading text or enter it yourself.
  5. WordArt (Formerly Tagul):  A word cloud generator with advanced features including words inside words, rich font choices, roll-over effects, custom shapes, colours and fonts and export in vector formats.
  6. Tricklar: This site claims to use high quality media sources from around the world to generate word clouds. I found it difficult to find words or phrases that it would generate a word cloud for and so maybe only useful for popular subjects.
  7. Wordclouds.com: This is a free word cloud generator which can be used with most browsers. On the homepage got o “File” and upload a document or PDF, paste text (by File dropdown), input a URL or amend the word list (dropdown). In the word list you can even add links to individual words by entering the URL after the word.
  8. WorditOut: Advanced filters allows you to filter the text to display or remove words and change their importance. Select your own layout by choosing your own colours, fonts, and sizes or let WorditOut find a random look for you.
  9. Wordle: A simple word cloud generator which allows you to set the weights of words.

Thank you for reading my post and I hope you found it useful. Please share using the social media icons below if you like this post.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital marketing optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.ukpartypoker.com and Bgo.com. He uses a variety of techniques, including web analytics, personas, customer journey analysis and customer feedback to improve a website’s conversion rate.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@conversion-uplift.co.uk. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch, see his LinkedIn profile or connect on Facebook.

5 Reasons To Build A Business Blog Today

Big business abandons blogging.

Blogging is dead.

Is it true? Yes, big companies are abandoning their blogs, probably because the ROI is difficult to calculate and shareholders complain too much.

No, blogging is no more extinct than the last time it was declared a dead donkey. Hasn’t social media marketing taken over? Forget it. Social media is for fun, not solving urgent needs.

Blogging wins the conversion battle every time. A business blog is still the most efficient way for a small company to generate prospects and then to convert them into buyers.

1.    Blogging Improves Google Search Results

Blogging is good for search results in many ways.

Each new blog post means that you have another indexed page on Google’s computers. The more text you have on your site, the more likely it is that Google will judge it as a good match for a given search query.

Google also takes more notice of recent website posts than ones from the golden age of steam. Frequently updated blog posts are the best way better search engine results pages (SERPS).

Ranking higher in Google is more than just a vanity metric. If you rank higher, you get more clicks, more traffic, and more leads.

2.    Blogging Brings You More Traffic

 

Image Source:
Image Source – Free PDF download:

The chart above is from a Hubspot report that you can download for free. It shows that sites with more pages get more traffic. A blog is the best way to grow your site gradually and naturally.

A blog post is a magnet that keeps on pulling, forever.

Image of chart showing proportion of contacts generated by recent and previous posts
Image Source:

This Hubspot chart shows this magnetic effect. Every post you write adds to the overall lead-attracting power that your blog has. Your old posts will still rank in search engines and bring in new leads 12 months down the line.

 

3.    Blogging Builds Your Reputation

This Forbes post gives various ways to increase your reputation. The one that stands out is “Go out of your way to help others reach their goals.” This is how your blog helps your rep.

People read your blog for what they get out of it. If you are writing to help people, then they will have more regard for you and will be more likely to buy your services than those of a less helpful competitor.

Some companies spend millions building a brand that is instantly recognizable in an attempt to link brand and reputation. Blogging is not free because of the time and resources you need to do it well, but it is a lower cost option than social media and television advertising campaigns.

You don’t need to establish your brand/reputation with everyone on the entire planet who breathes. You only need to reach your niche consumers, and that can be done for less than you think by blogging.

4.    Blogging Builds Your Email List

If you have an email list, then you can use an email marketing platform to send them marketing emails. There are as many statistics relating to the positive ROI of emails as there are fish in the sea. Here are just a few, including “For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment. – EmailExpert “[Infographic] 10 Must Know Email Marketing Stats 2014” (2014)”

If someone subscribes to receive your emails, then that person is interested in your services. The act of subscribing filters out the time-wasters from those who are serious.

Having a helpful blog is the best way to encourage prospects to subscribe to your emails.

 

5.    Blogging Builds Customer Relationships

Nobody buys from someone they don’t trust. To build trust, you need to build a relationship with each client.

Building trust takes time and many marketing ‘touches’. Buyers need to feel they know you and like you before they eventually trust you.

Blog subscribers will see your focus on fixing problems that they and other readers have. Their respect for you will grow, especially when they see you responding to comments on your blog posts.

Starting Your Blog

You may well be short of time, but your business needs a blog. This Conversion-Uplift post describes how a blog and social media campaigns can work together. You need to use both channels, just like you need nuts as well as bolts to build anything from a construction kit.

You don’t have the time? According to this guru you can build a blog in 47 minutes. This post gives you screenshots and the exact process you need to replicate Neil’s building process.

The time to make new posts to your blog is significant, but so are the leads that it will bring. Another screenshot from Hubspot’s free and downloadable Marketing Benchmarks Report makes the point very well.

Image of chart that shows how much more traffic a site with 51 to 100 pages gets compared to one with a site with 50 or fewer pages
Image Source – Free PDF download:

 

The more pages on your blog, the more business leads you will get.

Thank you for reading this post and if you found it useful please share using the social media icons on the page.

 

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

8 Reasons To Start Blogging Today!

image of cartoon of William Shakespear considering whether to blog

  • It’s FREE and easy to set up and maintain. Using a blog platform is very easy and it’s simple to choose from a range of free design templates. When you want to change the template you can do this for all your posts at the click of a mouse. For the more advanced bloggers some platforms also support free plugins or extras. These extend and expand the functionality of your blog. Examples include audio players, Facebook like buttons, Retweet buttons and language translators. WordPress.org which is one of the most popular platforms supports a wide range of plugins (see link at the end of this post).
  •  You can establish a network of bloggers on your subject of interest. By allowing other people to submit posts to your blog you can benefit from crowd sourcing and attract more content from other bloggers.
  • Become a leader rather than a follower. You are generating unique and hopefully interesting content. You will join a relatively small, but growing group of people who generate new content via social media.
  • There are many feedback mechanisms. To help you understand how your content is being received there are many feedback mechanisms including comments, ask me a question, and track backs (links from other sites to your blog).
  • It enhances your public profile and improves your online credibility. Blogging allows you to show the world what you know about a topic or interest. You can demonstrate how you can structure a persuasive and engaging story or informative article. You can then post your blogs on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites you use.
  • It improves the reach of your Tweets. When I RT someone’s link I often only get 4 or 5 clicks, and a single RT if I am lucky. When I tweet a new post from my own blog I normally get over 500 clicks the first time I tweet it. I can also rely on a few RTs depending upon how popular it is.
  • It keeps you focused during major life events. Personally I found blogging helpful when I recently left a job. It helped me focus my energy into a positive activity. You don’t have to blog about the life event, I didn’t. I decided to use it as a way of expressing my views on subjects that I felt strongly about and thought some of my Twitter followers might find of interest.  It has worked best where I did some research, read a book or an article, and then put my personal thoughts down in my blog.
  • Finally, it’s fun. I enjoy being able to express my views in a blog. It’s great therapy! Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it as otherwise it becomes a chore.

Thanks to Lisa Radin (@milguy23) for giving me the idea to write this blog and thank you for reading it.

I recently came across

9 tips to help you experience the power of blogging 

which gives some great advice. For those more advanced bloggers who want to use some plugins for

WordPress

here is a useful article on WordPress impressive blog plugins.

Thank you reading my post. If you found this useful please share with the social media icons on the page.

You can view my full Digital Marketing and Optimization Toolbox here.

To browse links to all my posts on one page please click here.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.