Your Marketing Secret Weapon (& How to “Prime” this Latent Persuasion Superpower)
Is your brain working for you or against you?
Let me give you an example.
Have you ever left your house and then asked yourself after about five minutes on the road…
“Oh crap, did I forget to the lock the door?”
And then you go through back-and-forth mental gymnastics, debating whether or not you really locked the door.
In fact, sometimes the whole ordeal bugs you enough that you literally turn your car around and speed home.
Nine (point nine) times out of ten, it turns out the door was locked all along, right?
Happens to me all the time.
Oh, and here’s another one…
Have you ever gone out to run some errands and only to return home realizing that you forgot the ONE thing you meant to pick up?
Milk. Eggs. Toilet paper.
You name it.
Again, it happens more often than we’d like to admit.
This strange phenomenon is called “highway hypnosis.”
It’s that autopilot that overtakes you on the road as your mind wanders.
Sure, you’ll do everything that needs to be done to get from “Point A” to “Point B” such as breathing, signaling, and not running through red lights.
However, once you arrive you can’t recall your journey.
It’s like you were asleep (because you kinda were).
That’s the power of your non-conscious brain at work.
Knowing this, let’s explore how we can turn the tables on our unconscious…
Why marketers need to take control of their unconscious actions
It’s a bit freaky how much of our behavior is influenced by factors that seem to be totally beyond our control or cognition.
And that’s the key word here:
As marketers, it’s crucial that we take the time to understand how to get a handle on our unconscious actions.
Something as simple as writing an ad or broadcast email involves an insane amount of brainpower—doing so can feel akin to running a marathon if your head isn’t in the right place.
Seriously, your brain actually burns a ton of calories.
Therefore, the best thing marketers can do is to learn how to “prime” themselves to create more compelling work quicker, easier (and maybe even simpler).
Understanding the latent power of “priming”
In short, the act of priming means to prepare for some sort of action.
And priming, persuasion, and sales go hand in hand.
In fact, even your local grocery store represents an awesome example of how brick-and-mortar businesses prime their patrons.
Think about how a grocery store is set up…
As soon as you step foot in the door, you’re greeted with the smell of baked bread and freshly cut flowers.
Meanwhile, you have to trek the entire perimeter of the store to gather the items you need for a successful grocery trip.
That’s no accident.
Grocery stores are intentionally designed for you to spend as much time there as possible.
But it’s that initial pleasant attack on your senses that draws you in.
That’s priming in action.
These seemingly minor nudges may not seem like much on the surface, but they result in significant unconscious behavior from buyers (and significant profits for sellers).
And here’s take home point: your prospects can be primed too!
In fact, we’ve talked about some psychological triggers you can use to encourage your prospects to take action.
What about you, though?
What are you doing to prime yourself and take control of your unconscious brain?
If the answer is “nothing,” it’s time to consider what priming can mean for you.
The importance of “self-priming” for marketers
Let’s be clear:
Self-priming is about much more than simply psyching yourself up.
Effective marketing requires you to get your creative juices flowing.
So when your mind’s not in the right place, whatever you’re working on is likely to suffer.
When it comes time to sit down and write ads or copy, an empty screen is often your worst enemy.
There’s an old quote from Hemingway that speaks to this.
When asked in an interview what the most frightening thing he’d ever encountered was, he responded…
“A blank piece of paper.”
Can you relate?
Self-priming saves you from starting from scratch every single time you work
Heck, there’s plenty that I do to prime myself to write blog posts and emails.
For starters, let’s talk about environment…
I have a habit of taking a walk down by the river before I write any sort of marketing copy.
Although the walk itself clears my head, the psychology of color comes into play as the flowing blue expanse has a calming effect on me.
It sounds corny, but it’s true.
By the time I make it back home, I feel completely refreshed and ready to go.
It’s all about taking control of your brain and creating the proper conditions for yourself.
There’s a classic study about priming in students.
In short, students have been found to perform significantly better on standardized tests when they take their exams in the same classroom they studied in.
Easy enough, right?
Maybe your own personal routine involves sitting at your desk with your productivity playlist blaring (like me).
Perhaps you feel more comfortable when you’re working from a local coffee shop, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of fellow creatives (not like me).
Either way, you’re better poised for stronger ads and copy when you take control of your surroundings to tell your brain, “Okay, this is what we’re doing now.”
But here’s the thing:
This sort of environmental priming is only half the battle.
Creating the secret weapon of your marketing arsenal
When I sit down to write, I usually need more than just my stroll to get me started.
I almost always reach for my “swipe file.”
That’s where the good stuff is.
If you’re not familiar, a swipe file is basically a personal repository of ads and sales letters that marketers use for inspiration.
They’re the bread and butter of copywriters and serve as awesome motivation when you’re sitting down to work on copy.
Every marketer needs their own personal swipe file.
And creating one is much easier than you might think.
That incredible email subject line that you couldn’t help but click?
That 10,000-word blog post that kept you scrolling from beginning to end?
That YouTube ad that you almost skipped but watched all the way through?
Honestly, a lot my personal swipe file comes from right here at Elite Marketing Pro.
Sometimes I’ll watch an episode (or two) of our “Daily Dose of Awesome” on our Facebook Page to get in the right mindset for a new post.
Seriously: if you aren’t tuning in daily, I’d highly recommend it.
I’ll also spend some time in my inbox reading a few emails from our Chief Copywriter, Vitaly.
Putting together a swipe file is one of the best habits any marketer can adopt
Swipe files encourage you to continuously engage with proven marketing materials, and are a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration for your own ads.
Also, there are plenty of tools out there to help you create a digital repository of great ads.
For example, I use Evernote’s “Web Clipper” to quickly grab screenshots of ads, landing pages, blog posts, offers, etc., I find while browsing the Web.
As a quick aside, the purpose of your swipe file is to prime you for your own marketing efforts.
It’s not about plagiarism, which is obviously a major no-no.
Having a swipe file handy takes the pressure off your shoulders to be a genius (hint: you don’t need to be creative to write effective ads).
Drawing inspiration from existing ads and copy makes it easier to face that dreaded blank page we talked about earlier.
And here’s the bottom line…
Priming puts YOU in control of your marketing efforts
Once you understand the principles of priming and put them into action, you set yourself up to create your best work.
At a glance, priming may seem like little more than fluff…
But seriously, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
I’d wager 99% of marketers could write stronger copy and convert more customers if they habituated the priming strategies outlined in this post.
And speaking of priming…
How would you like to take an over-the-shoulder tour of…
Our highest-converting ads, landing pages, and offers?
We put together a point-for-point tutorial revealing our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE traffic workshop, which is hosted by none other than Tim Erway, our co-founder and CEO.
Simply pick a time and register right here.
You’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.
We’ve used the exact formula to turn a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.
And Tim will show exactly how we did it.
Plus, you’ll have a massive swipe file after watching the presentation.
So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Until next time,
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro