Cognitive fluency, your brain, and direct marketing

“Cognitive fluency” means brains like things easy.  Easy things make brains happy.  Happy brains make people do things we want them to do (proof is here). 

Options of three things are easy.  Brains Goldlocks it and pick the one in the middle – not too much, not too little.  There’s a study that shows this

Repeating things makes them easier.  Seeing something once makes you more likely to like it a second time.  Thrice is even better.  Even if it is nonsense, you like it because you’ve seen it.  

The easier something is, the more it convinces.  That’s also been shown.

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Image credit: The Boston Globe.

For example, reading Arial makes us think doing something will be easy.  Reading a script font makes us think it will be hard.  The study is here.  

Simply named stocks do better than tough ones.  Simply named people become president.  More info here.

Also, repeating things makes them easier.

So make it easy for your donors.

Have people looking at your donate button.

Repeat things.  Because repeating things makes them easier.

Build up to your ask.  Small steps like email petitions increase donations.  

Tell people what other people are doing.  That’s social proof.  Brains like social proof because it makes things easy.

Just like repetition does.

Make your text a very different color from the background.  Because this stinks.  If it’s too close, it blends in.  Blending is bad.  Reading easily is good.  

Bigger fonts are also better.

Write at the lowest grade level you can without sounding Dick and Jane.  Jeff Brooks, in his very good book, recommends 4th to 6th grade level.

Some may call this stupid.  But it’s not dumbing down.  It speeds your donor up.  It makes it easy for their brain.  And that makes you more persuasive.

So, small words.  Short sentences.  Fragments of sentences, even.

Your high school English teacher might disagree.  If s/he wants a say, s/he needs to donate.

Please make your donors’ brains happy.  Make it easy for them.  Then they will make it easy for you.

Cognitive fluency, your brain, and direct marketing

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