Plain-spoken Online Conversion Rate Newsletter - covering web design, sales, marketing, copywriting, usability, SEO, relationship marketing and consumer psychology.


Free Your GROK

Left, right, left, right. Nope. We're not gearing up for a military review. We're going to talk about your brain and how you write to the "heart" of the brain, so the "mind" of the brain will follow. Why? Because however much you humans rationalize a buying decision, you always make it based on emotions.

So creep past the security guard of the analytical, logical, linear, give-me-the-facts left brain. Speak to the emotional, intuitive dimension every human possesses and relies on - write to the right brain. And then listen to the fabulous tune your cyber-cash register can sing … Ca-ching, Ca-ching, Ca-ching!

We know a lot about your brain. We know it has two hemispheres - left and right - and we have a pretty good map of what goes on in the left brain, with its centers for sensory input and associated memory, motor coordination, planning, judgment, and emotion. We say it's the seat of logic, objectivity and details. We know less about the map of the right brain, the seat of intuition, subjectivity and big pictures. But we know the left brain is always checking things out with the right brain. Just as the child glances at the parent for approval she's on the right track.

Now hear this: Human persuasion is a right brain process. To persuade effectively, you must let your emotional hair down and snare your prospects by singing the right brain's song.

How to do that? I'll give you some pointers my dear friend Roy Williams, one pumped-up right-brain dude, shared with me on how to free your Grok! Ok, so he's got a thing for beagles instead of Martians, but you’ll get the picture…

Just Do It

First, don't be afraid. Just write something. Anything. If it's worth doing at all, it doesn't matter if you do it badly at first. You'll get better at it along the way. It's called practice. We all gotta start somewhere and it's a heck of a lot better than being stuck in analysis paralysis!

The Flow of the Process

Don't even dream of beginning at the beginning. Instead, begin at the end. Decide what you are trying to accomplish - the ultimate purpose of the communication - so you know where and how it needs to end. Remember Alice?

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.

`I don't much care where--' said Alice.

`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

(Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

How many movies have you seen that have a great plot, interesting characters, thoughtful dialogue, and the whole kit and caboodle go down the drain in a lousy ending? What a disappointment. And the left-brain stomps in to take charge, discounting all that came before. Knowing where to end is that important!

When you've got your end, you can begin. Where? Anywhere. Pick a word and go. The more unusual the better. If you're stuck, open the morning paper, place your finger on any word, think relevance and where you are going, and voila! You’re on your way.

Suppose you've got a really cool computer gadget that allows dial-up users to surf at super-sonic speeds. Start your email announcement using the word "behead" (see below for a solution one of our Future Now guys came up with).

What to Leave Out

Much as you know and love what you do, it's easy to get trapped trying to convey everything in one fell swoop. You need to leave stuff out. First, folks can only maintain their interest for so long. Second, when you tell them something they already know, you bore them (see the left-brain marching in). Third, the greatest magic is often present in what is left unsaid. Roy Williams says: "Speak to the customer in the language of the customer about what matters to the customer." And the unsaid magic? Think iceberg: one-eighth above water, seven-eighths below, but nobody would mistake what it is.

End, begin, omit. Got it? Now revisit some of those ideas about revving up your writing and start writing "right." Go on, free your Grok!


"Behead?" He puzzled for the briefest moment. "You've beheaded the monster of frustration. You’ve just installed our gadget and, suddenly, surfing the web doesn’t take forever."


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GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledges-serif" and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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