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Psychological Triggers In WebSites

 2:47 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Read this over..it seems pretty good. Or maybe I'm just a victim of the psychological triggers..


Also, programmers be sure to see this..[URL=http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum29/78.htm]Here[/URL]

Keep it real.
Graham Hurlburt



 3:05 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

The copy had me curious and motivated to learn more -- and then I hit the page that told me I could get a special deal if I order before February 25.

That one glitch on the date nutralized everything that had me hooked up until then.


 3:19 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Yes, this one has got me thinking.. How do I know if I am under the psychological influences of the article and am buying that book for nothing..But then on the other hand, if I am buying the book the psychological influence has to be pretty strong and worth learning about..

Any thoughts?


 3:37 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've been writing marketing copy for over a decade, and I'm seriously thinking about learning what Sugarman has to say. Every angle I can get for my craft, you know?

I thought the technique of putting all those "positively loaded" words in boldface was interesting. At first, I took it as a rather transparent gimmick, but then I noticed it still was having a positive effect on me.


 3:48 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've bought several of Mark Joyner's (Guerilla Marketing) books and even though his writing style may seem hokie, the stuff is always something that I've learned from. I use some of his techniques and they really do work. If you're into copy writing it's worth a shot.

BTW is that an affiliate click tracking url to roibot=ReturnOnInvestmentBot.com


 4:19 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how they did it, but I was definatly left with a positive attitude towards their product. I mean, for $27.00, it could be worth checking out. These pyschological methods could prove to be quite powerful when implementing them on commercial sites. Well I don't know about you guys but my order is as good as placed. They sold me, what can I say? I hope I will soon be able to sell my services like they sell books.

>is that an affiliate click tracking url to roibot=ReturnOnInvestmentBot.com

You know it might be..that page was sent to me in a newsletter I just joined so I don't really know what they are all about.


 6:10 am on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Sharp eyes BH. The URL works just as well for our purposes without the tracking info on it, so it's been clipped.

Graham, if you get the book before me, I'd love to hear what you think -- if there's real substance behind the hype.

The last time I had anything to do with a former CIA man, it was the creator of an AS/400 system our retail company bought to tie mail order and street store operations to the same perpetual inventory and GL. It was darned good software, too! I guess the CIA is good training for business.


 6:52 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Good morning,

Yes, I will definatly tell ya if its worth 27 bone and if its what it was all cracked up to be.


 6:52 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

By the way,

You say that you have been writing marketing copy for over a decade now, what have you learned? Is there any special tricks you have picked up along the way?

I am investing in some marketing schemes pretty soon and would like to know if there was anything to do to optimize my copy?

Thank you


 10:26 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

>I thought the technique of putting all those "positively loaded" words in boldface was interesting. At first, I took it as a rather transparent gimmick, but then I noticed it still was having a positive effect on me.

That's interesting. It did *not* have a positive effect on me. It annoyed me to no end. Had it not been for this discussion, I probably wouldn't have even read the first paragraph.

And boldfacing words doesn't seem like something you want to do on the web because people are so use to seeing bolded or underlined words and believing they can click on them. When you can't click on them, it is annoying.

I didn't think this article would encourage me to buy this book at all, it was full of marketing dribble and the only thing that came to my mind was [big]SCAM SCAM SCAM![/big]

I can't imagine how things written this way would encourage anyone to buy anything. It reminds me of those stupid credit card things you get in the mail: a bunch of marketing cr*p on the front and the only informative thing on them is the box on the back with the real facts.

And I can't believe you guys think this thing had anything to say! It blows my mind you would actually consider learning how to write piffle like this.

*G gets a hold of her temper and thinks for a little bit.*

On the other hand,

the writing style appears to have worked on the majority of the people in this particular discussion -- even though it didn't work on me.

The marketing copy would not cause me to want to give this book a look, but the fact that you guys were conned into believing the copy is wonderful does. (Ya gotta work on the majority..right?)

And hey, it might not be such a bad thing to know how people are going to try to control you...If you know how the game is played, you will always be ahead.

On a somewhat brighter note, however, this article *did* remind me of an old saying:

Your job is not to lead a horse to water to make him drink...your job is to make the horse believe he is thirsty.



 11:02 pm on Mar 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> Is there any special tricks you have picked up along the way?

I wrote about a few tricks here a few months ago in this thread [webmasterworld.com].

Besides that, I'd say always read the copy aloud. Or even better, listen to someone else read the copy aloud. It should sound like natural speech. Or maybe even like poetry or song lyrics, without the rhyme.

"Boil the copy down". Write freely on first draft, and be prepared for about 10 re-writes. Great copy is hard work, but when you've got it, it just leaps from the page.

The best copy often comes from team writing, not one whiz kid. At least have an editor, if not a co-writer.

Principal "don'ts":
1) Avoid passive verbs.
2) Avoid long sentences with lots of modifying phrases. Nothing should require the reader to "carry" one piece of information in their mind while they wait for another piece to complete it.
3) This is an often stated copy writing truism, but it's still violated every day: talk mostly about benefits, rather than features. That is, describe your reader's life as they use your product, rather than just describing the product.
4) Target, target, target. Always write for your ideal prospect, rather than writing for a generic "everybody". What you are trying to do is create this response: "Hey, you're talking about me!"

I like to use the "grammar" features in MS Word to check for the grade level of my copy. Non-technical copy should come in at 8th to 9th grade. Technical copy should be under 12th grade.


 12:56 am on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

>full of marketing dribble and the only thing that came to my mind was SCAM SCAM SCAM!

The reason it didn't work was because you knew what you were looking for and you didn't give it a chance. I am going to sound like I am cheating my customers here but its just business. The unsuspecting consumers won't be as skeptical as you were. So, yes they will be taken away by the physchological triggers producing more sales. So maybe this form of marketing isn't for you. But I truly believe its worth looking into. By the way, that is a good saying. It is pretty accurate of this marketing method.

Thank you for the tips Ted. I don't have very much experience in copy writing so I have a guidline now which should prove to be quite useful when I get down to it and actually write these things.


 3:31 am on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

Taken from this thread:

this thread [webmasterworld.com]
One of the best ad copy, advertising books is "Tested
Advertising Methods" by John Caples.
Go to your library or get a copy for about $5.00
at half.com

I did just that and have enjoyed reading and learning from this book. I've been running side by side google adwords programs and it's just amazing how a slight change here or a minor tweak there affect the click through ratio.

Google's program is a very low cost way to refine your ad copy to figure out what sells best before you spend a lot of money on any advertising campaign.


 4:06 am on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

I tend to agree with Grindiron on this one. There was so much marketing copy there, I honestly got bored... it all sounded so ungenuine, and so reminiscent of marketing scam copy, so i never clicked on past the second page..

That's not being rude. Just an honest opinion.

It may also be coloured by the fact that I am reading from outside the US. And reads like generic US marketing copy that we may get on US imported late night shopping channels. Obviously it works or else we would not be seeing so much of it on the Web.

As far as giving the copy "a chance", I did go on with an open mind. But I would have preferred to see the facts up front, than being asked to click on.. and being faced with more marketing copy preamble. Concise statements of benefits.

Im not sure that the secret of this technqiue is that readers have invested so much time in reading before they get to an order form they sometimes order so the last 20 minutes would not be such a waste of time!

It may well work with some Americans and my reaction may not be typical. So please see it as an individual reaction.


 4:44 am on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

>reads like generic US marketing copy

I went in after grnidone's post and Grahams response. I had a general inclination to be biased towards rating it as a positive marketing influence, but I ended up slightly on the negative side. I chalked it up to being jaded on these marketing cues, having been force-fed many of them in sales training classes. Despite my personal reaction, my assumption is that the lessons will work and are worthwhile additions to any marketers bag o' tricks. I have had my faith in human reasoning destroyed many times over by our near-Pavlovian responses to "generic US marketing copy."

You know the one that kills me? The TV ads that run day after day, yet say "If you call in the next 10 minutes, you'll also receive blah-blah-blah..."


 5:13 am on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

yes i tend to agree with Rc that the evidence suggests it does work... but with whom I dont really know, and havent got the time to check the research study data...

One thing is for sure. My week's visit to the US last week provided major culture shock of selling and advertising in the US.

TV ads did seem to use the same system as the pitch we are discussing a lot. It is SO different from the ad and promotion pitches in the Asia Pacific and Europe which are more subtle, "refined", and (OK shoot me!) - intelligent - despite the US being one of the most educated cultures in the world. (No value judgement here.. just struggling to describe the differences - and also leaving "effectiveness" on the side for the present.)

My lesson was to be careful when marketing internationally. Different cultures, markets, and customers, react differently to the same appeals, and it may not be in the way you presume.


 6:49 pm on Mar 26, 2001 (gmt 0)

>The reason it didn't work was because you knew what you were looking for and you didn't give it a chance.

I disagree. The boldfaced words really did annoy me to no end. First, I tried to click the bolds. When that didn't work, I tried to make sentences only out of the bolded words. When that didn't work, I thought "What the h*ll?"

I went in thinking "Hey, Tedster liked it...it's probably pretty good." I think that is why it really blew my mind when I saw what it was. (My thinking after: Tedster is a very intelligent guy...but he likes this?)

I think I actually went into it leaning to the positive, not the negative.



 3:12 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

You have to wonder though, Sugarman just wrote some of the article. It isn't his site. What did he learn as a CIA Op that sold millions of sun glasses and could be implemented on websites to make them more profitable? Am I the only one that finds this an intreging business opportunity? And I figure he prolly knows more about the way the mind works than we web designers do. So put your hand up if you are an expert on the matter :). I thought so.


 3:58 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

Don't ignore the colors, and the page shift from center, to left on the second page, from cool inviting colors, to this is "hot" orange. Then again I still can't see, my eyes have a burned in orange block now ...


 4:30 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

>orange (He used to work for Go)

Color triggers... good point! We have a short thread on women's colors [webmasterworld.com] that I think would tie in here.


 4:41 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> Tedster is a very intelligent guy...but he likes this?

No, I didn't really like it. But I did notice that I felt its influence, despite myself.

I still may check out what Sugarman has to say, but I doubt that I would ever write anything like this website's copy.


 9:07 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think it's pushing the salesmen's triggers, anyway. 'Killer tactics', 'guerilla marketing', and others like 'web warriors' are all phrases that make me laugh my head off. How about:
"Buy this book and You could be writing 'Che Guevara Copy' "


 9:25 am on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

Wow, web site colors! according to people around here colors have a major effect on psychological affect (as in affection) - and yes diff customer groups react differently to diff colors...

Intersting aside.

We get told never to use black in communications in Asia as it is the Chinese color for "death"..

Yeh sure.. problem is that black is the trendy color of yuppies and chuppies throughout Asian discos and restarants.

Blow me down, but Richard Li's
Pacific Century Cyberworks background (at least 6 months ago when we last looked) used a heavy black background.

Maybe that accounts for his present share price! -:)


 12:28 pm on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Chiyo,

>black ... is the Chinese color for "death"..

I thought White was the Chinese colour for Death. At Chinese funerals they all wear white clothes instead of black.

When I was living in Hong Kong all my Chinese friends would have a polite giggle at the Gwailo (me) when they saw my "white paper lantern light shades" at home.

Still, I could be wrong,



 1:17 pm on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

You are right Woz... white gets worn to funerals and is another bad luck color. Dont know why white gets worn to funerals maybe not to make things worse or to scare away the black spirits!

Blue is also sometimes seen to be a bad color. What have we got left? Red and Gold are generally seen as good colors..

A lot depends on the circumstance, but black seems the most universal (even in Wstern cultures) unlucky color.

They are based on superstitions. The younger people dont mind much in general. Obviously Richard dosent mind... Dont know about his pa.. the richest man in Hong Kong.


 7:58 pm on Mar 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

This is a really good thread....

I've tried to pay very close attention to colors over the last 18 months. For instance, I've found that deep green and medium brown provide strong cues for history and eco-tourism pages. Outdoor activity pages work well with grays and deep navy blues. We've already mentioned in the sepia tone thread that it conveys age and authenticity.


 4:36 am on Mar 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Yes and do you ever notice how in fast food restaurants the colors are always really bright and vivid? It makes the customers excited making them more impulsive.

The colors vary for different sites, the colors for a site that is concentrating on repeat visiters needs to have colors that are easier on the eyes, such as softer earth colors. Sites that are concentrating on optimizing customer's spending habits need to have bright, warm inviting colors. I remember there was a use for cooler colors but it has slipped my mind for now and I really have to go do my homework. So I don't have time to remember..

By the way, yes this has become a great thread.. very interesting and informative! Thanks guys!


 3:18 pm on Mar 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

I have been wondering, perhaps someone can tell me if this works. I was told about a embeding subliminal messages in the background of images so they can't be made out by the viewer by placing them in upside down, blurred and almost the same color as the background. When the person goes to sleep and his subconscious takes over it will desiphor the message and store it in his subconscious. Is there any truth to that?


 3:32 pm on Mar 28, 2001 (gmt 0)


Ever notice that restaurants that feed masses of people and depend on "turns" play fast-paced music in the background during the main dining hours? You gulp your food to the tempo of the music, they get you out faster. You have indigestion, they have your seat available for the next sheep in the chute.


I don't use subliminals, I do use watermark-style images in backgrounds.

Well, OK, maybe once. I no longer do the site, but I see they kept the background [lordspropedenton.com] I made for them.


 10:41 pm on Mar 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thats a great example of what I was talking about, except a little more bold. If you don't see what the message says your subconscious does. I hear it really helps in selling your service!

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