Last week I talked about shape-shifting lizards…

…and how viewing the world in a different, unique and interesting way will help attract customers to your online content.

If you missed it, take a look at this link.

As you’ll recall I wrote about how David Icke sees the world as run by humanoid lizard people…

But actually he’s not far wrong.

Truth is, you are part-lizard.

Yeah – YOU!

And all your customers are lizards, too.

Yeah – THEM!

I’m not picking a fight or anything. Honestly. Science will back me up on this…

There’s a really, really old part of our grey matter known as the reptilian brain. It’s shared by all animals, because it’s that early brain from which we all evolved.

The reptilian brain works without us being conscious of it – for instance, controlling body temperature, releasing hormones, operating the bowels and lungs.

In fact, it’s one of our three brains…

They include the limbic brain (that’s our mammalian brain, controlling our emotions) and also the neocortex (the bit we use for rational thought).

The operations centre of the reptilian brain is called the amygdala. When we are frightened, shocked or stressed it takes control, shutting down other functions.

In evolutionary terms, this was essential. When a sabre-toothed tiger leapt out from the bushes our Neanderthal ancestors’ bodies went into fight or flight mode – controlled by the reptilian brain – ensuring all our energies went into running really bloody fast.

Time has moved on, but this ancient bit of brain function still works with the emotional intellectual parts of the brain to influence our decisions.

Yes, we might live in a world of mobile phones, computers, lightbulbs, high-speed travel and ready meals… but modern life is very new – not even a couple of hundred years old.

In the time span of human evolution, it’s a blink of an eye.

We still have the same brains as our Stone Age forebears. And they’re not yet adapted for modern technological life.

Which is why your customer – by this I mean all active Internet users, and not Zen masters who live on remote mountains – lives in a state of constant existential dread and worry.

There’s 24-hour rolling feed of global horror with wars, market crashes, economic warnings, shock election results, terrorist attacks, deaths, murders, accidents, oil spills, plagues, terminal diseases and extreme weather vying for their momentary attention.

All of this chaos comes pinging onto your customers’ phones and computers, drip-fed via social media, RSS feeds, emails and alerts.

Then there’s all that personal worry…

The dread that they’re doing life wrong… they’re not good enough… they’re not educated enough… they’re not talented enough… they’ve missed the boat… they’re failures… they’ll get exposed as frauds… they need to be fitter, slimmer, healthier, better organised, richer and happier.

Meanwhile they live in a world of abundance – abundant food, abundant choice, abundant information. They can access products at any time or day from anywhere in the world.

And yet none of this abundance solves the problem.

It doesn’t make people calmer, or happier, or less afraid.

Choice is overwhelming. It only adds to our sense of helplessness.

Prehistoric humans didn’t have much choice. When they needed shelter, they built what they could with what was available. When they saw some ripe berries, they ate them.

They didn’t log onto three different review sites, spend ten minutes on Google then run it all through price comparison sites. They weren’t faced with 200 different berry-based foods, drinks and desserts.

This is why people live in a state of low-level panic and dread. It’s <all too much>.

It’s so important for you to know this…

Because you need to how your customers’ brains work if you’re to run an online business successfully.

You need to understand the psychology of this underlying anxiety and adapt your communications accordingly.

In my experience, too many people try to appeal directly to the neocortex part of the brain. They tell the customer all the details about their business, offering logical rational arguments as to why they should do this or that.

Yet they ignore that deeper, more primal part of the brain.

The customer might think that they make decisions based on facts, figures, statistics and dimensions.

And you might hope that they simply weigh up the facts.

But in reality it doesn’t work like that.

If you want to sell a product, get someone to subscribe or come to you for help, then you need to somehow tap into that existential dread and find a way to bypass it.

Here are some ideas…

  • Reduce their choices – rather than bombard them with information on all kinds of subjects, stick to your niche, then carefully select the essential information they need to know. Add your opinion and your interpretation so that they don’t have to do the hard work.

As I wrote in the last email, when it comes to content marketing you need to become a leader, a guide and a tastemaker. This is known as ‘curation’ and it’s becoming ever more important in an age of overload.

  • Make it easy – people want things explained, simplified, the dots connected. They don’t want to feel confused or stupid. So use simple, conversational English. Avoid jargon. Always back your claims up with evidence. Explain facts, figures and stats in a way they can understand. Find ways to make the ordering simple, to reduce delivery times or the number of processes the customer needs to go through.
  • Show them that they’re not alone – use testimonials, case studies and other evidence to show potential customers that there are others who have the same hopes, fears and problems – and that you’ve helped solve them. Consider setting up a forum or community Facebook page so that they can connect and talk with other people, or see evidence that others like them are finding success.
  • Tell them what to do – make sure that you tell your website visitors and email readers exactly what they need to do in order to benefit from your services. Make the call to action clear and step by step.
  • Reverse the risk – offer free or risk-free trials, money-back guarantees, samples, tasters, special deals and other incentives that take away their fear of losing money or making a mistake.
  • Reassure them – when they join your service make sure send them a series of emails that reassure that you’re delivering what you promised, reminding them of the benefits and why they joined in the first place. This overcomes a phenomenon known as buyer’s remorse.
  • Make them feel loved – send them a gift (report, download, video, free sample, discount) in a friendly catch-up email.

As well as these steps, ask yourself: where else can you reassure your customers through website, your emails, your customer emails and other communications?

Until next time!