Let’s be real…
If someone were to ask you to write an email for your business, a video script, tell people about your business, or any other marketing message, you’re probably not 100% sure where you would start or exactly what you would say.
I used to be the same way until I learned a secret that changed everything…
Won’t get into my background too much, but It all started when I worked for Ogilvy & Mather NYC, a global advertising agency.
Early in my agency career, I met a woman who was a great strategist. She loved to read books about marketing.
One day, I was telling her about how frustrated I was.
It had been a long day and I was having a tough time deciding what type of “hook” would grab our target audience. She saw me struggle for a while before deciding to give me the secret that would change everything…
“Have you ever heard of a book called The Brain Audit?” she asked.
At the time I hadn’t, but after reading it, and still to this day, it’s my favorite marketing book.
She went on to explain that as consumers, our psychology is pretty simple. In fact, it’s so simple that we tend to look for the same seven things before we feel comfortable buying something.
The Brain Audit is a book about why customers buy and why they don’t.
In the book, the author uses a great analogy to explain how our minds work when we’re interested in buying something but we’re not quite sure yet.
The analogy goes like this…
Imagine you’re at an airport, and you know you brought 7 red bags.
Once you land, you’re immediately on the lookout for all 7 red bags. If you don’t get all 7, there’s no way you’ll feel comfortable leaving the airport.
Well, our minds work in a similar way when we’re interested in purchasing something.
More about those 7 red bags in a second, but for now, I have to let you know what happened right after I learned about this…
Outside of the agency, I would create videos for different businesses and run them as video ads on social media channels like Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
Still something I do today and something we can talk about if you’re interested, but all you need to know for now is that learning this shot the performance of my videos (and my conversion rates) through the roof.
Before reading The Brain Audit, I would focus on a lot of different points depending on what the type of business was.
Looking back, that just made things more confusing because I didn’t have a general approach that worked or a place that I liked to start from.
Although that approach worked for a while and got decent results, I couldn’t believe what happened when I put what I learned in this book to the test…
I created a video ad for my dentist and decided to put the “7 red bag theory” to the test.
Wrote a script, making sure it included all “7 red bags”, and put my new ad in direct competition with all of the old ads that didn’t use the same formula and basically said, “may the best ad win.”
I didn’t expect much, but to my surprise, the new video ad was receiving sign-ups at a rate three times faster than the old videos! Of course, I was happy, but my dentist was too since we finally landed on a reliable way to generate leads for her services.
From that point on, although the concept of the 7 red bags made sense to me, I looked at the whole concept differently. I had proof that this new approach took one of my client’s issues and immediately solved it.
The cool part, and the part that I want you to learn if you don’t learn anything else from this article, is that you can use this as a formula across all of your communications.
Email, social media, video scripts, copywriting, you name it. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is my biggest marketing secret.
You might not use every “bag” every single time, but if you focus on delivering your audience all 7, you’ll immediately begin to notice a difference.
I even created a free worksheet that you can use to help you brainstorm for your own business here:
Once you know what people are looking for, it’s much easier to align all of your marketing with the “7 red bags”, which gives them all of the information they need to feel comfortable working with you.
If you’re interested in the 7 red bags and how you can use them to grow your business, I’m about to explain each one in much more detail in a second.
The first couple of bags sound simple and may seem obvious at the surface, but they get much more specific as we move on. Stick with me because this is all part of one system that is highly effective.
Let’s jump right into bag number 1.
Bag 1. The Problem
The first “bag” is the problem.
Sounds obvious at the sruface
Without problems, we wouldn’t buy anything because life would be perfect.
However, we know life is far from perfect and stuff happens:
- Toothaches happen
- It gets too sunny at the beach
- Your food is too bland
- Etc, etc
Having problems is what makes us start to look for bag number 2, which is…
Bag 2. The Solution
Bag number 2: The solution.
After we recognize a problem, we can’t help but search for solutions to those problems.
To go back to those examples I just gave, you can easily see how we search for solutions:
- Toothaches happen, so you go to the dentist to ease the pain
- It gets too sunny at the beach, so you buy a beach umbrella to get some shade
- Your food is too bland, so you find the Old Bay or Adobo ASAP
Problems bring up the need to find solutions, which is what bag number 2 is about.
Can you provide the solution to a problem?
If you’re in a service or product-based business, it’s likely that you already know what type of problem you solve.
However, if you’re in a food or drink-related business, you might wonder what problem you solve. In your scenario, it’s important to remember that food and drinks help us solve “emotional problems.”
What I mean by “emotional problems” is that we look for comfort food when we feel stressed. When we feel like they had a long day, we look for a drink, when we’re feeling nostalgic, we might make the dishes we grew up eating.
You get the point.
Up to this point, the first two bags sound relatively obvious, but from here on is where we begin to get more specific with bag number 3…
Bag 3. The Target Profile
“Target personas” are often discussed in marketing, so the first thing you need to know is there’s a difference between a target profile and a “target persona”…
While marketing personas are usually created based on research about your ideal audience/customer, the target profile is based on an actual person.
The reason why it’s based on one person and not research is because it’s a more accurate approach that is solution-oriented.
It can often feel like only one person has the problem your business solves, or just a few people, which isn’t usually the case. If one person feels a certain way and is eager for a solution, it’s likely that there are many more who can relate.
For example, let’s say you make SUVs.
You want to make SUVs that fit a subset of people and not everyone from day 1, so you start doing something called “target profile interviews” to understand more about how people use SUVs.
Could go on about those interviews for a while because they’re really valuable, but all you have to know for now is that the whole point of this interview is to learn about your customer.
During the interview, you’d ask many different questions that would help you get the information you need to create a product and sell it successfully from day 1.
Let’s imagine that during the interview, one woman says a bike rack is absolutely necessary on her next SUV because biking around the country is one of her favorite things to do.
In that case, as an SUV creator, you might realize that there’s an opportunity to create the ultimate SUV for people who love biking.
Suddenly you’re not just another SUV.
You’re the SUV maker whose new model is made for people who love biking. After a short while, having that level of specialization would take you from being an SUV brand to becoming the go-to SUV for bike enthusiasts, all because you created a target profile (and not a target persona).
After you know your target profile, the next thing you’ll have to show people that they’ll soon be looking for is that you’re “the real deal.”
Bag 4. Testimonials
According to Nielsen, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.
After people have some level of interest, naturally, they want to know if you’re the real deal.
It’s no secret that there are a ton of scammers online, so it’s important to show people that you’re not one of them.
There’s a lot that goes into what I‘m about to mention, but I’m sure you’ve seen a testimonial that feels “too good to be true.”
Few different reasons for that, but the main reason is that when a testimonial is too positive, it just feels unbelievable:
- “Working with them was great!”
- “Everything was perfect!”
- “Highly recommended!”
- Blah, blah, blah
A good and believable testimonial isn’t just all positive.
A good testimonial should actually start with the negative/where your client or customer was before working with you.
It’s important to start with the starting point/negative because you want to show that there was a transformation that happened as a result of working with you or buying your product.
It also helps other people who are at the same (negative) starting point to see themselves in your testimonials, making people feel more confident in your ability to solve their specific problem.
I’ll probably write more about good vs. bad testimonials in the future, but for now, let’s get to the next bag.
Bag 5. Objections
My favorite marketing quote is:
“The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife” – David Ogilvy
That quote speaks to a few of the bags, but it definitely speaks to bag 5, objections.
No one wants to get burned, so naturally, we have objections and questions before buying things.
- When you’re choosing a dentist, you probably wonder if they take your insurance
- If you’re vegan and choosing a restaurant for dinner, you want to know if they have vegan options
- When I’m looking for a cocktail bar, I won’t go to one that uses sour mix
Outside of me sharing my small gripe with sour mix, I’m sure you get the point.
It’s important to answer people’s objections.
Your goal should be to answer people’s objections before they ever get a chance to ask you, which shortens your sales process.
In video scripts, I usually do this by having people say something like “many people usually wonder ___________,” which gives you a straightforward way to bring up common objections people usually have before working with you.
On a website, I usually include objections in the FAQ (frequently asked questions) as a drop-down menu towards the end of the page. That way, people can find the convenient drop-down menu and read through answers as they choose.
After you answer people’s objections early, it’s time to get to the last two bags and seal the deal…
Bag 6. Risk-reversal
Again, no one wants to feel like they got cheated or scammed.
Risk-reversal is why many companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee or any type of similar guarantee.
In the back of our minds, we often wonder, “if this doesn’t work out, how can I justify spending that money?” which is why risk-reversal is so powerful…
I was recently working with a client who has a booming online course for product managers.
She explained that a little while after she was done designing the course, she was so confident in it that she was willing to let people sign up, and if they didn’t like it, they could cancel for up to one week.
Not only did it help her increase sales quickly, but it wasn’t very often that people asked for a refund anyway.
Risk-reversal works so we have mental “insurance,” but the final bag will help seal the deal in your customer’s minds.
Bag 7. Uniqueness
Last but certainly not least is uniqueness.
Naturally, when we do find a solution, for many people, our next thought is something like “what makes this so special?” or “Can I get this elsewhere for cheaper?”.
Having a concrete uniqueness and constantly reminding your audience of that uniqueness is how you get it to stick.
If I’m being honest, the secret here is that so many people skip this step of defining their uniqueness.
If you define yours, it will help you stand out pretty quickly.
Here’s a trick I learned for communicating your uniqueness in one line quickly and easily.
You can say something like: “other companies/brands ____________ that’s why we ___________”.
Which immediately and directly tells people why you’re different and repositions your business in their minds.
I’m sure you can see how this would help people frame your services against your competition.
With that, the 7 red bags are all “picked up” from the airport. Suddenly, people feel great about buying from you.
Now, when you’re making that email sequence, video script, website, etc. You know precisely what you need to include, or things you should aim to include elements of to make people feel comfortable.
You might not need to use each “bag” in all of your communication.
There are many times when you can focus on communicating just 1 “bag” through a series of social media posts, an email series, a video series, etc.
I hope you use this information to make your marketing messages sharper, more direct, and most importantly, use this information to grow your business.
– Written, by ‘rouk (and not by a robot)
This is a simple guide to customer buying psychology, but If you’d like help implementing this system in your emails, on your website, within your video scripts, or anywhere else, click here to schedule a time and we’ll talk about if/how I might be able to help.
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