How to Create Powerful Marketing that Cannot Be Guarded Against – Using Activators

I received an email this week that I thought was quite remarkable for one very distinct reason – the subject line was so powerful that I had to open it. Absolutely could not help it. I HAD to. I bet you would like to know what the subject line was.

Well here it is:

“Hey, you never responded to my email. Why??!!”

Now I ask you – each of you – would you have felt compelled to open this email? Be honest now and tell me if this sounds familiar. You get a lot of email and there happens to be one or two you really did not want to answer right now. A week goes by and you keep looking at the date the email was sent and say to yourself, “Well this is not THAT important; I’ll just delete it and forget that I ever got it. If they call or try again, I’ll just blame the computer.”

Then a few days after you delete the thing, the person writes back and says, “Hey, I emailed you and you never responded, what’s up?”

Sound familiar? (And that just happens to be the point.) This is why I HAD to open it. Because the subject line – and I am going to call it the headline from here on out – touched an ACTIVATOR. These Activators are powerful things and I think that you are not aware of just how powerful activators really are.

I opened the email and guess what? It was a sales pitch; they were trying to sell generic Viagra – you know something really tacky. In fact, the email itself sucked. But in terms of just getting me to open the email and just pay attention, they wrote a headline that ROCKED; I was sucked in with eight words – EIGHT WORDS.

An activator is something that is familiar, problematic or unusual. The best way to illustrate the power of activators is the cocktail party situation. Picture yourself at a cocktail party talking to a group of friends. While you are listening to a story about some nonsense or such, you hear your name being called out. What do you do? You automatically turn your head – the key here is AUTOMATICALLY – you could barely stop yourself even if you knew beforehand. Your name, being familiar to you, draws you, compels you to respond. Your Reticular Activating System searches around for this stuff and when it finds it, it turns your brain on – AUTOMATICALLY.

Now this example is great, but I think it belies or tends to reduce the true power of activators. Try this one on for size.

Sometimes you hear A song from your youth, you know what I mean – have you ever turned on the radio and your song was playing, you had not heard the song for twenty years, and yet you knew the words, could sing along with the same power and conviction as when you were young? You were literally taken back twenty years when you still had hair and the air was sweet. You could picture in your mind all the sights, all the sounds, everything.

That activator had the power to turn your brain up to full speed within seconds. That small activator evoked images, emotions, feeling, ideas, and memories that you could not have dredged up even if you spent ten years studying meditation with Buddhist monks in Tibet.

An ACTIVATOR is anything that “snaps” a person from alpha mode to beta mode…”  No, it does not snap; it takes you, grabs you by the neck, and drags you kicking and screaming into the moment. I think the definition should be changed to:

“An ACTIVATOR is a freight train smashing into your brain at 210 miles per hour and rips a person from alpha mode to beta mode automatically…”

This is powerful stuff. Think about this for a second – why do you think it is so easy for businesses to get caught up in the typical ad agency model? Why do you think it is so hard for anyone to see beyond typical interrupt-only ads? Because it works!!! That ad with the sexy girl gets seen. You could do surveys all day and you could prove that 99-100% of the time the ad with the girl gets seen and that is powerful evidence. A business owner says, “My gosh, everyone saw the ad; that must be how I need to advertise and sell.”

(Unfortunately, most ad agencies and most businesses do not realize what else is needed.)

Activators are extremely powerful.

Now think how powerful they could be when they are connected to Hot Buttons and backed up by compelling evidence with a good offer. But you won’t be able to take advantage of the extra power if you don’t take the time to build the case and go through the whole process.

So determine the activators and use them to your benefit.

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