Marketing

The power of gratitude-based marketing for your brand

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Two tiny words mean the world to customers:

thank you.

When it comes to building customer loyalty, gratitude is the holy grail.

Have you ever received a personalised thank you from a business? If so, how did it make you feel?

Offering that personal touch to our customers after a purchase may seem like a small gesture, but it can go a long way in boosting our relationship with our customers, making them feel appreciated and valued.

In today’s digital age, customers are overwhelmed. Their brains process, on average, a staggering 34gb of online information a day. Our human relationships have become online and digitised- chatbots and ai have overtaken real-time, face to face interactions.

Out of all the ways you can say thank you, offline approaches are becoming increasingly more powerful as a way to surprise and delight your customer - after all it’s easy to insert <name> into a thank you email on Mailchimp, isn’t it?

“Thank you notes are effective because they’re a bit of a lost art. Think about the last time you actually sent a handwritten letter, instead of quickly firing off an email or a Facebook message. Those mediums allow for incredible efficiency, but a handwritten card goes beyond the ephemeral nature of our digital inboxes and creates something tangible and meaningful” - Shopify


Why are thank you letters so effective at building customer relationships?

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They’re different:

By doing something that most of your competitors wouldn’t have the inclination or the time for, you’re standing out from your competition. To take a step that to some may seem old-fashioned, you’re adding a thoughtful touch to any customer that purchases from you.

Everybody likes feeling appreciated:

Handwritten notes are the ultimate way to build customer loyalty, and even brand champions.  Your customer is spending valuable time and money interacting with your brand, so by showing your appreciation you’re far more likely to boost their loyalty to you, and continue shopping with you.

Can help boost engagement:

Writing handwritten notes to customers can only serve to strengthen the relationship you have with them. You need to ‘surprise and delight’ in order to boost engagement, and that’s why taking the time out to write a personal thank you note will impress your customer. You’re not just a number to them; you’re a human who you’re interested in building a relationship with.

Aim for hearts, not wallets:

In a recent Forbes article, they note that:

The emotional response that is most likely to drive loyal behavior, according to Boncheck, is gratitude.

It’s really a no-brainer that gratitude increases loyalty.

When your partner thanks you for taking the bins out, it feels good, doesn’t it? That’s the power of appreciation, and it’s no different when building a relationship with our customers.

Thank you notes are likely to be re-shared online:

A handwritten note, if done well, looks cute, and is a true rarity in today’s age. That kind of personal touch will not only get talked about, it’s more likely to get shared on social media - further leading to more valuable and positive exposure for your business.

Rectifies poor experience:

Writing a thank you note to your customers strengthens the emotional bond you have with them. At present, they’re probably just indifferent to your brand, and those lukewarm to disengaged customers will be easily won back just through showing you care.

Drives profits

This kind of ‘gratitude-based marketing’ is not just a passing fad. According to the Pareto principle, 20% of your customers drive 80% of your profits, so it makes sense to focus on cultivating that relationship with them will drive profits. Why? Generosity pays off. Not only will it make those important 20% more likely to buy from you, it will increase sales of referrals from these people, too.

Gives a memorable finish to an interaction:

Hex, a fashion tech accessory brand, made it’s name on Instagram after sending 13,000 personalised handwritten notes to customers thanking them for the purchase. Your customer has been with you along the sales funnel - from seeing an ad about your product, right through to purchase, so this approach really sweetens their overall shopping experience with you.

More human, and thoughtful:

Above all, in today’s digitised world, writing thank you notes to your audience shows that you’re making the effort. In an age where it’s so easy to fire off an automated thank you email, a written note is a gesture that feels human, authentic, and real.

Driving customer loyalty by writing handwritten thank you notes (or these cool letters from Pensaki) could be one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies in today’s digital world.

After all, you can’t buy loyalty - you have to earn it.






The Importance of A Clearly Defined Funnel



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Funnel? I hear you say. What’s that?

If you’re relatively new to marketing, you may not know about the concept of a marketing funnel.

Marketing funnels are how you get your client or customer to purchase your product or service.

Each piece of content you create should relate to where each customer is on their journey.

Assuming you already know who your customer personas are, you’ve done your research and know where they hang out. Now you should target them with your copy.

For example, let’s say a new customer has never heard of your business, and what you offer.

This means they are at the awareness stage, also called the attention stage.

At this level, you want to introduce them to your product or service. You want to get them familiar with who you are and what you have to offer.

A great way to do this is with a video or with an organic social media post.

The content should speak directly to their pain point - what problem or issue are you solving for them?

For example, if you were setting up a premium glamping business for busy executives:

‘Here at Orchard View, we know it’s important to take that time out to recharge. So we offer six perfectly formed bell tents in the heart of the idyllic Derbyshire countryside, equipped with your every need. Take a look for yourself. <video> #unplug #taketimeout’

Now you’ve got your audience intrigued. Is this for them? You’ve whet their appetite with some pretty visuals and an explanation of why they might want your product or service, and now they’re at the interest stage. 💭

These are a smaller subset of people who have taken the next step in their mind. You’ve hooked them in with your first piece of content or communication, and now they want to know more.

Think of it like a second date with someone. You’re definitely interested, but there’s a few more things you need to know.

So this is where you delve into the details. You want to get your readers to click more, to get invested in who you are, and what you’re offering.

An interest piece of content may be a blog post which is a feature about your glamping site. It could be something like ‘This Is Why We Chose This Spot For Our Beautiful Glampers.’

Here you want to tell a story. Maybe you talk about taking your dog for a walk over the peaks and you noticed how that part was the perfect spot to watch the sunset. You want to get your audience emotionally invested in what you’re about, and get them picturing using your product or service.

Next, comes the consideration phase, which can also be called the desire part of your marketing funnel. 🤔

This group are an even smaller part of your funnel. Maybe they’ve clicked on your website, read your blog post, and have now signed up to your email list for news and discounts.

These people are clearly interested in what you have to offer - but haven’t yet took the action to purchase.

Content that can move them down the funnel can come in the form of social proof here, so think stats, case studies, and testimonials from those happy customers. These work especially well on your landing page.

I absolutely love Orchard View, I’ve been three times now. From the moment you get there, you just feel this sense of serenity. Myself and my husband instantly relax as soon as we step foot inside, and we know that for the next two days, we don’t have to think about a thing’ - Claire, Cardiff.

Of course, your social proof has to be authentic. Get your customers to comment, like or share their views by engaging with them regularly. Get to know them. Understand them, and find out what really pleases them about your product or service - and vow to communicate that to your potential customers.

In your potential customers mind, all the evidence is now mounting to one thing - that making this purchase will improve their life in some way. It could make their life easier, more enjoyable, less stressful, give them knowledge, help them with a problem - but whatever it is, you’ve answered all of their potential objections along the way.

It’s now time to convert. 🛍️

Here, it’s all about those glittering CTA’s (Call To Action). You want them to take action.

Your call to actions should be subtle at first (maybe a ‘find out more’ at the awareness stage), but when it comes to your conversion content, you want them to ‘Book Now’ or ‘Shop Now’.

This could come in the form of a Facebook ad that you’re retargeting to customers that have already visited your site. Maybe they’ve filled in the booking form, but for one reason or another haven’t yet completed their purchase.

An enticing, beautiful ad with the strong call to action ‘Spaces filling up for April - Book now for 2019’ leads them directly back down your funnel, and into becoming your customer.

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When you create content, make sure you have it all defined throughout each stage of the journey.

Attention - Interest - 💭 Consideration -🤔 Conversion 🛍️

also known as:

Awareness - Interest- Desire - Action

Map it out. Know not only who you’re speaking to, but what stage they’re at in their customer journey.

Want to discuss more about creating content that speaks to your audiences? Get in touch to have a chat.



The Art Of A Good Brief

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When it comes to commissioning any type of creative work, a great brief is a must.

Not only can a brief make or break a marketing project, it also sets the tone for your working relationship between you and the agency or freelancer.

Some people may think ‘Why bother with a brief? I’ll just tell them what I want over the phone, and we can begin!’

A brief is essentially your roadmap for the project. Without it, someone could get lost along the way.

Whether it’s a series of emails to your customer list, a product description, or a video script, a clear brief sets expectations from the outset and allows both client and freelancer to establish exactly what is needed, and by when.

Here’s what a good copy brief should consist of. I’ve also included project sample text so you can see how it could be filled out.

Copywriting Brief

Title of Project: (i.e. Onboarding Email for New Volunteers - Christmas 2018)

Description of project: ( ‘We need a new welcome email for volunteers that have signed up in the run up to Christmas who are about to do their first charity visit)

Format of project: (Copy for Mailchimp, up to 500 words. Include x2 alternate subject headings)

Rework of existing job, or new: (New job)

Background to your business: (‘We are a charity based in the UK offering hospital visits to sick children to brighten their day)

Include website URL and any supporting documents: (‘MakeAWish.org’)

Target audience: (‘Volunteers who have signed up to our newsletter’)

Core message: (‘We are happy to have you on board and we look forward to you brightening the lives of children who are ill in hospital’)

What is the personality of your brand, and your values? (‘We are warm, friendly and accessible. We value being kind and this is reflected in our tone of voice’).

What do you want your audience to think and feel with this content?

(‘We would like our volunteers to feel welcomed and supported, and that we are pleased they are on board. We want them to think that they have made a good choice, and that they are looking forward to making a difference’)

Who are your competitors? (N/A)

What is your call to action? (To get the volunteers to join our Private Facebook group)

When is this required by? (Final version of copy required by 1.11.18)

With a clear brief, the freelancer can see exactly what’s needed, and ask questions if appropriate. Depending on timescales, a call can be undertaken to discuss the brief before the project begins too, if needed.

A good brief should be clear, and to the point.

It doesn’t always need to have all of the segments listed above - sometimes more helps, or sometimes less - it depends on the size and scale of the project and the business itself. But keep it to one page of A4 if you can.

So why bother with a brief?

Having a clear brief can save time, because everything is in writing, and agreed before the freelancer starts work - so no questions in the middle of the project to clarify things.

Agreeing on a brief beforehand can save money, because by stipulating the proposed scope at the outset and mutually agreeing on the direction, it can mean that amend times are usually minimised.

Clear briefs can also save on resource - by documenting your work, you’ll be able to dig out old briefs, tweak them a little, and pass them on to the next freelancer or agency. It also gives you a template to refer back to when you’ve completed your project and want to review your marketing goals.


Writing your brand story

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How do you tell a story?

You may not be aware of it, but we are telling stories all the time.

From the elevator pitch you do at a networking event, to the way you describe your day to your spouse, stories are the way we communicate.

To tell your brand story to a customer is all about showing them who you are.

It is to give them your 'why' - the reason why you're doing this in the first place.

  • What motivated you to set up your business, create that product, or provide that service?

Simon Sinek is one of my favourite experts in this area.

He wisely says: 

'Stories are attempts to share our values and beliefs. Storytelling is worthwhile when it tells what we stand for.' 

Your customers will be more loyal to your brand if you understand why you're passionate about it.

To write your brand story is to communicate to your customer as if they were a trusted friend- and tell them what emotionally motivated you to start your business.

For example:

'After much searching, I wanted to provide parents with a range of affordable yet stylish pushchairs that I just couldn't find anywhere else.'

'My own experience in recovery from addiction led me to study the psychology of addiction, and after I qualified, I decided to become a therapist in order to help others in my position.'

'We wanted to set up a sugar-free cafe as there was nowhere around near us that provided the kinds of guilt-free snacks we really enjoyed at home. So we're bringing our sofa comforts to you!'

When you write your brand story, start with why.

Detail your journey, much like a storyteller.

  • Describe the life situation you were in at the time
  • Tell your audience how you spotted an opportunity to resolve someone's problem
  •  Explain to them how that led you to set up your business

It's important to add emotion - tell the human-to-human story of what you were feeling at the time: 

'I realised that time and time again, the shoes I bought for my children just didn't meet their needs, or were poor quality. I was forever throwing them away. With this in mind I started to think about what an ideal shoe for them would look like - one that would work in all types of weather...'

If writing's not your strength, you can record audio or video, and listen back to it to help you. Imagine explaining it to a friend or a person you've just met, and notice the words and language you use. You can then use elements from the transcription to form your brand story.

Most of all, your brand story should grab the reader emotionally- they should identify with you as a person that's similar to them or understands them, and they should see you as a person that is ultimately trying to help them meet their needs.

Here's a brand story I did for baby brand moKee.

 

 

Direct Response Copy: saying more with less

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You want attention, don't you?

That's what we all want for our businesses. We are all vying for eyeballs on our brand.

But you want more than that; you want ACTION.

Seeing is one thing; clicking is another.

In order to create copy that converts, and generates those all-important sales, sometimes less is more. In fact, sometimes we only have as little as 30 or 80 characters to make an impression, as with Google Adwords copy.

How do you write an effective piece of short copy that will attract the attention of your target audience?

Before you start, it's important that:

  • you've mapped out your audience personas
  • you know which persona this ad is targeting
  • you have done your keyword research for that customer
  • you have a relevant list of search terms. 

In direct response copywriting, your keyword list is blended with the emotional painpoints of your persona. 

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For this example, Let's say we're selling an eco-friendly copper drinking bottle, and we're writing a Google Adwords ad.

The customer is interested in going plastic-free, and they are also potentially interested in the health benefits claimed. They want a better solution rather than buying plastic bottles to take to work or the gym, for example, and are concerned about the effects of BPA.

The keywords we may want to use are variations and a mixture of: 'plastic-free bottles', 'water bottles', 'copper bottles', 'plastic drinking bottle', 'eco-friendly', 'sustainable'.

 

  • We start the ad with:

The 'hook': Posing a question, or answering a question that directly relates to what the customer is needing.

Looking for an alternative to your plastic drinking bottle?

Beautiful eco-friendly copper water bottle

 

  • Then, we provide the second headline, or 'tagline':

Tagline: Here you would support your headline/hook, and include the painpoint if you haven't already:

Copper is sustainable and stylish

Plastic-free with health benefits

 

  •  Next you'd provide a brief description of your product:

Description: This is designed to get the audience's attention and make them intrigued to find out more. This isn't the place to list all of it's features and benefits.

Handcrafted designs inspired by nature, available in 500-900ml.

Minimalistic and stylish bottles, based on Ayurvedic principles.

 

  • CTA: Finally, you need to end on a great call-to-action, that encourages that all important link click!

 Shop Now

Get yours today

That's two variations of the ad, which would look something like this:

 

Looking for an alternative to your plastic drinking bottle?

Copper is sustainable and stylish

Handcrafted designs inspired by nature, available in 500-900ml.

 Shop Now
Beautiful eco-friendly copper water bottle

Plastic-free with health benefits

Minimalistic and stylish bottles, based on Ayurvedic principles.

Get yours today

Tips for massive growth on Pinterest

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I adore Pinterest. It's basically a virtual vision board where you can attach all of your interests - things to make, clothes to wear, recipes to try, places to go, hairstyles to have - whatever floats your boat, really.

In fact, I find it so useful for my personal growth that I've stopped spending time on all other social media channels, and am taking a break from all of my personal accounts for the forseeable.

Strange for a marketing strategist maybe, but I continue to use social media for my clients, so I'm not out of the loop entirely.

I've been working with Pinterest for my clients for a while now, and it can be a really useful channel, if your business is aligned to the demographic on there.

Here's some numbers at a glance (Jan 2018)

  • 175 million monthly active users (75 million US, 100 million outside US)
  • 2 million daily users
  • 81% of users are female
  • 67% of users are under 40
  • 2/3rds of pins represent brands and products
  • Average time spent daily on Pinterest is 14.2 minutes

At first look, this is nothing compared to the social media big guns, like Insta, Facebook and Twitter. But Pinterest can be very lucrative for product manufacturers, artists, photographers, and anyone with a wide range of products or visual art to pin.

I used to use Pinterest quite sporadically, but now I use it daily. The reason why? I've realised it's value as 'soul food', and the direction it gives to your unconscious mind. It can stop you from getting in a rut with the foods you cook, the thoughts you think, and what inspires you.

You can use it as a tool to create your dream life, searching for things to buy for your home, jewellery to wear, life wisdom to live by, or just images that make you feel all warm and glowy inside.

I've used it successfully with clients in order for them to get traction for their brand. It's a great brand builder, as well as a sales tool. Not only can people pin and then directly buy your product, it allows you to create a virtual values board where you pin images related to your brand essence.

Spiritual Gangster is a good example of this, and has an impressive 33k followers.

 

Here's some of the things I've learned about Pinterest in order to grow a successful channel:

  • Treat it as a search engine

Pinterest isn't really a social media platform; it's a visual search engine. By treating it in this way, you use it like you would do Google, as the strategy has some overlap. Make a list of your long tail keywords and search terms and use these to inform how you title and describe your pins.

  • Pin frequently, across timezones

The secret to big success on Pinterest is Tailwind. It's fantastic, and really allows for rapid growth. It's a scheduling and analytics tool that allows you to schedule a large number of pins on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Ideally you need to be posting at least 10-20 pins a day, 7 days a week.

  • Think SEO everywhere

Board names and descriptions are important. As well as the more conceptual names you might use, you definitely want to include board titles that specifically match what your customer is looking for. For example a 'Fun books for children' board may include the description :'Here's a selection of some of the fun books for children we stock. Our books for children range from 4-14 years'

  • Use hashtags appropriately

Hashtags are great because these are what will get you found. Don't be afraid to use up to 30, like you do on Instagram. Again, think about what your customers may be searching for. For example, if you're a sunglasses store, you might use something like #sunglasses #shades #fashionshades #eyewear #funkyshades #womensglasses #glasses #holidaywear, or similar. Use your SEO research and current keyword list to inform your strategy for hashtags.

  • More boards the better

Don't worry about having too many boards. In fact, the more boards the better. Having a large selection of images on your Pinterest shows a strong presence, and will enable you to be found easily. Even if you only have 50 products, you can still create other 'brand vibe' boards that serve as a visual moodboard for your brand identity. For example, I work with a swimwear company and have an 'Inspired by the beach' board where I pin sandy toes, coconuts on the beach, palm trees, and everything evoking the feeling of being at the beach.

  •  Use product pins for your products

In the lifespan of Pinterest, product pins are fairly recent. You can connect your website or online store to your pins, so they show the price. Your customer knows what they are getting, and for how much. Make sure you use your product pin description to its full capacity, describing the product, and maybe even an incentive ('10% off your first order!')

  • Connect your website to Pinterest

Pinterest's developer tools include an API where you can add a Pinterest 'save' button to all of the images on your website, meaning Pinterest fanatics will be able to save your online store products to their boards, thus increasing the likelihood of purchase.

  • Run competitions: 'Pin to Win'

I've found competitions to be very successful, particularly when it comes to building followers quickly.  In order to be successful though, you need a couple of other strong platforms to send traffic there. If you have a thriving Facebook group for example, selling beauty products, you could ask them to pin their favourite product to enter a monthly prize draw. It works, as loyal Pinterest users will usually follow you at the same time.

  • Be strategic

This may go without saying, but think about where your customers are coming from (use analytics to inform), and be strategic about when you're posting. It's not just about the time of day, it's also about the season. For example, in November and December you might be focusing on Christmas party pinning. The more you know your customer, the more you know what they'll be searching for, and when.

  • Consistency is key

Although you want Pinterest to be an extension of your shop, it is also a brand builder. To do Pinterest for a few months and then stop means you may lose traction with your customers. You want to be seen as much as possible, to the most amount of people. By using a scheduler, you can schedule in your pins weeks or months ahead.

Need a Pinterest Marketing Expert? Contact me for more on how I can help with your Pinterest Strategy, and grow your Pinterest Channel.

 

 

All the feels: becoming an Instagram success

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Becoming successful on Instagram is a skill. It's not just about the algorithms, knowing your audience and posting at the right times of day (although these are important), it's also about developing a consistent strategy that pulls on the heartstrings of what truly matters to your audience.

Here's a few things to bear in mind:

1. The emotion in the image

When you look at the image, what's your first feeling? (not thought). Does the image make you feel happy, does it make you laugh, do you feel inspired, do you feel excited?

Our reaction to images are primarily emotional and largely unconscious, so it's worth collating a series of images before you pick one. For example, if you want to show an excited face, collect a few examples and go with the one that evokes the most feeling in you.

2. The emotion in the caption

There are a few clever ways of using the caption to engage. Don't forget, your audience will only be seeing the first eight words or so before they have to click to read more, so if you haven't hooked them in. I've seen two techniques work well:

  • The minimalist caption. This could be something like 'This is why I love my cat.' Something simple, possibly funny or sarcastic, or inspirational works well for a short caption. It can even be replaced by emojis. Quotes work well here too, for example 'my grandad told me to "never give up on your dreams"'
  • The storytelling caption. This is where the user tells a story about the image. 'I remember this day so well. Me and dad had just hiked 4 miles in the pouring rain, and had just stopped to pour a flask of coffee...'. By sharing emotionally in such a detailed way, you're giving more emotional emphasis to the picture. The user now sees it as you see it, as you have contextualised it in a heartfelt way.

3. Hashtags

Hashtags are not just about organic SEO. Try being creative with your hashtags too, and using emotion. You can even use humorous hashtags. For example, if you're selling birthday cakes, you might want to use #birthdaycake #birthday and #celebrationcake, but you might also use #allthecandles #birthdaygirl #itsmybirthday #gettingold . You can use up to 30 hashtags, but 7-15 is a more appropriate number.

4. The uniqueness of the image

How many images do you see a day? Hundreds? Thousands, perhaps, in the course of a week? It's not enough to choose an emotive stock image from Pexels or Unsplash if everyone else is using the same image. It just won't have the same effect. On Instagram, the more different and 'out there' your image is, the better. Of course, the quality matters. Use an app like VSCOcam if you haven't got a good quality camera. The image needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but somewhat unusual, as if offering a different perspective on something. If it's different then people are more likely to not only like it but tag a friend in the comments.

5. Translate brand emotions

Brand emotions are how your brand presents itself online. What is it's personality? Is it cheeky, optimistic, warm-hearted, inspirational or sarcastic? Make a list of your four core emotions and keep them in mind when searching for imagery or writing captions.

Give them the feels - create an Instagram feed that pulls your audience towards you.

(The picture in this article got 13,461 likes. I had seen it on Pinterest and saved it because I liked the feel of it).

Want more advice on how to get the most out of Instagram? Get in touch for how I can help with your strategy.

 

3 reasons why you should use your unconscious mind in your business

Using your unconscious mind in your business is essentially creating a visual representation of where you'd like to go, who you'd like to be, and the lifestyle you would like to create.

This January, I attended a Vision Board Workshop at Restation Coworking in Las Palmas.

I'm an advocate of using the mind and emotions to orientate yourself towards the things you would like to experience in life. In fact, it's one of my primary focuses for 2018.

In addition to writing your goals down, I encourage my clients to also cement these goals by creating a vision board. By utilising these methods, you're harnessing the unconscious mind.

Why use the unconscious mind in your business growth plans? It's not all 'woo woo' fluffy stuff as some may believe! Here's a few reasons.

The unconscious mind thinks in pictures

The unconscious mind is primarily visual; because it is emotive. By utilising imagery, you're telling the unconscious mind 'focus on this.' You've heard the phrase 'a picture speaks a thousand words' and to the unconscious mind it's true. We react quicker to visual responses with our sympathetic nervous system, which activates our 'fight or flight' response. So by making a vision board, we are giving our mind a direction, a bit like programming a Sat Nav.

The unconscious mind responds to programming

We have various different brain wave states, and the more relaxed we are, the more we open our unconscious mind.

We're usually in a Beta state when we're working and planning our business goals. The next one, Alpha, is when we're extremely relaxed. It's a slower mode of consciousness, and it is also attributed to flashes of creative inspiration.

Repetition is the way you can 'program' your mind, and it's for this reason it takes usually 21 days of doing anything before it becomes a habit. So we need to take charge of our brains.

Did you know you can hack your brain? This fascinating interview with Steven Kotler talks about using altered states of consciousness to help us to achieve our goals. 

 

The unconscious mind rules your behaviour

Making a vision board or programming your mind through repetition isn't some fluffy new-age exercise. Your unconscious mind is responsible for your behaviour. In fact, it's estimated by neuroscientists that over 90% of your responses are unconscious, meaning that many of the decisions we think we are making aren't so 'conscious' after all.

 

 

Overall, as Steven Kotler says, the 'altered states of consciousness' field is a huge, growing industry (worth 4 trillion dollars), and we're just on the periphery of what we can do with our minds. It's the next level in human evolution.

At the moment, I'm experimenting with using the alpha state just before sleep to listen to this excellent 'Just Be Glad' by Christian D Larson as I fall asleep feeling the emotions of my desires. 

 

 

Have you successfully used your mind to produce results in business or otherwise? I'd love to hear more.