🤔 Did you know…

The mind is lazy.

It doesn’t want to put effort into categorizing every stimulus that comes its way each time it sees it.

So, it links.

The formula looks like this:

Stimulus → Link → Thought

And it feels like this:

You see an image of a hamburger with a yellow background → Link → Must be McDonald’s

You can grab valuable real estate in your buyer’s mind by strategically linking your products to people, ideas, and images.

How? Keep reading…

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Imagine this…

You want to start a newsletter.

Everyone talks about how newsletters are money-makers and you’re ready to get some of that sweet email list moola yourself.

But you’re stuck.

What should it be about? And how can you get the right people to signup?

You don’t want to spend hours writing your first few newsletters, only have to start over when you realize you went the wrong direction.

Inboxes are crowded these days so you know your newsletter can’t just be “good”—your newsletter must be un-ignorable.

It’s gotta be the kind of newsletter that people get excited to open everytime it hits their inbox. The kind of newsletter that people tell their friends about.

Who could help you create an un-ignorable newsletter? You rack your brain for answers. And, then suddenly, someone comes to mind..

Who are you thinking of?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy 🧠 we’re exploring Linking — how our brains create associations that impact our behavior.

Let’s get into it.

The Psychology of Linking 🧠

“I link, therefore I think,” says Robert Cialdini in his infamous marketing book Pre-suasion.

Linking is the reason (I hope) MY name popped up when you read the intro story about creating an un-ignorable newsletter.

I’ve spent hours writing content about being un-ignorable so you’d automatically link me with that word. 😏

The link we choose to make between two stimuli impacts how we behave.

Here’s what happened when a call center requesting donations for a non-profit tested the unconscious power of linking:

They divided workers into 2 groups. Each group was given information to help them best communicate the value of donating.

Group 1 was given the information on a piece of paper.

Group 2 was given the information on a piece of paper that also had a photo of a runner winning a race.

The results of linking Group 2’s instructions with the runner winning the race? Group 2 raised 60% more money than Group 1.

The link between the instructions and winning caused a change of behavior in the employees.

And it causes the same behavior change in your buyers.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

Deep thinking requires energy. The brain actually consumes roughly 20% of a person’s energy each day. Your buyers are wired to conserve energy, which is why we prefer to avoid thinking too hard unless we need to.

When potential customers encounter something new (aka “new stimulus”), they don’t want to have to expend too much energy evaluating and categorizing it.

The mind’s workaround is to link.

  • We link McDonald’s to hamburgers.
  • Apple to tech products.
  • Twitter to Elon Musk.

Linking puts the brain on autopilot.

It tells your buyers to go to this store, buy from this brand, and trust this expert – without the need for their minds to go through the entire categorization process each time they have to make a decision.

And you can strategically make their minds link YOU to the solution they’re seeking.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?


Use the Halo Effect to link your brand to celebrities, experts, and influencers

I don’t have to tell you why influencer marketing works.

You already know it does.

Instead, let’s get a bit creative.

What if you don’t have a huge budget, your brand is semi-new to the market, and you need to get sales?

The strategic use of the Halo Effect can help you link your brand to authorities your buyers trust without the need to cut a check.

Here’s a creative campaign that’ll get your brain thinking 🤯.

From the looks of it, SURREAL got some of the biggest names in the world to back their cereal.

But if you look closer…they actually just got totally regular people to create the Halo Effect for them.

This strategy gets extra points because it creates a cheeky brand moment that 1) makes SURREAL’s ad more memorable and 2) makes people who love the cheekiness more likely to purchase.


Connect innovative new solutions to trusted familiar ones

What’s one of the main reasons that new tech fails?

People don’t get it.

  • They don’t what it is
  • They don’t understand how it solves their problem
  • Most importantly, they aren’t told why they should care

Innovators can reduce that risk by linking their new solution with an old, trusted one.

Coda, a project management software, doesn’t want to use the name of their fancy features in their ads.

That would go over their buyers’ heads.

Instead, they link their fancy features to something their buyers are familiar with.


More importantly, the frustration of how archaic the traditional spreadsheet experience is.

Embrace delegation

Everyone who passes the ad can now categorize

  • Who Coda is (a spreadsheet alternative)
  • What problem they solve (how archaic the main spreadsheet platforms are)
  • Why they should care (they can stop feeling frustrated every time they log in to Google Sheets)

Coda said all of that with a 4-word header.

This is why I love Pre-sausion.

Media & Education

Lean on images to do the linking for you

Research shows that our brains can identify images seen for just 100 milliseconds.

Add that to the research that shows we can recall 65% of the information we were given 3 days ago if there was text and an image (in comparison to just 10% of the information if it was just text).

You can link your brand to an image and whenever people see that image, they’ll think of you.

This is why we use the brain emoji 🧠in each subject line for Why We Buy.

People already associate the brain with concepts like “psychology” and “being smart”. Those are important ideas we want them to associate with the Why We Buy 🧠newsletter.

Embrace delegation

Most marketing gurus will say you need to think long and hard about your subject lines…

But we disagree.

As the incredible copywriter Ann Handley once said, “Your from line matters more than your subject line.”

In other words, if you put the work into creating an un-ignorable newsletter, people will open it because they trust you.

Service Business

Use specific numbers to link your product to buyer success

What’s easier to believe?

That a marketing agency helped their clients achieve a 10x or a 12.3x ROI?

One feels like an estimate. The other feels like the exact calculation.

Use exact numbers to link your service business to customer success in your buyer’s mind.

Chances are they won’t remember the exact numbers.

But they will link you to results…and think about you the next time they’re in the market for your type of service.

Marketing agency Omniscient Digital does this extremely well on their homepage.

Embrace delegation

They put the exact results their clients have achieved, like 867% organic sessions, 352 new page 1 rankings, and 1682% organic blog sessions.

The specificity of the numbers makes them feel legit and automatically links Omniscient Digital with buyer success.

The Short of It 💥

Linking isn’t nice to have in business.

It’s a must have.

From small brands to the Fortune 100—every brand needs to link themselves to something.

That way your buyers are reminded of you everytime they see, hear, or think about that stimulus.

And you officially take up valuable real estate in your buyer’s minds (without needing to worry about CPC).

Until next time, happy selling.

🐦 Your Brainy Tweetable

Here’s how to get your buyers to think about your product without spending a dime:

Link your product to:

  • An idea
  • A person
  • A trend
  • Or even an emoji 🧠

Each time people see it, you’ll come to mind.

Cc: @KateBour

Tweet this now > 



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

There are a few ways we can help:

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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