Susan Bratton Talks Persuasion, Seduction & Conversion at SES San Francisco

susan-brattonSusan Bratton, co-founder and CEO of Digital Life Media, opened SES San Francisco 2011 this morning with her keynote Conversion Triggers. Packed with tools and real-life persuasion marketing lessons, her presentation included a particularly sexy case study using her “Revive Your Drive” product.

Bratton claims to be an “almost-newbie” in persuasion marketing (we don’t buy it!) and explained her motivation comes from wanting to support people in their journey through finding the right products, not manipulate them. Persuasion marketing and copy writing, she says, are fundamental to marketing. Bratton encouraged participants to skip the ad agencies and try their own hand at copywriting; she recommends Fast Effective Copywriting and Simple Writing System as good online courses for those who wish to improve their skills.

Bratton explained the four realms of persuasive marketing: structured communications, story telling, copy writing and neuro-marketing.

Structured Communications and Success in Copy Writing

Keywords, empathy, story telling and triggers are the keys to structured communication. This is a process for communicating that goes far beyond the sales funnel and becomes the structure of the communications you have with your customer, she says.

You need something great to start with, though. Bratton shared the Craig Eubanks quote, “We copy writers would like to believe copy is paramount, yet it’s only about 20 percent of the success equation. It’s the offer that matters most.”

On structure, Bratton recommends several resources:

  • Sparkline, Nancy Duarte
  • Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell
  • 7-Step Formula for Winning Letters, Bob Stone

She shared what she called an epiphany for her in a quote from David Garfinkel, author of Fast Effective Copy: “Join in the conversation a person is having with himself.” Other copy writing resources she recommends include:

  • Influential Writing, Dan Kennedy
  • Simple Writing System, John Carlton
  • The Irresistable Offer, Mark Joyner
  • Million Dollar Mailings, Dennison HPatch

Story Telling and Neuro-Marketing in Persuasion Marketing

“Persuasion is a sequence of emotions that take a prospect from interest to action.” You need to move your prospect through all of the emotions that he or she is oging to have and overcome those objections to turn them into a yes, says Bratton. Resources from her “cheat sheet” on storytelling:

  • Enchantment, Guy Kawasaki
  • 7-Figure Speaking Empire, Dave van Hoose
  • Invisible Close, Lisa Sasevich
  • Resonate, Nancy Duarte

Before moving on to her case study, Bratton shared a final list of recommended reading for those interested in learning more about neuro-marketing:

  • Persuasion & Influence, Robert Cialdini
  • 29 Psychological Triggers, Joe Sugarman
  • 7 Fascination Triggers, Sally Hogshead
  • Semantics & Semiotics, Joseph Carrabis

Conversion Triggers – The Process of Creating and Launching a Product

Bratton took us through a case study on a product of hers, Revive Her Drive, designed to help men have a better sex life. She began by looking up keywords and did online surveys. Next, she recommends looking at media consumption – what is the target customer already consuming?

Empathy trumps all – so it didn’t matter what the words were, she had to get deeply into who they were, what their pain was, what their hope was. She conducted intimate interviews and read book reviews to see what was missing that she could add in her product. She interviewed experts.

Out of all of this research, Bratton found cluster topics – four elements of seduction. She wrote the story in a long narrative about what was happening in this man’s world, then gathered feedback to find words that work. She learned the subtleties of how to connect with the man, her target customer.

Initial conversions are lower than autoresponder conversions in this case study, she noted. It takes a while to move people through the journey, especially given the topic. She used Bob Stone’s 7 Steps to make sure she’s handling all objections in autoresponders.

In this example, she tested seven different landing pages and looked at click-tale heat maps. She used Google website optimizer and had 87 headlines to test. Bratton saw a 20 percent increase with two different words and reminds us that little tweaks can make a huge difference. Ongoing testing and tweaking is key.

Bratton recommends that people join mastermind groups to get the advice you really need to hear and take advantage of people with complementary skills. She shared with us examples of Garfinkel critiquing her work and believes having a mentor is also helpful.

A video of the presentation slides with voiceover is available at

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