Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

Hot Button Marketing (Factors that Call Your Readers to Action)

Posted By Darren Rowse 5th of April 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Hot-Button-MarketingOne of the books that I’ve been reading off and on over the last 12 months (it’s a good one for dipping into a little at a time) is Hot Button Marketing (by Barry Feig).

It’s an interesting read that caught my attention in the book shop because it puts words to some theories that I’ve had for a while now.

The sub title of the book is:

‘push the emotional buttons that get people to buy’

Sounds quite manipulative doesn’t it? In some senses it could be argued that it is (as is much of marketing) but it is a book that really taps into human psychology and that we as bloggers could probably learn a little from as we think about how to call our readers to action of different kinds (whether it be with affiliate marketing, getting people to subscribe to our blogs or an other action).

The basis of the book is that it identifies 16 ‘buttons’ that marketers can ‘push’ to get people to buy. A lot of the ‘buttons’ are things that we do (or could do) with our blog posts.

I’m still pondering it (and I’ll probably write something on ProBlogger about it at some point) but wanted to share the buttons here quickly as something to think about. The 16 buttons won’t all apply to all of our blogs (and some of them won’t apply to any of us) but they might help some of us put words to what we see our readers responding to.

Here they are (the headings are the authors – I’ve included a few thoughts on the first few to show how they might apply. I’ll let you check out the book if you’re interested for unpacking of the rest):

  1. The Desire for Control – a lot of what people do, buy, put energy into is about getting more control for different areas of their lives. One of the things that we can do as bloggers is provide people with content that helps them find this control. I’m not talking about manipulating them into thinking they have it – but some of the posts we can write can actually help a person make good decisions, be empowered to live better lives and live to their potential. Give someone the tools to take control (or be better) in their work, relationships, health etc and you give them something powerful that they’ll thank you for, pass on to others and keep coming back for more of.
  2. I’m Better than You – this is largely about self esteem and the desire of people to feel noticed and important. We’ve all seen it at its worst (egotistical and arrogant behavior) but it’s also something that isn’t all bad (I think people should have a healthy self esteem and have some level of confidence in their own abilities). As bloggers we operate in a medium where there is a lot of ego stroking and while I try not to get into it too much to acknowledge others and ‘make them famous’ is a way to grow your blog. Acknowledge your readers, promote other bloggers and give your readers a sense of worth and you’ll create a space that people want to belong to.
  3. The Excitement of Discovery – how many times have you had emails from friends or families saying ‘look what I found’? We all like to think we discovered things or were in on them at their beginnings and blogs are a real tool for this. Look at the popularity of the big tech/gadget blogs and gossip celebrity blogs – people who want to know within minutes of an announcement about the new phone or who was seen kissing who. Give your readers a sense of being among the first to know and they’ll lap it up.
  4. Revaluing
  5. Family Values
  6. The Desire to Belong
  7. Fun is its own Reward
  8. Poverty of Time
  9. The Desire to Get the Best
  10. Self Achievement
  11. Sex, Love and Romance
  12. The Nurturing Response
  13. Reinventing Oneself
  14. Make Me Smarter
  15. Power, Dominance and Influence
  16. Wish Fulfillment

All in all Hot Button Marketing a thought provoking book. As I say, some of the ‘buttons’ will be more relevant for blogging (and different blogs depending upon their topic) than others but it’s a good way to challenge you to get into the minds of your readers and see how they make decisions.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I’d be interested to see more of your thoughts on how bloggers could apply this more directly, specifically with the last four. Regardless, I believe that this is one of those things that everyone knows inherently but that people don’t give much conscious thought to: people have certain desires and if you meet those needs people will respond. It certainly makes sense.

  2. Sounds like an interesting book indeed! My site is trying the “help others” button (if there is such a thing).

  3. Sounds interesting.
    Some of the ‘buttons’ are relevant for few of my blogs.
    I can try it.

  4. I am always looking to find new ways to get people to buy and jump on board. It is kind of funny but you could have the best product or service in the world but if you can not build it on emotion your losing out a ton of sales. These are some things I can take into account for now when building my next sales page or pushing my next product. I am even thinking about going and picking up this book now.

    Sean Supplee

  5. Interesting read. I will keep some of these buttons in mind when I brainstorm future posts!

  6. Sounds like there should be an ’emotion’ button as I reckon many people buy certain things on a emotive impulse. They not always happy with what they’ve purchased but few learn from their mistakes.

  7. This isn’t really something new, and knowingly or unknowingly, we all use the above “buttons” in all of our Marketing materials.

    I have an Antique Furniture shop, as such my marketing material is designed to obtain a certain emotion that my target customer will jump upon in order to make them want to buy something.

  8. The same things that cause people to buy products also get them to respond to personal ads. Sounds weird, like you’re buying a person, but it’s true.

    Good copy tells a story that you want to have as YOUR story. Whether that’s people to buy your ebook, click on your ads, or ask you out on a date.

    Thanks for the recommendation, Darren. I might just go pick that one up when Borders emails me another of their spiffy coupons.

  9. I would love if you could expand on all of the other points.
    It kind of looks like the post didn’t get finished and it would be great if we could find out more from you darren.

    Thanks for the post (as always)

  10. really good. i believe emotion buttons like that always works.

  11. I started a blog about computers and advices but your article makes me wonder if I should write about celebrities. Some time ago technology forums and blogs were a very important source of information but today I see that you can have more readers running a blog with themes for myspace rather than important advices about what your computer can do.

  12. Hmm.. looks interesting, haven’t tried this yet.. hope I can also implement this one on my site.

  13. Interesting.

    It’s true that using this hot buttons is a must in your writing, but they shouldn’t be a mean to deceive people.


  14. Darren: You write that marketing tends to try to manipulate. I don’t think that’s correct. That certainly was true in the past, during the golden age of mass markets and mass advertising. But those days are gone.

    The inter-connectedness of markets has (appropriately) drive a stake through the heart of that system. Poor marketing continues to embrace those failing strategies, and those attempts are–as you say–manipulative.

    However, more and more marketers have seen the light, and are trying to do things better. We’re trying to create products for people rather than finding people for our products. And we’re trying to connect with customers in meaningful, honest ways.

    That’s not manipulative at all. And it’s the future of marketing success.

  15. If it is something you recommend I am sure there are scores of people lining up to use the service or buy the product. There is a certain value to your recommendations, then again there are certain promos from you as well.
    Is this a genuine recommendation, sorry if I am a lil blunt on this question.:)

  16. Sounds like a book I might enjoy reading. :)

    I’ve bought a couple of books that you have mentioned and found them helpful in the past.

  17. i love that hot button idea. Its sounds great!

  18. It’s not manipulation at all, whether marketing (done properly) or wanting others to read your blog. Because you’re giving others something they want. If you’re giving a product, and doing it honestly, you’re not manipulating anybody! Could you expand on the other points when you get a chance? Thanks, Darren!

    krissy knox
    follow me on twitter:

  19. I agree, you need a call to action of some kind. I think the “Desire to Belong” button is really common on many marketing blogs… “get a copy now!” type of thing.

  20. Getting customers to buy will always be the top most focus of all marketers, if marketers do sell then they are not marketers at all.

    Be it that it does work or not, is the question, but the question is are you getting result from this marketing strategy, if not change.

    Always be flexible in all aspect of your live.

    To your success!

    Cyrus Yung

  21. It is always good to try and bring an emotional aspect to your writing. This is actually something I have had a bit of a hard time intergrating into my own writing. I was aware of it, but your article has made me think I should make more of an effort to intergrate it into my my writing. It is not always easy.

  22. The topic really interesting! This hot button is always done by successful internet marketer and they earn 5 figure a month by this type of manipulation.

  23. Button Marketing…..It really works!

  24. Darren,

    Barry Feig is a friend of mine. The book is fantastic too. I use the information every day for my copywriting. And now have it memorized. I interviewed him on my radio show. If you like a copy of that show audio to post, let me know. I’ll get my assist at the station to look it up and get permission from the station to release — my show is on public radio — part of the NPR broadcasting system — and this is required. However, it’s not difficult, just need to go through a short request process of a few days.

    Catherine Franz

  25. Interesting … hot button to trigger the readers curiosity.

  26. Looks like an interesting book, of course I placed an Amazon order 5 minutes before I read the post ;)

  27. These buttons are most relevant to affiliate marketing which requires a call to action. Once the buyer pushes the button, you have got a sale, you need to have an attractive button for that.

  28. Very interesting marketing concepts. I will pick up a copy of the book and put some of those buttons to work on my blogs.

    btw-I am really looking forward to the 31 days to a better blog series.

  29. I’m in the middle of it myself and find it quite thought provoking. You definitely need to choose HOW to market something, whether it’s a product or blog, and this book is great for considering the different angles. If you are marketing to everyone, then you are not doing a good job (and the book will tell you that as well).

  30. Sire – you could be right. Although a number of them probably tap into different emotions.

    Steve (and Krissy) – yes you’re right, in the past there was quite a bit of ‘manipulation’ in marketing and there has been a shift in the thinking of many marketers. When I studied marketing at Uni back in the early 90’s the shift you talk about was starting to happen more and more – although I’m sad to say that at least here in Aus there’s still a bit of the old style evident from time to time.

    Unoblogger – I’m finding the book useful. As I say, some of the chapters apply to my blogs more than others but I think it’s a pretty useful way of thinking about the way you call people to action.

  31. […] If you’ve ever thought about psychological sales triggers or enjoy studying the psychology of selling then Hot Button Marketing is a book you’d probably get a lot of insight from. Darren over at ProBlogger has a good post about it and goes into some of the 16 ‘hot buttons’ from the book to illustrate how they relate to blogging, but they also relate to online sales conversions. Hot Button Marketing (Factors that Call Your Readers to Action) […]

  32. This is an interesting idea, i am going to try out some of the buttons i think will fit my blog =D

  33. I am always looking to find new ways to get people to buy and jump on board. It is kind of funny but you could have the best product or service in the world but if you can not build it on emotion your losing out a ton of sales. These are some things I can take into account for now when building my next sales page or pushing my next product. I am even thinking about going and picking up this book now.

    Sean Supplee
    http://www.2uaj.com/index.html Air jordan

  34. My thanks for the complements about my book, “Hot Button Marketing.” You were one of the first to realize that is as much a book about psychology and human motivation as it is about marketing.

    Barry Feig

  35. The book sounds like a great marketing tool.


  36. From the author. I’m glad that my books stirred up your interest. For a video about Hot Button Marketing, please see my website, barryfeig.com

  37. We already know that positive emotions are the “big dogs” when it comes to motivating people to make a purchase. An exclusive offer gives buyers a tremendous jolt of “feel good” by making them part of an inner circle.

    Let me share with you another Hot-Button, that is “Exclusivity”. you can find about it at my blog in detail. I hope every one gonna love it.

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…