In the 21st century, mankind experience an unprecedented level of information flow, and thus, the creation of numerous offers aimed at attracting as many customers as possible. However, it is easy to get lost in the overflow of data, and new marketing strategies are failing because of the excessive amount of content and the lack of customer interest in new advertising “wonders” that they usually overlook. In this context, behavioral linguistics appears as a tool of acquiring clients in an innovative, interesting way.

Behavioral linguistics is a fairly recent concept that derives from psycholinguistics – the science of language acquisition and behaviorism, i.e. the observation and analysis of human behavior. By combining both approaches, we can come to the conclusion that representatives of this science study the possibility of influencing human behavior with the help of linguistic means, which can significantly affect sales effectiveness.

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In the marketing industry, a method to gain customer attention based on scientific indications is translated as a “nudge”. The term itself indicates not pushing the product “by force”, but giving suggestion arousing the interest of a potential customer. One copywriter stated that nudges, according to the categorization of the types of companies that use them, are currently divided into:

• “dutiful” – serve to create good behavioural habits (e.g. companies offering healthy food or exercise), which generally play a positive role in creating healthy trends (on which, of course, they want to make more money)

• “dark” – a complete opposite of the above category, used by fast-food and aimed at attracting as many customers as possible to eat unhealthy meals (justifying this with the trend, after all, who wouldn’t want to grab a burger at McDonald’s)

“deliberate” – related to a specific goal that companies or social movements want to implement and persuade as many people as possible (e.g. arms reform movement in the US, bigger salaries for interpreters)

• “dreadful” – designed to mislead, mainly deceive the customer and prey on their ignorance, e.g.  credit card offers which cannot be cancelled later due to various “loopholes” in the bank’s regulations (often called “a sludge”)

The means by which marketers ‘nudge’ customers consist of 7 simple tips:

1. Simplicity of expression. The sentences should be simple, clear and short. This form ensures much higher efficiency in attracting the customer’s attention.

2. Use the present tense. People are focused on NOW, so write to them NOW.

3. Refer to the opinions of others. We are more likely to trust information that has been confirmed by others.

4. Strange numbers. Instead of writing “our translation agency has already completed over 2000 technical translation projects”, write “our translation agency has already completed 2314 technical translation projects”. This stimulates the client’s brain to reflection.

5. Timing. An angry employee at 6 am on a Monday won’t be too interested in product quality.

6. Use rhymes. Paradoxically, we have more confidence in rhyming information, because we associate it with childhood.

7. Use personal pronouns. We, us, our build a bond between the company and the customer who considers purchase of the product to be part of “something bigger”.

The relationship between language, behaviour and decision-making is crucial. If someone is aware of this and pays attention to those few little tips, their persuasion skills will increase exponentially.

(translation T.B)

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