Tim Ash: “Selling to the Logical Brain Won’t Get Results”

This year a keynote speaker at the iMetrics conference was Tim Ash – an experienced internet marketer and businessmen, CEO of SiteTuners.com, author of the book  “Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions”. He is also Chair&founder at Conversion Conference.

At the beginning of his speech Tim Ash introduced himself and told about some interesting facts from his life. Tim was born in Russia and at the age of 8 his family moved to the States, where he received bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and Cognitive  Science, master’s and doctoral degree in Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego.  Tim also shared some of his photos from family achieve.

Tim Ash spoke to the audience in good Russian and read the presentation in English. However, sometimes he switched to the native language J

The presentation title was “It’s Irrational: Why selling to the logical brain will not bring results”. Today during website development such biology fact is widely used. It is known that human brain is about 1.5 million years.  Understanding the mechanisms of its operation discovers new facts about the way people perceive and make decisions.

So let’s get started.

Part 1. Complicated structure

When we talk about brain, we usually imagine left rational hemisphere and right one, emotional.

But in fact everything is more complex – we have three brains:

  • neocortex (brain hemisphere cortex) which is responsible for making decisions and planning;
  • limbic system is responsible for sense and memorization;
  • brain stem or reptile’s brain is in charge of reaction and survival.

Part 2. Feed the reptiles

Stem is the oldest brain section, it exists around 100 million years (for comparison neocortex accounts only 1.5 -2.5 million years). So stem is the fundament of our behavior.

Ancient brain is:

  • lazy
  • impatient
  • prefers simple choice
  • automatic

It is interested in 4 F:

  • Flee
  • Fight
  • Feed
  • F which is responsible for reproduction

This brain doesn’t want to change anything.

 Part 3. How the ancient brain works

Ancient brain

  • acts the same all the time and can be trained
  • it cares only about survival
  • it defines the work of other blocks.

Part 4. How to apply this in practice

Just a few options are possible:

Brain doesn’t like to tire itself by choosing from a wider selection of similar options.


  1. Help customers – use step-by-step tactic, not filter. It is easier to make the decision when the information is supplied in portions, and it is possible to choose from a limited number of options. For example, in the USA companies which help people fill in the tax declaration enjoy great popularity. On each step of filling in the form process there is only two options to answer one question.
  2. Know the measure.
  3. Get rid of similar variants.


We accept the first thing we see. Newly born chicken will consider the first face it sees as the mother – regardless of whether it is hen or cat. The same goes for information perception and how to sell online.

This principle is used for vine map creation and calling plan on the website.

Starting with the cheapest offer, you will not manage to make people buy the most expensive one, and it doesn’t matter how useful it can be. That’s how brain games work.


  1. We focus on the information we receive the first.
  2. Place the goods starting from the most expensive.  At the beginning should be the most costly goods which are less likely to be bought.  Because of this category other products will seem cheaper.
  3. Rational-compromise sales will increase.
  4. Place irrational anchor in the “lobby” (before the real action will be performed). Tim Ash referred to his own practice of communication with customers. When he was asked about services cost, his answer was “less than a million dollars”. Of course the buyer will focus on million, and when he will find out that the actual price is just  one thousand dollars, he will be very happy. So this practice could be applied concerning  how to sell things online

 Be among your tribe

We all belong to different groups – “tribes”. Some of them we select deliberately.  For example, the Oatmeal website is loved by geeks, who like laughing at themselves.

Games fans is another group. So you will rarely see people that love both websites at the same time.


  1. We care more about people who are similar to ourselves.
  2. Tell about your values.
  3. Know your audience and say “no” to strangers.

We couldn’t pass through the iOS vs. Android discussion. By the way, Tim Ash has Samsung. And he teased a little Apple fans, but didn’t debate over this topic.


The biggest part of the brain is engaged in visual information perception, that is why our eyes is expensive tool.

Illustration is equal to 450 symbols. The most attention gather people faces, as they are  the most recognizable. It is connected with ancient brain attempts to save us from danger. That is why it is important to immediately evaluate the danger and decide what to do – run away or defend. Carousels on the website also draw attention – our brain automatically reacts on moving elements and focuses on them.

How to sell stuff online and implement this knowledge? Tim gave an example of SiteTuners website page, where car and the face draw the attention to the target action – place an order.


  1. Visualprocessesareinstantaneous.
  2. Attract people’s attention to the offer with the help of visualization.
  3. Use people images with caution when you want to draw attention to call-to-action. People faces shouldn’t be used as adornment.
  4. Don’toverusecarouselsandanimation.
  5. Offer several clear alternatives.
  6. Use big anchor (the most expensive offer, etc.).
  7. Speak with the audience the same language.
  8. Rememberaboutpowerofvisualization.


Also Tim Ash added that there is nothing new under the sun J

And in the end Tim Ash named several books which he recommended to read:

  1. Susan Weinschenk «100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People».
  2. Roger Dooley «Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince consumers with neuromarketing».
  3. Martin Lindstrom «Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy».
  4. Robert B. Cialdini «Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion».

The audience accepted the presentation very emotionally and it definitely changed the listeners point view on marketing.




Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+1Pin on Pinterest0

Recent posts

[Infographic] 36 Interesting and Fun Facts about Google

November 27, 2015

Android, Nest, YouTube, self-driving cars, advertising tools, search engine, TensorFlow, Google Fiber – this is all about Google. A company established as a search engine, now influences almost every part of your life, earning billions of dollars annually. In this infographic, we collected the most significant facts about the Tech Giant. Learn, share and enjoy! Continue reading >


November Round-Up: the Latest News from Marketing, E-commerce and Tech Leaders

November 24, 2015

Holidays are coming; however, the world does not stand still. November brought us some important launches and developments from the technology leaders, as well as some new trends in marketing and ecommerce. We collected all the hottest news in our November Round-up: November launches Facebook announced launch of Notify On November 11, 2015 Facebook announced Continue reading >

2015-11-23_16-59_Edit Post ‹ Promodo online

Promodo Enjoys Success Through Its Clutch Profile!

November 23, 2015

In the digital marketing age, having an SEO firm that businesses can count on is invaluable. What’s more important, though, is having an SEO firm that has your ROI in mind when developing strategies. At Promodo we pride ourselves on offering a full range of quality services such as PPC management, SEO, conversion rate optimization, Continue reading >


46 Ideas on How to Use IFTTT for Your Business

November 19, 2015

IFTTT is an abbreviation from “if this, then that” and the name of the social media automation tool. An easy way to remember is the word “gift” without a letter “g”, which the software really is. IFTTT tool is free and the principle of work is to create an automated task, they call it “recipe”, Continue reading >

Show all posts