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How to use Hormones to grow a startup

It's not just a "brainy stuff". You can use basic knowledge about hormones to improve your positioning, promotional copy and targeting. Here's how

Even you’re not a behavioural scientist you definitely have heard these terms: oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin. They are used widely in pop-science and narrative around human behaviour. You might know what each of them actually do but you probably have a general impression that they are hormones and that they have some impact on not only your feelings but your actions.

Here’s a great example of how we usually think of them.

But here’s the trick: you also don’t have to be a behavioural scientist to learn very basic things about these tree chemicals that would actually help you to position your product better and make your messaging more relevant to your audience.


Hormones 101: what do you have to know about them as a startup founder

Three hormones in particular are very relevant to your line of work. All three are called “happiness chemicals” as, indeed, they cause the emotional states that can be described as “happiness”. However, they deal with 3 different types of “happiness”.

Dopamine — induces feelings that are involved in reward and motivation system. You are full of anticipation, can’t wait to get the result, obsessed with growing a number of followers on Twitter, joined the Ship30in30 challenge? All clear indication of increased dopamine release.

Serotonin — feeling emotional looking at little pups playing, pictures of babies are the definite scroll stopper for you, feel so inspired by person or a project that you can literally spend 18-20 hours dealing with it? Clear signals of being high on serotonin.

Oxytocin — the “bonding hormone”. Induces the feeling of being understood and loved, makes people motivates by working for “shared values”. The signs of oxytocin increase are: you want to feel yourself a part of a community, start feeling better when you feel support of like-minded people.

It’s not that when one hormone is released others stay dormant. They can be present and balanced in the body. But stronger release of one inevitable causes a resulting emotional state, and therefore, prompts us to take an action that is relevant to this emotional state.

One of the most important things about hormones that have been discovered within the last 3 years is that their release intensity changes with ageing!

Remember this:

✅ Dopamine and serotonin release decreases ⬇️ when we grow older

Oxytocin release normally goes up ⬆️ with ageing

✅ The drop in dopamine release is the most noticeable while serotonin release decreases slowly and inconsiderably.

6 actionable ways to use knowledge about hormones as a founder

1. Hormones in advertising

This knowledge of hormones has been used by people in advertising for years.

pups in toilet paper rolls and lady doctor
Hormones inducing ads examples


2. Hormones in content creation

But what might be even more relevant to use: this knowledge is invaluable for content creation. You can test different options or use all of them, just like it is done by Justin Welsh

One of the reasons Justin Welsh content is so popular — it resonates with different hormone release levels


3. Hormones in creating buyers persona

Finally, we can apply our data on audience demographics wisely 😅

Check out the age group for your audience using your competitor’s brand and Similarweb. What age group is the product most popular with?

Difference in hormone release with ageing can be important demographical characteristic for your buyers persona

For example, age distribution for user of Twitter and TikTok shows that TikTok is used more by younger audience. The takeaway: dopamine and serotonin-induced content will be more popular on TikTok, while oxytocin-inducing content have a great chance to rate on Twitter.


4. Hormones in defining product positioning

You can niche-down your product targeting it at an audience who’s level of hormone release would resonate with it.



5. Hormones and social profiles

Make sure your social profile is aligned with the positioning of your product and addresses the same audience

See how it’s done by Kevon Cheung, the author of the Twitter course mentioned above.


6. Hormones and copy testing

While testing your ad copy (or promotional tweets) play around with options that address different types of hormone releases and get data on which one resonates more (aka, gets you the lowest CPC).

You can change the copy on the product landing page later to adjust it to the of the winning ad (this will, in turn, improve your conversion rate)


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