Plain-spoken Online Conversion Rate Newsletter - covering web design, sales, marketing, copywriting, usability, SEO, relationship marketing and consumer psychology.


Advanced Wordsmithing I: 5 Frameworks for Becoming Memorable

Okay, dudes and dudettes. We've talked about Frosting, Franking and Seussing - specific ways you can Rev Up your Writing. We've examined the power of verbs (Pump Up Your Verbs) and the persuasive role of the active voice (Think Active!). But you've got whole web pages to compose, entire email campaigns to generate. You need frameworks … that's what you need! Ways to conceive the entirety so you can apply the style, persuading your prospects to take the action you want them to take while at the same time involving them as active participants and thrilling them with the unexpected.

Here are a few ideas taught at the Wizard Academy that can help you develop a framework and writing style to do all that!

Make it Irresistible

Remember watching a Sienfeld episode, glued to the TV, following several unrelated stories that finally converge into a hilarious, unpredictable, grand finale? It's a kind of template some of the most memorable TV shows have tapped into: a single episode weaves together multiple storylines. You can tap into this magic as well - it's particularly effective when developed through an email campaign. Alternate between several storylines, lay false trails, add a bit of mystery by withholding some information until the very end of your message. Have your readers need to read what you have to say.

Communicate Emotions and Feelings

Remember that people make buying decisions based on feelings (The Power of Emotion). Therefore, it is essential that your reader fully realize the feelings you mean to communicate so she can properly translate throughout your message. Once you have chosen the appropriate emotion to evoke, think of words and phrases you associate with it and incorporate these into your writing. This way you won’t just paint pictures, you’ll give rides!

Be Provocative

Make your message short enough and simple enough so the intended receiver reads it, and provocative enough that they choose to read it again. The secret is high Impact Quotient, that is, your message’s power not only to convince, but also to enlarge and impress. Readers go back and read something again when they realize you’re writing about something much bigger than they originally suspected. The thought that they have missed “something huge” draws them back to the beginning for a second read. Read a thing twice - even in one sitting - and you’ve read it twice … the message’s frequency just doubled!

Be Audacious

Audacity leverages the power of the unexpected. Audacious statements have far more impact than those that are “predictable.” Are you avoiding audacity for fear you might offend someone? Then remember what Roy H. Williams says: “The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” Are your readers walking barefoot because you bore the socks off them? Go ahead ... take a chance worth taking.

Think Symbolically

Symbolic thought bridges left-brain and right … the literal to the figurative … concrete realities to abstract concepts; it communicates ideas in such a way that massive, right-brain concepts can be glimpsed on the left-brain’s little black & white screen. Symbolic thought is rich and exciting, satisfying both hemispheres of the brain. It is extremely useful when you try to communicate difficult concepts, and encourages the reader to consider things from different perspectives. Some examples of symbolic thought are similes, metaphors, double-entendre, parables, and music… “Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A. …” The most patriotic song in recent times, right? Read the lyrics… talk about symbolic thought!

The key to all this is to use your imagination in an appealing, different way - a way that jogs the reader from their complacency and brings them to attention. You're not just hawking your wares, you are communicating magic.

So, before I bid you adieu, I'd like to leave you with this little piece of magic. It's one of the most memorable things I've ever encountered when it comes to persuasion:


Some only dream of flying
They say you need wings to fly
I say, I have wings
But they can't hear me
I am already there
And the wind is screaming words with me
But I am not dreaming
They say I wish I had wings
I say, you do have wings
The question is:
Where are you hiding them?

A young girl named Piper Loyd wrote that and Nike used it in a TV ad for shoes. SHOES (ho-hum)!! Lots of nice images, sure (you'd hope as much for a visual presentation), yet I can't recall a single one. But I've remembered the words, ever since I first heard that simple voice over, the only "copy" for that ad. Emotional, provocative, audacious, symbolic! I ran right out and got me a pair of Nikes! I also framed the poem, and it's still hanging on my wall.

Think this stuff doesn't make a difference? Then think again. And dare to think outside the box, color outside the lines. Dare to be memorable. Oh, and remember to come back, 'cause next time, I'll have five more suggestions to help you flesh out your developing style!


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GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledges-serif" and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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