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Framing technique in marketing

How to create frames that would prompt customers to think about your product in a more positive way.

You’re about to launch your first Facebook ad campaign. You figured out the location, the age, the interests — phew, the challenging part is done. Now, let’s choose the income level and life events and go ahead with creating a compelling copy that would resonate specifically with the audience you have chosen.

Facebook detailed targeting section

For instance, you have chosen “Away from family” and start putting together an emotional text “Being away from your loved ones is tough....”

But think for a moment: do all those people who are away from family feel the same? What if at least 1/4 of them are excited to finally get away from the routine? What if another 1/4 are introverts who value their solitude and are dreaming of recharging their batteries away from family?

Context matters — maybe even more than some other important aspects like demographics. A research that was run 30 years ago proved that nothing can beat context in the decision making process. You can read more on this research here or here.

Framing: what is it about

The good news is that you can actively create context in which your product should be perceived by your customers. This technique of context creation is called Framing. Framing means you create a mental frame for your prospects, website visitors, etc. to start thinking about your product. Frames are like little nudges — you don’t push people in a specific direction but you gently show them the better way of thinking. Framing never presumes that you should tell lies to your customers. It only allows you to “package” truthful information in a way that would create a specific context around it.

There are numerous examples of framing that you might find in real life, whether intentional or unintentional.

In the supermarket you see two packages of beef. One tag says “10% fat” another one says “90% fat-free”. Which one would be selling better? You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out that the later copy would be more seducing to customers, though both tags basically convey the same information. But the way they do it is different — which, in turn, impacts customer perception, and as a result, sales.

Harry Dry, a founder of has an recent example that I really like:

Framing technique in the copywriting

A copy for Water Cooler Trivia — two different copies. But the first one prompts a one-off purchase. While the second one puts the experience in a different context, creating an opportunity for subscription-based service and MRR.

How to create frames?

By using strategically in headlines words and/ or numbers.

— To create a positive frame for a child's online education, headlines (H2 or H2) with the words like “little genius”, “bright stars”, “A+” would work well.

— For example, you’re selling an info-product and 76% of your buyers say that they like it. Do you put “76% in your headline”? No! 76% is perceived by our brain as “almost 70%” which means “somewhere around C+”. This kind of reference doesn’t add credibility to your product. But if you say “4 out of 5 customers are happy with the product” it sounds much better, and the best part — it conveys the same data about your product.

Numbers are extremely effective for putting certain frames because they help our subconscious brain capture value very fast.

Real life example: TweetHunter

But let’s see how framing works for TweetHunter — a service that allows to build following on Twitter faster.

Example of framing on TweetHunter landing page. Ex.1

#1 Product of the Day tag left on the page long after the Product Hunt launch still creates an important frame for website visitors who are familiar with Product Hunt and have an experience of launching products there or planning on a launch. It puts the service in the context that instantly sends a message to our hidden brain:

— this service has been upvoted by hundreds

— this service is #1

This frame stops the instinctive desire to check for some other options: Ok, maybe I need a tool to grow my Twitter audience but I’m not sure I should choose this one. The frame instantly sends a signal: this is the one you need, look no further. Boom!

Pro Tip

— Does it make sense to add a badge if you are #2 or #3? I would not recommend it! This will send a strong signal to start looking for #1.

Example of framing on TweetHunter landing page — ex.2

Very specific numbers that TweetHunter uses to deliver the value proposition instantly creates a positive frame: from 0 to 100K, from 0.5% to 6%. it’s a progress that our “lazy” hidden brain grasps instantly. In general, numbers are amazing for creating frames, as I’ve mentioned above.

Pro tip:

Look for all the numbers in your business and choose the ones that feel the most compelling.
Go for percentage if it is over 90% — the brain sees it as “all”
Go for “4 out of 5” if it is more than 70% and less than 80% — the brain sees a percentage less than 80% as “mediocre” or even “failure” (go for the lowest possible denominator).
Use numbers instead of words like “most” or “almost all” is the data you get shows numbers over 70%
Go for “more than half” if your percentage is lower than 60%

A general advice: as soon as you find a number that you believe creates a positive frame for your startup, try all possible options: with and without decimals, fractions, percentage, words. Try each one to see what sounds better.

Framing: do-s and don'ts


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