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What's The Frame In Direct Response Marketing

05/28/2010

Stereotypes and prejudices usually have a bad connotation. They can be thoughts or feelings about a people or a person that degrades them to a degree.

To some extent we all have them, don’t we? It’s important you understand this in marketing your product or service. You can use it to your advantage.

But the first question should be, “Why do we have them?”

One explanation is that our brains want to categorize and put order to our world. And stereotypes and prejudices are tools, or crutches, that help our brain quickly store and deal with data (not always in a healthy or helpful way).

Think of it like this, if you had to analyze everything from scratch, each and every time you encountered it, you’d either die from exhaustion or end up in the mentally insane hospital.

Use this understanding to your advantage (and use it for good)

Yes, I said use stereotypes and prejudices to your advantage. And I also said use it for good. Don’t use it to degrade people.

In marketing, there’s an idea called the “Frame”. A simple explanation is, “Your prospect will be, and can be, influenced long before they arrive at your sales close. In fact, how they are introduced to your company, service, or product (positively or negatively) may determine if you get a sale or not.”

A Frame is like a stereotype and prejudice. It’s a tool you can use (and need to be aware of) that helps your prospect categorize, put order to her world about you, gives meaning, influences her decision, and determines her action (to buy or not to buy from you).

Here are some examples:

A Good One – “Someone referred me and gave me glowing remarks on how your product/service changed their life for better. I want the same. Where do I sign and how do you want me to pay for it?”

A Bad One – “I read a lot of negative feedback about this (Your) product/service in a chat room. I want to check out the sales page (website, store, etc). I’m not planning on buying anything I just want to see what all the fuss is about.”

In the Good example, it really didn’t matter how powerful your sales copy was or wasn’t. In fact, in that situation, you probably didn’t even need any sales literature at all.

I’ve met many artists who never advertise but are busy with work because of word of mouth among the right people.

In the Bad example, it also didn’t matter how strong your sales copy was. It could have been written by the top selling copywriter of all time. Your prospect still wouldn’t hand you a dollar because her Frame determined that your product or service isn’t worth it.

Your prospect will see you, learn about you, read about you, hear about you, long before they ever agree to meet your sales people, arrive at your order page, or visit your store.

The Frame is like a prejudice or stereotype. It may not be nice, but it’s a part of life. Being in control of the Frame is just as important as being in control of your advertising and marketing message, probably more important.

Make sure you are aware and respect the Frame: What your prospect sees, hears, reads, and learns about you on their way to your store, website, or order page.

If you can give your prospects a positive Frame, it can boost your sales and marketing efforts. If your prospects are in a negative Frame when thinking about doing business with you, it almost doesn’t matter how strong your marketing or advertising is, you probably won’t get a sale.

Dear reader, what are your personal experiences with the Frame? How have you fixed it or empowered it in the past?

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