Live from Optimization Summit: "Clarity Trumps Persuasion"

By Mark Browner | Jun 3, 2011
More Articles by Mark


The first session of the last day at Optimization Summit was a Keynote Addressoptimization summit from Dr. Flint McGlaughlin. According to McGlaughlin, when it comes to crafting effective copy, clarity trumps persuasion. In order to create clear copy there are 3 steps that should be followed:

Step 1: Get clear about your Value Proposition

The value proposition is the substance; the copy is the form. The value proposition, not the copy, does the persuasion. To understand value proposition you should ask yourself the following question:

“If I am the ideal customer why should I purchase from you rather than any of the competitors?”

This is what drives everything we do in marketing.

Step 2: Follow a framework that matches the sequence of thought

Exposition: (Headline) gets visitor into the first paragraph

Rising Action: (1st paragraph) gets the visitor to the conversation

The Rising Action: Consists of the following elements:

  • Proofs (specific statements that bring credibility to value proposition)
  • Benefits
  • Features
  • Incentive
  • Urgency

The Climax: The call-to-action (must be clearly visible and imply value, immediacy and urgency)

Resolution: Confirmation and Thank you pages

Avoid the 7 Most Common Mistakes of Copy:

  1. Headline has no value
  2. Action centric call-to-actions (the value must outweigh the cost, don’t just tell them to do something)
  3. Saying too much
  4. Saying too little (how much copy they need depends on several elements including where they are in the thought sequence and how motivated they are)
  5. Misplaced tone
  6. Visual intimidation
  7. Disconnected images

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