Why you should consider framing to influence decision making


In part 1 of this series, we discussed how to use emotion in direct mail to drive results. In part 2 we discussed using loss aversion to drive sales. In part 3 we discussed how to use scarcity and reciprocity to increase your direct mail sales. As well as exclusivity. In part 4 we discussed social proof and storytelling behaviors to driver higher direct mail results.

In part 5 we discussed how autonomy bias and the consistency principle can be used in direct mail to increase results. In part 6 we looked at how information gap theory and authority principle could be used to increase direct mail response. Now we will discuss status quo bias and framing to get people to take the action you want them to. By using these human behaviors, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase sales.

Since people prefer the status quo to exerting the energy to act. Researchers have found that the way choices are presented actually influence the decisions people make. Descriptive words can also influence behavior. So how can we use this in our direct mail marketing? First by making one option appear to be more fun or novel. You can also position the desired option as easy, simple, beneficial and requiring little effort.

Do not make the mistake of leading with your lowest price. Instead, put your highest price first. It will serve as the reference against all other price options. The other prices will appear more attractive this way.

Suggestions on adding status quo and choice architecture to your direct mail:

  • Frame the choice you want people to make as the standard.
  • Position the desired customer action as popular and attractive.
  • Create the path of least resistance to what you want your customers to do.
  • Consider including for long term customers how many years they have done business with you.
  • Provide a compelling reason or incentive to act.

Now let’s look at framing and labeling. To increase sales, frame your prospect/customer as part of a group that would naturally buy your product or service. Then when you describe your product or service, use words that frame it in a way that makes it more appealing. Researchers have found that you can motivate behavior by telling a person they belong to a certain group, then they start to act that way.

Before asking someone to make a purchase, suggest to them that they are a good fit for your product or service. When you label them that way, they act that way. Keep in mind that the descriptions you use for your products and services can influence people as well. You want to put them in the right mindset to act on your offer. Different ways of presenting the same information can evoke different emotions.

The key to framing is to create copy that points out the problems with saying no to get them to say yes. Make sure to use descriptive words as well as percentages and prices. You should frame your product or service around the experience they are going to get by purchasing rather than affordability. You can increase the likelihood of purchasing by using labeling and framing. The first influences how they see themselves and the second influences how they see your product or service. Both can trigger automatic buying decisions.

How to use framing and labeling in direct mail:

  • Refer to your prospect with a label that is consistent with what you want them to do. For example if you are selling high-end cooking supplies, call your prospect a foodie or gourmet.
  • Refer to your customers as best or very important, they tend to spend more when they feel superior.
  • Be careful not to choose an incorrect label, all that will do is make someone angry.
  • Address any drawbacks with framing to the positive. Such as a cramped restaurant is an intimate one.
  • Refer to the cost of your service as an investment not an expense.

As you can see adding both labeling and framing can really help to drive the response you want from your direct mail campaigns. There are many ways to do this beyond the ones mentioned above. Get creative and have some fun with your direct mail. In our next article, we will discuss automatic compliance triggers and maximizing your direct mail copy.

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