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Copywriting 101 – What Is Framing and How to Use It

Let’s talk about framing.

The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Framing is an incredibly powerful copywriting technique we see almost every day but don’t always recognise it.

Framing is how we get a person to think about something in a different way or from a new perspective. It’s how we shape perception. We can frame things positively as well as negatively.

It’s also a technique widely used in hypnotherapy and NLP (I know, powerful stuff, right?).

Framing is powerful because everything we do first starts in the mind. If we think it and then picture it – we can act on it.

Here are some everyday examples:

The Power of Percentages

A low-fat product could be described as having just “15% Fat” or being “85% Fat-Free”.

You’ll likely go for the product labelled 85%, even though there’s zero no difference, it just seems like a better deal.

Positive & Negative

Likewise, marketing a product as “80% effective” sounds better than “20% ineffective”. In any event, framing it positively (i.e. it’s effective = it works) will help people think happy thoughts and accordingly be more likely to buy.

A negative frame can be used to highlight something people don’t want to happen and that your product or service would solve, i.e. if you were selling a standing desk, you might say: “If you sit at your desk all day, you increase the risk of heart disease and premature death.”

You’d then follow that up with the health and longevity benefits of your standing desk.

Either way, your solution should be used in a positive frame.

Let’s Break It Down

Breaking down the cost of a purchase and making it ‘relative to’ something more trivial or low cost is a popular ‘re-frame’.

You’ve probably seen this used for large or annual payments, e.g. “A yearly subscription will cost you less than the price of a cup of coffee a day”.

Seems legit, right?

However, this re-frame doesn’t make any distinction as to where you are buying the cup of coffee (it could be at Queens of Mayfair, or it could be down the local greasy spoon!).

The Price is Right

There are lots of pricing psychology techniques employed today. Not all of them are ethical, but perhaps one of the most popular is ‘Charm Pricing’.

This is where adding a 9 or 7 at the end of a price makes us think we are paying a lot less than the rounded-up figure – even though the price difference is almost nothing.

For example, $199 instead of $200.

Where there’s a choice of pricing plans available (typically three), many marketers also make use of relative pricing techniques by placing the one they want you to buy in between a cheap option (nobody wants the cheap seats, right?) and an OTT expensive one.

When it comes to buying services and products, it doesn’t stop at numbers.

We are now often asked if we’d like to ‘invest’ in something rather than ‘buy it’. This is especially potent when it’s an ‘investment in ourselves’. After all, nobody wants to shortchange themselves. Right?


So you see, if you are having trouble getting your message across, try re-framing it from a different perspective. But only if it’s true, of course.

What aspect of your product is your customer missing? Bridge that gap with the perfect re-frame. You’ll be surprised at how effective it can be!

Likewise, a knowledge of these techniques will help guard you against more unscrupulous marketers.

P.S. Enjoyed this post? 99% of people who referred a friend experienced a natural boost of feel-good hormones. 🙂 

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