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How You Frame Is Half The Game – Using persuasive framing and phrasing to build better copy.

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Do you want to have better control over how the consumer perceives your offer? Knowing how to effectively frame your product/service with persuasive copy can help improve your sales.

“Framing” refers to how you make your offer sound, what context you put it in, the language you use to describe it, the benefits you highlight; you’re painting a picture for your audience to help them see your offer the way you intend it to be seen.

It’s important to understand the impact of positive versus negative framing (or gain vs loss framing). Your offer should add value to the consumer’s life and, by the same token, prevent struggle or loss. You may be surprised to learn which frame is more effective.

Framing can also spotlight the features, benefits or information on which you want the consumer to focus. Where you shine the spotlight, and the language you use to direct attention, can help frame your offer in an accessible and relatable way.



Consider the following frames for a kitchen appliance:

“Save time on prep and clean up so you can enjoy cooking and spend more time enjoying great meals with loved ones.”

Compared to:

“Why keep slicing your fingers, cleaning chopping boards and suffering sore wrists when you could simply press a button for evenly diced veggies?”

The first sentence creates a picture of a happy family enjoying a delicious meal without the worry of all that extra prep and clean up. This is positive framing or ‘gain’ framing; the potential customer pictures what they will gain after purchasing this product.

The second sentence is an example of negative or ‘loss’ framing. The potential customer is picturing themselves feeling uncomfortable and frustrated, with sliced fingers, sore wrists and lots of mess and clean-up, all because they didn’t buy this product.

Thanks to our evolutionary wiring to avoid pain and loss, negative framing typically lands more conversions than positive framing. In 1995, a study into framing compared the effectiveness of gain (positive) versus loss (negative) framed messaging to persuade women to get a mammogram, and the findings were very interesting.

A mammogram is a necessary evil; uncomfortable but important for a woman’s health. So how does one frame mammograms in such a way that women will be encouraged to endure the process?

Two groups of women were shown different videos. Video #1 highlighted the benefits of having a mammogram, with a 51.5% result of women booking. Video #2 stressed the risks of not having one, resulting in 61.2% of women booking (Banks et al.).

Video #1 is an example of positive framing, that is, what you will gain if you use the service on offer, whereas video #2 uses negative framing, that is, what you will lose if you don’t use the service. ‘Negative’ framing isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to marketing. In fact, reminding customers of how they will suffer if they don’t use your product is typically more effective than telling them how your product will bring them joy.


Riddle us this…

Would you be more likely to buy a car if it cost:

A) $3640 a year

B) $70 a week

C) $10 a day

D) Just two coffees a day

We’ll be so bold as to assume you went with D. All of these payment options amount to the same price overall, so why does one seem ‘more affordable’ than the others?

By comparing spend to something as negligible as a couple of cups of coffee a day, the cost is framed as ‘cheaper’, or more within reach, than the idea of dropping $3640 at once.

Minced beef made from mainly lean meat could be framed as “90% lean meat” or “10% fatty meat” – which frame seem

s more appealing to you? This information is the same, but each sentence evokes a different reaction.

Consumers tend to focus on the information in front of them, often to such a degree that they forget there could be more to what is being advertised. The way you frame your offer allows you to direct your audience’s attention to certain details.

Thoughtful framing gives you power over how your product or service is perceived. Do you sell “amateur homemade candles” or “handcrafted candles made from organic soy and locally sourced aromatics”? Consider the honest elements of your offer, and word them in a way that does them justice.

It is important to draw attention to the benefits of your offer without being dishonest about its value. Spotlight framing allows you to build the narrative you choose.


Framing is about being persuasive while remaining transparent. It’s important not to confuse framing with deceit or bending the truth. Rather, it is about directing your prospect’s attention to the relevant information that will inspire them to purchase your offer, should it be right for them.

If you’d like some guidance in phrasing and framing your offer to your audience through copywriting and creative direction, get in touch today.

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