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Content marketers know it’s not what you write but how you write something that can make the difference in brand engagement. By understanding human decision-making and how gain or loss is perceived, we can make our messages more persuasive.

Smart marketers understand the framing effect – the art and science of using specific words to make an issue relevant to an audience and influence decision-making, boost engagement and drive sales.

How To Use The Framing Effect

The framing effect can be used in a few words or an entire paragraph. Often, we use gain framing by crafting benefits-oriented language to move a reader to a purchase decision. Examples:

  • 50% Less Sugar!
  • New Ways to Attract More Customers

By pointing out benefits, we can align brands with the positive feelings that come from taking an action like buying the product, subscribing to a newsletter or supporting a cause. Positively framed messages create an environment that avoids risk-taking.

But presenting an option as a way to avoid a loss can also be effective. That is because as humans we typically want to avoid loss more than pursue a gain. This is called loss aversion bias. When we express a risk in negative terms and then provide a solution using positive framing, we can also influence decisions.

How Loss Framing Works

As humans, we are hard-wired to avoid loss. When an outcome is uncertain, messages that associate prevention of loss with an action can be effective. That’s because we act on fear and go to length to protect what we value. You;ve seen loss framing in action in content that reads like this:

  • Never Miss a Great Story Again
  • Buy Now. Only 2 Left.
  • 7 Little-Known Risks That Could Derail Your Weight Loss

How to Use Loss Framing for More Effective Content Marketing

As marketers, we are conditioned to tout the benefits of our brands in our marketing content. But there are times when crafting messages about avoiding loss can work better. To do this effectively, you need two things: First, you need to understand your audience in order to leverage what will drive a response (see more about that in our post about personas). Second, you need to express the negative risk but present the positive solution. Here are some examples:


Instead of:                                                                         Try:

4 Ways to Gain a Loyal Customer                                      4 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Next Prospect


Order Today                                                                        Don’t Miss Your Chance to Order the Solution to Your Conversion Problem


Save $100 Each Month With This Product                         Without This Product, You Could Lose $100 Every Month


In Conclusion

The way you frame the messaging you craft for your audience makes a difference in how that messaging is processed by your audience. When an outcome is uncertain, people are more likely to take an action if that outcome is presented as a loss. While there are plenty of times a marketing message should focus on benefits, sometimes the better option is to define a risk and present a solution.

Looking for more insight that will make your content marketing more effective? Let our team make it easier to achieve better results. Contact CrucialContent today.

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