Even though this episode was heavily focused on copywriting and understanding a reader’s thought process, the tactics can apply to UX strategy and interface design in a BIG way.
1. The OPEN Framework
First, Ray shared an acronym for judging someone’s interest in a product. Think about your app, or website, or online course, really anything that you’re making or working on that you hope to get people to buy or use.
O is for Oblivious
The oblivious person is the guy eating dinner with his family and the vacuum cleaner salesman knocks on the door trying to make his pitch. It’s really hard to sell someone that has no internal desire whatsoever to buy your product, or download your app, or sign up for your thing.
P is for Pondering
The pondering person has thought in the past, “Hmm I might need a new vacuum cleaner.” This makes things a little easier, but still not ideal to try to convince someone who is merely pondering.
E is for Engaged
The engaged person is the person in the vacuum cleaner store looking for a new vacuum cleaner. You can gather that this person is much more likely to buy than the previous two.
N is for Need
This is the person coming to the emergency room with a bleeding neck. They need treatment NOW. The dinner party is starting in 1 hour, the carpet is filthy and the vacuum cleaner is broken. They NEED a vacuum cleaner. This is the ideal person to sell to.
This is the person you want in mind when you write your copy, design your call to actions, and more. Think about the quickest and safest way you can convert them from a frowny face to a smiley face.
2. The PASTOR Framework
In this section Ray gave another acronym, P.A.S.T.O.R. The original definition of pastor was means "to be like a shepherd."
Think of shepherding your users or readers to the decision you want them to make, in a way that is helpful and not harmful. Persuasive, but not manipulative.
Persuasion comes from channeling someone's existing internal desires, whereas manipulation is outside pressure that did not originally exist.
P is for the Person and the Problem
You want to know everything you can about the person you are writing and designing for.
Hmmm, sounds a lot like user research, right? The more data points and info you have about a person, the better you can build empathy for that person. And the better you can understand how your app, website, book, can help them.
A is for Amplification
This is where you want to amplify the person’s problem. Not in a fear-mongering way, but in a reality check sort of way. Ask them...
What if your problem of X never gets solved? What would happen? What is a future like with this problem solved versus this problem being 10X worse than it is now?
S is for Story
From tragedy to triumph. This might be the origin story of the problem you now know how to solve, or how your came up with the idea for you app. Tell your success story here.
T is for Testimony
Your testimony is your proof.
I did X and lost 20 lbs. I took this course and now I can code. I made these icons and they’re incredibly helpful for my designs.
Whatever positive result happened as a part of your story is the testimony. Ray points out that there are typically 3 levels of proof you need.
- Have you done this before? Did it work for you?
- Have you helped others with this before? Did it work for them?
- Is it possible that you could help me with this also?
The concept of offering something for free up front is one of the best ways to achieve the answer to all three of these questions. If you can give you users or readers results in advance with your product, then they will need less convincing otherwise. This is why the freemium model has worked so well for web-based products. Try before you buy.
O is for Offer
Your offer is the result that your product provides. The offer behind P90X isn’t a bunch of DVDs and a nutrition guide. The offer is chiseled abs and a defined physique. Ray suggests focusing 80% of your writing efforts on the result and 20% of your messaging on what exactly you’ll receive.
R is for Response and Results
This is the moment of glory. The ask. What do you want your user or reader to do. Ask them for it. Not in a pushy way, but in a problem-solving and ethically persuasive way. Remind them of the pain in saying no and the pleasure in saying yes. What will life be like when they implement your solution.
3. The SPIN Framework
In this section Ray is specifically talking about writing copy for emails. All of this content is great, but I think doubly so if you consider the same factors when designing a website or app.
S is for State
This is the current state of your user or reader. Are they really eagerly waiting to read the email you send them? Do they really want to go through your app’s on-boarding process and read about new features? Think about the daily routine context of where your user is and what they’re doing when you ask them to give you their attention.
P is for Purpose
Ray says each email should have a purpose behind it. This applies directly to each of the screens you design as well. Each screen should have crystal clear purpose behind it.
I is for Idea
Tied closely to purpose is the idea. What’s the ONE big idea behind the email you’re sending? Likewise, what’s the ONE big idea you’re trying to solve with your design. Does it make sense or is it annoyingly difficult to digest?
N is for Next
What should they do next. Don’t leave it up in the air. Provide a button to press or a link to click. Something that explicitly says “now do this.” True for writing persuasive copy and designing UI screens.
4. The 7P Framework
Before moving fully into the 7Ps, Ray pointed out you need to be solidly aware of your most desired outcome with your writing (or designs) and the why behind it. You should also be able to state your why and cta in a single sentence.
Some of these ideas overlapping with each other from the other frameworks, but each of them alone provides a unique perspective to use as a starting point for your project.
Here are the 7P’s…
P1 is for Provoke
Being provocative. This might be a headline that stirs up interest, whether it’s your email subject line or a certain section within your app. You want to build curiosity out of the gate.
P2 is for Problem
Again with the problem. You need to be able to clearly expose the problem your user or reader is having. This will help frame your messaging and designs in a clear and actionable way.
P3 is for Personal
Make the experience personal. Tell your personal story of tragedy to triumph. When I’m designing UI, I like to think of every interaction a conversation between friends. If two people were chatting about the same interactions, what language would they use? What little jokes would be made, if any? I’ve found this is a great exercise for crafting friendly UIs.
P4 is for Promise
This is what you’re saying you’ll deliver if the deal is sealed. If the purchase is made or the decision to perform an action is taken. Make sure you’re clear about setting expectations with your writing and your designs.
P5 is for Proof
The proof is your promise materialized. THIS is what will happen if you XYZ. Here are the testimonies and results experienced by other people.
P6 is for Proposal
This is the offer—the time when you make the ask. Buy this thing. Perform this action. After you’ve gone through all of the above, this is the moment of glory.
P7 is for Prompt
Prompt is the means by which the reader or user will cross the threshold of your proposal. Clicking a button, filling out a form, sharing on twitter—whatever it is, think hard about just the right prompt for someone to say “yes” to your proposal.
Alright. That’s it. 4 frameworks for copy that converts. I’d recommend bookmarking these notes for future use and if you haven’t already, go listen to the podcast.