What is a Johnson Box and how do I make one?

When I first started out creating sales pages for the web, I studied ebooks and listened to MP3 recordings. One of the things I heard copywriters talk about was this “Johnson box”.

Of course I had no idea at first but I got it after a short search….probably the same way you have found this post!

The What…

A Johnson box is a design feature to make your sales page look more interesting. It’s simply a contrasting box made from HTML code on your web page to create a table. Inside the box, you add a description or short message about a point of the product you want to emphasize .

The How…

The reason Johnson boxes are effective is because typically, the Johnson box table is going to be contrasting to the rest of the page.

A Johnson box will differ to the rest of the page in size, color and even font

The border should be a strong color. Dashed borders are common as are solid lines. Dotted borders aren’t so common.

The box’s background color should also be colored. This makes the box stand out from the rest of the page. Usually, the color inside the box will be a lighter shade that the border.

The width of the box will be narrower than the rest of the page. Again this helps to achieve variation in your page so people will stop and read.

Changing font for the text in a Johnson box will also add to the effect of getting people to stop and take notice.

Common uses for Johnson boxes are:

  • bullet points (listing features and benefits)
  • testimonials
  • order buttons
  • guarantees
  • bonus products

I never write a sales letter for the web without using Johnson boxes.

example of a johnson box
Example of Johnson boxes taken from my sales letter at www.SalesPotion.com

I don’t know where the name came from but I know that they do work, so use them!

Stuart Stirling

Yellow Highlighting – How Much Is Too Much?

Yellow highlighting over words and phrases in your online sales letter IS a very effective way to get your message across with more impact.

Yellow highlighting gives your page contrast and should be used with consideration.

How much is too much?

We have all seen a sales letter that looks like it was attacked by a 3 year old with a yellow high-lighter pen. Nearly every line has a word and every paragraph has a whole line highlighted!

What happens when there is too much?

When there’s too much of anything, it all starts to look the same. Too much yellow and the white parts will actually start to stand out more than the yellow.

“When do I highlight then?”

I very rarely see good examples of yellow highlighting being used effectively.

The best examples are when there is one nothing for the first couple of pages and then boom…your eyes are magnetized to this one yellow highlighted phrase.

It could be a trigger word, a sales point or something completely out of the blue to throw your reader off (in a good way).

That’s all it takes.

Just one little yellow streak on one phrase in the middle of no where and you will make an impact.

To your copy writing success,
Stuart Stirling

How a story will keep people reading your sales letter

People love to hear and read stories. Take a movie for example. That’s just a story made into moving picture.

A sales letter that incorporates a story will make an impact and get people to read your letter.

Here’s why:

Would you walk out of a movie half way through, before the story ends? Not likely. You want to keep watching to see what happens in the end.

All of the highes onverting sales letters contain a story. But keep reading. Some copywriters think, “OK, I’ll write a story in the first half of the letter and that should do the trick.”

That’s good, but you can do better.

Think of the whole sales letter as a story. It has to flow. It has to make you want to keep scrolling to read. This is where I pay detail to sub headlines.

Most potential buyers won’t read your sales letter word for word. They will stop at headlines and boxes and the order button.

Tell your story through the headlines. Yes, you can still tell a detailed story at the beginning to spark that initial interest but keep it going throughout the whole page.

All the best,
Stuart Stirling

Words That Trigger

Some words have more influence on a prospect than others.

These are “trigger words” that work on the readers subconcious as he/she reads.

If you can tap into your prospects mind and press their hot buttons using trigger words, then you can expect response to go up.

It is considered an art – as is copywriting in general but when done right, is one element of copywriting that results levers on.

A Short List Of Trigger Words

There are over 200 words and phrases considered to be powerful trigger words, but here is a short list of a dozen or so you can add to your copy writing dictionary right away.

You – People like nothing better than to think of themselves. Using you outs your reader in the limelight.

Free – Let’s face it, everyone wants something free whenever possible. Not many people pass up on a freebie and if they do it will be after they at least have a look.

Save/Discount – We are obsessed with saving money. And we don’t want to miss a bargain.

Safety/Secure/Risk Free – The internet is a dangerous place full of scammers! Sooth your prospects fears by using these, especially where money is concerned.

Proven – This adds to the above safety factor. If people can see it has worked for others, they will believe it will work for them.

Discovery – When you use “Discover” people will automatically be curious. They will think “Wow, there is something I don’t know” and want to read to try to work it out.

Guarantee – Again, take away the risk. Great doubt crushing power in this word.

New – “Ohh Ohh! It’s new! it must be good!” We want to be popular and we trust the media.

Easy/Simple/Fast – We are creatures of luxury. If something can be done any faster or easier to solve our problems, we will do it that way.

Can you see how these words can provoke feelings and emotions, urging potential buyers to hand over their money to you?

If you have any more suggestions or comments, please leave them below.

Stuart Stirling

Writing Responsive Email Subject Lines

A bit part of marketing online is email marketing. I’m sure at some point in your career online, you will be sending out some sort of email promotion.

To cut a long story short, a promo email is very much like a mini sales letter.

You draw upon the AIDA system to get them interested and taking action. In most cases, that action will be to visit the sales page for the product you are promoting.

But don’t let that be the benchmark…I’ve heard and witnessed marketers actually give you an order link or order instructions right there in the email body!

But the one thing that is different with an email to a traditional web page sales letter is that you have to get the reader to OPEN the email before you can give your sales pitch – which is often the bigger challenge.

Your email subject line needs to be the trigger.

So how can you trigger someones interest in just one line of text?

Great question and one that baffles many internet marketers.

First let’s look at what NOT to write in your email subject line.

When I was just starting out online, my subject lines really stank.

  • They were too general.
  • They didn’t list any benefits.
  • They blended in with all the other spam emails others were sending.
  • The result – the trash box or in the bad cases, the SPAM bin.

So here are some tips for writing KILLER subject lines that will get your email open!

  • Use the reader’s first name in the subject line. Most good auto-responders let you insert the name with a small piece of code.
  • Don’t beat around the bush fluffing it up – just write what the offer IS! In other words, don’t be misleading and don’t try to put a shiny cover on it. Simply explain what it is your email is about.
  • Use trigger words like “Free”, “New”, “Limited”, “Exclusive”, “Download” etc. People love getting a good deal or being treated special.
  • Use some controversy. People want to know the “goss”.
  • Use Upper Case On The First Letter OF Each Word….just like that. However, DO NOT use ALL CAPS in the entire subject line. It will get spammed by the recipient if it didn’t already by their ISP.

NOTE: Take into account that different lists require different styles and levels of “pitch”. That should be left up to your discretion.

As with many things, practice makes perfect. Write a few different subject lines for each email you send out and then send it to yourself. Have a look and see what it looks like in your inbox.

To your email success!

Stuart Stirling