“(Greeting) cards are better when they’re attached to alcohol.”
For the last few months I’ve been haranguing two friends to bring their idea into the plane of reality. I pushed them to start a Shopify store and they were astounded how easily it could be setup. I introduced them to a printer, but they ended up finding their own. Wanting to start a business that enabled them to continue traveling, they were taken aback by the services the printer provided (printing, fulfillment, shipping, etc.)
It wasn’t easy, but they certainly didn’t know it would be this simple.
As Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”
Yesterday, while on a launch prep call, we talked about how to create the most effective placements for Facebook ads and I explained the psychology of ‘The Open Loop’ which leverages a need-to-know phenomenon called the ‘Zeigarnik Effect‘.
You might be thinking headlines are a form of open loop copywriting, and you would be correct, but the psychology holds leverage in any communication — especially on Facebook where you have the opportunity to use multi-stage messaging.
A Facebook ad has three distinct pieces: post text, image, and headline (the description doesn’t hold as much weight). This means that you have the ability to capture your audience through an experience before they ever engage the placement.
We’re not talking about click bait — real stories create real suction.
You saw the engagement of this placement deconstructed in the ‘Jedi Mind Tricks‘ piece, but let’s talk about the elements that fostered that in the first place. The first Open Loop is the post text, “Every publisher’s dream.” which begs new questions.
As CopyBlogger said in ‘The Blockbuster Secret to Seducing Your Audience‘:
“When you open a loop, setting up an intriguing situation and leaving the reader wanting to know more, you create momentum that carries the reader through the page. But as you might imagine, you can’t just open loops — you need to close them (to provide a payoff) as well.”
The image draws you in, but offers no real information, and loop of the post text is closed by the headline ‘How 20 Minutes On Reddit Increased Traffic By 493%’. “Ok, so a “publishers dream” is to have loads of free traffic” the audience is saying to themselves, “that makes sense, but… wait… how the fuck did you do that? You can use Reddit to drive traffic? It only took twenty minutes? Can I use this?!”
Questions beg answers, but (great) answers beg more questions.
Here’s another example of this same technique. Both of these placements were targeted at people interested in popular Facebook marketers (i.e. they’re doing PPC)
Open Loop statements become a psychological lure that keeps the audience craving more — we remember better that which is unfinished or incomplete.
Never give away all the information at once. If you do, you might never hear from your audience again. I did it to you with the subject line of this email and again with the quote bolded at the top. Actually, as of this sentence I have opened a total of six loops and closed only three. I’d dare you to stop reading, but I doubt you could.
Whether you’re writing an email, creating a Facebook ad, or starting a conversation on Tinder — Open Loops are one of the most powerful techniques to master.
My friends Courtney and Liza displayed their mastery of Open Loops with the tagline for their soon to launch e-commerce — cheeky greeting cards as wine labels.
“Drink Your Feelings: Cards Are Better When They’re Attached To Alcohol“
Their tagline is an Open Loop, but so are their products. The front begs the recipient to read the back. The “sorry you guys broke up” label is easily one of my favorites.
(click to view)
Delicate Estates, Courtney and Liza’s company, is about to launch and I’ll make sure keep you abreast of their progress, but you can start leveraging Open Loops today.
Look for places where you get sucked in and deconstruct the process that got you craving “just a little more.” Start practicing your own Open Loops in emails to potential clients, texts with friends, matches on Tinder, etc. Every form of communication has the capacity to be a story and stories create suction.
I once wrote a 3,200 word article for a matchmaking blog. Their service, while extremely effective, costs $5,000 per 6-month term. I’m inherently cheap thrifty and wanted to hack the system. I realized if I wrote a captivating story — they would email it to the 14,000 single women in Los Angeles that were on their email list.
The Director of Expansion responded to my submission saying, “I thought it was engaging, entertaining, and well-written (with the right amount of edge!) :)” followed by the polite offer of, “I’d be happy to post on our blog with a few suggestions:”
She said, “It is much longer than our typical post.” and “The narrative format you use is entertaining, but our readers typically respond best to articles that clearly outline actionable tips/insights for them to take with them to incorporate into their dating lives.” Essentially, in a long email she sugar coated her request that I make the story 60% shorter and encapsulate it within bullet points that women can use in dating.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found a bullet point that helped me with dating.
I politely manipulated her to post the article without modification and it was, at the time, their most popular. As it turns out, my assumption that women living in Los Angeles who have $5,000 kicking around to hire a matchmaker are likely to work in tech and be somewhat successful was rather spot on. I saw an opportunity to help them promote their business while also promoting me to my “type” of woman.
Open Loops, strategic dating, manipulation, and social science — my kind of party.
In the ‘Sell Your Story‘ piece I prompted you to “make me feel your value.” Many of you responded with fantastic foundations and together we sliced them up to make value propositions that… were also Open Loops. Here are a few favorites:
Steve D’s — “I use data to make your business’ purpose more profitable.”
Rich R’s — “I leverage communication to foster co-created interactivity.”
Bill B’s — “I create software that increase speeds and expands reach.”
How are you going to bait the hook and reel them in?