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Overcoming Friction

It used to be that every copywriter under the sun was trying to figure out how to get attention online, in an AIDA sort of way.

We were all screaming at the tops of our lungs, trying to outdo each other.

I believe those days are over.

Not because we don’t need to get attention anymore, but that over time, we’ve all figured out how to do that pretty well.

Maybe too good. 

Because today, social media platforms have a silent conspiracy against us, dictating rules of engagement behavior in their terms of service.

Using threats of suspension and banishment into the outer darkness of the net, social media platforms have learned how to check us at every desire to rise above the noise of the marketplace.

So now, with eye-catching headlines and subject lines being squelched, our focus has gradually shifted to making our copy and content more consumable and more actionable.

As you may have discovered, this is A LOT harder to do.

The Herculean goal is to reduce the natural friction a prospect experienced consuming a page.

As copywriters, we do this by writing to a 3rd grade level… using subheads… transitions, etc.

Let’s think about this for a second, because it requires a delicate balance.

Because yes, you want your messaged consumed–but not too fast. 

In other words, we want to overcome friction, but we don’t want to be “friction free” as the gurus would have you believe.

Because if consumed too fast, your copy will not have sufficient time to connect with the reader emotionally. 

(This is where John Carlton’s “greased chute” metaphor falls apart.)

You want to pump the brakes.

If a reader is scrolling down, “skimming” too fast, the copy doesn’t have the chance to sufficiently tug at the heart strings and you lose the sale.

They’ll just hit the back button once they scream through it. :

So how do we accomplish this balancing act?

It requires an integrated approach. Intimately understanding your audience… web page design… funnel architecture… content creation… as well as copywriting.

Not to mention conversion optimization.

As you can appreciate, this is a far bigger challenge than the good ol’ days of seeing who can scream the loudest. 😉

So let me give you a quick, simple example.

One very successful promotion is John Rowley’s Old School New Body offer.

(Folks in the health and fitness market know of this offer very well.)

Instead of creating one L O N G web page, John took a contrarian approach. He and his team split the content up into 5 SEQUENTIAL pages, followed by a regular text sales letter.

Think about how crazy this sounds: 

The reader has to click through through 5 pages of content… followed by a sales letter… till they finally hit the order page!

Incredible, isn’t it? 

Yet it converted like gangbusters when it first launched.

To pull off something like this, you must know more than how to write good copy.

That’s the situation we find ourselves today. In order to convert well, you need an integrated, multi-disciplined approach.

Now if you’re a copywriter, you have a couple of choices:

One is, you can master your area of expertise, and bring in other experts on an as-needed basis.

The other is to become a jack-of-all-trades.

For the most part, I’ve focused on copywriting, although I do have experiential understanding of the other skills.

But it’s taken me more than a decade to acquire that knowledge, by basically looking over everybody’s shoulder to see how it’s all bolted together.

I’m not going to give anybody a recommendation other than to say this:

Being a jack-of-all-trades will consume every second of your day. Not only trying to learn the skill, but to stay current with all the changes which occur practically on a daily basis.

So to each his own. It’s up to you.

Teeter tottering between overcoming friction and being “friction free” is a balancing act. 

That’s your mission, if you choose to accept it. 😉

Talk soon,


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