It’s called the Zeigarnik Principle, and if you know how to use it, it can help you get publicity and turn all that promotion into profits.
It’s named after Bluma Zeigarnik, the Russian psychiatrist and psychologist who concluded that the human mind cannot stand unfulfilled curiosity.
The best sales copywriters love this principle, because it makes people pay attention and, like trained dogs, do exactly what you want them to do: buy the magazine, watch the news at 11, open an email, click a link, add to cart, buy now.
My favorite example of the Zeigarnik Principle is the enticing headlines on the covers of Cosmopolitan magazine:
10 Things Guys Crave in Bed
The Surprising Trait 80% of Men Find Sexy
Read His Dirty Mind — These Thoughts Could make a Cosmo Girl Blush
5 Ways to Use the Zeigarnik Principle
Internet marketer Tom Antion reminded me of the Zeigarnik Principle yesterday during his free webinar on Copywriting 901: The Fast Track to Writing Words That SELL. If you missed it, you can learn more about the Zeigarnik Principle and four other copywriting techniques that you can use in your business every day to attract a larger audience and encourage them to buy. He shared more than 30 other tips.
Watch the free replay. (Affiliate link.)
Tom’s skill at writing copy has earned him more than $20 million selling products and services during the last two decades.
Here are five ways you can use the Zeigarnik Principle to generate publicity and turn that publicity into profits.
1. Write enticing subject lines when pitching a story.
Whether you’re offering a blogger a guest post, or you’re pitching to a reporter or freelance writer, make the subject line arouse their curiosity so that they open the email.
Here’s one I got last week that made me open it:
It was from blogger Mike Wallagher who had done his homework and tipped me off to a post he wrote that included a list of free stock photo sites and an in-depth explanation of what you need to know about licenses and attribution when using free stock photos. (See? Mike got a link to that blog post here because of that email subject line.)
2. Write enticing subject lines when sending a promotion to people on your email list.
Here are several examples Tom mentioned yesterday:
“I’ll never do THAT again!”
“He really screwed me over.”
“Boy did I get in trouble!”
“Guess who emailed me?”
“I got a knock on my door at 4 AM”
3. Offer an irresistible digital freebie in exchange for someone’s name and email address at your website.
Give it an attention-grabbing name. If you need ideas, us the Tweak Your Biz Article Generator, my favorite free tool for creating killer headlines, titles and product names quickly.
4. Tease readers and make them keep reading with a mesmerizing headline at the top of a sales page.
If publicity pulls people to a sales page at your website, they’ll leave if you don’t arouse their curiosity. A tempting headline ropes them in and keeps them reading.
5. Write sub-heads for articles, blog posts and sales pages.
Sub-heads break up the gray on a page. They’re visual clues that tell the reader, “There’s more to come, and you don’t want to miss this…”
By the way, Tom offered a tip yesterday I hadn’t heard before: How many sub-heads to use when you’re writing a long bulleted list. For example, if a sales page lists 22 features and benefits of a product, you need at least three sub-heads: one for every seven bullets. I’m incorporating this into my sales pages.
How to Learn More About Copywriting
At the end of Tom’s webinar, which goes for more than 90 minutes, he makes an offer you should consider.
It’s a value-packed bundle of videos, cheat sheets and other materials that explain in step-by-step detail all the tricks the best copywriters use to make you buy. I bought the package yesterday because of the bonuses: dozens of templates for sales pages and emails. All of Tom’s samples made him money. So why start from scratch?
The offer also comes with 30 minutes of consulting with Tom, to discuss whatever you wish.
I earn a commission from Tom if you buy. If you don’t buy, at the very least watch the webinar replay. You’ll come away with more than three dozen techniques and tips you can start using immediately and keep using for as long as you want to make money.