I Needed Closure
Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik was the one to discover that people remembered incomplete tasks better than completed ones, and that human beings have a great need for closure – in other words not knowing what comes next can keep us awake at night!
This is known as The Zeigarnik Effect
Here is How Zeigarnik Works in Action
Most of us are familiar with cliff hangers or serial storylines. Each episode ends with unfinished business, so that people will return to find out what happens next. (I just saw the new Star Wars movie and, clearly, there are more Star Wars to come. And I’ll probably buy a ticket.)
Zeigarnik as a Powerful Sales Writing Strategy
Based upon the psychological principle that readers can’t stand to be left in mid-sentence, here are some things you can do to grab – and keep – readers’ attention.
- In a multi-page document, end each page mid-sentence and continue on the next page. This at least gets readers to turn the page.
- Put a teaser at the top of your letter; e.g., “A little later on, I’m going to tell you about …” Then circle back toward the end by saying, “You remember I promised you I was going to tell you about …. Well, here it is.”
- Start a story in an email, and interrupt it mid-sentence with a link to your website to continue the story.
- Use teasers in subject lines. Two of my most-opened subject lines are:
- Man Did I Get Grief for Making that Mistake
- I Almost Missed Out
Readers couldn’t bear unfulfilled curiosity
- On the back of a business card, include a riddle like: “Do you know the one simple thing you can do to legitimately double visits to your website? To find out go to http://theanswer.com” – which, of course, in some way relates to your value proposition, and includes a way for readers to work with you.