Unlocking the Power of the Johnson Box for Conversion Rate Optimization

Discover the power of the Johnson Box, a classic copywriting technique, and how it can be used to boost your conversion rates.
an example of a johnson box on a letter

So, I’m from the UK which means I’m very well-versed in strange place names and words that probably don’t get too much sunlight in other English-speaking countries.

Places like:

list of some weird and wonderful place names in the UK

*Adds Beer to 2024 travel list*.

However, this week, I came across a term that originated in the US and that I now can’t unsee.

The Johnson Box.

Now you, like me, might be wondering, ‘What on earth is a Johnson Box?’. Well, it’s a highlighted section of text at the top of a direct mail letter, email, or web page. It’s designed to grab attention, emphasize key points, and keep the reader on what Joe Sugarman called the ‘slippery slide’—a path that effortlessly leads the reader through the content.

In other words, you could think of a Johnson Box as being an antiquated way of saying ‘TLDR’ or ‘preview text’.

Here’s an example from my inbox:

example of a johnson box email preview textAnd here’s one from a sales letter (yes, they do still exist – especially for B2B sales):an example of a johnson box on a letter

You can see in both these examples that the Johnson Box is used to not only provide a preview of what’s to come, but the words used are designed to evoke curiosity and keep the reader engaged – making them want to read more.

Both examples also touch on key pain points for their respective audiences: boosting sales and saving money – two areas pretty much every business owner needs to learn more about! I particularly like the email as it uses specificity to lend credibility, promising the reader that this is the “one email that boosts sales”.

All these techniques work together to create a compelling narrative that’s hard to resist.

So, how can you use the Johnson Box in your business?

Well, the technique of presenting key benefits upfront remains incredibly effective. You can use it in your emails, on your landing pages, in your social media posts, in your videos, and on your product pages.

You can even use it on your personal or your business’ social media profiles.

The goal is to grab attention, emphasize key points, and keep the reader engaged.

So, there you have it, folks: a marketing trick with a funky name that turns out to be a classic copywriting technique that’s still as effective as ever.

Give it a try, and you might just amaze even yourself!



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