This week we’re going to discuss a silent assassin – a conversion killer that almost nobody ever thinks about until it’s too late.

AND – If you can become more aware of this “silent assassin” and find ways to eliminate it… you will easily double or triple your marketing effectiveness – OVERNIGHT.


The concept is much more prevalent in landing page optimization circles, but I hope to demonstrate that it’s at least as important in conversion marketing at the ad level as it is on your pages.

Friction is any potential sticking point that a prospect can experience during their journey through the marketing and sales pipeline.

Generally speaking, there are two distinct kinds of friction.

Length-based friction relates to fatigue, irritation, or aggravation that results from asking for more time or information than feels reasonably necessary to the prospect.

The operative concept there is “reasonably necessary.”

It is always judged from the perspective of the potential customer, not from our perspective as marketers or business owners.

This is why, here at Hemon Media, we say, “The job of a conversion copywriter is economy with impact.”

We don’t say brevity, necessarily.

In the end the ad should be as long as it needs to be in order to do the job.

Rather, economy is the benchmark of expert advertisers.

Just as long as it needs to be, and no more.

And then, there’s Difficulty-related friction.

In landing pages, this often manifests as confusing elements or elements that require too much effort to complete, such as asking for a drivers license on a lead capture form.

In ads, Difficulty-related friction tends to be more about using big paragraphs (formatting), inaccessible language, run-on sentences, and ethereal concepts that are more challenging for the reader to interpret.

There’s a reason why many successful conversion copywriters break their ads into one or two sentence paragraphs, and it’s always an effort to eliminate difficulty-related friction.

Friction has a known effect on conversion.

It will kill a campaign faster than almost anything else.

Here are a few tips to keep the friction to a minimum in your next ad campaign.

Word swapping – Have you edited your ads for friction?

You should aim for about an eighth grade reading level with your ads.

If there are words that are haughty and unnecessarily advanced, replace them with a simpler equivalent.

This will help reduce difficulty-related friction.

Clarity – One of the most egregious violations that result in increased difficulty-related friction is a failure to fully explain the product, service, or offering being promoted by the ad.

If you make people work too hard to figure out what you’re talking about, your ad won’t convert.

Radical clarity is the antidote to this particular poison.

Get to the point, and be clear about what it is and what you’d like your prospects to do.

Ninety-word challenge – One way to combat length-based friction is to challenge yourself to write with increased economy.

I like to use a ninety-word challenge.

Once I’ve written an ad, I’ll often challenge myself to rewrite it in ninety words or less.

I’ve often found that if I can’t do this, I usually don’t properly understand the product or service I’m attempting to promote.

If I don’t understand it, my prospect is likely to not understand it as well.

This facilitates both clarity and brevity, and thus works on both types of friction simultaneously.

These are just a few tactics to remedy friction in ad copy.

If you’ll implement them, you’re very likely to get an immediate lift in conversion rate on your ads.

Now, let’s get out there and go friction hunting!

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