Boosting Customer Engagement with Phrases that Sell


In its simplest form, the consumer buying cycle can be expressed as

Awareness → Consideration → Purchase

There are a number of variations, where stages are split out, which can depend on whether the item is an aspirational or necessity purchase, but this basic underlying theme is usually still there.

However, with the rise of the internet, and especially online shopping, increasingly “Consideration” and “Purchase” are merging into one. Placing an increasing pressure on the marketing and PR activities that dominate the “Awareness” phase and creating a new extreme pressure point between “Awareness” and “Consideration”.

If a customer sees an advertisement for a product, their first port of call, for more information, is inevitably going to be the Internet. This means ensuring a smooth transition from promotional material (e.g. TV, Radio, Billboard, Poster or leaflet) to the online content is becoming more and more critical.

The most obvious way to transition people is to simply include your website with the material. This has the benefit of emphasising your branding and increasing familiarity with your brand presence.

However, websites can often be a maze of information, from company annual reports to store locators to product information, making it difficult for people to find the exact product that originally sparked their interest. It's possible to add tags, or provide a full URL, but this can quickly become cumbersome to enter (especially on a phone) and so become a deterrent to the user. It would also be harder to remember, or tell friends about.


One solution to this is to add a QR Code. The QR Code, or “Quick Response Code”, is a 2 dimensional bar code. Like a traditional bar code, it is a machine-readable representation of information – but unlike simple bar codes, which typically only hold numeric information, a QR Code can hold more complex information, like a full URL that will take the user to the page that holds specific information on the product featured.

QR Codes can also, to a limited extent, be stylised to include a simple logo or image.

The problem with a QR Code is that, firstly, the user will (more often than not) need a special app on their phone to be able to access it – and, if they don't already have one, this can be sufficient deterrent to accessing the additional information. Secondly, (for most people!) it would be impossible to remember or tell friends about.


A new solution, that has emerged in the last year or so, is the clickable phrase. The most dominant supplier in the market is a UK start-up called Names.of.London with their product

They are offering short three-word phrases that can be used on any phone or browser to redirect users to the content that relates directly to the product they are looking at. Here are some of their more interesting examples -,, or

The phrases are made of natural language, so are extremely easy to read, remember and enter into a phone. They're seeing around 1,500 users per day of which 88% are using phones, 51% are on iPhones.

They need no special app to use, so smoothly bridge the gap from advertising to content. Being made of natural language means you can easily tell your friends about them – getting a buzz going about the product.

These phrase can be added to any printed material and are ideal for reading out on television or radio. In many ways they are like a promo-code that works on any phone or browser, and connects the user directly with the product.

But why “clickable phrase” - because they are automatically recognised by social media platforms like Twitter, which will link them through to the content you've selected and, being made of natural language, they can be included in the wording of your message.



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