Johnson box

Johnson box is a graphic device often used in direct mail sales letters, as well as in long copy emails or landing pages, consisting of a box-shaped outline, often made of asterisks. It is used to highlight a short message, such as a typewriter-face headline or a sidebar (message printed vertically along the edge of a page).

Because the Johnson Box is positioned at the beginning of the letter, you cannot help but read it.

What best practices can you use when developing a Johnson box?

Here are some strategic design tips you can begin using right away:

  • Include the main benefit of your offer for your target audience in the Johnson Box. Include your phone number or your URL so they can ‘Act Now’.
  • Do not be limited with a box shape. Use circles, straight lines, dotted lines or asterisk. Use a colored background or… do not use any box at all.
  • Add a photo – show people what you are offering or who they may help if you are asking them to donate. Use your imagination.
  • Whatever you choose to do, make a Johnson box appropriate for your letter and your package objectives.

There is no absolute formula that will tell you how much of a lift in response, if any, you will have from a Johnson Box. As with all aspects of your direct response marketing package be strategic: test how the use of a Johnson box impacts your overall results.

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