Top 5 Copywriting Formulas: Your Cheat Sheet For Great Content Structure

If you’re something like me then you probably bear a grudge against math and everything related to it. Unfortunately, those of us who tried to run away from the nasty fractions and the terrifying square roots and sought shelter in the art of copywriting, are now met with yet another set of formulas. Worry not, however, as copywriting formulas have nothing to do with math. Instead, they focus on making a copywriter’s life easier and more productive as well. To see how copywriting formulas can help you, you need to first understand one of the main, essential “rules” of writing and content creation as a whole: Structuring your message so that it’s specifically tailored to answer your target audience’s problems and concerns is the key to a great copy.

The fact that different audiences and occasions require different copywriting approaches and messages shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s easy to understand how the same message cannot be used to sell a pen both to a schoolchild and to a businessman. When talking to diverse audiences composed of people with different interests and demographics you need to always target your writing accordingly, even if you’re selling the same product or discussing the same topic with everyone. This means that you will need to write as many messages as the number of audiences you target. When you need to present a given product in a couple of different ways, it’s easy to run out of creative ideas. And here’s where copywriting formulas come in handy. They help you have a structured approach and to use them means to never start your texts from scratch again. We don’t all have to invent the wheel, do we? The easiest way to visually imagine the function of copywriting formulas is to see them as frames that hold your text and order it in a way that boosts the power and influence of your words making your copies more compelling.

Most Successful Copywriting Formulas

In essence, copywriting formulas heavily rely on psychological triggers and human perceptions. They are carefully thought-out patterns, which have proved their success over the years. You can use copywriting formulas in your titles, blog posts, ad copies, web copies, email subject lines and body, and anywhere else you find fit. It would be hard to go wrong with them, especially because they were designed to be simple, easy to memorize, and comprehensible.

An important aspect that you need to take into account, however, is the fact that you must have an extremely good understanding of your audience’s needs, interests, demographics, and other details to use the copywriting formulas successfully. Therefore it’s best if you create a buyer persona for your business ahead of time. As Stephen Zoeller shares, 90% of companies that use buyer personas have been able to create a clearer understanding of their buyers, 82% of companies using personas have created an improved value proposition and 65% of companies that updated their personas within the last 6 months exceeded their lead and revenue goals. So obviously, buyer personas are key, but that’s a topic for another post. Now let’s dive in and take a look at some of the most successful copywriting formulas that have become a must-have powerful conversion tool for marketers and content creators alike.

AIDA

Of course, we couldn’t write this article without mentioning the AIDA model! It is probably one of the most popular formulas, which is used by thousands of copywriters and marketers daily. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. If you decide to use this formula, you would have to structure your text around those four key points and help readers feel the respective emotions gradually as they progress through your message. You will need to grab your audience’s attention in the first lines or paragraphs of your text (depending on the intended volume), then you have to sparkle readers’ interest in your product (or the focus of your text), next you should continue persuading your audience until it desires the product you offer, and last you have to encourage the reader to take action (usually through a CTA). Simple as that. Professionals use this model not only for writing captivating copies but also for creating hassle-free sales funnels. Additionally, there are many copywriting formulas, which also follow principles similar to those of the AIDA model, such as ACCA (Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action), IDCA (Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action), AAPPA (Attention, Advantage, Proof, Persuasion, Action), and other.

 

PAS

PAS is another widely popular copywriting formula, but unlike AIDA which aims to persuade the readers into doing something beneficial for themselves, PAS focuses more on the ongoing problems faced by the reader and introduces solutions that can elevate them. The founder of Magnetic Marketing, Dan Kennedy puts it best:

“When you understand that people are more likely to act to avoid pain than to get gain, you’ll understand how powerful this first formula is. It may be the most reliable sales formula ever invented.”

PAS stands for Problem, Agitation, Solution. So if you decide to use it, you should first write a few sentences about your audience’s pain points and problems in connection to your product or business, then you have to agitate your audience by further poking at the problems they might be experiencing and finally, you need to introduce the solution. PADS (Problem, Agitation, Discredit, Solution) is another very similar copywriting model, which adds one more step to the “equation” - Discredit. The goal here is to discredit all other available solutions to the problem, before introducing the ultimate one (your product, of course).

FAB

The FAB copywriting formula is all about presenting the benefits of your product to your audience. The acronym stands for Features, Advantages, and Benefits. To use this formula you need to understand the difference between the features, advantages, and benefits of your product. In the feature section of this formula, you need to talk about the function of your product - what does it do, what does it offer? Then you have to present your product’s advantages - why it is helpful and what problems does it solve? Finally, you have to outline the benefits for your clients - why is your product relevant for the readers, what does it mean to them? If you master the FAB formula, you’ll be able to create short, straight-to-the-point sales pitches, which will boost your conversion rate.

 

The 4 C’s

The 4 C’s is yet another incredibly useful formula and if we have to be honest, you should always strive to incorporate its elements in your content creation. The 4 C’s stands for Clear, Concise, Compelling, Credible. Your text should be direct and easy to understand. It should only contain relevant information, so if you can remove something without changing the overall message, by all means, go for it. The goal is to say what you need in the fewest words possible. A mistake that you should avoid, however, is shortening your text too much and missing important points about your product in an attempt to be concise. Additionally, you should strive to create vibrant texts which capture readers’ interest, in other words, your messages should be as compelling as possible. Last, but not least, you must support your claims with evidence. To make your text credible, you can mention how well-known brands or celebrities have trusted your company, or you can include customer testimonials. Other formulas have similar acronyms to the 4 C’s formula, such as 4 P’s (Picture, Promise, Prove, Push) and the 4 U’s (Useful, Urgency, Unique, Ultra-Specific), however, their approach slightly differs.

BAB

Before - After - Bridge (BAB) is another copywriting formula, which focuses on the positive rather than on the negative. It is slightly similar to PAS, however, once you introduce the problem (before) you immediately prompt the reader to imagine a utopian outcome of the given situation (after) and then show them the easy way to accomplish this desired solution (bridge). So instead of agitating the audience, you are showing them that you understand their pain points and that although their situation may seem unfavorable, there is an easy solution for their problems.

Remember: Stories are also a powerful copywriting tool

Once you get used to incorporating copywriting formulas in your everyday content creation, you should try to blend them within unique stories. Although we can’t call it a copywriting formula, storytelling also has its structure and can be just as powerful and influential when it comes to converting. The typical structure of any story usually goes like this: there’s a main character who’s facing a conflict of some sort and then something happens (for example, the character buys one of your products) and the resolution of the problem/conflict is found. Wordstream cited SEO Blogger Rob Powell of the Rob Powell Biz Blog who also supports storytelling as a powerful copywriting tool:

“We’ve been telling each other stories for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s part of our evolution. And that’s why storytelling is so effective as a copywriting technique. In the copy that you use on a landing page, the character could be your customer. The conflict would be the problem that she faces. And the resolution would be your product."

Last but not least, it’s crucial to remember that copywriting formulas are not compulsory nor are they set in stone. If they help you come up with an amazing copy and make your life easier at the same time, by all means, use them all you like. However, they can also kill your creative vibe, especially if you become overly concerned with playing by the “rules” of the particular formula. In that case, your copies will start to sound rather gray and robotic.
If this happens, it will be best for you to find ways to boost your creativity or simply contact us for a free consultation. Markception is a digital marketing agency that fosters business growth and builds strong human relations in the digital world between companies and consumers. We can help you achieve your goals by crafting amazing content for your business. Furthermore, we are here for you if you need assistance with any marketing activity - from social media management to SEO optimization and website creation.


How to Create a Marketing Funnel? (part 1)

Imagine that you are going to the store and the cashier says: “Hey, we have discounted gums, would you like to buy some?” - you’ve never heard of the brand, so of course not. Even if you are not a marketer, you will probably agree that most people will not be willing to purchase a given product (or service) if they have limited information about it or are not familiar with the company which offers it. And this is completely normal. The same applies to the online world as well. 

Capturing users’ interest and taking them through every step of the way until they are ready to purchase from you, should be your primary focus. This process is known as marketing funnels (a.k.a sales funnels) and they could often combine both online and offline advertising methods.

What are marketing funnels?

In a nutshell, a marketing funnel is the process, through which marketers (or business owners) convert prospects (potential customers) by persuading them into doing a particular action. This approach allows you to break down the customer’s journey and provide relevant information to your target audience at each stage of the decision-making process. Talking about stages, marketing funnels usually consist of multiple layers, each of them bringing the customer closer to the end of the funnel. Or in other words - to completing the main goal.

As the name suggests, you could imagine all of those layers arranged in the form of a funnel or an inverted pyramid. Your audience enters the funnel at its widest (top) part, goes through the middle of the funnel, and exits at its bottom part. So in this sense, the three main stages of a marketing funnel are awareness, consideration, and conversion (decision):

You need to keep in mind that not all of the users who enter it will actually follow through the whole journey and exit the funnel (by completing the action you want them to). However, good campaigns, attention-grabbing visuals, and enticing copies at each stage of the funnel can help you retain the bigger part of your initial audience.

TOFU, MOFU, BOFU

These abbreviations might sound weird to you and you may even think they are referring to vegan cheese but they actually stand for “top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel” if you’ve paid attention to the image above. They are the foundation that every salesman should consider when offering a product or service.

TOFU

Nowadays, people have access to lots of information - both online and offline. This makes selling much harder than it used to be 2 decades ago, as users often want to make informed decisions. 

TOFU is the awareness stage where you have the widest audience. Here you don’t know anything about it, but you are trying to attract people who have a specific problem (or might have but don’t know about it yet). Because of this, the stage should rely on content that is purely educational without necessarily mentioning your business. You want to help your target audience so that they see in you an information source. Address the pain points they potentially have but don’t pitch any sales ideas, as they are simply not ready.

Some content tips at this stage :

  • Infographics are a really easy way of a visual representation of numbers, graphics, charts, etc. with little to no text that give a general overview of the pain point you are addressing.
  • Videos - keep them short and straight to the point. Talk about the problem, not the solution. Let your audience see itself in it.
  • Blog posts - if you have a website, consider setting up a blog. Share your knowledge and expertise. Start with a general topic covering a specific problem that simply aims to educate. If you are not sure what this means, check out our: 6 free tools for managing your marketing channels. The problem we wanted to solve was that there are numerous tools in the online world. However, often people need only a handful of them to conduct their everyday activities.

MOFU

MOFU is the consideration stage where people have already found out they had a problem. Now they are searching for a solution and are actively investigating different options. By far, this is probably the most critical point of the funnel because you need to convince your potential customers why you are the right choice. At this stage you have excluded the people who don’t share the same problems, so you can start mentioning your products or services as a solution to the needs of those who continue the journey. However, be careful what content you decide to choose. Continue keeping it educational and slightly promotional.

Some content tips at this stage:

  • Comparisons - clearly presenting the pros and cons of different solutions could turn out to be a great weapon. Be sure not to talk about other competitors and their products or services, but rather what are the unique features of your own and what makes it better than others. For example, we have a great blog post that compares hiring an in-house marketer or a digital agency for conducting marketing activities. And our goal was not to ultimately “sell ourselves” but to describe what you get if you choose one of the options or the other. Sometimes people could be missing important aspects when making a decision, so we wanted to help with that. 
  • Guides (how-to content) - well, what you are reading right now is actually a guide on how to create a marketing funnel. Does it work so far? 
  • Templates and checklists - give something (for free) in order to get something in return, especially if your content is good, you can be sure people will come back to you.

BOFU

Right. So we finally got to the bottom. This is the decision stage where people are ready to buy. After they’ve done their research at the second stage and compared several other options, some decided that your offer is the best on the market, others not (but they can still consider you if by any chance they are disappointed by their first choice). Here you have a highly targeted, narrow audience that is willing to give you a chance. 

The content you choose should now focus on the product benefits and features, how it works and what it does in order to solve your clients’ problems.

Some content tips at this stage:

  • Videos - unlike the videos we mentioned during the first stage, now we can create longer ones, explaining all about the product’s characteristics and demonstrating how it works. Just like those “unboxing” videos on YouTube. If it’s a service that you offer, various tutorials, tips and tricks will work.
  • Free trials and demos - and still the clients will not be fully convinced and ready for a commitment if they haven’t tried the product or service. To make it even more exclusive, you can give them 30 days to try out, instead of the regular 14 listed on your website. After all, they’ve made the effort to go through the whole journey.

The after purchase experience 

It’s better if you have 100 customers paying every month than 1000 who only come to you once.

Acquiring new clients is great, but as you see the process is long and time-consuming, and there is a really big chance that you’ll end up with very few leads. Instead, do not forget about the people who you managed to convert. If you try to sell them something else, it will be much faster and easier to do so. Because of that, make them feel appreciated. Give them a discount on their next purchase with you, or a small gift that will make them smile. If by any chance your business requires knowing their date of birth, then send them a happy birthday SMS or an email. Ask them what is their opinion on your products or services, what could possibly improve. You might be surprised by their feedback - you could hear things you have never ever thought about.

Retention is the key to the success of any business.

If your returning customers are happy, they are likely to recommend you to others. And we all know how word-of-mouth works. 

Depending on the size of your audience, your industry, budget, and resources, your marketing funnel can also be very long and extensive. It could combine different channels for every step of the way such as Blog, Facebook, Google, Email, SMS, printed materials. If you require a multi-channel approach, then your target audience will be highly segmented and the funnel will probably turn into a huge customer journey map.

But because we want to keep things simple for now, our next article will focus on How to create a marketing funnel using Facebook as that is still the biggest social media network and pretty much every brand should have a page there. What are the types of ads you can use on Facebook and how to incorporate them into a funnel, stay tuned to find out. Until then, do not hesitate to contact us if you need some help or a free consultation because here at Markception we just love talking to people.


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