If you’re on this guide, chances are that you may already know about the difference between copywriting and content. So, let’s not waste your time stating the differences between the two. This guide is completely dedicated to copywriting, and we have compiled together a list of twelve copywriting formulas that will help you sell better.
But before diving right into the copywriting best practices, it is essential that you understand how copywriting can be different when done for different digital platforms. So, without delay, let’s dive right into the different types of copywriting.
Copywriting for Different Digital Platforms
It is creative writing that aims to trigger the emotions of your targeted audience and motivate them to take the desired action. This action directly or indirectly leads to generating more sales. There are three main platforms through which we can sell our products; website, social media, and Google ads in the digital world. Understanding the differences between the three will also help you gain a clear insight into the copywriting formulas we will discuss later in this guide.
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Copywriting For Social Media
- Focus on capturing their attention intelligently, or they will scroll down.
- Incorporate best-suited copywriting formula for social media, e.g., FOMO, PAS.
- Use a conversational tone that matches your brand persona; add a CTA.
Copywriting For Google Ads
- Use keywords strategically to help your rank on the first page of SERP.
- Keep the copy concise and clear; headlines are limited to 30 chars only.
- Do not forget to add a call-to-action and use a copywriting formula for Google Ads.
Copywriting For Website
- Properly structure your copy using headers, sections, bullets.
- Take bits from multiple copywriting formulas and use them in your copy.
- Focus on them, speak their language, and relate to their struggles.
12 Important Copywriting Formulas For Every Business
Now that you have a decent knowledge about different types of copywriting, this section will walk you through the twelve important copywriting formulas that actually sell.
Formula # 1 – PAS (Problem, Agitation & Solution)
Basecamp never comes short of a blessing for the thousands of managers working around the clock to manage their teams and deadlines. But, the expert copywriters exclusively love them because they never cease to amaze with their landing pages and compelling copy. They always use a language that is in sync with their target audience. That is, concise sentences and conversational tone, like any businessmen, would use while describing their businesses.
So, have a look at their copy to understand what makes it so effective. If you look at it closely, short sentences are not the only thing they use here. Behind it, a timeless copywriting formula, PAS is at work, making basecamp close more subscriptions.
Problem – In this step, as a copywriter you should highlight the key problems and pain points of your targeted audience. It’s a nightmare for every manager to have missed deadlines and thoughts scattered all over. Basecamp touched the right spot here to trigger the emotions.
Agitation – Once the problem has been identified, the next step should emphasize the pain points by picturing how the problem can worsen. If you read the copy further, it starts agitating the problem almost that it starts to hurt. Missed deadlines are only a trailer; what if your team is stressed and feels lost? That’s the ultimate dead end.
Solution – At last, you should present your product, which will solve the ‘big’ problem. Here, basecamp presented themselves as the solution and pictured themselves as the savior in the darkest moments to their targeted audience.
Copywriting Formula # 2 – PASO (Problem, Agitation, Solution, & Added Outcome)
It is a variation of the traditional PAS formula and focuses on presenting an added outcome to make your solution more worthwhile. Let’s consider the exact basecamp copy. They identified the problem of missing deadlines and scattered work. Agitated it by picturing what worse could happen if their team lost a purpose; how are they going to achieve the goals without them? At last, they presented the solution.
Now, if it has applied a PASO formula, how it would have emphasized the outcome. For example, they could have placed “no credit card needed” below their call-to-action. By highlighting that they do not require your credit card details can make them close for subscriptions because it would have communicated with the people about the easy accessibility. And the formula for converting from PAS to PASO. Both copywriting formulas work behind the same principle; PASO only addresses an added benefit of the solution.
Copywriting Formula # 3 – 4 Us (Useful, Urgent, Unique, Ultra Specific)
This one is best suited for offers and invites. It emphasizes the usefulness, uniqueness of the ultra-specific offer or training while creating a sense of urgency. Moreover, you can use it when posting ads on social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
It has got usefulness for people looking to implement a working funnel. It is specific to the online audience. It creates urgency by mentioning the limited seats and is unique as only people online in the webinar will be given a bonus.
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Copywriting Formula # 4 – AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)
Another age-old formula. It addresses your targeted audience and demands attention. Once it has the attention, it will use persuasive language to develop an interest in the product or the brand until the reader starts desiring the product. Finally, they will persuade the reader to take the desired action. It works as a funnel, pushing the readers from one category to another until they take action.
Apple Mac - One example of this formula can be seen in the Mac copy. With the heading, they instantly capture the visitor’s attention. Apple’s copywriters are masters in writing short but impactful taglines. As you start reading the body, they build interest in the product. Further, its feature of being the greenest project with a power-packed battery makes you desire the product.
Moz – Another great example is presented by Moz as they also included the ‘A’ for action written after the copy. It is even better than Mac. The headline instantly demands your attention if you fall under their targeted audience. They start developing your interest in the product by sharing its benefits and lead towards building desire. Since everyone wants to go ahead of their competitors, it’s hard to shake your head off at this point. Moreover, a community of leading SEOs is just the cherry on the top. Finally, a clear CTA that highlights a ‘FREE’ trial.
Copywriting Formula 5 – FAB (Features, Advantages & Benefits)
FAB is all about focusing on the benefits rather than the features. It has three steps. Although the first step is the feature, it is written more like what you or your product can do for the reader. The formula does not specify you to share the technicalities. In the second phase, you talk about all the assistance you can bring to them. In the third step, you empathize and talk about how the readers can benefit from all this, what is in it for them.
The ‘F’ here is ‘complete social media platform’, ‘A’ is ‘help you schedule updates,’ and ‘B’ is ‘get more clicks’. Remember to focus on ‘you’ rather than ‘we’.
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Copywriting Formula # 6 – 4 Ps (Picture, Promise, Prove, Push)
It is one of the working copywriting formulas that can help you generate more sales. If you want to use it in your copy, you should focus on the four Ps. Here, takes a look at what each means:
Picture – It is a copywriting strategy to picture a scenario that your targeted audience deeply desires based on your product or service.
Promise – Take the reader on a journey and explain how your product can help achieve their ideal life and what benefits it brings forward.
Prove – Remember, your audience is not naïve and will not take your words for face value. Thus, in order to persuade them, you need to share substantial evidence that your product solves a particular problem or situation.
Push – Like many copywriting formulas, call-to-action is another critical element in the 4 Ps. Add CTAs effectively to close more sales.
If you see KingKong’s landing page, you will find many copywriting tips that you can use yourself throughout it. On a higher level, their headlines have applied the 4 Ps smartly. Let’s take a look at these:
This section shows the colorful picture of scaling the business without any guesswork.
Here comes the ‘big’ promise. The platform to help you achieve everything your desire. Below that headline, a short paragraph emphasizes everything good you can get hiring them.
If you scroll further down, you will find the social proof in the form of testimonials and brands they have served so far. If you ask about the ‘push’, they have placed CTAs at several sections to immediately take the visitor to sign up for a free session as soon as they are convinced.
Copywriting Formula # 7 – The Three Reasons Why?
If you want to apply this formula, you need to intelligently answer the following three important questions that your targeted audience may ponder. It will help you cancel out their potential objections towards your product or service and help you motivate them to take your desired action.
- Why do you think you are the best?
- Why should I believe your claims?
- Why should I buy from you right now?
Write a copy answering all these questions, and you are set to generate higher conversions. Here’s an example from Vimeo’s landing page to help you understand how you can achieve it.
Copywriting Formula # 8 - 4 Cs (Clear, Concise, Compelling & Credible)
According to this formula, any interesting copy that successfully generates your desired action from your targeted audience has four characteristics. These characteristics include using clear and concise language, a clear tone, and reflecting credibility.
Clear – Their targeted audience clearly understands this copy by Wealthsimple. It uses headers, thumbnails, and shorts paragraphs to communicate with the audience.
Concise – Besides, the copy uses short and concise sentences to convey the required knowledge to the audience.
Compelling – To make your copy compelling to read by the audience, remember that you should never write it randomly. Always pen down your copy, keeping in view your needs, wants, and desires.
Credible – Websites like Apple, Wealthsimple, Forbes, etc., have already set their mark and people look up to these as credible sites. However, if you want to build your EAT, publish whitepapers, social proof, and thought leadership blogs to create an impact.
Copywriting Formula # 9 – A FOREST
FOREST stands for Alliteration, Facts, Opinions, Repetition, Examples, Statistics, and Threes, i.e., repeating something at least three times to make it stick in people’s minds.
You cannot use this formula for headlines. It is one of the copywriting best practices designed and used for professional copywriting services for long-form sales letters and landing pages. Writing Services Hub is best known for its long-form copywriting services. If you want your website visitors to take action, but your product is raw, you first need to create awareness about the problems they already have. Once they identify the problem, you can then pitch your product as the best solution they could get.
The Pepsodent copy is an excellent example of long-form ad copy focused entirely on educating a problem they already have but never noticed it. It is so compelling that it made people roll their tongues over their teeth to feel the film on it.
Copywriting Formula # 10 – Star Chain Hook
It has three elements. Star is your product or service or anything else you are pitching in your copy. A chain is a series of facts, reasons, benefits, and sources you include while writing the copy to emphasize creating your product or services, the star or hero. Add the call-to-action once a foundation has been laid, and your product has been perceived as the knight in the shining armor by your targeted audience.
Copywriting Formula # 11 – Star Story Solution
It is different from the Star Chain Hook formula as it involves storytelling. Here, the star is the lead role in your story; that could be you, your product, or your service. The story starts to unfold in the copy, keeping the reader hooked by empathizing with how they went through a situation or encountered the challenges relevant to the problems they are facing. Like any great story, proceeding forward comes the climax, and you elaborate how the star of the story came out victorious.
In this example, they first introduced the solution, i.e., freelancing. Then introduced the star of the story, ‘Aby’. The copy explores the struggles she went through that are relatable to the targeted audience. You can also introduce the solution first or the ‘solution’ and ‘star’ both simultaneously. While using the Star Story Solution formula, you do not need to follow a linear approach.
Copywriting Formula # 12 - Before After Bridge
Amateur copywriters may misunderstand the PAS formula. But it is different in the sense that, contrarily to the PAS, it starts on a positive note. To apply this formula, you first need to identify your target audience’s needs and desires. Picture their paradise starting from the first line. Then use examples and proof illustrating how other people like them have achieved the same success and how they can achieve it too. For more emphasis, list down all the benefits and finally add an irresistible CTA.
If you have confusion how this can be possible, see the example below:
You can see this example for clarity. The email starts on a positive note, detailing everything the reader desires, i.e., ‘zero invalid emails’ and ‘zero bounce rate’. After paradise has been pictured in the reader's mind, they started showing them how other people have reached that place and how they can also reach there. Finally, they present the CTA that uses the FOMO formula, which works on human psychology, the fear of missing out on sales, and discounts.
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This is the ultimate guide you can use throughout your copywriting career to pen down copies that sell better. We have done thorough research to compile not only the important copywriting formulas that not everyone knows about but also attach relevant examples with each of these.
We hope that, after going through the guide, you will become well-versed in the different copywriting techniques such as FOMO, PAS, PASO, FOREST, star story solution, AIDA, before after bridge, star chain hook, 4 Ps, 4 Us, 4 Cs and the three reasons why? But, if you still find it challenging to write a copy that converts and helps you break even or generate a higher ROI, you can hire our copywriting services. We have a team of professional copywriters working for clients globally using copywriting best practices that generate positive results.
Since not all of you are professionals, and some are just starting with copywriting, we also discussed a few bullets defining copywriting for different platforms, including Google Ads, social media platforms, and websites.