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5 Copywriting Formulas: Your Path from Beginner to Expert

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    In a world where words are your currency, mastering the art of copywriting is an invaluable skill. Whether you’re crafting marketing materials, website content, or emails, your words have the power to engage, persuade, and convert.

    To help you write like a pro, it’s essential to have a set of reliable frameworks at your disposal. These formulas provide structure and guidance, ensuring your copy is both compelling and effective.

    Here are the top copywriting formulas you can start using right away:

    1. PAS: Problem-Agitate-Solution – Identifies a problem, agitates the pain points to heighten emotional response, and offers a practical solution to resolve the issue.

    2. AIDA: Attention-Interest-Desire-Action – Captures attention with strong openings, builds interest with engaging content, creates desire by highlighting benefits, and prompts action with a clear call to action.

    3. BAB: Before-After-Bridge – Shows a transformation by illustrating the problem (Before), the improvement (After), and how the solution makes this change possible (Bridge).

    4. FAB: Features-Advantages-Benefits – Details the product’s features, explains how these features provide advantages over alternatives, and highlights the personal benefits to the user.

    5. 4 Ps: Promise-Picture-Proof-Push – Begins with a bold promise, paints a vivid picture of the desired outcome, backs up claims with proof, and ends with a strong push to encourage immediate action.

    Master these formulas to craft compelling marketing messages that resonate with your audience and drive conversions.
    We will explore when to use each formula, how to apply them, and provide use cases and real-world examples for each one, helping you create content that truly connects with your audience and achieves your business goals.

    But before diving deeper into each framework, it’s essential to understand the fundamental concept of copywriting. 

    What Is Copywriting?

    Copywriting involves crafting content, also known as copy, that motivates people to take action. It’s not solely about describing a product or service; it’s about creating a vivid image in the reader’s mind, connecting with their emotions, and making them feel like they need what you’re offering.

    This is distinct from content marketing, which focuses on creating valuable and relevant content to attract and engage a target audience, ultimately driving profitable customer action.

    The problem with most copywriting advice is that it’s either too vague or too complicated. You’re often told to “just be yourself” or bombarded with jargon-filled theories, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.

    Effective copywriting is similar to a conversation between you and your potential customer. It involves understanding their needs, desires, and pain points. It’s about using language that resonates with them, building trust and credibility, and making them believe in what you have to say.

    Nowadays, the influence of copywriting extends beyond the digital realm of websites, long-form sales pages, advertisements, social media, and email campaigns. It pervades our daily lives, from the television shows we watch to the radio stations we listen to, and even the magazines and newspapers we casually browse. Even when we walk down the street, we see copywriting on billboards, signs, and product packaging—all silently persuading us to make decisions.

    Mastering the art of copywriting involves using tested techniques that can significantly enhance your writing and engage your audience. Here are some popular frameworks, how to apply them, and how to determine which one to use.

    PAS Framework (Problem – Agitate – Solution)

    The PAS framework is a copywriting formula that captures attention, presents a problem, and then provides a solution.

    How does the PAS formula work?
    1. Identify the Problem (P): Clearly define the problem your product or service addresses. Understand the pain points, frustrations, and challenges faced by your target audience.
    2. Agitate the Problem (A): Paint a vivid picture of the problem’s impact, making the reader emotionally connect with the issue. Highlight the negative consequences and missed opportunities if the problem remains unresolved.
    3. Position the Solution (S): Introduce your product or service as the definitive solution to the problem. Emphasize its unique features, benefits, and how it can transform the reader’s experience.

    Best Uses for the PSA Copywriting Formula:
    • Promoting products or services that solve real-world problems or address specific pain points.
    • Creating compelling landing pages, email campaigns, and sales letters.
    • Crafting persuasive advertisements and social media posts.

    Example Use Case
    Real World Case Study

    Consider a company marketing a new skincare product designed to address acne:

    (P) Are you tired of struggling with persistent acne and breakouts?
    (A) Acne can be frustrating and damaging to your self-esteem, leading to a lack of confidence in social situations.
    (S) Introducing ClearSkin Solution, formulated to target acne at its source, reducing breakouts and promoting healthier skin.

    Here is an excellent example from Hubspot to show you how they use it.

    This example effectively highlights the problem of cobbled-together tech solutions, agitates the reader by emphasizing the negative consequences of such systems, and then introduces the benefits of its solutions.

    When to Use:
    Consumer Marketing: When targeting individual consumers who need to be emotionally engaged.
    Simple to Moderate Complexity: For products or services where the problem is straightforward but requires emotional leverage to highlight the impact.
    Awareness and Interest: When you need to create awareness of a problem and generate interest in your solution by emphasizing its consequences.

    What stages of awareness should you address with it?
    Stage: Problem-Aware
    Identifies a problem: Customers at this stage realize they have a problem but may not fully understand its implications or potential solutions.
    Agitates pain points: Heightening the emotional response makes the problem feel urgent and significant.
    Offers a solution: Presents your product or service as the definitive answer to their problem.

    Example: Marketing materials targeting individuals who recognize they have a health issue but are unsure of the best treatment.

    AIDA Framework (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

    AIDA is the classic marketing framework that outlines the four key stages a consumer goes through before making a purchasing decision.

    How does the AIDA formula work?
    1. Attention: Capture the consumer’s attention using eye-catching visuals, strong headlines, or surprising facts.
    2. Interest: Pique their interest by highlighting the benefits of your offering, addressing their pain points, or telling a compelling story.
    3. Desire: Create a desire for your product or service by making them feel they are missing out on something valuable, appealing to their emotions, or showing them how your product or service can improve their lives.
    4. Action: Get the consumer to take action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or learning more about your product or service.

    Best Uses for the AIDA Copywriting Formula:
    General Marketing: Suitable for both B2C and B2B contexts.
    Building Funnels: Effective for creating marketing funnels and ads.
    Simple to Complex Products: Can be adapted for a range of products and services.

    Example Use Case
    Real World Case Study

    Consider a delivery service company:

    (A) Tired of waiting in endless lines?
    (I) Imagine having your groceries delivered right to your door without the hassle.
    (D) Our new delivery service saves you time, energy, and car gas, making your life easier and more convenient.
    (A) Sign up today and enjoy stress-free shopping!

    Airbnb effectively uses the AIDA model in its “Experiences” campaign. The ad starts with exciting visuals of exotic destinations, capturing attention. It piques interest with thrilling shots of adventures related to fire, air, water, and earth. Desire is created by showcasing unique experiences. The ad concludes with a clear call-to-action: “Book Now,” directing viewers to

    What stages of awareness should you address with it?
    Stage: Solution-Aware
    Captures attention: Customers are aware they need a solution and are looking for options.
    Builds interest: Engaging content keeps them interested in learning more about your offering.
    Creates desire: Highlighting benefits makes them want your product.
    Prompts action: A clear call to action encourages immediate response.

    Example: Marketing materials targeting individuals who recognize they have a health issue but are unsure of the best treatment.

    BAB Framework (Before – After – Bridge)

    The BAB framework is a powerful storytelling formula used to create compelling and persuasive marketing messages.

    How does the formula work?
    1. Before: Paint a picture of your audience’s current situation. What are their problems, challenges, or frustrations?
    What are they missing out on?
    2. After: Show your audience what their life would be like if they had your product, service, or solution. What would they gain?
    How would their life be different?
    3. Bridge: Connect the “Before” and “After” by introducing your product, service, or solution as the bridge between the two.
    How does your offering help them get from where they are now to where they want to be?

    Best Uses for the BAB Copywriting Formula:
    Transformation Stories: Ideal when your product or service can show a clear before-and-after transformation.
    Case Studies and Testimonials: Perfect for storytelling where you can demonstrate how your solution has changed the situation for others.
    Inspirational and Motivational: Effective for inspiring your audience by showcasing the potential transformation your solution offers.

    Example Use Case
    Real World Case Study

    Consider a weight loss program:

    (Before) Are you tired of feeling overweight and unhealthy? Are you sick of being self-conscious about your body?
    (After) Imagine fitting into your favorite clothes again, confidently wearing a swimsuit in public, and feeling energized and healthy. (Bridge) Our weight loss program can help you achieve your goals. We provide the tools and support you need to lose weight and keep it off.

    Mcdonalds Billboard Ad Using The Bab Copywriting Framework. Stuck In A Jam? Theres Light At The End Of The Tunnel.with The Mcdonald’s Logo On A Highway.webp
    Illuminated McDonald’s logo on a highway, targeting drivers stuck in traffic and suggesting relief through McDonald’s

    The McDonald’s billboard ad effectively uses the BAB framework to capture the attention of drivers stuck in traffic. It resonates with their current frustration, offers a hopeful outcome, and positions McDonald’s as the bridge to that better scenario. This ad is particularly effective because it addresses a universal issue that many people face and provides a clear, simple solution.

    What stages of awareness should you address with it?
    Stage: Solution-Aware
    Shows transformation: Customers are considering different solutions and need to see the potential impact.
    Illustrates problem and improvement: Demonstrating before and after scenarios helps them visualize the benefits.
    Explains how change is possible: The bridge shows the direct link between your product and the positive outcome.

    Example: Marketing materials targeting individuals who recognize they have a health issue but are unsure of the best treatment.

    FAB Framework (Feature, Advantage, Benefit)

    The FAB formula is perfect for showcasing the value of your offer and connecting with your audience’s needs and desires by focusing on the product or service.

    How does the formula work?
    1. Features: These are the factual characteristics of your product or service, such as what it does, how it works, and what it is made of. Features are the objective and verifiable attributes of your offer.
    2. Advantages: These highlight how your product or service stands out from the competition or alternatives. Advantages are the comparative benefits, such as being better, faster, cheaper, or easier.
    3. Benefits: These are the outcomes or results that your product or service delivers to your target audience. Benefits are the emotional and personal rewards, such as solving problems, improving situations, or enhancing feelings.

    Best Uses for the FAB Copywriting Formula:
    Product Descriptions: Ideal for product pages and brochures.
    Technical Products: Best for products where detailed specifications matter.
    Educated Audience: Suitable when the audience is knowledgeable and seeks detailed information.

    Example Use Case
    Real World Case Study

    Consider a new type of sunscreen:
    (Feature) Our sunscreen is SPF 50+.
    (Advantage) This means it blocks 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
    (Benefit) You can enjoy the sun without worrying about getting sunburn.

    Apple Watch Ad Using The Fab Copywriting Framework To Highlight Watchos 11 Features, Advantages, And Benefits For Athletes.
    Apple Watch ad using the FAB copywriting framework to highlight watchOS 11 features, advantages, and benefits, helping athletes achieve their goals.

    The Apple Watch ad effectively uses the FAB framework to communicate the value of its new features. Here’s how:
    • See how the intensity of your workouts may impact your body over time.
    • Review your training load in the Activity app.
    • See your overnight vitals for additional insights.
    • Allows you to make informed decisions about how and when to adjust your workouts.
    • Particularly useful when training for a big event.
    • Helps athletes achieve their goals by providing valuable insights into their workout intensity and overall health.
    • Empowers users to optimize their training and improve performance.

    What stages of awareness should you address with it?
    Stage: Product-Aware
    Details product features: Customers know about the solutions and are comparing different products.
    Explains advantages: Showcasing how your product stands out against competitors.
    Highlights benefits: Emphasizing personal benefits helps them see the direct impact on their needs.

    Example: Marketing materials targeting individuals who recognize they have a health issue but are unsure of the best treatment.

    4 Ps Framework (Promise, Picture, Proof, Push)

    The 4 Ps formula is similar to the AIDA formula but places more emphasis on the benefits and emotions of the reader.

    How does the formula work?
    1. Promise: Catch the reader’s attention by making a bold and beneficial promise that speaks to their needs and wants. Use a headline, a subhead, and an opening paragraph to communicate what’s in it for them and why they should keep reading.
    2. Picture: Paint a vivid picture of what the reader’s life would look like after they achieve the benefit you promised. Use storytelling, descriptive language, and emotional triggers to make them imagine themselves enjoying the outcome. Explain how your product, service, or idea can help them get there.
    3. Proof: Back up your promise and picture with evidence that shows you can deliver on your claims. Use facts, statistics, testimonials, case studies, guarantees, and other forms of social proof to build trust and credibility. Address any objections or doubts and show why your solution is the best for them.
    4. Push: Motivate the reader to take action and buy your product, sign up for your service, or accept your idea. Use a clear and compelling call to action that tells them exactly what to do next and why they should do it now. Create a sense of urgency and scarcity to make them feel they might miss out if they don’t act fast.

    Best Uses for the 4 Ps Copywriting Formula:
    Storytelling: Suitable for storytelling in marketing.
    Visual Campaigns: Ideal for visual and narrative-driven campaigns.
    Emotional Engagement: When you want to create a strong emotional connection.

    Example Use Case
    Real World Case Study

    A video script for a fitness app:

    1. Promise: “Transform your body in just 30 days with our proven fitness program.”
    2. Picture: The ad shows various users working out with the app, highlighting their progress and the fun, engaging workouts. It depicts the confidence and happiness they feel as they achieve their fitness goals.
    3. Proof: Includes testimonials from satisfied users, showing their before-and-after photos and sharing their success stories. Also presents data on the number of people who have successfully transformed their bodies using the app.
    4. Push: “Download our app today and start your free trial! Limited spots available, so act fast to secure your spot and start your journey to a healthier, fitter you.

    The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation Ad Is A Perfect Example Of How The 4 Ps Framework Can Be Used To Create A Compelling And Persuasive Marketing Message.
    Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation ad using the 4 Ps framework: a smiling child with the message ‘Make a donation, make a difference,’ encouraging donations to support healthcare for sick children.

    The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation ad effectively uses the 4 Ps framework to communicate its message and drive donations. Here’s how:

    1. Promise: The headline “Make a donation, make a difference” immediately grabs attention by promising that the reader’s contribution will have a significant impact on the lives of sick children.
    2. Picture: The ad features an image of a happy child, smiling and wearing a hearing aid. This vivid picture emotionally engages the reader, illustrating the positive outcomes of donations and making the message relatable and heartfelt.
    3. Proof: The accompanying text explains the importance of the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and how donations help provide the best possible healthcare for children. This builds trust and credibility, showing that the reader’s donation will go to a reputable and impactful cause.
    4. Push: The call-to-action button “DONATE TODAY” is clear and compelling, telling the reader exactly what to do next. The sense of urgency and the ease of taking action make it more likely that readers will follow through and contribute immediately.

    What stages of awareness should you address with it?
    Stage: Most-Aware
    Begins with a bold promise: Customers know your product and just need a final push to buy.
    Paints a vivid picture: Reinforces the benefits they will receive.
    Backs up claims with proof: Testimonials, reviews, and case studies build trust.
    Ends with a strong push: Urgency and a strong call to action encourage immediate purchase.

    Example: Sales pages or limited-time offer emails.

    How to Decide Which Copywriting Framework to Use

    Selecting the right copywriting framework involves understanding your audience, defining your message goal, and considering the complexity of your product or service. Here’s a guide to help you decide which framework to use:

    PSA (Problem – Agitate – Solution):
    Use when: The audience might need more emotional engagement to recognize the problem’s impact. This framework helps in highlighting the problem, agitating the pain points, and then presenting a solution.

    BAB (Before – After – Bridge):
    Use when: You have strong testimonials or case studies that illustrate a clear transformation. This framework is ideal for showcasing before-and-after scenarios that resonate emotionally with the audience.

    AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action):
    Use for: General marketing, funnel creation, and a mix of simple to complex products. This framework helps in capturing attention, sparking interest, building desire, and prompting action.

    FAB (Features, Advantages, Benefits):
    Use for: Detailed product descriptions, especially for technical products. This framework focuses on outlining the features, explaining the advantages, and highlighting the benefits to the user.

    4 Ps (Promise, Picture, Proof, Push):
    Use for: Storytelling and creating strong emotional connections. This framework is excellent for making a bold promise, painting a vivid picture, providing proof, and pushing the audience to take action.

    PSA (Problem – Agitate – Solution):
    For: Straightforward issues needing an emotional trigger. This framework works well for clear and simple problems that can be highlighted through emotional storytelling.

    BAB (Before – After – Bridge):
    For: Products/services that can show clear, relatable transformations. This framework is effective for illustrating significant changes and improvements brought about by the product or service.

    By understanding your audience, defining your message goals, and considering the complexity of your product or service, you can effectively choose and apply the right copywriting framework to create compelling and persuasive marketing messages.

    What is the 40-40-20 Rule in Copywriting?

    The 40-40-20 rule in copywriting is a guideline for creating effective marketing messages. It suggests that the success of your copywriting efforts is influenced by three main factors:

    1. 40% – The List
    Audience Targeting: This refers to the audience you are targeting with your marketing message. Knowing your audience well is crucial because it allows you to tailor your message to their specific needs, desires, and pain points. The more you understand your audience, the better you can connect with them and prompt action.

    2. 40% – The Offer
    Offer Attractiveness: This refers to what you are selling or giving away. A compelling and attractive offer is essential for driving conversions. The offer should clearly communicate the value and benefits to the audience, making them more likely to respond positively.

    3. 20% – The Creative
    Message Presentation: This refers to the way you write and present your marketing message. It includes the use of language, visuals, and other creative elements that capture attention and engage the audience.

    Example Use Case:
    Imagine you are creating a marketing campaign for a new fitness app.

    1. List (40%):
    Target Audience: Health-conscious individuals, gym-goers, and people looking to improve their fitness levels.
    Audience Insight: They value convenience, personalized workouts, and tracking their progress.

    Offer (40%):
    Compelling Offer: “Sign up now and get a 30-day free trial of our premium fitness app, complete with personalized workout plans and real-time progress tracking.”

    Creative (20%):
    Engaging Message: “Transform your body with our personalized fitness app. Start your 30-day free trial today and experience the convenience of custom workouts and progress tracking at your fingertips.”

    By applying the 40-40-20 rule, you ensure that your marketing efforts are balanced and focused on the most critical aspects of successful copywriting: reaching the right audience, presenting a compelling offer, and creating an engaging message.


    It’s important to note that these copywriting formulas provide a strong foundation for creating persuasive and effective marketing messages. By understanding and applying these principles, you can grab your audience’s attention, spark their interest, cultivate their desire, and inspire them to take action, ultimately leading to more conversions and greater success for your business.

    As you embark on your copywriting journey, remember that these formulas are just a starting point. It’s essential to experiment and determine what works best for your specific audience and objectives. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and try new approaches. Above all, strive to craft copy that is genuine, captivating, and informative.

    With imagination, determination, and a willingness to learn, you can master the art of copywriting and create marketing messages that resonate with your audience and drive results. So go ahead, write with passion, and let your words change the world.

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