One of the most game-chancing realisations I ever had about copywriting was “Good copy is not written, it is assembled.”
People figured out the formulas of compelling copy long ago, and you absolutely don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
After I started following proven frameworks and templates, my content and sales messages took off.
However, the challenge is compiling your own effective toolbox of frameworks to master. Let me give you a shortcut.
Here are the 3 best universal copywriting frameworks according to Jim Edwards, one of my favourite copywriters of all time. I use them regularly, and getting comfortable with those was one of the smartest investments I ever made.
Formula #1: Problem/Agitate/Solution.
This formula is my favorite because you can use it for anything.
You construct your sales message in three parts:
1. You define the problem they face.
2. You agitate it, make it worse, make it hurt
3. You solve it by presenting your product or service as the solution
Now, the key is to make it worse. A LOT worse! Agitate is the magic in this formula, which works for a 20-page sales letter, a one-page letter you might even send through the mail, or for an email. It works anywhere. You meet them with the problem they face, but don’t leave it alone.
Let’s use dog aggression as our example.
State the problem: “Here’s the problem. If your dog barks or acts like it’s going to bite other people, this is something you need to get under control quickly.”
Agitate it: “If you don’t, you could be subject to a lawsuit. Your dog could mutilate a child. You could carry the guilt as well as the financial burden of a single, instantaneous dog attack for the rest of your life. So no matter how innocent, cuddly, and friendly your dog is, if you don’t have them properly trained, it could cripple you financially for the rest of your life.” Remember, agitating is the secret sauce in this formula.
Introduce the solution: You can say, “Luckily for you, there’s now a solution. The Complete A-to-Z Puppy-Dog Training Guide helps you not only with aggression, but also with potty training, learning tricks, and socializing your dog to be a happy, healthy member of the family.”
Formula #2: If you want 3X benefit, then do this.
This is a positive message bent. Use this when you’re focusing on the desire and not a problem per se. You talk about benefit, benefit, and benefit, then whatever action you want them to take.
“So if you want to train your dog, teach him some great tricks, or even just have a lot more fun with your pet, then you need to check out The 10 Tricks You Can Train Your Dog In A Weekend course. Here’s why…”
Formula #3: The Before/After/Bridge.
1. Start with the before. Talk about the way things are now. Typically, there’s a problem, a question, a roadblock, or something in the way that makes them unhappy.
2. Introduce the after. Get them to imagine what their life will be like. Paint a picture where they’ve solved the problem, answered the question, or removed the roadblock. Gone from unhappy to happy. Now it’s time to associate your product with this happy feeling.
3. Bridge. “Here’s the path to get there. Here’s the product. Here’s the service. Here’s the method. Here’s how you’re going to bridge that gap from where you are now to where you want to be.”
Let’s look at our dog training example.
Start with before. “Your dog’s not listening. You’re worried that he’ll get loose and run down the street, maybe even run into traffic and get hit. He might get in a fight with another dog. Or, he might bite a neighbour’s child, which could lead to some serious legal problems.”
Introduce the after. “Now, imagine what it would be like to have your dog listen to you. Not because he’s scared of you but because he loves you. He walks with you down the street without a leash. Your dog does all kinds of fun tricks, and you enjoy your time together. You’re not at all worried about your dog being aggressive or exhibiting any other negative behaviour towards other people. And you’re extremely happy together and have a great relationship.”
Bridge. “Here’s how you get to that point. It’s called Dog Training Secrets, which helps you get (this benefit), (this benefit), and (this benefit). Here’s how…
Those are the three formulas. Where can you use them? Anywhere and for any purpose where you want to start selling. Use them in tweets. Use them in blog posts. Use them in social media updates or email teasers. These formulas work wherever you want to start the sales process.
That’s all today.
See you next week.
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