Copywriting frameworks and formulas… What’s so special about them?
Trying to write copy is stressful, but some copywriters make it look easy — “how do they know what to write and I don’t?“
We think our product or our service has so much to offer that if people just “got it” they would LOVE it, but when we sit down to write about it we have a little brain fart.
My name is Chris McCarron and I’m the dude behind GoGoChimp. Over the past decade, I’ve noticed that you can have the best writing skills in the world– but if you don’t learn how to structure your offer with persuasive copywriting, it doesn’t matter.
After years of figuring out what separates the “best” copywriters from everyone else, I finally cracked the code. Now I want to show how you can write copy that sells to anyone, anywhere, anytime (even if you’re not creative).
“How do I stop paying for expensive copywriters?“
This MAMMOTH article has the precise strategies, methods and styles of writing that you can use to improve your copywriting skills IMMEDIATELY. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ll share with you…
P.S. Can’t read the whole article ight now?
Download the full PDF guide for free.
Why use copywriting frameworks?
On some nights I still believe that with the right copy, a cold email with a 90’s PayPal button can get about fifty more sales than the average Shopify store. Some people think I’m borderline psychotic for saying as much.
We all know that the perfect email, landing page or social media post won’t just fall on our laps… and the best copywriters won’t share their techniques for free.
But when we try to write the copy on our own and it fails to get the results we expect, we end up frustrated, embarrassed, scared of wasting more time and paralysed by the fear of being stuck.
So how do you get out of a copywriting rut? The answer is actually very simple…
I’m a numbers freak. They are the greatest mania of them all– statistics, a/b tests and Google Analytics. The data tells you everything you need to know about getting more people to do what you want them to do.
What I see time and again is that words sell – some are more persuasive than others – and those words vary from one industry to the next.
Yet the one consistency across all industries is the structure of the copy (we pros call them: frameworks or formulas).
What is a copywriting framework?
Sometimes referred to as copywriting frameworks or copywriting formulas, the structure of the copy has a massive impact on how you can nurture people towards making a purchase.
It’s the rhythm and the beat of the copy. It draws the reader in and slowly whispers the idea that whatever you’re selling, or whatever you need them to do, is right for them.
The problem is knowing how to structure your offer.
Thankfully the greatest copywriters of all time have revealed their tried and tested structures (copywriting frameworks) that consistently work across all industries.
We’ve pulled them together into a single resource. Enjoy!
Why do copywriting formulas make your marketing so much better?
Whether you’re working on a lead gen page, an email or a social media post, copywriting frameworks will help you write persuasive copy that gets you sales.
A few use cases for copywriting formulas are:
- Headline for a page OR a blog post (they’re different!)
- Value proposition
- Bullet lists (see this article on bullet list copywriting)
- Block of body copy
- CTA or button copy
- Subject line (for emails)
AIDA: What is the AIDA framework and what does it stand for?
A is for attention – The first step is to break the monotony and grab the reader’s attention. Powerful headlines or striking visuals are often used for this purpose.
I is for interest – Once you have the reader’s attention, the next step is to provide unusual, fresh, or counter-intuitive information. This is where you present the benefits and features of your product or service.
D is for desire – This phase is all about making your audience feel that they want or need what you’re offering. Through emotional appeals, you can stir a deep-seated desire for your product or service.
A is for action – Finally, you direct the audience towards the desired action, be it purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or any other action beneficial to your business.
FAB copywriting framework.
The FAB copywriting framework involves dancing around an idea without explicitly stating what it is.
Drip initially developed this copywriting technique and you’ve probably seen it being used on an insane number of LinkedIn posts.
They use a short, but intriguing first line to grab the reader’s attention. However, these titles often have little relevance to what follows.
Here’s the FAB framework:
F is for features – Start by elucidating the tangible reasons why your product or service is the ideal choice.
A is for advantages – Move beyond mere features and emphasize the advantages associated with the usage of the services.
B is for benefits – End with the primary benefit of owning your product or using your service.
The Four C’s
- Clear – Make your copy easy to understand the context at a glance
- Concise – Cut the fluff to keep your title short and to the point
- Compelling – Make your copy interesting and engaging
- Credible – Establish trust with your audience with social proof
Do It Like Apple
Apple’s marketing copy often uses dichotomies: small vs. giant, mega vs. mini, etc.
This formula emphasizes using extremities in wordplay to show off the main selling points of their products.
The PAS framework: Problem, Agitate, Solution.
At its core, copywriting aims to inspire action. Yet, as every seasoned copywriter would attest, this ain’t easy kid.
Different copywriting formulas resonate differently based on goals, content, niches, and individual writing flair.
Embedded in the annals of copywriting, the PAS framework works in a similar way to a three-act narrative structure.
It begins by identifying a problem, delves into its emotional repercussions, and concludes by offering a solution.
The PAS formula, when executed with finesse, ensures the reader is riveted. By the time you unveil the solution, paired with a succinct and potent call-to-action, you’ve not only engaged the reader but also cultivated high-quality leads.Michael Tomaszewski
Many professional copywriters hold the PAS framework in high esteem. It’s designed to turn the challenges faced by the audience into compelling narratives that conclude with the solution.
Problem – Start by identifying a problem or pain point that the reader might be experiencing
Agitate – Use emotional language to emphasize the problem
Solution – Provide your product or service as a solution to the problem
Before-after Bridge framework.
Copywriting formulas are more than just patterns; they serve as blueprints that help writers consistently create effective and persuasive content.
One such copywriting framework is called the Before-after Bridge.
We’ve all seen ads with people overweight people going through a midlife crisis.
Their bodies have morphed into saggy lasagnes; heck so do ours.
Fast forward a couple of months and the person who once had a pot belly now has perfectly tanned abs. And boy, do we wish we did too!
This is a powerful copywriting formula that aims to get the reader to picture an ideal state followed by the steps to achieve it.
Danny Iny’s 6+1 Formula
First described in detail in Smashing Magazine, Danny Iny’s formula offers an alternative to the classic AIDA model.
Here’s a breakdown of Danny Iny’s 6+1 Formula:
- Consider the context: Understand where your audience is coming from and what they’re looking for
- Grab attention: Immediately hook the reader with a compelling headline or introduction
- Move to desire: Quickly make the reader desire a solution to their pressing problem
- Present the gap: This is the consequence of not taking action. What will the reader miss out on?
- Present the solution: Offer your product or service as the answer but only provide enough to lead to the next step
- Call to action: Directly prompt the reader to take a specific action
- Maintain credibility: Ensure you’re honest and trustworthy throughout the copy. Use social proof, show qualifications and anything else required to make you believable
The standout element of this copywriting framework is “the gap.” When you present the consequences of inaction, you’re tapping into the reader’s fear of missing out (FOMO).
Walling’s 5-Day Drip Course Formula for Leads.
Developed by Rob Walling of GetDrip.com, the 5 Day Drip Course Formula For Leads is a copywriting framework for a five day automated email sequence.
- Day 0: Upon sign-up, welcome the subscriber, outline the course content, and include a Call to Action (CTA for short)
- Day 1: Offer educational content and conclude with an action
- Day 2: Share a theory through a story and include a CTA in the postscript
- Day 3: Provide actionable tips
- Day 4: Present a case study with real figures and encourage the use of your solution
Wishpond’s 5-Part Drip Campaign for Leads.
This method, explained by Wishpond, is structured as:
- Email 1: A warm greeting
- Email 2: A transparent case study or finding
- Email 3: Share a personal business story showcasing transparency and humanity
- Email 4: Another case study
- Email 5: Offer a free trial or soft-sell
The String of Pearls Technique.
This copywriting formula involves dropping valuable or intriguing details consecutively.
Each detail (or “pearl”) is valuable by itself, but when combined, they form a compelling narrative.
The String of Pearls copywriting framework shines when used for testimonials.
Each testimonial can be shaped to be a gleaming pearl, demonstrating the consistent satisfaction of your clients.
But it’s not limited to just lists or reviews; this versatile approach can enhance blog posts, product descriptions, and even social media updates.
Imagine you’re promoting a revolutionary skincare product. Each pearl could be a brief account of a different user’s experience::
- One might tell of the product’s scientific innovation
- Another could detail the luxurious feel of the cream
- Yet another could describe the transformative results seen over time
The secret to the String of Pearls formula lies in its flexibility and its power to create a narrative.
Unlike rigid formulas that dictate a set progression, the string of pearls is more like jazz – it allows for improvisation and adaptation to the rhythm of the audience’s engagement.
Your CTA, the string that threads these pearls together, should be woven subtly into each story, guiding the reader towards the ultimate action you want them to take, without jarring them out of the narrative you’ve created.
In essence, the String of Pearls framework isn’t just about what you’re selling; it’s about crafting a storyscape where each detail, each pearl, enriches the narrative and pulls the reader deeper into your world.
In the end, it’s storytelling at its finest – where every pearl adds to a necklace that not only looks beautiful but feels like it was meant to be worn by the reader.
When done right, it’s not just words; it resonates with the reader, prompting them to return and see what new pearls you have to offer.
PASOP Formula for Drip Campaigns.
Based on the PAS copywriting framework, this writing technique uses repetition to continually put prospects through a cycle of problems, relief and further aggravation.
- Email 1: Address a problem, agitate it, provide a solution, show an outcome, and introduce a new problem.
- Email 2: Repeat the new problem, agitate, provide a solution, show an outcome, and introduce another problem.
- Email 3: Address the problem, agitate, and present your solution with a link to the sales page.
The 6-Email New Customer Nurturing Sequence.
This email sequence sends six emails, lasting 14 days:
- Email 1: Welcome note and introduction to a support representative
- Email 2: A free offer (everyone loves a freebie!)
- Email 3: A case study showcasing your product/service in action
- Email 4: Real ROI examples – if needed use screenshots to make your data credible
- Email 5: Customer testimonial videos – try to use their story such as the problem they had, what they tried, how they learned about your product or service and finally the end result
- Email 6: Frequently asked questions – survey your past and present customers to learn about why they did or didn’t buy. You’ll begin to spot patterns in their responses and your FAQ can then be used to highlight selling points and tackle common objections
Subject line formulas.
Your email’s subject line is how to get your email to stand out in someone’s inbox. Some effective copywriting techniques for email subject lines include:
- The Report Copywriting Formula: Use authoritative or surprising facts to grab attention
- The Data Copywriting Formula: Utilize percentages or surprising data points
- The How-To Copywriting Formula: Provide solutions or guides
- The Inquiry Copywriting Formula: Ask compelling questions
- The Endorsement Copywriting Formula: Use quotes or endorsements
- The Open Loop: Offer partial information, compelling readers to open the email for the full story
- The Empty Suitcase: Use the word “this” without a following noun to create curiosity
- The Announcement: Highlight something new or introduced
- The Scarcity + Urgency Copywriting Formula: Convey limited availability or time
- The Punctuator: Use punctuation to make the subject line stand out
- The Shorty: Use a concise one to three-word subject line so that it stands out in the person’s inbox
Crafting a compelling email sequence requires a little creativity, understanding your audience, and a sprinkle of strategic thinking.
Remember that you can mix different copywriting frameworks to create email sequences that people want to read and click.
Whether it’s nurturing new leads, re-engaging past customers, or launching a product, the right email copywriting formula can make a MASSIVE difference.
4 Ps (2 variations).
The first variant, attributed to Henry Hoke Sr., focuses on:
- Picture: Paint a vivid scenario
- Promise: Highlight the benefits of your solution
- Prove: Back up your claims
- Push: Gently prompt the reader to act
The second variant, as outlined by Ray Edwards, encompasses:
- Problem: Identify a pressing issue
- Promise: Offer a solution
- Proof: Validate your claims
- Proposal: Present a call to action
ACCA copywriting framework.
Ideal for non-profits or campaigns looking to inspire change, ACCA stands for:
- Awareness: Highlight an issue
- Comprehension: Explain its significance
- Conviction: Motivate the reader to care
- Action: Encourage the reader to take steps
AAPPA (or PAPA) formulas.
Crafted by Jack Lacy, this copywriting formula is brilliant in its simplicity, making it ideal for landing pages:
- What’s in it for the reader?: Begin by addressing the reader’s primary concern – what will they gain from reading further?
- How will you achieve this?: Explain the mechanics or the process behind what gets results
- Who’s behind the promise?: Establish credibility by revealing who’s making the promise
- Proof of concept: Share testimonials, reviews, awards or case studies
- Cost implications: Clearly state any costs or commitments required from the reader
This copywriting framework is one heck of a mouthful. So what is AICPBSAWN?
- Attention: Highlight the USP or the biggest benefit
- Interest: Engage the reader with compelling reasons
- Credibility: Why should the reader trust you?
- Proof: Validate your claims with evidence
- Benefits: List out all the advantages
- Scarcity: Instill a sense of urgency
- Action: Guide the reader on the next steps
- Warn: Highlight the consequences of inaction
- Now: Motivate immediate action
Copywriting formulas for long-form Clickfunnel pages.
In the underbelly of the copywriting world, a debate rages: long copy versus short copy: which is best?
Folks have been scrapping over this for a long time and there’s a lot of evidence to support that when it comes to landing pages, the shorter the better.
This is because long landing pages typically have a lower conversion rate when compared to shorter landing pages.
Long copy, when it’s not just a verbose bore fest, will convert like crazy.
It’s not just about length.
It’s about the rhythm, clarity and connection with the reader.
Long-form sales pages require a different approach to copywriting and here are a few tried-and-tested copywriting formulas to get you started with writing long copy:
Bob Serling’s Power Copywriting Formula.
This 36-step copywriting formula is exhaustive. It emphasizes research, the power of storytelling, and the importance of social proof. Steps include an attention-grabbing headline, eliminating common objections, and repetition for maximum impact.
In short, it’s a comprehensive copywriting framework for any long-form landing page or multi-step email sequence.
Star Story Solution.
The Star Story Solution is for personal brands, info products and testimonials by creating a compelling, character-driven narrative.
It begins with introducing the “star“, the problems they faced, what they tried to solve the problem and concludes with the solution that transformed their life.
- Star: Introduce the main character or product.
- Story: Delve into their journey, challenges, and experiences.
- Solution: Highlight the transformative solution that changed the game.
Apple, in its early ads, brilliantly showcased this formula, placing the product or the user as the star and weaving a narrative around it.
SLAP – For quick and effective sales.
For those looking to promote inexpensive items, SLAP provides a solid copywriting framework to get more sales:
- Stop: Grab the reader’s attention immediately
- Look: Use hooks at the end of each paragraph to ensure they keep reading
- Act: Encourage one specific action
- Purchase: Drive them towards a sale
While these formulas provide a structured framework, the essence of copywriting lies in understanding the audience, being genuine, and crafting a message that resonates.
Whether you’re using AAPPA, AICPBSAWN, or any other formula, the end goal remains the same: to connect, persuade, and inspire action.
Bob Stone’s seven-step formula.
Bob Stone’s formula is particularly tailored for sales pages and landing pages.
1. Make a promise: Start with a powerful promise, intriguing readers right off the bat
2. Expand on the benefit: Delve deeper into the main benefit by offering more information
3. Specify what they’ll get: Break down the tangible and intangible benefits
4. Support with proof: Offer testimonials or case studies to validate your claims
5. Highlight potential loss: Emphasize what readers might miss out on if they overlook the offer and don’t act now
6. Recap the Benefits: Reiterate the primary benefits to reinforce your message
7. Prompt immediate action: Clearly direct readers on the next steps
More Than Just Seven Steps.
Beyond Stone’s methodology, numerous other formulas can be employed based on the specifics of a campaign:
Nine-Point Formula by Frank Egner.
This formula focuses on grabbing attention, establishing credibility, and pushing for action, among other steps.
12-Step Sales Letter Template.
This copywriting framework establishes a connection with the reader, underlining the problem, presenting the solution, and ensuring readers are guided toward making a decision.
Crafting compelling headlines: The first impression matters.
A headline is the first impression you make with your reader. It’s what draws them in to read more and take action:
Product-advantage-benefit: E.g., “Cool Comfort Pillows – Sleep Better Without Overheating.”
Question-based headlines: For example “Want to Sleep Better Without Pills?”
How-to headlines: E.g., “How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Naturally.”
Testimonial headlines: E.g., “I Tried Cool Comfort Pillows, and I’ve Never Slept Better.”
Emulating the Masters: “Do Something Like…”
This approach is about leveraging the credibility and success of well-known figures in a particular domain.
- Conversion mastery: Want to optimize your website’s conversion? Run A/B tests like Peep Laja, the mastermind behind ConversionXL
- Content excellence: Aim to promote your content in a way that leaves a mark? Promote incredible content like Brian Dean, the genius behind Backlinko
- Endorsement power: Wishing for skin as flawless as celebrities? Moisturize your face like Katy Perry, the pop sensation
Questions: “Are you still…?”
This formula taps into the reader’s pain points, making them question their current choices. A few quick examples are:
- Are you still wasting money on shipping charges without fast delivery?
- Are you still wasting money on a gym membership you never use?
- Are you still wasting money on dog walkers when you can walk them for free?
Building pride: “Have something you can be proud of”
This copywriting formula is about instilling a sense of pride and achievement.
- Relationship goals: With the right counselling, you’ll finally have a lasting, loving marriage you can be proud of.
- Business aspirations: Dream big and build a seven-figure business you can be proud of.
- Beauty enhancements: Don’t settle for less. Get long, natural-looking lashes you can be proud of.
The Promise of Exceptional Results: “Get the Power of… Without the Pain”
This formula offers the allure of significant benefits without associated drawbacks.
- Technology at its Best: Experience the astonishing power of eye-tracking technology with Crazy Egg software, without burning a hole in your pocket.
- Digital Marketing Simplified: Dive into the unfathomable realm of Facebook advertising with online marketing services, minus the confusion.
Eliminating pain points: “Get rid of something once and for all”
Addressing and promising to eliminate persistent problems can be highly compelling to a reader. After all, if they’ve come to your website from Google, then odds are they’re looking for a solution.
A few examples of eliminating pain points are:
- Efficient accounting: Say goodbye to hefty accountant fees once and for all with modern accounting software.
- Mindfulness and growth: Overcome that nagging self-doubt and negative voice in your head with personal coaching.
- Cosmetic Solutions: Never use makeup again. Get rid of sagging jowls permanently with cosmetic surgery.
Challenge the norm: “Do something difficult in… time.”
This framework highlights how a seemingly impossible feat can be achieved within a short period of time.
- Music magic: With the right piano-tuning app, even the oldest piano can be tuned to perfection in 15 minutes or less.
- Athletic feats: Complete the Glasgow Marathon in less time than most people take for a half-marathon.
Bullet lists, often referred to as “fascinations” in the copywriting world, can be far more effective than a feature or benefit.
The term “fascinations” might seem like jargon, but it embodies the essence of what these bullets aim to achieve: to fascinate or captivate the reader. They are more than just features; they are benefits made so enticing that they amplify the reader’s desire.
The BGN Go Bullets.
A well-structured bullet list can make all the difference and the BGN Go Bullets is one of the best copywriting frameworks you can use for your bullet lists:
- Best: Start with your most compelling feature
- Good: Follow with another strong feature
- Necessary: Address a critical or essential feature/benefit
- Good with outcome: End with another strong point, this time linked to a specific outcome
For any copywriter, the beginning and end of bullet lists are crucial.
This is because people typically read the first and last bullet points.
So, always start and conclude with your most compelling features/benefits.
The Seven Deadly Fascinations.
A unique approach to copywriting is the use of the seven deadly sins. This method plays on deep-seated human emotions and desires.
Detail your product with such vividness and allure that your reader can almost feel it in their hands.
It’s about creating a craving so intense that clicking “buy now” is the only way to quench it.
Your words should paint a picture so enticing that desire courses through your reader’s veins.
Gluttony is about excess and abundance.
If you play a survival video game like DayZ or Rust, then there’s a good chance that someone you play with is influenced by greed.
They horde EVERYTHING; check the see what’s been taken; are the first to loot a body and so on.
While it is a video game, it’s a reflection of how people feel inside and operate in their day-to-day lives.
Therefore, your product should evoke this hunger, the insatiable appetite for “just one more.”
Whether it’s a series of books, a line of cosmetics, or an array of tools, the message is clear: more is better, and too much is just right.
Greed isn’t solely about cold, hard cash. It’s also about enriching lives.
Whether it’s health, love, or experiences, tap into what wealth means for your audience.
Paint a picture of opulence, not with dollar signs but with the riches of a life well-lived.
It may be the good health that is a result of your fitness plan, or the wealth of knowledge with your educational course or sexual attraction from your new clothing line.
Some days I just can’t be arsed. I would do anything to make things easy, faster or simply go away entirely.
Sloth in marketing isn’t about promoting laziness; it’s about championing efficiency.
If your audience loves to procrastinate, show them the magic of last-minute success. Your software, product or service doesn’t just perform tasks or get stuff done; it gifts time back.
Make the path of least resistance so appealing that not following it would seem like unnecessary toil.
Wrath in your customers often stems from frustration with subpar products and services.
Identify their pain and then soothe it by showcasing your product or service as the thing that rescues them from their troubles.
Whether it’s a service that cuts through red tape or a product that tackles a common annoyance, position what you offer as the righteous vindicator in a world filled with nuisances.
Use envy to your advantage by showcasing how your product elevates status.
It’s not just about keeping up with the Joneses; it’s about surpassing them in ways unheard of.
Create a narrative where your customer can imagine being the protagonist whose life is immensely improved by what you’re selling.
When they see the joy, the efficiency, the sheer brilliance of what others have thanks to your product, the seed of envy grows into a mighty oak of desire.
Pride manifests in many different ways. When they buy your product or engage in your service, they’re not just making a purchase; they’re joining the ranks of the elite, the discerning few who know better.
Your product doesn’t just satisfy a need; it’s a trophy for the insightful, a testament to their taste and sagacity.
The headline-as-bullet list.
Why not transform powerful headlines into bullets? This method provides a structured way to deliver multiple benefits or features:
- “Discover the secrets of successful entrepreneurs.”
- “What top CEOs can teach you about leadership.”
- “How mainstream banks are costing you money – and how to fight back.”
A call to action (CTA) is the culmination of your copy’s persuasive power and this includes the text of your button:
- The I Want Button: This formula is straightforward. “I want to ___” or “I want you to ___”. It’s direct and places the user’s desire at the forefront
- The “Get _______” Formula: The word “get” is powerful. It indicates acquisition without much effort and studies show that using the word get typically gets more conversions
- RAD (Require, Acquire, Desire): This formula ensures the user has all the information they need (Require), makes the CTA easy to engage with (Acquire), and ensures the user desires the promised outcome (Desire)
The Power of testimonials.
Testimonials serve as social proof, but they’re more effective when structured properly:
- The Before-After-Experience Testimonial: Start with the user’s initial hesitations, followed by the after-purchase discoveries, and conclude with their overall experience
- TEASE (Tactful, Emphasizes strength, Authentic, Short, Engaging): This copywriting structure ensures testimonials are concise and impactful
- The 4 Ss (Specific, Short, Sizzling, Signed): Testimonials should be detailed, concise, compelling, and authenticated
Ad copywriting: Beyond the basics.
Search ad copywriting formulas:
- AIU Approach: This revolves around grabbing Attention, generating Interest, and instilling a sense of Urgency
- Device + Keyword + Persona + Brand: A formula that combines the user’s device, search keyword, persona, and the brand of the product for a tailored ad experience
- The Wordstream Formula: This template-driven approach structures the ad based on a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), a Call To Action (CTA), and a descriptive URL
Facebook ad copywriting formulas:
Facebook ads require a different strategy due to using large images and videos. However, despite ads on Facebook being visual, copywriting is still crucial.
- Loud. Relevant. Engaging: Ensure your ads stand out (Loud), resonate with the audience (Relevant), and compel them to interact (Engaging)
- ERERS: A repetition of Emotional and Rational appeals, followed by Social proof
- 4-Step Formula by SEMrush: This formula emphasizes being objective, highlighting Benefits, being persuasive, and adhering to the rules of advertising
Making Tweets (X) count.
X’s character limit poses a unique challenge and opportunity for marketers. Some effective tweet formulas include:
- Article or Video Title + URL: “The Future of AI – [your URL] #AI @techguru”
- Statistic + URL: “80% of users prefer mobile apps over websites – [your URL] #mobileapps @appinsider”
- Quote + URL: “The future is now.” – [your URL] #inspiration @futurist”0