Modern Marketing Blog

Content Marketing | September 4, 2014

7 Copywriting Formulas to Support Online Sales

Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Helen Nesterenko, the founder of Writtent.com, the go-to place to find freelance writers and create great content. She loves everything about blogging, writing and content marketing. Follow Helen on Twitter @HNesterenko.

For sales copy to grab a reader and compel them to buy, it must first get their attention, then gain their interest, and finally appeal to their emotions, all while simultaneously offering facts and stats.

Getting it right is a delicate balance, but if you can nail it and create seductive sales copy your conversions will soar. So how do pro copywriters achieve that balance? Many of them follow proven copywriting formulas.

Here are copywriting formulas and tips that can help you engage customers online. Start with 1-2-3-4:

  1. What I’ve got for you: the product or service.
  2. What it’s going to do for you: the benefits
  3. Who I am: why readers should trust you.
  4. What you need to do next: your clear call to action.

As with all sales copy, focus on the reader and what your product or service can do for them. Want more info about 1-2-3-4? Copyblogger goes into more detail.

2. “The SLAP Rule.” This formula is a checklist of what your copy should elicit in the reader.

  • Stop - Did it grab their attention? Promise to improve their life?
  • Look - Are they reading on to see exactly how it will do so?
  • Act - Does your copy urge them to take action, like sharing, asking, or making a...
  • Purchase - Is your call to action clear? Have you created a sense of urgency?

3. “Star-Chain-Hook.” Open with a sparkly Star of the show. Get readers interested with a Chain of convincing stories, benefits, facts and reasons your Star will make their lives better. Finally, Hook them with an urgent call to action.

4. “SSS - Star Story Solution.” All effective sales copy makes an emotional connection with the reader. As Inc.com points out, buyers make purchasing decisions based on emotion, and one of the best ways to make a reader feel is by telling a compelling story.

  • Star: Establish your story’s main character.
  • Story: Appeal to emotions.
  • Solution: Compel the reader to buy; show how the star will benefit them.

5. “A Forest.” This mnemonic formula is meant to help you remember key components of successful sales copy.

  • Alliteration - A pleasant play on words has a positive effect.
  • Facts - Hard data can help readers rationalize an emotional decision.
  • Opinions - Reviews and user opinions can help sway potential customers.
  • Repetition - Repeat key benefits to drive the point home.
  • Examples - Tell stories and solve problems the reader can relate to.
  • Statistics - Be specific. For example, "364" homes sold is better than “hundreds.”
  • Threes - Repeating something three times helps make it memorable.

6. “So what?” Not a true formula, but a very powerful concept. This question is featured in Guy Kawasaki’s book “The Art of the Start,” where he applies it to entrepreneurs pitching to investors, but it is also an excellent way to check your copy for effectiveness.

Every time you state something, ask yourself, “So what?” The answer is usually the all-important benefit that readers want to know about. Example: 

Our knives have the sharpest blades!

So what? 

So you can chop ingredients quickly and efficiently, just like the pros!

7. “FAB.” While excellent for product descriptions, this formula is also a very effective tool for writing great sales copy.

  • Features - This is your intro. “The newest titanium cookware technology.”
  • Advantages - Why is it the best? “Sturdier, lightweight and more portable.”
  • Benefits - How will it make life better? “Our stacking titanium cookware is lightweight enough for a single backpacker yet spacious enough to cook for up to six campers.”

More than anything, a copywriting formula can help keep you on track writing copy that will increase sales by making an emotional connection. Do you have a preferred copywriting formula or an element of copywriting that you struggle with? Tell us in the comments!

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