Copywriting Formulas (With Examples) That Will Take Your Copy to the Next Level

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Sat staring at a blank screen, attempting to draft your next persuasive email? Not getting far with your latest landing page? Get ready to say goodbye to these problems! Supersede has a new cheatsheet filled with copywriting formulas (with examples) that will help you write faster, improve engagement and increase conversions. Let’s get started!

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10 copywriting formulas that will make writing a breeze

Gone are the days of writing from scratch. With these ten copywriting formulas, you will be able to figure out what you need to write and how you need to write it—allowing your productivity to soar and giving you a sure-fire way to figure out what works best with your target audience.

Whether you’re looking to elevate your landing pages, entice potential customers with an email promotion or boost your social media sales, these copywriting formulas are flexible and will take your conversions to the next level!

1. Attention – Interest – Desire – Action (AIDA)

AIDA is probably one of the most popular copywriting formulas out there. It requires you to catch your audience’s attention with persuasive copy and interest them enough that they want to take action.

It’s a very versatile formula that can be used to craft eye-catching subject lines, popups, landing pages and much more.

This formula is made up of four simple elements:

  • Attention: grab your audience’s attention
  • Interest: provide them with interesting information
  • Desire: appeal to their desires through benefits/advantages
  • Action: ask them to take action through a CTA

AIDA in action

Screenshot of Ohne's email offer for organic period products

In the example, Ohne, a business selling organic period products, uses the AIDA formula in a popup that is designed to persuade people to sign up to their email newsletter.

They first grab our attention by telling us that we “deserve a better cycle”, which makes us feel valued. Ohne then cements our interest by offering us a 20% discount, before delving into additional benefits that we can take advantage of, including “exciting product drops, exclusive discounts and bloody brilliant content”.

The formula is then rounded off by a simple, yet effective, CTA “sign me up” nudging us to take action.

2. Awareness – Comprehension – Conviction – Action (ACCA)

Formulas like AIDA work by dazzling your readers with enticing promotions and the like. ACCA, however, requires far more specificity. To work, it needs you to highlight a scenario or pain point that your target market is dealing with. This then allows you to swoop in as the hero with the perfect solution.

The formula consists of four stages:

  • Awareness: tell the reader what the situation or problem is
  • Comprehension: make them understand how this issue affects them and what your solution is
  • Conviction: make the reader desire your solution
  • Action: ask them to take action through a CTA

ACCA in action

Screenshot of HubSpot's newsletter

In the example, HubSpot, an inbound sales and marketing platform, uses the ACCA formula in an email to persuade subscribers to click through to their blog posts.

In the email, they highlight a problem that most marketers are dealing with right now: that Gen Z is “one of the most misunderstood and challenging age groups to market to”. By emphasising that this age group “has the fastest-growing buying power of any generation”, they’re showing us how it’s our problem and why we should be concerned.

HubSpot then lets us know that they have two perfect solutions that will help us “reach new audiences like never before”. These solutions are presented in CTAs below: “10 Tips to Creating Content for Gen Z” and “The Ultimate Guide to TikTok for Business”.

3. Before – After – Bridge (BAB)

BAB is a formula that relies entirely on your knowledge of your target market. Through buyer personas and audience research, you should be able to highlight what it is your audience wants most and pinpoint exactly what you can do to help them achieve it.

Used effectively, BAB can spice up your social media posts, email marketing campaigns and even your blog post introductions.

It consists of three simple elements:

  • Before: here’s what your reader is currently dealing with
  • After: this is what their life could be like if their pain points were gone
  • Bridge: here’s how they can achieve this perfect scenario

BAB in action

Screenshot of a Curlsmith Instagram post

In this example, Curlsmith, a gourmet haircare brand, uses the BAB formula in one of their Instagram posts to promote two of their haircare products.

In this post, the problem (before) that they’re highlighting is hair damage from “past relationships with color, bleach or heat”. They follow this up with a promise (after) that they can help us give our “hair a second chance”, with their two products (bridge) “Bond Curl Rehab Salve & Bonding Oil”.

The formula is boosted significantly through the use of user-generated content in the form of a video of a woman who allegedly uses their products. We take one look at her healthy, curly hair and assumes that she knows what she’s talking about.

4. Clear – Concise – Compelling – Credible (the 4 C’s)

The 4 C’s are one of the best ways to ensure your copy is as effective as it should be. Whether you’re crafting a landing page, putting together your latest email campaign or trying to sort out your product pages, you should be using the 4 C’s to stay on track.

The 4 C’s are as follows:

  • Clear: use shorter sentences, headings and bullet points to keep your copy as clear as possible for readers (see content readability)
  • Concise: get rid of unnecessary text and reduce it to valuable information only
  • Compelling: target your audience’s needs and desires to give them a reason to read
  • Credible: provide evidence that they can trust you, e.g., social proof like testimonials, statistics and endorsements

The 4 C’s in action

Screenshot of Bird & Blend's our story page

In the example, Bird & Blend Tea Co., an independent tea company, uses the 4 C’s to effectively explain who they are and what they do to their potential customers on their our story page.

They begin with two straightforward sentences: “Bird & Blend Tea Co. is an independent, award-winning tea company on a mission to spread happiness & reimagine tea! Pop the kettle on and discover more about what we’re all about”. This is clear, concise and compelling. With buzzwords like ‘independent’ and ‘award-winning’, we automatically want to know more about them.

The page then breaks down their values and beliefs into simple sections, before giving us credible reasons why we should trust them and make a purchase through reviews and endorsements (forms of valuable social proof).

5. Cliffhangers

You know how you can’t bear to stop watching a TV show when an episode ends on a cliffhanger? That’s a deliberate device used by writers to ensure that viewers are keen to watch next week’s episode. Plot twist: this is a technique that copywriters can take full advantage of too!

Whether it’s social media posts, email subject lines or blog post headings, you can pique your readers’ interest by mentioning a pain point that you can solve, or a question you can answer without giving it all away.

If it’s something that your audience is genuinely interested in, they will want to know what the answers are. Entice them properly and they’ll be more than happy to click through to your blog post, product page and so on.

Cliffhangers in action

Screenshot of Moz Twitter post

In the example, Moz, an all-in-one SEO toolset, uses the cliffhanger formula on Twitter to push followers to read one of their latest blog posts, “10 steps to prep your SEO strategy for a new site”.

It starts by giving readers a taste of what to expect with the first five steps. This is just enough to interest us, but not enough that it makes it a pointless effort to click through to the actual blog post. If we read the first five steps and decide that they’re valuable, we’ll automatically feel obligated to click on the link.

6. Features – Advantages – Benefits (FAB)

The FAB formula is all about focusing on your potential customers. You’re homing on what it is that your product/service brings to the table, how it’s different from your competitors and how it benefits your customer.

This is probably one of the most important copywriting formulas to remember. As useful as it is to focus on how great your product is, it’s pointless if your potential customers don’t understand how it specifically applies to them.

There are three elements of FAB:

  • Features: what your product/service does
  • Advantages: why this is useful for your customers
  • Benefits: what it means for your customers

FAB in action

Screenshot of Netflix homepage

In the example, Netflix, a global streaming service, uses the FAB formula to explain what it does and why it’s so great for customers, in order to persuade potential customers to sign up to its service.

Netflix doesn’t fool around with its copy here. It gets right to the point by highlighting its best features—”Unlimited films, TV programmes and more”—before swooping in with advantages like “Watch anywhere” and “Cancel at any time”. It then polishes it off with the most straightforward benefit there is: you can start the process immediately by entering your email address.

Though aspects like affordability can be a great point to focus on, customers will often be more interested in products/services that are easy to buy and easy to set up.

7. Picture – Promise – Prove – Push (PPPP)

One of the best ways to persuade people to give your product/service a try is by painting them a picture of a world where they don’t have to deal with a specific pain point. This is where the PPPP formula comes into play!

It is made up of four steps:

  • Picture: paint the customer a picture of a pain point or scenario
  • Promise: tell them how your product/service will help them
  • Prove: provide evidence that backs up your promise
  • Push: get them to take action through a CTA

As with formulas like BAB, PPPP requires you to understand exactly what motivates your target audience. If you don’t know what pain points they’re looking to avoid, you can’t present yourself as the answer.

PPPP in action

Screenshot of Skull Crusher Coffee homepage

In the example, Skull Crusher Coffee, an independent coffee brand, utilises the PPPP formula on its homepage to explain how its star product can help customers combat tiredness.

It starts off by targeting a pain point that most of us deal with on a regular basis—being too tired—with the slogan “Never sleep again!” It then promises to help us avoid this so that we can unlock “those hours on the clock forbidden to mere mortals”. The evidence for this claim is the product’s “350mg caffeine” which is “3x more than your average black coffee” and allegedly “the world’s strongest coffee”.

The entire formula is rounded off by a very simple, yet effective, CTA in the form of “SHOP NOW”.

8. Problem – Agitate – Solution (PAS)

The PAS formula is another copywriting classic that you’ll want to add to your arsenal ASAP. It works in a similar fashion to the BAB formula, except instead of telling the client what their life would be like without their problem, you’re showing them how it could be worse if they let it persist without a solution.

It might sound basic, but if you utilise the right emotional language and home in on the right pain point(s), the payoff will be immense. The beauty of PAS is that it can be used in your email marketing campaigns, social media posts and even your blog post introductions!

The formula consists of three stages:

  • Problem: pinpoint a customer’s pain point
  • Agitate: tell them how it could get worse if they let it continue
  • Solution: show them how you can solve it

PAS in action

Screenshot of Trello blog post

In the example, Trello, a work management tool, uses the PAS formula in their blog post “How To Rein In Shadow IT At Your Enterprise With Trello” in order to persuade people to continue reading and use Trello.

It starts out by describing a problem that employers are dealing with, “Dangers to your enterprise lurk in the shadows of the tools your employees may be using” and agitating it with “this unregulated software usage poses more of a security threat than you might think”. Trello then goes a step above the formula by adding credible evidence in the form of a 2019 IBM and Forbes study.

After leaving us reeling from shock with the dangers we may or may not have been aware of, Trello soothes our worries with the perfect solution: “there are steps you can take to reduce shadow IT usage in your enterprise”.

9. The 5 objections

Before any customer makes a purchase, they run through the reasons why they shouldn’t follow through with it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pair of jeans or a brand new car, people will counter their need or desire with at least one of the following objections:

  1. I don’t have the time to make this purchase
  2. I haven’t got enough money to purchase this
  3. It probably won’t work for me
  4. I’m not sure I can trust the seller
  5. I don’t think I actually need this

Sound familiar? It should! It’s what we all tell ourselves when we’re trying to be sensible with our money and it’s something that you should bear in mind when you’re trying to sell to your target market. If you want them to make a purchase, you need to counter at least one of these objections.

You can do this by:

  1. Telling them that purchasing is a straightforward process
  2. Highlighting that your product/service is affordable or a worthwhile investment
  3. Providing evidence that your product/service works, e.g., statistics and reviews
  4. Offering various types of social proof to emphasise your trustworthiness
  5. Focusing on the pain points that your product/service will solve

The 5 objections in action

Screenshot of Snag Tights homepage

In the example, Snag Tights, an inclusive tights and clothes brand, carefully counters the 5 objections on their homepage to sell their latest product.

They begin by telling us that the skirt is “ethical, affordable and the perfect fit!”, which automatically counters our concerns over cost and the worry that it won’t work (or, in this case, fit) and gives us three reasons why we need to buy it. Snag Tights then gives us credible proof that their product will work, along with a reason to trust them, by using an image of a real customer wearing their product.

(In case you’re not keeping track, that’s four out of five objections countered!)

They then round off the formula with a straightforward CTA “Shop Snag Skirts” which immediately takes us to a product page where we can make an easy purchase.

10. Useful – Urgent – Unique – Ultra-specific (the 4 U’s)

We’re going to round off our list of copywriting formulas with one that is extremely effective in social media posts. If you’re struggling to persuade people to click through to your blog posts or product pages, the 4 U’s help you home in on the reasons why they should take action.

These four U’s are as follows:

  • Useful: make yourself useful to your customers
  • Urgent: add a sense of urgency to the situation
  • Unique: show them how or why your product/service is unique
  • Ultra-specific: be as specific as you can when doing the above

The 4 U’s in action

Screenshot of Pat McGrath Instagram post

In the example, Pat McGrath LABS, a global makeup brand, uses the 4 U’s to persuade readers to sign up to their early VIP access list to buy their latest lipstick.

The post begins by explaining why we need to buy the lipstick (explaining its usefulness) with “Legendary lustre meets silky-smooth hydration in the divinely dewy *Limited Edition* SatinAllure Lipstick”. They deliver a sense of urgency by telling us the exact release date in all caps “ARRIVING MARCH 24, 2022” and warning us to “Sign up NOW for Early VIP Access”.

The post highlights what makes the lipstick unique with a detailed description: “a unique infusion of botanical collagen and passion fruit oil, it delivers a divinely dewy effect that helps to keep lips seductively soft and mesmerisingly moisturised”. Taking ultra-specific to the next level, Pat McGrath then finishes the post with a full list of the “BUZZ WORTHY SHADES” that are on offer.

(The use of alliteration in their description is a nice touch that takes their persuasive language to the next level!)

Slideshow summary

Copywriting Formulas by Bethany

And there you have it! You’ve now got 10 fool-proof copywriting formulas that will take your copy to the next level. For more valuable tips and advice, head on over to the Supersede blog.