Marketing gurus are all saying that in order to succeed you have to differ from your competitors wherever it is possible. This also applies to your marketing materials.
However, it does not mean you have to reinvent the wheel and come up with a totally different approach for your content marketing campaign. You just have to be creative within limits of proven templates to shape your message in a right way.
Here are 13 copywriting formulas that can help you to significantly increase your conversion rate.
1. AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action)
It is in the core of the majority of other formulas and is used almost everywhere: for direct mails, sales/landing pages, television and so on. However, it is especially good for building a marketing communication for food or cosmetics brands, where you can present your products with beautiful pictures and make potential customers want to try what they see.
Attention. You get readers’ attention with an intrigue, provocation, paradox, or a pattern interrupt that you usually put into a title, sometimes a subtitle, or the first paragraph. There is an opinion that modern audience is fed up with explicit emotions in advertising, so it is better to be informative and concise here.
Interest. Appeal to things that are important to readers. Pick out the most powerful arguments that will convince the audience and keep it interested.
Desire. Here you tell readers that your product/service will solve their problem. Get closer to your audience and show the empathy to win it over.
Action. This is where you ask for the response. However, it is necessary to be careful with emotions, since aggression may lead to the loss of warm customers.
Another type of this formula is AIDMA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Motivation – Action). Motivation is added to make Desire more tangible. It can be a discount ending soon, a special offer, etc.
AIDA has developed a long time ago, in 1898, and it is still not outdated. However, since then, many other effective formulas have been created. One of them is ACCA.
2. ACCA (Attention – Comprehension – Conviction – Action)
This formula works for a long sales cycle, when people need some time to make a decision (regarding real estate, cars, domestic appliances, business services, etc.)
As you can see, the first and the fourth stages are the same for both formulas; however, the other ones differ significantly. The algorithm of ACCA is based on a people’s rational part and works when a decision is made carefully – not with the heart, but with the head.
3. ODC (Offer – Deadline – Call to Action)
This formula is effective when used for a target audience. Usually, it is implemented into sales/landing pages.
Offer — you are aware of your readers' interests, and that is why your offer must look catchy. There is no need to play games here, as you write for the targeted audience already.
Deadline — set a limit: time, quantity, etc.
Call to Action – answer readers’ questions: why this product, why your product, why this price, and why now?
This formula is simple and easy to remember thanks to visual associations.
Star — create a star (an offer that is impossible to decline.)
Chain — provide a chain of solid evidence examples.
Hook — hook your readers (with bonuses, deadlines, guarantees, and reviews.)
5. 4U (Usefulness, Uniqueness, Ultra-Specificity, Urgency)
It is an especially good option for social media.
Usefulness — explain the benefits your readers get by buying your products/services, based on their needs.
Uniqueness — tell them what differs you from your competitors.
Ultra-Specificity — narrow your audience. Let readers think your offer is made for them personally.
Urgency — convince your readers that they need to act quickly.
6. PINC (Promise / Intrigue / Need / Content)
PINC is good for juicy headlines. It is not a formula in the ordinary understanding, but rather a scheme, where all its parts are used at the discretion of a copywriter.
Promise — put a promise in your message (e.g., “Learn Spanish in 3 Months”).
Intrigue — start with an intrigue (e.g., “15, 5 Secrets to Improve Website Conversion Rates”).
Need — create an urgent need (e.g., “How to Get Rid of a Headache?”).
Content — go straight to the point (e.g., “An Ultimate Guide: How to Conduct a CRO Audit?”).
7. DAGMAR (Defining advertising goals — measuring advertising results)
The process of buying includes four stages: Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, and Action. People recognize a brand, check the quality of products or services, make a decision on purchasing them and finally give their money. And your goal is to make a customer take a direct route to the final stage.
8. SCORRE (Subject + Central Theme + Objective + Rational + Resources + Evaluation)
Subject — choose a catchy topic.
Central Theme — focus on one aspect of it.
Objective — define your goal.
Rational — explain what your offer is.
Resources — make your content more interesting with quotes, stories, emotions.
Evaluation — evaluate every word you wrote. This is what copywriters often forget about. Ask yourself, whether a word or a sentence adds value to your message? If you cannot answer the question, delete unnecessary elements.
9. FAB (Features – Advantages – Benefits)
People are interested in how they can get more than they spend. And this formula allows you to present your product or service in a positive light from three sides.
Features – tell what your product or service can do without delving into details.
Advantages – describe how exactly it facilitates people’s lives.
Benefits – this is the main part that interests your potential customers the most. This is why you should focus on it.
10. PAS (Problem – Agitation – Solution)
This formula is based on people’s basic needs and that is why it is so powerful. We pay more attention to losses than gains. That is why you should present your product or service as a way to avoid risks and pain, and not as something, which simply adds value.
To put it simply, you describe a situation where there is a problem, and your offer is a solution to it. Before giving it to you readers, escalate the problem and make it seem more important.
This formula can be upgraded to PASO (Problem – Agitation – Solution – Outcome). When your offer is supported by a potential outcome, people have a clear picture of how they can benefit from purchasing your product or service.
11. PPPP (Picture – Promise – Prove – Push)
This formula works perfectly for social media.
Picture – choose a vivid and attention grabbing one.
Promise – you take responsibility for making your readers’ lives better with your product or service.
Prove – use reasonable arguments to explain why your potential customers need your product or service and provide social proof (stats, celebrities’ and opinion leaders’ advice).
Push – you should call to action here.
12. BAB (Before – After – Bridge)
This formula is especially good for testimonials, but also works for, social media updates, emails and blog intros.
Before – describe a world where your readers live now and problems they deal with.
After – make readers imagine a new world where their problems are solved or do not exist.
Bridge – explain how your product or service can transfer them to that better world.
13. “Triple Yes” Rule
People who already answered yes to your questions two or more times are more inclined to say yes again. Use this rule to inspire confidence in your potential customers. Ask them questions that cannot be answered negatively and then lead them to a conclusion that your product or service is a smart choice of smart people.
This scheme can be used everywhere including infographics, videos, and white papers.
Obviously, these formulas are just templates that work properly only if filled up with quality content. That is the reason why they are sometimes seen as ineffective, boring and outdated: copywriters just do not bother with understanding their audience and choosing words that sound natural and refreshing.
In fact, formulas represent the basic rules of establishing the rapport with your potential customers making the process of writing marketing copies more logical and structured. Use them wisely and be creative to be interesting for your target audience.
Adam Wakoski is a freelance project coordinator and a writer specializing in marketing, employee psychology and eLearning. He also offers his help to edtech startups.