Ten Copywriting Formulas You Can Use Right Now


Coming up with sales copy can take forever and feel tedious. Try these proven tactics to help craft effective ad text in no time flat. Click the Read More tag to get a free list of 10 copywriting formulas to help sell your book!

These formulas are meant for very brief interactions… i.e. the “scanners” that we mentioned last week. These are especially good at communicating the sales pitch at a glance. Combine these principles with last week’s principles to craft sales copy that sizzles. (These examples are mainly for nonfiction, but the principles from the last article can help adapt these for fiction.)

  1. Before – After – Bridge. “Here’s your world … Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved … Here’s how to get there.”
    “Writing sales copy for your book feels like the most frustrating task in the world for many authors. Imagine having a blueprint to guide you. Click the Read More for 7 tips to make your text move books.”
  2. the 5 Basic Objections. Write something that overcomes these universal sources of resistance. 1. I don’t have enough time. 2. I don’t have enough money. 3. It won’t work for me. 4. I don’t believe you. 5. I don’t need it.
    “Coming up with sales copy can take forever and feel tedious. Try these proven tactics to help craft effective ad text in no time flat. Click the Read More tag to get a free list of 10 copywriting formulas to help sell your book!”
  3. Picture – Promise – Prove – Push (PPPP): Picture – Paint a picture that gets attention and creates desire. Promise – Describe how your product/service/idea will deliver. Prove – Provide support for your promise. Push – Ask your reader to commit.
    “Writing Ad Copy can finally be easy. This list of reusable formulas will do most of the heavy lifting for you. Subscribe to the mailing list and get these tips and more, immediately!”
  4. Star – Chain – Hook. Star – Your product/service/idea. Chain – A series of facts, sources, benefits, and reasons. Hook – The call to action. The right facts, sources, benefits, and reasons can help get them there.
    Here’s an example from my bestselling book.
    “Data, research, and stories about American pastoral decline. Statistics identify the top ten Ministry Killers and what congregations can do about them. Click to learn more about Why Your Pastor Left.”
  5. The Approach Formula:
    Arrive at the problem
    Propose a solution
    Persuade the listener why your solution will work
    Reassure that you and your solution can be trusted
    Orchestrate an opportune opportunity to sell
    Ask for the order (or response)
    here’s an example for my book, John in the John
    “There’s never enough time in the day to read spiritual, uplifting content. John in the John is a hilarious Bible Study and the perfect #2 solution—read funny stories with deeper purpose and leave the book on the toilet tank! Click this link to try it free, or over here to get it at Amazon.”
  6. The 4 U’s. Useful – Be useful to the reader. Urgent – Provide a sense of urgency. Unique – Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow unique. Ultra-specific – Be ultra-specific with all of the above.
    Here’s an example from my book, The Indie Author’s Bible.
    “You’re writing a book and need help breaking in? This guided process to getting your book in print shows you how to get published at zero cost and on your own terms. Prepare for success and get The Indie Author’s Bible before you write another word!”
  7. Features – Advantages – Benefits (FAB). Features – What you or your product can do. Advantages – Why this is helpful. Benefits – What it means for the person reading.
    “Inside the Inkwell Blog is a complete guide to staying on top of the Indie writing world. Weekly updates help keep your publishing game on-point. Click to follow this blog and never miss a post.”
  8. Problem – Agitate – Solve. Identify a PROBLEM. Agitate the problem. Solve the problem. This is different from Before–After–Bridge because it focuses instead on life if the problem were to persist.
    “Can’t seem to get anywhere in the publishing world? Let your writing dreams shrivel and die OR get The Indie Author’s Bible and take charge of your writing destiny!”
  9. Star – Story – Solution. Star – The main character of your story. Story – The story itself. Solution – An explanation of how the star wins in the end.
    An example from my YA/NA series:
    “Claire Jones is like any normal college student until a Cthulhu-like monster sends his reptilian body snatchers after her. Caught between dimensions, she finally finds a weapon that can defeat this evil, if only her alien doppelganger would cooperate. Check out Wolf of the Tesseract.”
  10. OATH Formula. This includes four stages of your market’s awareness of your product/service/idea: Oblivious, Apathetic, Thinking, Hurting. Tailor your message to your target… The spectrum runs from the completely unaware (“oblivious”) to those in desperate need of a solution (“hurting”). Knowing where your audience stands can help determine how you frame your writing.
    “Still devastated over how Fox cancled Firefly? Need more Serenity in your life–get what SF fans have called the next best thing to a Browncoat revival: Dekker’s Dozen. Click to get a free story in the series!”

I am not an advertising text guru. I’m not even good at it, to be honest; while I excel at in-person sales such as conventions and meetings, my online/digital salesmanship abilities have always felt lackluster. My best content is borrowed and I’m pulling in some great info from an article titled If Don Draper Tweeted. (Check out the article for an expanded list,) I’m using my favorite ten for this list.

Remember to check out my book The Indie Author’s Bible for tons of tips and how-to guides and be sure to follow this blog! Next week I will lay out some sample formulas to help you craft sales text (like the first paragraph in this article.)

#ammarketing #indiewriter

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