Copywriting formulas are easy to find and have been around for ages – since there have been ads there have been formulas to write them. The problem is we’ve been using the same ones for years.
If you search for copywriting formulas, you’ll end up with the best-known and most widely used copywriting formula; AIDA. Created around the year 1900, AIDA is simple and effective. Essentially, using AIDA you would make an ad that does three things:
- gets the Attention of the audience
- fosters Interest and Desire
- calls on people to take Action – e.g. buy this thing, get the free brochure
Sounds great right? Well, guess what, it’s not the 1900’s anymore and in the Internet Age this ends up sounding very boring and standard. If you’re writing copy for the 21st century you should be looking beyond AIDA to newer, more effective formulas. Remember that people only read about 28% of the words on a webpage, in other words, they’re skimming. So you want to get your point across quickly and succinctly. If you’re selling something relatively inexpensive, the SLAP formula is a great alternative to traditional formulas!
There are four parts to the SLAP formula:
- STOP the prospect
- Make them look(i.e., read)
- Make them ACT now
- Secure the PURCHASE
What you need to do here is present users with an image, this is what makes them stop and look, you should have some information underneath the image. Then, you should have a clearly visible ‘buy’ button, and ‘limited time offer’ or similar, to force the user to act quickly. This is really effective on shorter pages. It’s very quick, to the point, and it works on the internet.
This copywriting formula can be used for pretty much everything, but it’s really great for social media.
For example, if you’re trying to sell a nice drill:
- Problem – the key here is to really define what the ‘problem’ is. If you’re buying a drill, why are you buying it? It might be tempting to say ‘because I don’t have a drill’. But the real problem not being able to fix something yourself. “Are you tired of calling handymen to fix your door? Would you rather just do it yourself? What’s the difference between you and them? You’re not alone.”
- Agitate – Now you want to quickly drive home your point and agitate the problem. “… Thousands of guys around the world are tired of expensive bills and their attempts to do it themselves are frustrated by cheap tools. “All you want is a working door and a sense of pride at a job well done.”
- Solve the problem – your audience is now nodding in agreement with your words and you can trot out a solution – “… With the EZ-Drill 2.0 your construction woes powerful, and multi-use don’t ever call another man to fix your problems again.”
Simple and effective. A PAS style and can be as long or as short as you make it.
The 4 Ps Variation
This is a variation on the 4 Ps formula. The original formula; picture, promise, prove, push, can come across as scam-y and aggressive. A few small alterations fix this problem.
- Problem – Much like the PAS formula, start this ad by identifying a problem
- Promise– Describe how your product or service will solve the problem
- Prove – Support your promise using studies, testimonials, and guarantees.
- Proposal – Propose a sale.
As an example, if you were writing copy for a weight loss pill, you could format your ad as follows:
Problem: Are you tired of hating what you see in the mirror? You’ve tried the diets, the exercise routines, and nothing seems to stick – except those pesky 5 pounds!
Promise: WeightOff2000 puts you first. Eat what you want, live how you want, our product will take care of the rest. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Prove: “I’ve been trying to lose 10 pounds for years. 3 months on WeightLoss2000, and I was down 15!” – Shirley, mother of 2
Proposal: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late – Get Your Body Back Now! Update your advertising using one of these three effective formulas!