Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recipe to follow when it came to writing your emails? A recipe that not only sparks interest among your subscribers, but also encourages them to complete a call-to-action?
You can! Many marketers use copywriting formulas, which are proven structures to help you write more effective copy faster.
Copywriting formulas provide a starting point to help you organize your message for the most persuasive impact. It’s how you turn so-so copy into killer copy, and convert subscribers into buyers.
Take a look at three tried-and-true copywriting formulas that are perfect for email marketing, below. You can also use them on your social media feeds or in blog headlines, too! That way, you reach your audience no matter where they are.
Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing
Formula 1: F-A-B
You understand your product or service from the inside out, but it can be tough to communicate all the important details about it in an email or two. Plus, you run the risk of losing your reader’s interest if you drone on too long about your product features.
Yes, it’s important to explain the features of your product — but where the magic happens is when you connect those features with the advantages and benefits they bring to your customers.
With the F-A-B formula (which stands for Features, Advantages, Benefits), you can touch on your product’s bells and whistles, but you focus on why a person would find your product beneficial.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Feature: Briefly explain the elements of your product. Keep it short and sweet.
- Advantages: Highlight why these features are unique and how they can make a difference in your customer’s business, life, etc.
- Benefits: Showcase the value of your product and how it can solve your customer’s problems.
The emphasis is on why your product’s features are great and how they can help your customers rather than dissecting each feature ad naseaum.
So, how can you implement this formula?
It might look something like this:
Insert feature will help you insert advantage so you can insert benefit
Example of F-A-B in a Tweet: Our wireless Smart Robot Vacuum will clean your pet’s hair off floors and carpets, so you don’t have to spend time chasing down hairballs.
These same principles can be used in subject lines or stretched out to serve as body copy. For the latter, you may expand on the advantage and benefits in multiple paragraphs to really drive the value home.
Formula 2: P-A-S
It may not come as a surprise that P-A-S made our list, but it’s a tried-and-true copywriting formula that works for just about every scenario.
In fact, marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls it the most reliable sales formula ever invented.
Let’s take a look at how it works:
- Problem: State your audience’s issue.
- Agitator: Agitate the problem by talking about why it’s a problem in the first place.
- Solution: Solve your audience’s issue by presenting your product or service as the solution.
This copywriting formula works best if you focus on the “A” aspect. To “agitate,” you need to stir up all the negative emotions attached to their problem. Make the reader squirm in their seat. Get inside their head.
And just before they’re ready to scream “Enough!”, present them with a solution (your product or service!).
(Not sure what your audience’s “P” — a.k.a. their biggest problem — is? Here’s a great guide to finding your subscribers’ biggest pain point.)
Here’s how you could use it:
State a problem: Got pet hair all over your carpet or floor?
Agitate the problem: More pet hair means more time sweeping your floors. You’re already busy enough. Do you really want to spend all this extra time cleaning when you could be doing other things? (Like napping or reading or watching Netflix.)
Present the solution: Or you could control your pet hair problem with our new Smart Robot Vacuum. Just charge it, turn it on, and get back to your day.
Like the F-A-B formula, the P-A-S formula translates well on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or in headlines because of its directness. Using this same example, you could send a Tweet that says:
Pet hair everywhere? Spending more time cleaning up pet hair means less time for the things you want to do — like napping or watching Netflix. You could spend time sweeping every day, or you could let our Smart Robot Vacuum clean it up FOR you.
The P-A-S formula is excellent for subject lines, but it’s also a fast and easy way to explain your value proposition in a quick way. Many email marketing geniuses use this formula in their own emails.
Here’s an example from Paula Rizzo, an AWeber user and a TV producer who has an entire side business called The List Producer. Through this business, she helps customers stay organized with various checklists and courses.
Subscribers who sign up for Rizzo’s email below have stated they’re feeling a lack of control in their digital world. Their inbox is overflowing and they can’t keep up!
In her first email, Rizzo welcomes her new subscriber, tells them a little bit about her business, and then launches into agitating their problem. The agitation section is shown below:
Then, Rizzo hits the reader with a solution: a paid course “Take Back Your Inbox: Stop Drowning in Unread Messages, Respond Quicker and Finally Achieve Inbox Zero.” (Check out all that’s included in her $47 course.)
Formula 3: A-I-D-A
A-I-D-A is arguably one of the most-used copywriting tactics of all.
First, here’s what it stands for:
- Attention: Catch the reader’s eye.
- Interest: Pique their interest with a compelling setup.
- Desire: Make them crave the thing you’re offering.
- Action: Tell them how to get the thing.
This is a classic formula for selling, so it makes sense to deploy it in an email environment where you want readers to take action and move from their inboxes to the next stepping stone in the conversion path.
Here’s how you could use it:
Attention: No matter how much you love your pet, there’s probably one thing that drives you nuts.
Interest: Pet hair is a never-ending battle (and it’s one you’re always losing). Right?
Desire: Smart pet owners know it doesn’t have to be that way. The Smart Robot Vacuum is always on top of hairballs (so you don’t have to be).
Action: Click here to get 20% off your purchase today only!
With a simple, actionable setup that solves problem and reduces a customer’s pain points, this formula is a sales-driving machine not only in emails, but also on landing pages and in video scripts.
Stretch it out!
You can use these copywriting formulas in one email — or you can expand it over a series of automated emails.
For instance, with P-A-S, you could use it over the following 5-email series:
Email 1: Introduce the reader’s biggest pain point
Email 2: Agitate the problem
Email 3: Really get in there! Agitate the problem some more. Start to hint that there may be a solution for their issue…
Email 4: Offer the solution — your product or service!
Email 5: If the reader doesn’t convert, you can offer a coupon or special incentive to buy.
Digital marketer gurus like Amy Porterfield, Henneke Duistermaat, and Jeff Walker have used similar email series when they launch a new online course or product.
Additional copywriting tips
Once you find a copywriting formula that works best for you, keep these tips in mind as you begin writing.
Using words that your customer may not understand is a quick way to lose their interest. Make sure they understand your message and what value you can provide them.
Nail the subject line
It’s been said a million times, but it rings true. Having a solid subject line that piques the interest of your subscribers will ensure the email content you worked so hard to create has a chance to be seen. Be sure to deploy A/B testing to find your strongest option.
Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute
Being personable with your copy is a great way to engage with your customers and show them that there are real humans behind your brand. Conversational tones not only make your brand sound more relatable, but it’ll ensure your customers understand what you’re saying, too.
For more email copywriting advice, check out our full list of copywriting tips.
Formulas save time and maximize ROI
Copywriting formulas are an excellent way to make sure you communicate your message clearly and present it in a way that will be most receptive to your audience. Different formulas work for various products and messages, so keep testing and tracking what you learn from each formula use.
Ready to see a greater ROI on your email marketing? Sign up for AWeber today or contact a Customer Solutions member. (Our team is available 24/7 at our Pennsylvania headquarters!)
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