“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” — Leo Burnett
Are you an innovator, entrepreneur, or business leader looking for effective marketing strategies to help grow your brand and capture the attention of your target audience?
Copywriting frameworks are your friend.
One of the most important skills you can master is the hook. Copywriting frameworks help you create better hooks.
As someone who has spent over 20+ years at Microsoft working on startups and mature businesses, as well as launching my own products, I’ve seen how these frameworks can transform a company’s marketing efforts.
And to top it off, I’ve had the privilege of learning from marketing master Al Ries along the way. Al was one of my early mentors and really helped me understand the value of “positioning” in the mind, and how to create sticky ideas with hooks.
Get ready to take your marketing game to the next level with these proven copywriting frameworks.
Top 10 Copywriting Frameworks
Here are the 10 best copywriting frameworks you can use to succeed with your product, solution, service or offering:
- 4Ps: Picture, Promise, Proof, Push
- AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
- APP: Awareness, Problem, Positioning
- Before-After-Bridge: Before state, After state, Bridge to achieve the After state
- FAB: Features, Advantages, Benefits
- Great Leads: Direct, Indirect, News, How-to, Question, Command, Testimonial, Story, Quotation
- PAPA: Problem, Agitate, Persuade, Asks
- PAS: Problem, Agitation, Solution
- StoryBrand: Character, Problem, Guide, Plan, Call to Action
- The 5 Cs: Clear, Concise, Compelling, Credible, Customer-focused
1. 4Ps: Picture, Promise, Proof, Push
The 4Ps is a copywriting framework that helps marketers and copywriters create effective sales messages. The 4Ps framework is awesome because it’s simple yet effective in creating a persuasive message that resonates with customers and drives action.
By focusing on the customer’s needs and desires, providing proof, and using strong language to encourage action, the 4Ps can help businesses increase sales and grow their customer base.
Here’s how it works:
- Picture: Paint a clear picture of the product or service being offered. For instance, a picture of a luxurious vacation resort with pristine beaches and palm trees swaying in the breeze.
- Promise: Make a clear promise of what the product or service can do for the customer. For instance, the promise of a luxurious and relaxing experience that will leave the customer feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Proof: Provide evidence to back up the promise. For instance, customer testimonials or reviews that highlight the exceptional service and amenities provided by the resort.
- Push: Create a sense of urgency and encourage action. For instance, offering limited-time promotions or special discounts to incentivize customers to book their stay now.
By combining these elements in a strategic way, the 4Ps framework can create a compelling message that motivates customers to take action.
2. AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
The AIDA framework, Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, is a classic copywriting approach to guide the reader from first noticing a product or service, to creating a desire for it, and finally taking action to purchase or use it, and it remains a relevant and useful tool for marketers today.
- Attention: The first step is to grab the reader’s attention. This can be done through a headline, an opening sentence or an image. For example, “Stop wasting your time on ineffective marketing strategies.”
- Interest: Once you have their attention, you need to build interest in your product or service. You can do this by outlining the problem your product solves, or by highlighting the benefits it provides. For example, “Our innovative marketing platform has helped businesses like yours increase their ROI by 50%.”
- Desire: Once you’ve built interest, you need to create desire for your product or service. This can be done by emphasizing the unique selling points of your product or service, or by highlighting the exclusive features it provides. For example, “With our advanced targeting capabilities, you can now reach your ideal customers and convert more leads into sales.”
- Action: Finally, you need to inspire action. This is done by providing a clear and concise call-to-action (CTA) that encourages the reader to take the desired action. For example, “Sign up for our platform today and start seeing results within 30 days.”
While the AIDA framework is a versatile tool that can be used in various marketing and advertising scenarios, it may not always be the best choice. Here are a few situations when AIDA may not be the best framework to use:
- When you want to create brand awareness: AIDA is more geared towards converting prospects into customers, rather than building brand awareness. If your goal is to create awareness around your brand, then other frameworks such as the StoryBrand or the 5 Cs may be more appropriate.
- When you’re targeting an audience that already knows your brand: If you’re marketing to an audience that’s already familiar with your brand, then using the AIDA framework to build awareness or generate interest may not be necessary. In this case, other frameworks such as the FAB or the PAS may be more effective in driving conversions.
- When you’re selling a high-end or complex product: AIDA may not be the best framework to use when selling high-end or complex products that require a more nuanced approach. In this case, a framework such as the StoryBrand or the PAPA may be more effective in building credibility and establishing trust with your audience.
3. APP: Awareness, Problem, Positioning
The APP (Awareness, Problem, Positioning) framework is a copywriting framework that emphasizes building awareness of a problem or pain point, explaining the problem and its consequences, and positioning the product or service as the solution.
- Awareness: Introduce a problem that your target audience is facing, such as high stress levels due to work.
- Problem: Discuss the negative impact that the problem is having on your audience’s lives, such as decreased productivity and poor mental health.
- Positioning: Introduce your product or service as the solution to the problem, highlighting its benefits and unique selling points, such as its effectiveness in reducing stress levels and improving overall well-being.
- Awareness: Are you struggling to manage stress at work?
- Problem: High stress levels can negatively impact your productivity and mental health, leading to burnout and decreased job satisfaction.
- Positioning: Our mindfulness meditation app offers guided meditation sessions specifically designed to reduce stress levels, improve mental clarity, and boost overall well-being. With features such as personalized recommendations and progress tracking, our app is the perfect solution for busy professionals looking to improve their mental health and work performance.
It’s awesome because it helps the writer to deeply understand their target audience’s problems and to articulate the benefits of their product or service in a clear and compelling way that resonates with potential customers.
The framework is also flexible enough to work for a variety of different marketing materials, from email campaigns to website copy to social media posts.
The APP framework is most effective when trying to persuade and influence the target audience by creating a connection between their needs and the product or service being offered. It is particularly useful for businesses that are trying to establish their brand, launch a new product or service, or differentiate themselves from competitors.
4. Before-After-Bridge: Before state, After state, Bridge to achieve the After state
The Before-After-Bridge copywriting framework consists of three components:
- Before state: This describes the current situation or problem that the reader is facing.
- After state: This describes the improved situation that the reader will be in after using the product or service being offered.
- Bridge: This is the solution or method offered to help the reader transition from the before state to the after state.
An example of Before-After-Bridge framework is a weight loss program advertisement:
- Before state: “Are you tired of feeling self-conscious about your weight and struggling to find clothes that fit?”
- After state: “Imagine feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin, and being able to fit into your favorite clothes with ease.”
- Bridge: “Our weight loss program provides a personalized meal and exercise plan, along with a supportive community to help you achieve your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
The Before-After-Bridge framework can be used in various scenarios, especially when there is a clear pain point or problem that the target audience is experiencing. It is particularly effective when promoting a product or service that provides a clear solution to a problem or addresses a need.
However, it may not be the best framework to use when the product or service being promoted doesn’t have a clear benefit or solution. Additionally, it may not be suitable for complex or technical products that require more detailed explanation.
5. FAB: Features, Advantages, Benefits
The FAB framework stands for Features, Advantages, and Benefits. It’s a copywriting framework used to highlight a product or service’s unique features and how they translate into benefits for the customer.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re selling a new smartphone.
- Features: The smartphone has a 6.5-inch OLED screen, 128GB of storage, and a 64MP camera.
- Advantages: The large screen allows for easy navigation and viewing, the ample storage allows for plenty of apps and media storage, and the high-resolution camera takes beautiful photos.
- Benefits: The larger screen allows users to easily read emails and watch videos, the ample storage means users don’t have to constantly delete files or worry about running out of space, and the high-quality camera means users can take stunning photos to capture memories.
The FAB framework is great for highlighting the unique features of a product or service and how they can benefit the customer. It’s best used when the features are straightforward and easy to understand.
However, it’s not always the best choice for more complex products or services that require more explanation or education. In those cases, a different framework such as the AIDA or PAS may be more appropriate.
6. Great Leads: Direct, Indirect, News, How-to, Question, Command, Testimonial, Story, Quotation
The Great Leads is a copywriting framework that helps to grab the reader’s attention and interest from the beginning of the copy. It involves using one of the following types of leads: Direct, Indirect, News, How-to, Question, Command, Testimonial, Story, or Quotation.
Here are a few examples of using the Great Leads framework:
- Indirect: “Imagine feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin again, no matter what you wear or where you go.” The indirect lead does not directly mention the product, but instead focuses on the desired outcome that the product can provide.
- Command: “Stop wasting time on ineffective marketing strategies and start growing your business with our proven techniques.”
- Question: “Are you tired of struggling with weight loss? Want to discover the secret to losing those extra pounds and feeling great?”
- Story: “Sarah was a busy working mom who always struggled to find time to cook healthy meals for her family. But after discovering our meal prep delivery service, she was able to provide nutritious and delicious meals for her family without the stress and time commitment of cooking from scratch. If you’re tired of sacrificing healthy eating for convenience, our meal prep service is the solution you’ve been looking for.”
This framework is awesome because it offers a variety of options for capturing the reader’s attention and making them want to continue reading. It can be particularly effective when used in sales pages, landing pages, and email marketing.
However, it may not be suitable for all types of content, such as informational articles or technical writing. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the lead is relevant to the rest of the copy and the intended audience, and not simply used for shock value or clickbait.
7. PAPA: Problem, Agitate, Persuade, Asks
The PAPA framework is a copywriting framework that stands for Problem, Agitate, Persuade, and Asks.
- Problem: Identify the problem that your target audience is facing.
- Agitate: Agitate the problem and make the audience realize how big of a problem it is.
- Persuade: Persuade the audience that there is a solution to their problem and that your product or service is the answer.
- Asks: Make a call to action that encourages the audience to take action.
An example of PAPA could be a copy for a weight loss supplement:
- Problem: Do you struggle to lose weight and keep it off?
- Agitate: It’s not just about looking good, excess weight can lead to a range of health problems and low self-esteem.
- Persuade: Our weight loss supplement is made with all-natural ingredients and has helped thousands of people shed those extra pounds for good.
- Asks: Order now and start your weight loss journey today.
The PAPA framework is effective because it focuses on identifying the audience’s problem and making them aware of it before presenting a solution. It can be particularly useful for products or services that solve a specific problem. However, it may not be the best fit for products or services that don’t necessarily address a problem.
8. PAS: Problem, Agitation, Solution
The PAS framework is a copywriting framework that focuses on identifying the customer’s problem, agitating it, and providing a solution.
Here’s an example of how it works:
- Problem: Are you struggling to lose weight and keep it off?
- Agitation: It can be frustrating when you’ve tried countless diets and exercise programs, but still can’t seem to shed those extra pounds. You might even feel hopeless and resigned to being overweight forever.
- Solution: Our weight loss program is designed to help you not only lose weight, but keep it off for good. With our personalized approach and proven strategies, you can finally achieve your dream body and feel confident and healthy.
The PAS framework is effective because it identifies a specific problem, amplifies it to create an emotional response, and offers a clear solution. However, it may not be suitable for all types of products or services, particularly those that require more complex explanations or are not focused on a specific problem.
9. StoryBrand: Character, Problem, Guide, Plan, Call to Action
The StoryBrand framework is a marketing technique that revolves around storytelling.
- Character: Identify your target audience as the main character in the story.
- Problem: Highlight the challenges and obstacles that the character is facing.
- Guide: Introduce yourself as the guide who can help the character overcome their challenges.
- Plan: Present a clear plan of action that the character can take to solve their problem.
- Call to Action: Encourage the character to take action and engage with your business.
An example of this framework could be a fitness company targeting busy professionals:
- Character: Busy professionals who struggle to find time to exercise.
- Problem: Lack of time, energy, and motivation to work out regularly.
- Guide: The fitness company presents itself as a guide with proven experience in helping busy professionals reach their fitness goals.
- Plan: The company offers a clear plan of action, including personalized workout programs and convenient scheduling options, to make fitness achievable for busy professionals.
- Call to Action: The company encourages busy professionals to sign up for their fitness program and take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle.
The StoryBrand framework is effective because it helps businesses create a strong emotional connection with their audience by telling a compelling story. However, it may not be suitable for all types of businesses, especially those that don’t have a clear story to tell.
10. The 5 Cs: Clear, Concise, Compelling, Credible, Customer-focused
The 5 Cs framework is a set of principles that guide effective communication by ensuring that messages are clear, concise, compelling, credible, and customer-focused.
For example, a marketing campaign for a new toothpaste might use the 5 Cs as follows:
- Clear: The message is straightforward and easy to understand. “Get a brighter smile with our new toothpaste.”
- Concise: The message is delivered in as few words as possible. “Brighten your smile with our toothpaste.”
- Compelling: The message is designed to grab the attention of the target audience and motivate them to take action. “Get a brighter smile and boost your confidence with our new toothpaste.”
- Credible: The message is backed up by evidence, such as testimonials from satisfied customers or scientific studies showing the effectiveness of the toothpaste.
- Customer-focused: The message is tailored to the needs and desires of the target audience. “Transform your smile and feel great with our new toothpaste.”
This framework is awesome because it helps ensure that marketing messages are effective by making them clear, concise, compelling, credible, and customer-focused. However, it may not be appropriate in all contexts, such as in creative writing or artistic expression where the emphasis may be on less structured communication.
Bonus Framework: Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes
You’ll notice that across the frameworks there are some common themes. They tend to focus on pains, needs and desires in some way.
Here is a simple framework my friend gave me long ago when we were working on building offers for a startup business at Microsoft. It’s the Pains, Needs, and Desired Outcomes framework. It works like this:
- Pain: A person is experiencing frequent headaches that are impacting their daily life.
- Need: The person needs a solution to help alleviate their headaches.
- Desired Outcome: The person’s desired outcome is to find a treatment that effectively reduces the frequency and severity of their headaches, allowing them to go about their daily activities without interruption.
Here’s an example of an ad using the pain, need, and desired outcome framework from a copywriter perspective:
- Headline: Say Goodbye to Back Pain with Our Revolutionary Pillow
- Pain: Do you struggle with back pain that keeps you up at night and ruins your day?
- Need: You need a solution that helps you sleep comfortably and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Desired Outcome: Our revolutionary pillow provides the perfect balance of support and comfort to eliminate your back pain and give you the best sleep of your life. Say goodbye to sleepless nights and hello to a better tomorrow.
Hook, Story Offer Framework
Russell Brunson is a successful entrepreneur, author, and marketing expert who founded the company ClickFunnels, which offers a platform for businesses to create and optimize sales funnels. He is known for his expertise in creating effective marketing strategies, particularly using the “funnel” approach.
The framework that Russell Brunson uses is called the “Hook, Story, Offer” (HSO) framework. The Hook is the attention-grabbing opening that captures the audience’s interest, the Story is the narrative that engages and connects with the audience, and the Offer is the solution or product being presented as the resolution to the problem or desire expressed in the story.
Here’s an example of a Hook, Story, Offer framework:
- Hook: “Are you tired of feeling stuck in your current job and wondering if there’s more to life?”
- Story: “Meet John. John was a successful corporate executive who had climbed the ladder of success, but he found himself feeling unfulfilled and longing for something more. One day, John decided to take a leap of faith and start his own business, even though he had no experience in entrepreneurship. It wasn’t easy, but with hard work and determination, John built a thriving business that allowed him to live life on his own terms.”
- Offer: “If you’re ready to take the leap like John did and start your own business, I have the perfect solution for you. My new online course will provide you with all the tools and guidance you need to turn your passion into a profitable business. Enroll now and start living life on your own terms.”
Tony Robbins, a world-renowned motivational speaker and coach, has credited Brunson with helping him to significantly increase his online sales and marketing efforts through the use of ClickFunnels. Brunson’s marketing expertise has helped many other businesses and entrepreneurs as well, which is why he is often cited as a valuable resource in the industry.
Write Great Copy to Change the World!
Copywriting is a vital tool for any business or individual looking to effectively communicate their message and persuade their audience.
With these ten powerful frameworks at your disposal, you can craft compelling and persuasive copy that captures attention, inspires action, and achieves your goals.
Remember to choose the framework that best fits your message and audience, and always strive for clear, concise, compelling, credible, and customer-focused copy.
And in the words of Peter Drucker:
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits them perfectly and sells itself.” — Peter Drucker
Onward and upward!
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