Is there a proven copywriting formula that even the most inexperienced copywriter can use to write copy that is guaranteed to sell?
When you craft your message, you want to be able to speak directly to your prospect’s needs and desires so that they want to buy. So what I’m going to do is give you a copywriting formula to follow step by step whenever you want to create a sales message.
I’m going to walk you through the 10 steps that are the magic building blocks of persuasive sales copy that sell products like crazy. These steps are: a headline, an opening, credentials, the offer, bullets, testimonials, value justification, risk reversal, call to action, and urgency.
I’ll be showing you each of these ten steps using examples from one of my companies, called GO BC Real Estate, the number one real estate school in British Columbia. We needed to step up our copywriting for the site because at one point we were only getting about three new students a month.
We could do better than that! I’ll show you how we did it. Now depending on what you sell, sometimes you might add more to the ten building blocks, but for now I just want to give you a formulaic approach.
Watch this video about a proven copywriting formula that works.
The headline has the very important role of grabbing your audience’s attention. If you can’t capture their attention, they won’t read anything else that’s on your copy.
So let me give you just two quick, effective strategies for writing headlines. There are probably 20 to 30 different headline templates, but for now I just want to give you two of my favorites, the most common ones that I use.
State The Claim
The first proven headline is called, State The Claim As A Question.
- “Who else wants to _____?”
- “Would you like to_____?”
Here is an example of what that type of headline looks like.
The benefit is there, insider secrets that I’m giving them for free so that we can get an opt-in for name and email. “Insider secrets” is also another proven headline:
“Insider secrets to ____”
For example, insider secrets to getting your real estate license in the fastest time possible. These secrets are a benefit.
Make It Newsworthy
People read the news because they want to know what’s happening now in the world. The next type of headline makes the subject newsy by entering conversations in the reader’s mind and answering the question, “What’s new?” to capture their attention.
Think about it, have you seen some of these ads about new discoveries when you log in to your Facebook? Do you click on some of those ads?
As a copywriter, you can make something newsworthy using words such as introducing, announcing, discover ___. “Discover” is a very powerful word. So here’s what we did with a chunk of a long sales page.
Let me ask you a question. What we sell are real estate classes helping people to get their real estate license. But do you see any of that in the headline?
You don’t because people get into real estate to make money and get freedom. The classes aren’t their main motivation. So I lead with goal right in the headline. Notice that the first question isn’t, “Want to come to our class?”
Instead, I ask, “Want more money and freedom? Call this number.” Remember, the audience never reads anything at first. They never believe anything at first, and they never do anything at first.
1. The Purpose Of The Headline
You have to say, hey, stop. Pay attention to me. Look here. That’s the first step. And the purpose of a headline is not to sell.
The purpose is to get them to read the first paragraph. That’s it. A lot of marketers make the mistake of trying to sell everything in the headline.
But the purpose of the headline is to get them to read the first paragraph. The purpose of the first paragraph is to get them to read the second paragraph. That’s it. You want to take them through this logical sequence.
If you hold their attention then there are three things that they are going to do next. They’re going to skim, scroll, and scan the webpage.
When something catches your attention, you scroll down and look at some of the pictures, or read some of the bigger words, whatever jumps out at you. So skim, scroll, and scan. And then besides your headline now you have what I call your opening.
The opening sets the criteria for whom the copy is intended and what they stand to gain by reading it. First, you catch their attention. Now they are paying attention. Then the opening paragraph says, here’s what this page or this website is about.
The best way I like to phrase the opening is sometimes with a question, sometimes with vivid picture imagery.
You might also be thinking, here’s the key. I’m entering the conversation that’s going on in their mind. They’re wondering, should I take real estate, should I change my career, how should I do it, what are the steps, is it difficult, does it take long?
Put yourself in their shoes. So you might also be thinking, yes I understand that the booming BC real estate industry is a highly lucrative market, how can someone like me with no prior education in real estate, no skills and no experience start earning in a year?
Good question! Then you answer the question in their mind by going into the money. But after answering some of the questions on the reader’s mind, they are starting to wonder who you are. That’s when you get into your credibility.
3. Establish Credibility
Building block number three, establish your credibility. The reader, the prospect, is starting to wonder, Why should they listen to you?
Here, you can go into the “a little bit about me” copy, when you describe your credentials, your expertise, and the clients you have had. You can get into your credentials now because you’ve hooked them in with the headline and the opening.
They’ve read the opening and they know they are in the right place. But at this point they want to know, who are you? What do you do? So at that point, they want to know why they should listen to what you have to say.
So in this case I answered the question, why GO BC Real Estate School?
“We’re the most successful real estate licensing program in BC, with over 1500 plus successful students over 12 years.” I would have used specific numbers, but frankly I’m not sure if 1,576 is accurate. I don’t want to put a fake number.
Next, we have a little video to talk about what makes us different. “Six weeks or less, guaranteed real estate licensing, number one real estate success program in BC, a 98% success rate, and 98% of students that take our class pass the exam.”
We also talk about career employment, helping them find brokers after they take the class. Here I’m explaining to them what makes us different from every other school. Now, after you’ve established your credentials and credibility, you want to make your offer.
When you make your offer, you want to answer the question, “How are you going to solve their problem? What exactly do you do?” The prospect wants to know what they are going to gain by buying what you have.
Here you make them an offer to show how you are going to solve their problems. In my case, we told them
The online option takes away objections like, “I don’t want to go all the way to Vancouver.”
The best copy anticipates the objection that your prospects might have so you handle them ahead of time. You already answer the question before they think it. If they’re reading your stuff, they’ll wonder, “How did you know?”
How did you know that’s what they’re thinking? And you answer them. It makes them feel comfortable because you understand them.
Now I’m not talking about bullets in a gun. A bullet is a brief statement that identifies a single benefit from buying your product or service. Here’s an example.
There are bullet points such as
- ONLY school to offer All-inclusive Online + Live classes.
- ONLY school to offer recruiting by top brokerages.
- 98% pass rate: Highest in BC
Each of these bullets explains what the student will get, including online classes, recruiting by top brokerages, chapter by chapter notes, a study plan, and access to a private success group. All of these are benefits to the prospect who enrolls in the class.
Now, at this point, the prospect may be interested in all the benefits, but they are skeptical if the course will work for them. This is where you include stories from successful students.
Testimonials provide third party verification that your solution does what it claims to do. Your prospect is always skeptical and wondering if you’re telling the truth.
They just stumbled upon your website, and they’re worried that you’ll just take their money and run. They’re not comfortable giving you their credit card information.
This is a good point to provide testimonials about what other people have experienced. What other people can say about your product and services. Why? Because what other people can say about your product or service is infinitely more powerful than what you can say about what you do.
On this web page, you see six testimonials but we actually have more than that. These videos show how people are succeeding with GO BC Real Estate.
Ideally you want to get video testimonials. But if you cannot get video testimonials, get written ones and enhance them with a photo and a description such as their full name, the city they are from, and their occupation. The more specific, the more detailed, the more credible.
So testimonials are very powerful. Next, show them what they will get from your product or service.
7. Value justification
People always have this scale in their mind that they’re weighing. They are thinking, “If I spend this money, is it worth it?” They have a problem they no longer want, so they compare apples to oranges.
If they can spend the money, their problem goes away, but is it worth it? They always have their scale and they’re always weighing two choices.
To help them decide, you want to talk about how valuable your product or service or solution actually is to the them. Highlight the value to your offer and do it in a way that contrasts the price in a favorable way.
Show them how you can make it such a no-brainer for them that they can easily justify the price.
Here’s how we did it:
A shocking 63% of students who register for the UBC real estate exam never show up for the exam and they don’t even try. How could this be true?
We show them the 1000 pages of stuff they need to study if they want to pass the exam. And we show them how small the font is, and the boring, passive writing. We show them what UBC gives you, the 1000 page textbook and 20 mandatory assignments to complete.
So the prospect is excited about making money in real estate, but turned off by the 1000 pages. That’s when we show them, here’s what we have. You can do it that way (on your own), or you can do it this way (with our help).
We even tell them they have three options. First, we say:
We touch on their pain (give up on their dreams) and we include a psychological trigger when we say, “but let’s be frank, you wouldn’t have read up to this point if you wanted that.” It means the prospect is thinking, “yeah, it makes sense if I’ve read up to this point I should buy this.”
We’re telling them, You’re here because you believe that you deserve a better career and lifestyle than the one you have now.
The second option is that they can study on their own. Again, it’s very tough and time consuming without the shortcuts we know, and this is an option for people who are strong in studying complex legal concepts, math equations, and other theories. And not everyone is.
Or the third option is the prospect enrolls in our course. It gives them step by step guidance on exactly what to expect on their exam. Forget the UBC textbooks, this is what they need, one thin binder, one little book, one math book, that’s it. Is that brilliant, or what?
That’s how we sell. And in case there are any nagging doubts, we want to handle their concerns about taking on risks.
8. Risk reversal
Risk reversal is one of the biggest objections I hear from entrepreneurs. The prospect may be concerned about the risk they are taking if the product or service doesn’t work for them. You could offer a 30 day money back guarantee. Or a 60 day guarantee. The longer you’re guaranteed, the more orders you’ll get and the less likely that you’ll receive refund requests.
You might be afraid that if you offer a guarantee that people will take advantage of you and they’ll send back your stuff or they’ll rip you off.
You’re right. You’re going to get ripped off. People are going to take advantage of you. That’s guaranteed to happen.
But with risk reversal, you’ll get so much more sales that it doesn’t matter. So if you’re making this much more in sales and you get X number of refunds, should it matter?
It shouldn’t. So knowing what’s going to happen but knowing you’ll increase your sales and revenue, that concern is irrelevant. And if your refund rate is so high it affects your profitability what does that mean?
There is something wrong with your product. In that case, don’t fix the guarantee, fix the product. If you believe in what you sell, stand behind what you sell and offer the guarantee, absolutely. Here’s my example with our 30 day money back guarantee.
“After 12 years in business, our students are still averaging 98%.” So basically we’re saying, take our class, take the exam, if you don’t pass, we give you your money back. It’s very simple. “We want you to pass the exam because we’re selling results.” We have a money back guarantee in a seal.
Your prospect at this point is more confident about investing in your product or service. Next, you want to give them a clear CTA because most people don’t make a decision unless you make it easy for them.
9. Call To Action
At this point, you’ve made your case, your sales argument. You’ve captured their attention, you’ve established credibility, you’ve shown how other people have experienced results. The prospect can see exactly how you’re going to solve their problem.
But they’re not sure yet what you want them to do. You want to make ordering as easy and as obvious as possible. If you want them to call, give them a toll free number in big print. If you want them to click on a link, make sure the link is obvious and clickable as possible.
These actions are the call to action, or CTA. For the real estate class, we have two CTAs.
Here is the option to book now for the free class. Or to call a number to learn more about the course cost. But it isn’t enough to just provide a CTA. You must also tell them why they need to act now.
So you’ve gotten the prospect to the point where they want to buy, but why should they buy now? And that’s what’s missing in most offers.
It’s the countdown timer that says you have 10 seconds left to buy. Give a deadline by which to take action in order to get the special deal because people procrastinate.
Procrastination kills sales. You got to give them a reason why they need to buy now. You don’t want them to wait a few days. Have a countdown timer and summarize the offer and give them the value, the bonuses they’re going to get.
Here is a summary of the offer.
Are you looking for a new career? Are you looking for the easiest way to earn thousands of dollars every month working part time? Do you enjoy working with people and making your own schedule? If you’re at a turning point in life then you’ve probably thought about joining the booming real estate industry in BC, and becoming a real estate agent. As a real estate agent you have the freedom to work whenever you want.
You can also make however much money as you want to. And it is a career where you can make six figures even if you have no prior skillset, experience, or education. And yes, the money is really good.
Imagine paying off your debts and living the lifestyle you’ve always wanted. What would an extra 100,000 to $500,000 mean for you? What could your money and freedom do for your friends and family? For many, studying for the real estate exam is the biggest challenge.
You have a 1000 page book of complex real estate legal terms and math questions to memorize. This is a problem because it takes too much time and energy to study on your own. You may realize the faster you’re licensed the faster you can have a new life and make more money. That’s why you’ll love GO BC Real Estate.
For over 12 years, more than 1500 real estate agents have passed their exams through GO BC. GO BC gives you instant success by putting you on a fast track to get you licensed in just six to 10 weeks. With a 98% pass rate, GO BC Real Estate is the number one real estate licensing school in BC. In this program you get the most current industry knowledge and exactly what you need to pass your exam.
The best part is when you follow our proven system you are guaranteed to be licensed the first time taking the exam, or your money back. If you have a family to take care of, if you have limited English skills, or if you’re working full time, then you’ll love how fun and how easy we make your exam.
To benefit you more, we offer unlimited classes all over greater Vancouver, and also the best online training. Our goal is to get you a new life in real estate as soon as possible. Enroll today and get licensed fast.
If my copy is not compelling, it’s not going to work.
So here are the results. We went from three students a month to 45 new students in October alone. That’s a 1500% increase, and October is not supposed to be a great month. And that’s the power of copywriting.
Final Thoughts On The Proven Copywriting Formula
The written word has the power to sell. Even if writing isn’t your strongest skill, you can use this 10 step proven copywriting formula to create copy that persuades prospects to invest in your product or service.
These ten steps are headline, opening, credibility, offer, bullets, testimonials, value justification, risk reversal, call to action, and urgency.
These ten are the magical building blocks to follow when you want to write a strong sales message. It’s the same formula I used to increase my sales by 1500%.
That’s the power of knowing that when you have mastered this skill and when you hire someone who has this skill. That’s the difference.