Five copywriting formulas for B2B tech products and services
B2B technology copywriting is a tall order. You are always expected to produce copy that instantly turns heads and piques interest.
And there’s plenty to say. It feels like fitting in the ocean inside a teacup. With so much to distill, you might feel overwhelmed trying to reinvent the wheel each time you turn out a copy.
There’s a way out. Enter copywriting formulas – the real cheat sheet for all your copy problems. But why do you need formulas?
The digital earthquake is forcing a change
Copywriters today have to balance their copy with search algorithms, which means that messaging has become more conversational than it used to be. This is a welcome change from outdated “disruptive” copy, which only served one purpose: sell with no regard for prospects’ needs or desires.
That’s where the time-tested formulas help you focus on writing copy based on primary emotions. Plus, you save time knowing exactly where to start – without needing any creative inspiration. The formulas offer a natural “track” to follow. It’s still up to us as copywriters, though, to build our own cars that are going to race on it.
Copywriting formulas are not a magic trick to blow up your conversions. But, among several other factors and elements, formulas are a big first step. Here are five evergreen copywriting formulas you can use to craft your copy.
BAB - Before After Bridge
It’s a super simple setup. Describe a problem. Showcase an ideal world where that problem doesn’t exist. Offer a path to get there. So your job as a copywriter is to paint the picture of life before and after your solution. Here’s the formula:
Before - Know your audience’s needs and wants.
After - Illustrate how other customers have reached this ideal state.
Bridge - Offer a way for the audience to get there, too.
In one broad stroke, you are appealing to both your audience’s pain and pleasure senses. The reader must act (read, click, buy) to cross the bridge. Here’s an uncomplicated example.
Before: You spend hours at the store every week finding each item you need and waiting in line.
After: Now, there is a way to complete your monthly shopping in less than 10 mins.
Bridge: Download the intuitive app today to save hours on your next grocery run. You can do it from your couch!
PAS - Problem Agitation Solution
PAS is a dependable “old school” copywriting formula that introduces a problem and then uses emotions to hammer the issue home. If your execution is clean, most audiences will jump on to the call to action. Here’s a simple 3-step framework:
Problem - Define the problem, so the reader nods in agreement and then slips effortlessly into the next part of your copy.
Agitation - Now inject emotion. Tap to their current state and use anger, resentment, even embarrassment to agitate the situation.
Solution - Obviously, the answer to all problems and negativity is your offering and the accompanying benefits.
Before diving into an example, here’s a word of caution. Most copywriters might lazily skip the agitation bit. It is never recommended to go right into the solution without driving home how nightmarish the problem is.
So if, for some reason, this formula doesn’t work, try and go back and start rewriting the agitation bit. Again, please don’t hold your punches and poke at that problem until it’s visceral. You might have to push their emotional buttons. Here’s PAS in action:
Problem: You’ve almost given up on your blog.
Agitation: It’s never easy to maintain a WordPress blog. You’re shamelessly messing up with the site’s settings and posts, hoping for something that might work in your favor. But if you don’t stay on top of everything, even the slightest change could cause things to fall apart.
Solution: Here’s the perfect one-of-a-kind plugin for WordPress users to save the day. With just a few clicks, you can get back in control of your website—and keep it there!
RAD - Require Acquire Desire
RAD is explicitly used for writing compelling CTAs. According to the RAD formula, three critical things must happen before anyone clicks your CTA.
Visitors must have the information they require - Ask yourself if the visitor has what they’re looking for before clicking on a button. What do they minimally require before seeing a CTA?
They must be able to acquire your CTA easily - Make it convenient for them to click. For instance, it’s often difficult for visitors if the clickable buttons are placed outside the normal eye-path of your primary copy. Place them in an area where readers can see what needs to get clicked.
Visitors must desire whatever is on the other side - And finally, continue to peak desire via your CTA copy. Ensure your visitor desires what the copy on the button promises.
Here are a couple of examples of CTA copy following the RAD formula:
“Get Instant Access To Your Custom Report”
”Take A Two-Minute Tour”
Assuming the body copy sets up your product or service with an aesthetically pleasing CTA button, readers would be tempted to download the report or take a 2-minute virtual tour. Here’s a terrific article on the topic if you’re interested.
PASTOR formula comes from Ray Edwards, a renowned copywriter who talks about the six main parts of a good copy.
Person, problem, and pain - Identify whom you are trying to reach with your message. You also need to understand the problem you are solving and how readers feel when it occurs.
Amplify - Stress the consequences of the problem.
Story and Solution - Tell the story of someone who has solved the problem with your solution (or a solution like yours.) Paint a picture. Here’s an example - James was on the edge of bankruptcy. His family lost faith in him. He tried one last idea out of desperation, and it worked.
Transformation and Testimony - Talk about the results of how your product or service helped other people through testimonials. Remember, when people need an electric drill, they need the hole that it makes.
Offer - Describe your offer. Write up in detail, informing what readers will get.
Response - You’ve done the hard work. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. Offer a CTA with step-by-step instructions about what to do next.
Here’s a skeleton with an example.
Person, Problem, Pain - Your reader is a shop owner who’s tired of seeing sales drop by 20%. He is forced to cut staff.
Amplify: As he struggles to meet payroll, he wonders if there is a better way.
Story and Solution: He needs help to get the business online to break the limitations that a physical store offers.
Transformation and Testimony: Focus on how other shop owners like him could successfully transition from physical to online. Showcase a product testimonial and highlight the transformation.
Offer: Our all-in-one e-commerce solution comes with the necessary templates and tools you need to start an online business.
Response: Let’s decide to change the reader’s life right now.
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
A simple approach to life is best. The U.S Navy knew this in 1960 when they coined the acronym KISS, meaning “Keep it Simple Stupid,” as a design principle for systems that work better if kept simpler than complicated.
Copywriters can use the KISS formula to avoid using jargon and detract from your original message. Whether you’re delivering a one-time pitch or crafting an ongoing campaign, the KISS framework will declutter your copy and streamline the delivery of your key messages.
It would help the tech copywriters to stay away from the buzzwords or technical gobbledygook. Only use words that people know. Cut filler words like “really,” “that,” or “very.” That’s how your readers know you care. Here are three quick examples:
Original: A corporation is asked to participate in the recruitment process.
Revised: A corporation is asked to recruit.
Original: The CTO faces a budget crunch situation.
Revised: The CTO faces a budget crunch.
Original: For all intents and purposes, our weekly productivity generally depends on certain elements that are really more psychological than of any given mechanical aspect.
Revised: Our weekly productivity depends more on psychological than mechanical factors.
One of the most famous copywriters in history, Eugene Schwartz, said this about our craft:
Copy is not written. If anyone tells you ‘you write copy’, sneer at them. Copy is assembled. You do not write copy, you assemble it. You are working with a series of building blocks, you are putting the building blocks together, and then you are putting them in certain structures, you are building a little city of desire for your person to come and live in.
Pretty powerful stuff.
The formulas outlined here are great building blocks and can be used to assemble copy for many types of content for any B2B technology company. Using such tried-and-tested formulas makes your intro hold attention, your bullets pop, and CTAs stand out.
But no copywriting formula can guarantee that your service or product will sell. You simply can’t pull up punches based on some equation without any fundamental understanding behind it. So you must invest time in doing the research. Understand your audience, product benefits and features, and how to induce the right emotions in your readers.
And from there, you can use formulas to assemble copy that consistently turns heads, piques interest, and nurtures your audience through the sales funnel - or even flywheel.