A Simple Framework Anyone Can Use To Write Better Sales Copy – Immediately
A Simple Framework Anyone Can Use To Write Better Sales Copy – Immediately
Note: This post is an explanation of the “PASTOR” framework used by world famous copywriter Ray Edwards.
If you want to sell more and grow your business online, you must learn at least the basics of the art and science of copywriting.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is salesmanship in print. It’s understand what drives human behaviour so you can write words on a page that makes the reader take an action. This action could be buying your product or service, voting for your election campaign or signing up to your email list.
If you understand what drives human behaviour, you can make as much money as you like.
Now you’re interested, right?
Unfortunately, I’d bet that 99.9% of copy online is written by people who haven’t even the faintest idea of copywriting and its underlying principles.
Copywriting fails when you ignore the principles
Did you know that there are universal triggers you can use to sell more effectively?
Because 99.9% of businesses and marketers don’t know them, this puts you at an enormous advantage. I just want to pause here for a second…
You see, it’s this understanding of psychological triggers that makes conmen and snake oil salesmen so effective. For that reason, some believe this information to manipulative.
But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what I believe separates manipulative people from persuasive people…
If you use this framework to sell a false solution to a problem purely for your own game, you’re manipulative. And you don’t deserve success. If this is you, stop reading now.
If you use this framework to sell a true solution to a true problem in a fair exchange of value for money that leaves both parties of the transaction happy, then you’re simply persuasive. And you deserve every ounce of your success for the value you provide.
Are you persuasively minded? Great, I knew I could trust you. Let’s get to it…
The P.A.S.T.O.R Framework Anyone Can Use To Write Better Sales Copy – Immediately
As Ray Edwards himself rightly points out…
“Most people associate the term “pastor” with the preacher at church. While this is certainly true in most cases, the original meaning of the word “pastor” was actually “to shepherd.” And what does the shepherd do? He or she cares for, feeds, and protects the flock.”
This is a useful way to remember the P.A.S.T.O.R acronym as you use it to ‘shepherd’ your customer into an action that it is in her best interests to take.
P is for PROBLEM
Begin by identifying the problem you’re solving for the customer. Show them you understand them and their problem and they’ll be hooked on to reading the rest of your copy and will begin to trust what you have to say.
This is one of the psychological principles I promised you. The more accurately you can describe your customer’s problem, the more instinctively they’ll feel you have the answer.
The trick here is to use the exact language your customer will use. Most people try to be too clever and sound ‘professional.’ Copywriting that sells doesn’t sound corporate or professional. It’s written how you speak so it’s simple and easy to understand, like you’re talking to a friend. You’re joining the conversation that is already happening in your customer’s mind.
Your customer has lots of problems she could solve. Even if your product or service would help her and be worth her time and money, if you don’t remind her of her problem well enough, something else will take her attention away. Don’t leave your customer to figure things out for herself, remind her in clear and uncertain terms how the problem is affecting her life.
Who are you talking to, what is their problem and how do they think about it?
A is for AMPLIFY
Amplify the consequences of not solving the problem. This step is nearly always missed out and it’s one of the most important steps in making the sale NOW. That’s why I’ll take my time explaining this one. So bear with me, you’ll get through it and be happy you did, you’ll see…
Have you ever heard the story of the moaning, groaning dog? No? Listen up…
On a warm day in the American South, Billy Bob was sitting on his front porch drinking iced tea. His 4 year old golden retriever Spike was lying next to him. Every few minutes he would make a moan or a groan, disrupting Billy Bob’s peaceful afternoon on his rocking chair.
A few hours went by and Spike was still moaning and groaning so Billy Bob decided to get up and see what the matter was.
He touched Spike’s golden head and rolled him over slightly.
And what did he see?
Spike had been lying on a nail that was protruding about a quarter of an inch from the floorboard.
He thought to himself… “well that’s stupid, why didn’t he just move?” and he realised…
It must have been uncomfortable for Spike, but it just didn’t hurt enough to move.
How many niggling problems do you have in your life that you could fix easily enough, and are probably worth fixing, but you don’t because they just don’t hurt enough, yet?
Sometimes the pain isn’t enough just yet to make your product or service desirable or urgent. Does this mean you should give up? No, no my dear friend. Not at all. You just have to try a little harder. Here’s what you must do… If the problem isn’t painful enough to solve immediately, you must tell her what could happen to her down the line if she doesn’t solve the problem right now. You see, It might not hurt much now, but things could always get worse.
For some reason, the human mind is far more powerful in moving us away from pain than it is in moving us towards an ideal vision. It does this automatically. This means, that amplifying the pain of indecision is a more powerful motivator to human action than showing the more positive outcome.
How might I do this with my marketing services? It could look a little something like this..
“I want you to write down your monthly business revenue for the past 12 months. Now write down what you’d like it to be. Let’s say your business turns over £10,000 a month but you’d really love to get to £20,000 per month. That’s a gap of £10,000 per month in revenue. By not improving your lead generation and conversion rates, it’s costing you £10,000 per month, every month.
Tell your customer this…
What is it costing her NOT to buy your product or service? How could things get worse?
S is for STORY (and) SOLUTION
You’ve described the Problem and amplified the consequences of not solving it. Your job is now to share a story about the solution.
If your product or service scratches your own itch, you might want to tell your own story from life with the problem to life with the solution. Or, it might be the story of how your solution improved the life of a client.
It doesn’t need to be a novel, but it needs to have some depth to it…
The story of a struggling business owner, Michael, who “re-mortgaged his house to fund a failing business and, with his family beginning to lose faith in him, no longer feeling like the man his wife fell in love with 5 years earlier, he decided to study the art and science of copywriting and successfully persuaded enough customers to pay off his mortgage in full and live a life of freedom, becoming a man of whom his family was proud” is more powerful than “Michael’s business was struggling until he bought my copywriting course and now he’s successful.”
This brings us back to the integrity of persuasion over the narcissistic nature of manipulation… Make sure the story you tell is true!
If you look hard enough, there’s always a story to be told.
T is for Transformation (and) Testimony
You’ve probably heard of the drill and hole analogy? Right? Sure, you have. You know then that people aren’t buying a drill, they’re buying something that helps them to make a hole they need. The transformation is the hole in the wall.
This is where the classic benefits > features comes in to play. Features only matter in that they help explain and rationalise the benefits. But it’s always the benefits the customer wants. 700 horse power means nothing if the car is slow.
When you’re selling something, people will be sceptical about what you say, so you want to back it up with as much proof as possible. This is why companies pay celebrities so much money, because we trust what they say more than we would an unknown actor.
It’s why informercials are 70% testimonials.
According to Ray Edwards, when people read your copy they’ll automatically ask themselves three things:
- Has this person been able to do what they are describing for themselves?
- Has this person been able to teach other people to achieve the results they are describing?
- Will this person be able to teach me how to achieve these results?
Before and after photos, client testimonials, studies and statistics or borrowing authority from experts. These are all ways to…
Prove that the Transformation your product or service offers is for real.
O is for OFFER
Problem defined and Amplified, Story of the Solution Told, Transformation proven with Testimonials: Your reader wants what you’re selling and they believe you, so now it’s time to make an offer.
You want to be clear and specific. The easiest way to do this is with bullet points following a subtitle saying “Here’s Exactly What You Get.”
Make sure the copy in this section still focusses on the transformation; the benefits more than the features.
You do have to mention the features, how many photos does the customer get for their money? How many pages are in the book? What is the dress made from? But this should only take up 20-25% of the copy.
A simple way to link features with benefits is to state the feature followed by SO or THAT…
“The dress is made of silk SO you’ll feel as good as you look.”
“This marketing course contains 8 modules THAT teach you everything you need to know to double your business in 60 days and live life on your own terms.”
Make the offer clear and tie it back to the Transformation.
R is for RESPONSE
The majority of business owners fail miserably here: asking for the sale. You’ve done the work, you’ve teed up the ball, now’s the time to drive.
You should not be shy about asking for the sale. Don’t wait for the prospect to ask you or go out of their way to figure out how they can buy. No. Tell the customer exactly what they need to do to buy from you. Remind them why it’s so important, and try not to give them a million options. TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO.
Inertia is easy. You need to jolt people into action. You can’t do that by being weak or fluffy. Get to the point. If you believe you have the solution to your customer’s problem, wouldn’t you be doing them harm by not sharing the conviction of your belief in a way that makes them want to make a positive change in their life?
Here’s an example you could copy and adapt for your own purposes…
“You’re at the crossroads. It’s time to decide. Either continue down the path of least resistance, as most people do, and have things stay the same (and possibly get worse) OR make a decision now that you’re going to change for the better. If you want something better to happen, you have to take the decision to make it happen. If you want to attract more customers to your business, you must make new marketing decisions. Make the choice now to grow your business and live with the freedom the extra money gives you.”
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P. is for PROBLEM
A. is for AMPLIFY
S. is for STORY (and) SOLUTION
T. is for Transformation (and) Testimony
O. is for OFFER
R. is for RESPONSE
What You Can Do Now
Use this formula to write new sales copy, or to re-write existing copy so you can make more sales and encourage more people to take an action that will improve their life.
By following this framework you’re more likely to make more sales, more regularly. Take action, immediately.
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