Copywriting,  Writing Tips

Storytelling in Copywriting: A 3-Step Formula to Help You Write Your Sales Pages

It’s staring intimidatingly back at you – the blank white screen.

The cursor flashes and you find yourself hoping, wishing, praying for words to suddenly appear.

And not just any words. The words. You need to write a sales page that gets people excited about your newest product but where do you start? How do you get everyone to see how great your thing is?

You digitally scribble a few words on the screen hoping still for inspiration to strike you over the head.

You talk about the benefits of buying your product.

You elaborate with the features to show exactly why your product is the best one out there.

Then you finish up with a strong(ish) call-to-action and hit publish.

Someone will see how amazing you are, right? Someone will buy, right?

But all you hear is crickets. Why can’t other people see how much hard work you’ve poured into making your product so great? Why can’t everyone see why your product is so much better than the competition?

The problem isn’t traffic. People are landing on your pages but they’re just not sticking around to hear you out and give you a chance.

The problem isn’t the quality of traffic. You’re getting people from organic search results and your professionally written Facebook ads.

The problem? The problem might be the story you’re telling with your copywriting.

Are you telling your story? Or are you telling your buyer’s story?

“Storytelling” has become a big time buzzword in the copywriting world. It seems the advice to tell a story in your copy is as common as the age old advice of stating benefits over features.

The reason is simple: You need the person reading your copy to see herself in your words.

You need her to instantly feel like what you’re writing is meant specifically for her – not for the masses.

You need her to instantly understand that you get it and you know the pains she’s up against.

You also need her to instantly see the type of transformation she can expect by buying from you.

Those key points are all told best in the form of a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Still, sitting in front of a computer screen is challenging. Your mind goes blank as you try to figure out where to start and how to write.

The Formula for Storytelling in Copywriting

To help you break past the fear of the blank white screen, here’s a simple 1, 2, 3 step formula for you to follow. Fill this out and you’ll have the makings of your sales page. Then, all that’s left to do is fill it in with a healthy heap of emotional appeal and a couple of cups of your brand’s personality and your sales page will be written and ready to test.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen (old fashioned style) and let’s get started:

Step 1: Write the Specific Pains Your Customer is Feeling Right Now.

At the top of the paper, write as many of the pain points your customer is feeling as possible. Make them personal and ultra specific to your customer. This will be easier the better you understand her worldview.

For example, if you’re selling the couch to 5k running program to new moms, a few of the pain points you might write include:

  • Needs to lose the baby weight post pregnancy
  • Is sick of feeling unattractive to her husband
  • Misses being able to work out post-baby and isn’t sure how to get started again
  • Needs a way to get moving that she can do with her baby since it’s hard to find childcare

The list might go on and on but you’ll start to paint a picture in your own mind about her frustrations. That’ll help you develop the eye-catching headline. Instead of

Get In Shape After Your Baby” 

you can write,

You Don’t Have to Find Childcare to Train for a 5K Postpartum”

The second is far more tangible and specific. You’re nixing the excuse about finding childcare and promising a specific end result (we’ll get to that in a second). The intended audience (new moms) will immediately see themselves in the copy because you addressed childcare and the postpartum training. That alone will make them want to read further.

Is the headline longer? Yes. Is it more effective? Yes.

Step 2: Write the Transformation Your Product Will Help Her Achieve

At the bottom of the paper, write the way your audience will change after they start using your product.

Continuing with the couch to 5k example, you’ll probably write the following:

  • Can run a 5k without stopping
  • Can run a 5k in less than 35 minutes
  • Will lose 5 lbs throughout the course of the program

Pick one transformation to work from. For this example, it’d probably be best to choose the first one: Run 5k without stopping. That’s a specific enough goal that a person can visualize themselves doing it, and still a broad enough goal that it won’t pigeon hole your product too much. Niching is good, but too much niche can limit you.

This transformation should be included in the headline. If you didn’t include it in the headline after step 1, go back and add it in. Revise your headline to include both the pain and the end result the person will get after working with you. It needs both.

Step 3: Fill in the Steps It’ll Take to Get From Step 1 to Step 2

Great! You’ve connected with your audience in step 1 by showing you know the specific pains your audience is feeling. Then, in step 2 you defined specifically how your buyer’s life will improve by buying from you. Now, it’s time to fill in the rest.

In step 3, you’re going to fill in the steps it’ll take to get from point pain to point changed.

For the example, this would include things like:

  • Weekly timed training runs to get you slowly back in the swing of things
  • An app that tells you the time while you’re running you can turn on and put in your stroller while you run with your baby
  • Motivational tips to help you balance baby and running
  • A private Facebook group where you can connect with other new moms going through the same process as you

This ends up being your features list, but when you write it from the lens of your customer’s journey to get from start to finish, you inherently add benefits to each statement. Flesh these out in bulleted statements or in short paragraphs to start painting the picture for your buyer about what it’ll look like when she buys from you.

Bringing it All Together Into a Story

Following these three steps, you’ll have your story.

  • You’ll have your beginning – the pain
  • You’ll have your ending – the transformation
  • And you’ll have the middle – the journey your buyer will take with you

Get really specific with each step making your buyer the hero of the story. Talk to her. Use your words to show her exactly what her life will look like when she buys from you because ultimately…

…storytelling in copywriting is all about using your buyer’s pain, pursuit, and point of success to persuade her to buy from you.

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