The PAS Formula: A Fool-Proof Copywriting Technique You Can Start Using Today (2023)

You’ve worked hard to create an awesome product.

In fact, it’s so good that you are hoping it will sell itself. But, sadly it doesn’t.

It’s up to you to connect with your audience. So you put on your marketing cap(Did ya get that at the marketing store?)

It’s time to write emails, sales pages, blog articles, Facebook adverts, heck — anything to try and reach your target market. You need good marketing collateral.

But there’s one consistent problem:no-one bothers reading it.

Your Facebook advert relevance score is sitting around 5 or 6, you’re getting less than 30% open rates on your emails, and the time-on-page report in Google Analytics shows that people are ditching your sales page in less than 8 seconds!

What are you doing wrong?!

You’re sinking money into driving traffic to your sales pages and still they all just bounce, bounce, bounce away.

It feels impossible to cut through the noise and reach your audience, doesn’t it?

And it’s so frustrating because you know your product is good! If people would just give you a chance, they’d quickly see that it’s worth every cent and can make a big impact on their lives.

Other businesses seem to have no trouble finding customers! Why not you? What’s the big conspiracy?

Buckle up, because today you’re going to learn something that could change your marketing game forever.

More...

A Trick So Simple... It Works.

They say a magician never reveals his secrets.

Today, you get to be my protégé. I’m going to show you a very simple copywriting formula that works for everything.

Emails? Yep.

Sales pages? Definitely.

Facebook adverts? Uh-huh.

(Video) Complete Copywriting Tutorial - Examples, Tips and Formulas

Once you know it, you’ll begin to see it like Matrix code everywhere around you. In fact, you won’t be able to ‘unsee’ it.

And I know it’s sneaky, but I’ve already used the formula on you... in this very article.

It is called: PAS formula.

It stands for:

  • P: Problem
  • A: Agitation
  • S: Solution

Let’s go in depth.

Problem:

If readers aren’t sticking around to read your content, it’s because they haven’t immediately identified a reason to stay. They need to see value immediately.

If you can describe a problem they have early, then you’ll stop ‘em dead in their tracks. You don’t need to overload readers with more information than necessary yet. You simply need to connect with their problems.

But there’s a catch: youreally have to hit the nail on the head.

You can’t make assumptions about what you think your target audience is struggling with. You have to know it with absolute certainty.

You need to be able to describe their problem even better than they can.

This is why one of the first steps in product development is to actually speak with your target audience and understand what it is that they are struggling with. How do they describe their problems? What words do they use? The more research you can do on this, the better.

‘Problem’ in action:

At the top of this post, I described the problem of writing content that people won’t even bother to read. Especially when it’s marketing content that you need people to read because it leads directly to sales.

I know that problem inside and out. It’s what has driven me to become a better writer over the years.

And I gave you stats and numbers to prove that I know it. Facebook relevance scores, click through rates, and time-on-page metrics. I’ve measured that stuff, and if you have too… then I’m immediately speaking to you in your language.

If you weren’t hooked, it’s either because I’ve missed the mark or because that’s not a problem you’ve been facing. In which case, you wouldn’t be my target audience.

(Video) Proven Copywriting Formula That Works - The Structure of Persuasive Copy - Dan Lok

But if you haven’t started to sell a product yet, trust me — this soon will become a problem you’ll face.

Why the ‘Problem’ works:

If you can describe someone’s problems better than they can, then you will have them hooked. It implies that there is a reason why you are talking about their problem. Readers will even begin to think that you must have the solution, considering you are so well versed in understanding it.

It’s almost impossible for a reader to click away if you’ve so perfectly captured what it is that they are stuck on.

The human brain has become so adept at solving problems that when it spies one it can’t yet solve, it gets stuck and we struggle to leave without resolving that tension.

It’s the same reason why cliffhangers work so well in TV shows and why, according to Backlinko, headlines that end with a question mark get 23.3% more social shares than those that don’t.

But don’t go for the sale yet. There’s still more to do first.

Agitation:

Sadly, it’s not enough to just describe someone’s problems in the PAS formula. You need to get psychological.

How do you do that? Take the very thing that hurts… and agitate it.

The agitation step means expanding upon the negative feelings and pain caused by that problem. It means describing why it hurts. At this point, you move from just explaining the problem to identifying how it feels to experience that pain and where that pain comes from.

You might have heard of ‘benefit vs. feature’ statements. But if you haven’t, here’s a quick refresher: A feature of a product is only valuable if the buyer can obtain a benefit because of it. By focusing on the benefits, a customer is more likely to perceive the value of the product and it's features.

Phew. That got wordy.

Here’s a quick example: having a 3-finned surfboard (feature) means nothing… unless you can explain to a surfer that 3 fins equals better traction on the waves (benefit).

Agitation is like the reverse of a benefits/features statement. Instead of a feature, you explain a problem. And instead of showing the benefits, you are going to show the anti-benefits, aka: the detriments.

For example, a problem could be a businessman’s lack of productivity, but the agitation looks at how he has to stay back late at work to compensate, thus spending less time with his family and ultimately feeling like he’s disconnected from his children.

Agitation in action:

At the top of this article, yes I followed the pain points with agitation. My key agitations were:

  1. You are losing money on ads that don’t convert
  2. It feels impossible to get your audience’s attention
  3. It’s frustrating because you know your product is good
  4. It’s unfair because other businesses seem to find success

In each of these cases I’ve advanced from the problem, which is that no-one pays attention to your content, and agitated that by focusing on how it feels to have that problem.

Why Agitation works:

If you’ve hooked them by describing their problem, agitation will start to get your readers to take an introspective look at themselves.

(Video) PAS Formula For B2B Copywriting Course | Best B2B Copywriting Formula PAS In 2021

We all have problems, but it’s the uncomfortable feelings of frustration and pain created by the problem that we really want to go away.

If you hit the nail on the head, then by now you’ve explained a problem and centered on all the awful feelings that stem from it. Your readers have been taken on a short journey and the issue is at the forefront of their mind, right where you want it to be.

Ending your article there would be absolute torture. But you’re not going to, of course. Your readers yearning for it, so it’s time to give them the last part. It's time for the...

Solution:

This is the final piece of the puzzle.

But rather than opening your advert / email / sales page / (or whatever medium you use to present your product with), you should first primeyour reader by showing them what problem you are about to solve and what awful feelings you can make disappear.

Once that's established, you can then introduce your solution to that problem (a.k.a. your product).

But you can’t just ignore all the work you did setting your readers up for this part. As you now introduce the features/benefits of your product, you can directly address the problems your product solves. After all, your readers are on the same page as you (literally).

Solution In Action:

Yes, right after I explained that getting people to read your marketing content is difficult, and after I agitated those feelings, I told you I was going to give you a copywriting formula to help.

If I had started this article with the formula, you probably wouldn’t have seen the practical relevance of this technique. Don’t put the cart (your product) before the horse (the problem).

Even at this point in the article, I’m still working to show you why this formula hooks your readers attention and keeps them interested, which was the problem I outlined at the start.

Why Solution Works At This Point:

Here’s why it’s so powerful to introduce your product after the Problem/Agitation: your readers will believe that your product is the solution before you’ve even said it.

This is the power of context.

If you’ve just taken time to carefully identify your reader’s problem, and you’ve agitated the negative emotions associated with that problem, then by the time your reader learns about your product, they will already know its value without you needing to explicitly say it.

Suddenly their perception of the product takes a whole new meaning.

This is a far cry from scrolling past an advert or article that led off by presenting the product first.

Readers are curious to learn more about how your product is going to fix that problem and get rid of those feelings.

Bonus Section O: “Outcome”

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Depending on your scenario, product, or the marketing piece that you are writing, you may also want to include the optional ‘O’ for ‘Outcome’.

This is where you explain — with exampleswhat the reader can expect to get, feel or do once they purchase the product.

The point of this section is to show what life could be like after your solution. How might it feel to no longer have those problems? What might they do with their extra time? What can they look forward to?

It’s the cathartic resolution to the pain journey you’ve just taken the reader on. Time to roll credits… or rather, roll the Call-To-Action.

Advance your copywriting skills even further!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Great copywriting is the combination of marketing theory and good writing skills. But you can keep learning more for free at Thrive Universitywith these courses that arestill relevant today.

Get our free Headline Swipe File, or take the course From Internet Rubbish to Content Gold, both of which will help you advance your copywriting skills today.

And if you're a Thrive Suite user, you can access the exclusive Landing Page Copywriting Course.

Try the PAS Formula Out!

Not only do I love the PAS formula because it helps to connect with an audience, but it helps me to know where to start.

When I’m working on sales pages, emails, or even something as small as opt-in forms, if I’m ever stuck with how to get started… I’ll turn to PAS.

(Video) A super simple (but super effective) copywriting formula

And the PAS formula doesn’t have to be exclusive to long form content at all! It can be as simple as just a headline + tagline + call-to-action.

Next time you sit down to a blank page, give it a shot and see how you go. And remember, if your work still isn’t converting, then do some more market research. Your initial ‘problem’ might be slightly off.

Let me know if you found this valuable by dropping me a comment below!

FAQs

What is copywriting pas formula? ›

One of my go-to copywriting formulas is PAS: Pain, Agitate, Solve. Or Problem, Agitate, Solution. It's a favourite because it works for all kinds of marketing, from landing pages to flyers.

How do you use PAS formula? ›

The PAS formula gives your writing a simple chronology: P = Accurately identify the problem. A = Agitate the problem. S = Solve the problem with your product or service.

What is the formula for copywriting? ›

Attention – Interest – Desire – Action (AIDA)

AIDA is one of the most standard copywriting formulas for most any type of marketing copy. It's been used for direct mail, television and radio, sales pages, landing pages, and so much more.

What techniques are used by the copywriter? ›

7 Critical Copywriting Techniques That Everyone in Business Must Know
  • Sneak into your customer's mind.
  • Features & benefits.
  • Be specific.
  • Get people to believe you.
  • Overcome objections.
  • Nudge.
  • Call to action.

What is PAS model? ›

a model of intelligence based on the theory of Alexander Luria , according to which intelligence comprises separate abilities for simultaneous and successive processing. The four elements of the model are planning, attention, simultaneous processing, and successive processing. [

What is the PAS framework? ›

PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solution) is a copywriting model that stands for problem, concern and solution. It helps your customers identify their problem, the action they need to take to solve it, and then points to your product as the simple solution to their problem.

What is an avatar in copywriting? ›

The Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) is a character profile created by marketers to uncover the benefits they'll use to sell a product or service.

What is Aida copywriting? ›

AIDA. Attention, interest, desire, action. It's the classic copywriting formula, studied and used by almost every copywriter on the planet.

How can a beginner start copywriting? ›

A Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide To Effective Copywriting
  1. Read, read, read. Writing and reading go hand in hand. ...
  2. Know your client, their products, and services. ...
  3. Know your target audience. ...
  4. Know the competitors. ...
  5. Make it convincing. ...
  6. Start by making a layout. ...
  7. Write with a free mind. ...
  8. Experiment.
8 Dec 2021

What are the four P's of copywriting? ›

The 4 Ps structure consists of promise, picture, proof, and push in place of the four elements of attention, interest, desire, and action. The 4 Ps provide more expansive elements than AIDA, which is why it's a favorite of many top copywriters, notably John Forde.

What is AIDA and PAS? ›

So there you have it, five best copywriting formulas: AIDA (Attention–Interest–Desire–Action) PAS (Problem–Agitation–Solution) Before–After–Bridge.

What are the 5 levels of copywriting? ›

I called it POWER Copywriting, an acronym for the five steps in the copywriting process: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review. This represents years of copywriting experience boiled down to the basics.

How do I become a good copywriter? ›

10 top tips for being a successful copywriter
  1. Know the landscape. ...
  2. Find out what type of copywriter you want to be. ...
  3. Have realistic expectations. ...
  4. Research the company (and person) you're applying to. ...
  5. Use social media to build up a relationship. ...
  6. Don't oversell yourself. ...
  7. Don't make spelling or grammar mistakes.
5 Dec 2013

Why is it called copywriting? ›

'Copy' comes from the word 'copiae'. A Latin word that dates back to the 1300s meaning 'an abundance of writing'. For centuries following, the word tumbled through a number of similar meanings. That is until the 1800s, when journalism and newspapers BOOMED.

Who created PASS theory? ›

The PASS (Planning, Attention-arousal, and Simultaneous-successive )THEORY of intelligence has been developed by J.P Das, Jack Naglieri, and Kirby (1994). They proposed that three functional units of brain determine the intellectual activity of an individual.

What is planning in Pass model? ›

The first process is Planning, which involves executive functions responsible for controlling and organizing behavior, selecting and constructing strategies, and monitoring performance. The second is the Attention process, responsible for maintaining arousal levels and alertness, and ensuring focus on relevant stimuli.

Who proposed PASS theory? ›

J.P Das, Jack Naglieri, and Kirby created the PASS (Planning, Attention-arousal, and Simultaneous-successive)THEORY of intelligence (1994). They argued that an individual's intellectual activity is determined by three functional units of the brain.

What does copywriting mean in marketing? ›

Copywriting is the strategy of creating persuasive content for Marketing and Sales with the goal of generating conversions and sales. Some examples are emails, websites, advertisements, catalogs and others. The professional assigned to write and develop the “copy” is the copywriter.

How many big ideas should you have in each email copywriting? ›

Keep it simple

Some of the best direct-response copywriters and marketers have proven that focusing your copy on one central idea or theme leads to better response rates. When you incorporate the one big idea in to your writing your copy will be more succinct.

What is before after Bridge? ›

Before-After-Bridge (or) BAB, is a copywriting technique that revolves around the basic idea of getting someone from a bad place to a better place with your help. It is designed to make your product/service appeal to the wants and needs of your reader and compel them to take the necessary action.

What is AIDA example? ›

AIDA model example

Awareness: To create brand awareness, the marketing team uses more digital tools and resources to reach their customer base. They create active social media channels and share branded hobby-related content to increase the number of people who know about their store.

Why is AIDA important in marketing? ›

The main advantage of the AIDA model is its simplicity. The straightforward design makes the model timeless and thus it can still be used nowadays. For example, if marketers want to optimize the online presence of their brand, they can use the AIDA model as a checklist to identify potential weaknesses.

What does AIDA stand for? ›

The AIDA model, tracing the customer journey through Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action, is perhaps the best-known marketing model amongst all the classic marketing models.

How do you pick an avatar for copywriting? ›

With this in mind, here's four key pointers to keep in mind when choosing your avatar:
  1. 1 ) Don't simply focus on whether an avatar wants to buy the product you're selling or the solution that your product provides. ...
  2. 2) Don't use guesswork. ...
  3. 3) Go deep. ...
  4. 4) Don't make your avatar an average of several different audiences.

Is your avatar yourself? ›

Your Avatar is You, However You See Yourself, and You Should Control Your Experience and Your Data.

Is your avatar your own? ›

Do you remember Second Life, your very own 3D, virtual world where your imagination is brought to life with real people and places created by you? Well, “real people” meaning avatars: you, but your virtual you.

How do I write an AIDA letter? ›

AIDA: A Four Step Philosophy of Cover Letter Writing
  1. A is for Attention. Grab It! As readers first work their way through piles of job applications, they merely scan and skim. ...
  2. I is for Interest. Build It! ...
  3. D is for Desire. Create It! ...
  4. A is for Action. That's What You Want!

What is Quest copywriting? ›

QUEST Formula

Qualify, Understand, Educate, Stimulate, and Transition. As if your readers are going “on a quest” so to speak, it's the process your prospects go through when reading your sales copy.

What is Aida and PAS? ›

So there you have it, five best copywriting formulas: AIDA (Attention–Interest–Desire–Action) PAS (Problem–Agitation–Solution) Before–After–Bridge.

What does CTA stand for in copywriting? ›

A call to action is an invitation for a user to take some desired action. You often see call to action examples in persuasive writing. Once a brand has made its case in a blog post or video, for instance, they'll often include a call to action at the end.

What is an avatar in copywriting? ›

The Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) is a character profile created by marketers to uncover the benefits they'll use to sell a product or service.

What is a DIC email copywriting? ›

DIC is just a framework for understanding what's usually going on in an email--not necessarily a formula. Second thing: too much. Your email is doing too much. You're trying to overload a reader with benefits. But this makes your email feel stuffed, bloated, diluted.

What is AIDA example? ›

AIDA model example

Awareness: To create brand awareness, the marketing team uses more digital tools and resources to reach their customer base. They create active social media channels and share branded hobby-related content to increase the number of people who know about their store.

Why AIDA model is useful? ›

The main advantage of the AIDA model is its simplicity. The straightforward design makes the model timeless and thus it can still be used nowadays. For example, if marketers want to optimize the online presence of their brand, they can use the AIDA model as a checklist to identify potential weaknesses.

What 3 elements should be in the CTA copywriting? ›

But by altering the core elements – colour, copy and placement – a CTA button becomes an incredibly testable and crucial page element. With the right tweaks, you can convince qualified users to take action (and make them think it was their idea all along).

How do you write a good CTA? ›

Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action
  1. Use a strong command verb to start your CTA. ...
  2. Use words that provoke emotion or enthusiasm. ...
  3. Give your audience a reason why they should take the desired action. ...
  4. Take Advantage of FOMO. ...
  5. Know your devices. ...
  6. Don't be afraid to get a little creative.
6 Sept 2022

Is your avatar yourself? ›

Your Avatar is You, However You See Yourself, and You Should Control Your Experience and Your Data.

Is your avatar your own? ›

Do you remember Second Life, your very own 3D, virtual world where your imagination is brought to life with real people and places created by you? Well, “real people” meaning avatars: you, but your virtual you.

What is an example of an avatar? ›

2. Sometimes abbreviated as AV, an avatar is an icon or digital image used to represent one's self in an online discussion. For example, on the Computer Hope forum, many of the members have custom avatars. The picture is an example of the avatar or userpic Computer Hope uses on social networks, chat, and forums.

Who are the best email copywriters? ›

The 20 Best Email Marketers You Should Follow And Steal From
  • Hana Abaza: @HanaAbaza. ...
  • Michael Katz: @MichaelJKatz. ...
  • Ian Brodie: @ianbrodie. ...
  • Nate Green @TheNateGreen. ...
  • Kristin Bond @EmailSnarketing. ...
  • Jeanne Jennings: @jeajen. ...
  • Dan OShinsky: @danoshinsky. ...
  • Bill McCloskey @BillMcCloskey.
1 Dec 2016

How can a beginner start copywriting? ›

A Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide To Effective Copywriting
  1. Read, read, read. Writing and reading go hand in hand. ...
  2. Know your client, their products, and services. ...
  3. Know your target audience. ...
  4. Know the competitors. ...
  5. Make it convincing. ...
  6. Start by making a layout. ...
  7. Write with a free mind. ...
  8. Experiment.
8 Dec 2021

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