The Online Sales Copywriting Formula That Gets You Results

October 15, 2020 Content Marketing 2 comments

Online Copywriting Formula

Business card photo created by tirachardz –

Wish to improve your sales results and boost your conversions online? Tired of spending money on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter ads that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere?

Let me introduce to the new 4 Ps for online sales copywriting!

But first, let us look at the three major problems faced by every sales copywriter today:

  1. Gaining the attention of your reader
  2. Sustaining their interest
  3. Getting your reader to take action

As competition heats up in the online world (notice how many Facebook and Instagram ads you are getting these days), just writing about your product or service alone isn’t enough.

You need to write in a way that captivates your audience and gets them to respond to your copy.

In this article, I will teach you a time-trusted method of sales copywriting taught by Joe Vitale in his book Hypnotic Writing.

Inspired by ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle (remember his three timeless proofs?), it may just be the thing you need to turn your copy from droll to delightful.

Before we go into the technique itself, let us first pay homage to the great thinker who lived 2,500 years ago.

Aristotle’s Formula

A famed orator himself, Aristotle wrestled with the problem of attracting an audience and sustaining their attention throughout a speech.

To do so, he came up with a formula:

  1. Exordium: Make a shocking statement or tell a story to grab people’s attention
  2. Narratio: Post the problem the reader/ listener/ viewer is thinking about or having
  3. Confirmation: Offer a solution to the problem
  4. Peroratio: State the benefits of the action on the solution

If you’re familiar with one of the golden rules of advertising, this works pretty similarly to AIDA:

  • Attention: How to generate attention from your opening?
  • Interest: How to sustain the interest of your audience, by elaborating on the problem?
  • Desire: What solution can you offer? How can you show that it really works?
  • Action: What is the action which you want your reader/listener/viewer to take?

From these considerations, Vitale came up with this sales-focused copywriting formula that is a variation of the above theme:

  1. Problem
  2. Promise
  3. Proof
  4. Price

Let us drive right into it!

#1 Problem

People tend to think of themselves more than others. Especially when they face a problem.

Start your writing with a headline that calls out to the audience that you want by focusing on their problem. This should be as specific as possible.

Here are three examples to consider:

  • Fitness Programme: Wish to have more energy, feel and look 10 years younger? Tired of feeling exhausted and looking like a dog’s breakfast?
  • Life Coaching: Looking for greater happiness and fulfillment in your life? Dreaming of escaping from your current life?
  • Dental Services: Feeling a sharp pain in your lower jaw? Unable to chew properly due to bad teeth?

#2 Promise

Now that you’ve attracted your audience’s attention, your next job is to offer them your solution.

A good way to bring out your solution is to elaborate the steps and the approach which your solution will take to solve their problem.

Let us revisit the three earlier examples and come up with our promise statements:

  • Fitness Programme: You will lose stubborn tummy fat and gain a fresh glow in your complexion with our fun classes. And you can still enjoy delicious food!
  • Life Coaching: This 3-month programme includes 12 sessions specifically tailored to strengthen your holistic well-being – from your finances, relationships, professional development and career, to spiritual and psychological fitness!
  • Dental Services: Our dentists have helped over 10,000 patients to re-discover the joy of eating, smiling and speaking!

 #3 Proof

In the Internet age, everybody is skeptical of product or service claims. They are not just going to hear from you, but listen to their friends, family members and 3rd party review websites comparing your product against your competitors.

To bring down their guard, you’ll need to offer them proof.

Here are some good ways to do so:

  • Provide specific time-periods for your solution
  • Offer a guarantee (money-back or otherwise)
  • Share a customer testimonial
  • Give a warranty period
  • Any other convincing factor, like past experience or recent studies

Going back to our examples, it could look like this:

  • Fitness Programme: You will gain a new physique in 30 days (or less) if you follow our programme, or we’ll refund your money back.
  • Life Coaching: 100% of our clients have progressed to better paying jobs, more rewarding family relationships, and spiritually fulfilling lives.
  • Dental Services: The majority of our patients are able to regain the full-use of their teeth within 48 hours (or less).

#4 Price

No action, no sale. If you want people to respond to your ad, sales letter, email or social media post, you’ll need to ask for what you want.

If you want them to sign up for your newsletter, say so.

If you want them to buy your product, say so.

If you want them to register for your course, say so.

If you want them to download your guide, say so.

While doing so, try to be as specific as possible, and spell out the exact steps that they need to take. Oh, and don’t forget to include the price for doing so (if you are making them a sales offer).

Once again, let us go back to our 3 examples…

  • Fitness Programme: Take the first step to better health, physique and energy! Sign up today and enjoy a special price of only $99.50 (usual price $180) for the first 6 months of the programme.
  • Life Coaching: As Tony Robbins famously said: “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” Call our consultants now for a FREE initial assessment to determine if you are suitable for our programme at XXX-XXXXX.
  • Dental Services: Do not suffer in pain any longer. Make an appointment with us at YYY-YYYYY with any of our experienced dentists today.


I hope that the 4 P formula has been useful for you. It has certainly opened up my eyes to the possibility of using a handy way of formulating my advertising copy.

Once again, the 4 P formula works as follows:

  • Problem: Elaborate on the pain which your customer may experience. Write it from their perspective.
  • Promise: Outline the solution that your product or service can provide, with specific details.
  • Proof: Highlight evidence, research, testimonials and other proof points that your product or service offers.
  • Price: State categorically what actions your reader or viewer needs to take, and what he or she should expect next.

As an exercise, I’ll like you to think through the 4 Ps and apply it to your own brand or product.

Ask yourself what Problem your customer may face, highlight the Promise that you can provide them with, offer them Proof of why it works, and stipulate the Price for taking up your offer—even if it is free and just requires them to fill up a form!

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


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