As a marketer, you probably write a lot of copy.

However, it can often be difficult to know what to say, and how to say it, in order to appeal to your audience and get them to click-through.

But imagine if you could write email copy that was so compelling people just couldn’t resist clicking your emails and converting into paying customers?

To help you achieve that, here’s a copywriting technique known as the BAB formula you can use to write compelling email copy that improves your email click-through rate.


What is the BAB formula?

BAB is an acronym for “Before – After – Bridge” and is a framework you can use to structure the copy in your email marketing campaigns. It is a conversion-oriented technique designed to make a particular offer (like a new product or an upcoming event) appeal to the wants and needs of your reader.

The formula has three parts to it:


1. Show the readers their world before your solution.

You start by painting a picture of the reader’s world before your solution. The key to this part of the formula is to get your readers to identify themselves in the picture and to realize this is an issue that is affecting them.

Here’s how we might do this at Campaign Monitor as an example:

With so many things competing for a marketer’s time and attention these days, it can be hard to find time to create and send email marketing campaigns.

All marketers are busy and have a lot of things competing for their time, so a statement like this really resonates and helps them to see that this is an issue affecting them today.


2. Show your readers what the world would be like after your solution.

Next, you need to paint a picture of the utopian world your readers would experience after using your solution.

Continuing our previous example, here’s how we might do this for Campaign Monitor:

But imagine if there was a way to easily create beautiful email campaigns that worked on every device and drove revenue for your business.

The key to this part of the formula is focusing on a benefit the reader really cares about.

In our case, most marketers don’t wake up in the morning thinking about how to send beautiful email campaigns, they wake up thinking about how to drive revenue.

So by focusing this part of the formula on the things your readers really care about (driving revenue in our case), you can really sell them on how great their world can be after using your solution.


3. Bridge the two worlds together with your solution.

Now that you’ve made readers realize the problem they are experiencing and shown them how good life would be if the problem were solved, it’s time to present your product as the bridge between those two worlds.

Here’s how we might do this for Campaign Monitor as an example:

Campaign Monitor makes it quick and easy for marketers to create and send beautiful email campaigns that get results.


Discover more ways to improve your copywriting.


An example of the BAB formula in action

To help show you how the BAB formula can be put to use in your campaigns, I jumped into our drag-and-drop email builder and quickly created two fictitious campaigns promoting the Campaign Monitor product. In one campaign I used the BAB formula, and in another I didn’t.

Before BAB:


After BAB:


As you can see in the first email (Before BAB), the copy is largely focused on the product features and support and does little to speak to the pain points and desires of the target audience.

The second email, however, is completely focused on the reader. It speaks directly to their pain points and desires and positions the Campaign Monitor product as the bridge between the painful world and the desired world.

Why does the BAB formula work?

According to behavioral psychologist Adam Ferrier, humans are motivated to take action by two things: chasing pleasure or avoiding pain.

The BAB formula works so well because it stops you from focusing your copy on things like features and tools, and instead pushes you to present your product in the context of how it will help your customers either gain pleasure or avoid pain.


Want to learn more about compelling copywriting techniques? Keep reading.


Wrap up

The key to success with the BAB formula is truly understanding the pleasures your customers strive for and the pains they wish to alleviate.

Once you know that, you can start using the BAB formula in your email campaigns to help you write benefit-focused copy that converts.

Use the BAB formula in your next campaign

Campaign Monitor’s intuitive email builder makes it easy to send email campaigns that get results.