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Sell to Win Master the PAS Formula by Erica L Waddell from Post Road Marketing

Sell to Win: Master the PAS Formula



Copywriting is a great tool to use to capture your customer's attention and increase sales. One of the most popular formulas used in copywriting is the Problem, Agitate, and Solve formula. This formula helps to define the customer's problem and then build on it in order to create a sense of urgency for the solution. It helps to make sure that customers understand why they need your product and how you are providing the best solution for their needs.

Let’s break it down and look at each component of this strategy.


The most important part of this formula is the problem. Identifying the right problem your customers are facing improves your copy effectiveness. The easiest way to figure out people's problems is by asking questions:

    • What do you think could be slowing you down from reaching your goals? What else?
    • What impact do you think these challenges are having on your business
    • What impact are they having in other areas of your life?
    • How long have these challenges been going on?
    • What's the worst part about these challenges?
    • If you could turn all these challenges around and flow freely toward your goals, what would that do for you?
    • What would be the best part about that?
    • How does that impact you? 

Asking those questions allows you to get to the root of their issue and use it in your marketing. People want to feel seen and heard. Showing you understand their problem creates trust when you recommend a solution.

Some examples of a headline could be:

  • <Desirable outcome> without <pain point>
  • The <opposite of what the process typically is> way to <achieve desirable outcome>
  • <Question showcasing the biggest pain point your product/service solves>


The second component is agitating the reader; however, don’t take this as an opportunity to insult. The goal here is to show how this problem is impacting their life. Emphasize that they need to take action to resolve the problem. Pouring salt on a wound only makes that audience want a solution that much more. Ways to do this include:

Bring to their attention an alarming statistic

Compare life with and without your service/product

Highlight how their problem will get worse without your solution


So at this point, your audience knows they have a problem and that it’s negatively impacting them. It's time to show them there is a solution.

There are two elements to your solution: 1. Making that solution very obvious and 2. Creating a sense of urgency.

Make the solution enticing enough by stating the benefits (not the features). Talk about how the solution will make them feel when they are no longer struggling with that problem. At this point, they know they need to buy what you're offering.

You don't want them to struggle anymore, so create a sense of urgency. There could be a cart closing deadline, a fast-acting bonus, or a sale/coupon.

Applying PAS Formula

Use this strategy in all your copywriting, i.e. emails, website, social media posts, blogs, ads, etc.

Your main focus is to show that you have the solution to that annoying problem. This framework works because humans want to avoid pain. People are motivated to solve problems that impact their lives.

In conclusion, the Problem, Agitate and Solve copywriting formula is a powerful tool for improving sales. It puts the audience in the center of the conversation by pinpointing their problem and providing a solution that meets their needs. This approach appeals to both the heart and the head, creating an emotional connection between you and your customer. By understanding and utilizing this simple yet effective formula, your business can gain more customers, increase brand recognition, and boost sales.

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If you implement these strategies, you will get a return on your investment almost immediately!

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