I've been writing copy for the past several months. I somehow started out writing copy for a multi-million dollar direct response company online. Unfortunately I am no longer with them and have moved on to bigger and better things with IM. For those of you who write articles or copy for a living I am sure you have heard of Michel Fortin. He is a genius copywriter, and I want to share with you one of his best copy writing formulas. If you want to write powerful copy, you must go on a QUEST. Here?s what ?QUEST? means: Q = Qualify Qualify the reader and prepare her for what?s about to be discussed. And it?s also to weed out the non-prospects, tire-kickers, time-wasters, etc. That?s why it?s good to ask questions at the beginning or set the stage by giving a scenario they can immediately relate to, or talk about how terrible things are with ?this? or ?that? problem, or how nice it would be to solve ?this? or ?that? problem. You also try to denominate who usually has this problem (I often incorporate this into a story), who this solution is for and/or who it is not for. The aim is not only to create awareness, but also and more importantly to qualify the reader or drive home how qualified the reader is for the offer. This is especially true where there?s a bit of an education involvedâ€‰?â€‰where the prospect doesn?t really know (or is not fully aware) there is a problem. The problem may be in the back of their minds, but my job is to bring it to the top. In fact, this is why the next part is crucial and flows from the first. Because, the next step is to? U = Understand Understand the reader by reaching out to them. You empathize with them. You expand on the problem. You agitate their pain. You not only get the reader to identify themselves with you, but also magnify the problem by making it more real and vivid in their minds. You ?add salt on the wounds,? so to speak. In other words, you share their pain, and tell them how more painful it is either because there is no solution, or because competing or previous solutions are not as good for whatever reasons. It?s where you bring the problem to the top of their mindsâ€‰?â€‰and it?s why, once you?ve reached to the top ?of the moutain,? it becomes an easy downhill trek afterwards. You can also use this section to tickle their curiosity about a potential solution, and insert specific benefits other solutions don?t have, but without fully introducing or disclosing ?your? solution yetâ€‰?â€‰i.e., a unique selling point, superior ?nice-to-have? benefits, something new or different that will be linked with the offer later on, the story behind the product, etc. (In fact, if the creator of the product used to be in the same situation, I would include a story behind the product based on that fact. It?s also a great place to build credibility and give the reader reasons why they should keep reading. Readers identify themselves with the author and say to themselves, ?Hey, I felt the same way!? Or, ?I certainly don?t want to go through what she went through!? Etc.) When you introduce the solution later on, you can tie it to all of these. It?s like telling the reader: ?Wouldn?t it be great, if?? (And later, ?Well, there is a solution that??) And that leads to the next step, which is to? E = Educate Educate the reader on the fact that there is a solution. Your solution. This is where you expand on the fact that a solution exists, and that your solution is unlike all the others, as well as the reasons why it is different. This is where you introduce the product or service (but not the offer). Usually it?s in the middle of the copy. It?s ?the summit of the sales mountain,? if you will.) Also, it?s a great place to add a lead-capture form, if you didn?t use the forced opt-in process. That is, if people landed immediately on your salesletter organically, without going through a landing page first. (We tested locations, and if you need to add an opt-in form on a salesletter, this seems to be the highest pulling area.) It?s also a great place to build on and emphasize credibility introduced in the ?U? portion of the formula. You should include a lot of proof here, and build on the believability element. This includes credentializing the author and why should one listen to her. It?s also a great location to talk about the features of your product or service, dispell any myths, and respond to any objections regarding the product or service. It?s also the location where I add proof elements, case studies and testimonials. In fact, I tend not to add any testimonials until this section. Why? Because testimonials too early tend to scare off people. Of course, this depends at what stage of the buying process the market is in. If they are vigorously aware of their problem and they?re hurting already, testimonials a little early won?t hurt. But in tests, removing testimonials early in the copy actually increased response in most cases. Once they?re educated, the next step is to? S = Stimulate Stimulate the reader on the offer. This where the offer is made and the value buildup really starts. You list and expand on the benefits. (In ?E,? I start to talk about features and describe the product. But in here, I talk benefits, benefits, benefits? And I link them to the features described in ?E.? It?s the place where the offer really starts taking shape. Also, it?s a great location to add value to the offer, such as offering premiums, making guarantees and inserting value boosters, such as adding scarcity and making apples-to-oranges comparisons. (?Apples to oranges? means to compare the price to the cost of not buyingâ€‰?â€‰rather than to the price of some alternative. In other words, it?s comparing the value of your offer not with the value of a similar or competing product but with the value of all possible alternatives, including missing out on the potential benefits, pecuniary losses, value of unique benefits, ultimate costs of not using the product, etc.) Use this section to link the offer to the rest of the formula. That is, you restate some of the problems mentioned in ?Q,? how the solution answers the greater problems talked about in ?U,? and how it links to all to the features and benefits described in ?E.? After that, you then? T = Transition Transition the reader from prospect to customer. The famous ?let?s wrap this up? or ?call to action? section. It?s the response device. The close, in other words. This includes the order form, the price, a special offer, the P.S.?s, additional testimonials (especially results-based testimonials), making the reader feel as if they already own the product, etc. It?s a great place to summarize the offer, and perhaps introduce new points not discussed to this point to spur action, such as adding an as-of-yet undisclosed benefit or bonusâ€‰?â€‰also called ?pot sweeteners.? These words come straight from the man himself, and I use this formula daily to generate an income with writing copy. Hope you find this useful.