The 1-2-3-4 Formula Explained

The best copywriting formulas always seem to be the simplest. It doesn’t get much simpler than 1-2-3-4, does it? The 1-2-3-4 copywriting formula can help you create persuasive, relatable copy for any audience.

What is the 1-2-3-4 Formula?

Each number in the 1234 formula corresponds with something a potential buyer will want to know before purchasing your client’s product or service. Lacking even one of these pieces can make your copy confusing, misleading, or ineffective.

Unlike most other copywriting formulas, the 1-2-3-4 formula isn’t a step-by-step guide for structuring your copy.

While you will generally want to place the numbers in order, the most important thing is to make sure they’re included in some fashion.

1. This is What I’ve Got For You

You can’t sell to buyers if you don’t explain what you’re selling first. This is where you’ll outline what you’re offering to your audience, whether it be a product, service, or deal.

A concise description of what you’re selling is often all you’ll need for this step. The other steps in the formula will do most of the heavy lifting.

2. This is What it’s Going to Do For You

Here is your opportunity to show off all the benefits and features of your product or service. 

Remember that benefits and features are not the same, but can be causally linked. For instance, a lighter may have the feature of being refillable, but the benefit is not needing to buy a new one when it runs out.

Most people tend to make purchasing decisions based on emotional motivators, which means benefits are going to be better selling points than features. 

Show your potential buyers a future where they’ve committed to this purchase. How has it improved their lives? How has it helped them reach their personal or professional goals?

3. This is Who I Am

This step may not always be necessary, but can help sell to new customers. Show them you are a trustworthy person who knows what they’re talking about.

A brief bio can do the job, especially if you include some relatable or personal information. Professional expertise can be a great selling point, but relatability is an even better way to engage your audience and build a strong relationship with them.

Putting a face to your name can also be helpful. Include a photo in your profile or the design of your site to show people you are a real person.

4. This is What You Should Do Next

Once you’ve laid out what you are selling, what it can do for your audience, and who you are, it’s time to pull out old reliable; the call to action.

Even if all of the previous steps have worked, readers won’t know how what to do without clear direction. Tell them exactly what steps to take from this point to follow through on the sale, subscription, etc.

Always double-check to make sure your CTA isn’t confusing, misleading, or easy to miss.

How Does the 1-2-3-4 Formula Work in Practice?

Now that we’ve gone over the basic framework, it’s time to take a look at the 1-2-3-4 copywriting formula in practice.

Stephanie Rose’s Garden Therapy blog is centered around selling not only wellness through gardening but her own personal journey as well. The beauty of her site is that all of the steps in the 1-2-3-4 formula are woven together.

She describes what she’s offering, gardening tips and recipes, and lays out the benefits, being therapeutic/healthy. Then she uses step 3 to sell herself and improve the appeal of what she is offering. She’s used all of her products and advice to improve her own wellbeing and wants to help people just like her achieve the same goal.

As shown by Stephanie’s site, this formula can work extremely well when each step works to support and improve the others.

When to Use the 1-2-3-4 Formula

Since the 1-2-3-4 formula is mainly a guideline on important information to include, it can be useful for any type of copy. Whether you’re creating a blog, store page, etc., this formula will keep you on track and give customers everything they need to make their purchasing decision.

However, it can be more useful in certain circumstances. As shown by Stephanie’s blog example above, this formula is most effective when there is a personal story to connect with the product or service being offered.


If you’re looking for a well-rounded copywriting guideline to follow during projects, the 1-2-3-4 copywriting formula is a great choice. It can be adapted to just about any type of copywriting and is extremely easy to follow.

Even if you decide to use other copywriting formulas, referring to this one can keep you from forgetting important information customers will want to know. No one said you had to use only one formula per copywriting project, after all.

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About Grant Simpson

Grant Simpson is a professional content writer with experience in SEO and B2C content. He also works as a freelance creative writer and is a published poet under the name g.c. simpson. Outside of work, he enjoys reading good books and has a cup of coffee within reach at all hours of the day.

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