Copywriting formulas are a great way to deliver powerful copy with proven effectiveness in less time. Instead of reinventing the wheel for each campaign, you can simply choose the right formula for your copy, and then modify it for your client, their product, and their customer.
The BAB (before, after, bridge) formula is a great way to engage the audience’s emotions and write copy that converts.
What is the BAB Formula?
The BAB formula is a three-step copywriting formula that presents the problem situation (before), the solution situation (after), and the solution itself (bridge).
It is based on the psychological principle that if you can make your audience feel the pain of the problem situation, and then the pleasure of the solution situation, they will be highly motivated to engage with your product.
The BAB formula is similar to the star-story-solution formula, except that it doesn’t require a “star”. The BAB formula can be used more broadly and applied to more widespread situations, rather than using a specific compelling story.
How to Use the BAB Formula
The BAB formula relies on identifying the problem state that your target customer or reader can connect and identify with, and then presenting both the problem and the solution in compelling, emotional language. Here are the components:
When depicting the problem, choose a problem that is relevant to your audience. Paint a picture of the world when facing this problem, including feelings of worry and anxiety. The audience should identify with this problem, and feel that it is happening to them right now.
Present a world in which this problem doesn’t exist. Use language that creates feelings of peace, freedom, and hope. Let the audience know how good the solution state feels for them, and get them interested in how this transformation took place.
Introduce your product as the solution that leads from the problem situation to the problem-free situation. Offer the audience a path into this better, happier place.
How Does the BAB Formula Work in Practice?
The BAB formula is so effective because it quickly accomplishes three things that boost conversions:
- Evoke emotions. When the audience identifies with the problem, then the copy connects with their existing feelings of doubt, worry, or anxiety. They feel the pain of the problem situation.
- “When you are disorganized at work, you constantly run the risk of missing important meetings, not delivering projects on time, and suffering from poor performance reviews that could ruin your whole career.”
- “When your car isn’t reliable, you have to constantly worry about whether you’ll be able to make it to work on time, pick up the kids from school, or be faced with unexpected repair bills.”
- “For people who own a small business, it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to create quality products, lead a team, and grow your business.”
- Build intrigue. When you evoke the solution situation, the audience feels relief from the pressure of their pain and worry, and are naturally more deeply engaged and curious about what led to the transformation. They are more receptive to hearing about your product.
- “Imagine a system that kept you on top of all your tasks and deadlines, allowed you to excel at work, and even saved you time each and every day so you can enjoy more freedom.”
- “When you don’t have to worry about your car, you have more energy for the things that really matter, and can care for your loved ones without the stress of unplanned delays and expenses.”
- “Every day, small business owners are saving time and money while delivering great products and growing their businesses at the same time.”
- Focus on benefits. The BAB formula is effective at creating emotions, so the natural focus is on the benefits of your product. Instead of focusing on facts and features, like the star-chain-hook formula, the before-after-bridge formula describes how the product benefits the customer, and how those benefits make them feel.
- “The new daily planner automates your schedule and reminders, so you never lose track of a task and never miss a deadline, and can do your work in less time.”
- “Our auto repair and replace program ensures that you always have the best, most reliable transportation without worrying about maintenance.”
- “Small business owners who use our productivity system spend less time on repetitive tasks and have more time for the critical decisions that help a business to thrive.”
When to Use the BAB Formula
The BAB formula is often used in cold campaigns where there is little to no existing awareness, because it creates attention and response so quickly. In email and digital marketing for new products, brands, or services, the BAB formula is a great way to generate an initial response.
In order for BAB to be effective, it is essential to know your customer and understand their pain points. If the audience does not connect with the problem in the “before” scenario, this formula is unlikely to be effective. So it’s best to use the BAB formula when you have a body of solid market research and customer profiles that allow you to accurately target your copy.
The BAB formula is famous for getting fast results from cold contacts. It is a powerful copywriting technique for building connection and intrigue quickly, and fostering the emotions that boost conversions.
If you’re interested in this copywriting formula you may want to check out our post ‘A Copywriter’s Guide to the Best Copywriting Formulas’ which contains an extensive list of all the best formulas.