I’ll have a P please Bob. Why you need the 4P’s to write persuasive copy

When it comes to planning copy, copywriters, me included, love a good acronym. Anything that helps us keep the message focussed and tight. Back in the day I was taught to use AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.

Grab your customers’ attention with a good, pithy headline which pulls them into the piece. Create interest by demonstrating your product; telling your readers you understand their problems; and getting them involved.

Create desire, want, and need by showing how your product will solve their problems. And show how other people have found your product or service useful, life-changing, indispensable.

Then get them to take action. Summarise the problem you’re solving and then tell them what to do next. Buy this product now and get a free widget. Call now for a quote. Click here for your download.

So that’s AIDA. But now I prefer to use the 4P’s. Promise. Picture. Proof. Push. It’s more descriptive, goes a little deeper than AIDA and is easier to remember.


Rather than getting attention purely for the sake of it, perhaps with a shocking or unbelievable headline, promise tells your reader exactly what they’re going to get. It shows what’s in it for them. It sets your stall out. It says ‘read on ‘cos you’re gonna love what’s coming up.’


Picture puts your readers right in the thick of it by creating a believable scene in their heads. It explains the benefits. And it shows you understand the pain or problem they’re experiencing. You want your reader to think ‘oh my, that’s exactly what I’m feeling’.

For example:

Imagine dropping a dress size in time for your holiday
Finding a new job can be stressful, right?
How does a 50% increase in your monthly income sound?
Ever wondered how to feed a family of four for under a tenner?


Show them how it’s done with proof. Explain the features. And how it works. Testimonials, charts, video demonstrations, case studies and success stories all show how the promise you made at the beginning has come to fruition. Your customers are looking for proof. Saying ‘we think we’re really good at what we do’ just won’t cut it.


Push is the big drum roll. It’s where you summarise the benefits and ask for a purchase or some other action. Don’t be afraid of the big push. This is what sales copy is about after all. By the time you’ve promised, pictured and ‘proofed’ – pushing your reader into action should be a doddle.

  • Julie Hall
    Posted at 17:37h, 26 August Reply

    Great article Sarah! I’ve not come across the 4 P’s in this way and it is perfect! Every small business should use this.

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