Hook, Story, Offer: The 3-Step Method for Selling Online

Hook, Story, Offer: The 3-Step Method for Selling Online

Heard of the “Hook, Story, Offer” format for writing sales copy recently and want to dive deeper?

Then you’ve come to the right place!

In this guide, we’ll look at what the “Hook, Story, Offer” framework is and how it works — we’ll even dive into specific tips and examples for crafting each of the three phases.

I’ll show you how to create a compelling hook, story, and offer for your business.

Let’s get to it!

Or click below to get the book that started the conversation about “Hook, Story, Offer” in the first place — for FREE.

Get the Book That Started it All (FOR FREE)

What is the “Hook, Story, Offer” Framework?

In online marketing, the “Hook, Story, Offer” framework is a simple and effective method for writing sales copy anywhere and everywhere — for ads, emails, landing pages, sales funnels, soap opera sequences, and more.

What Is the “Hook, Story, Offer” Framework?

It’s exactly what it sounds like…

Hook — It all starts with a hook. This is a headline and subheading that grabs your target market’s attention… something that triggers their curiosity and makes them read just a little bit more.

Story — Next, you tell an interesting and compelling story about how the product you’re selling changed your life… and how it changes your customers’ life as well.

Offer — Finally, you make your offer. And the price/value ratio is so compelling that your target market will have trouble saying “no”.

That’s the gist of it.

We’ll dive into more detail below for each of those three phases.

But first…

I highly recommend watching this 12-minute video from Russell Brunson before continuing on. This will give you a ton of valuable information about the “Hook, Story, Offer” framework…

Step 1. The Hook

All good sales copy starts with a hook: something that stops your target market in their tracks and makes them think, I’ve got to know more!

This could be an awesome headline, a video, a gif, or something else.

Whatever it takes.

The goal is to make them pause — so that they stay a few more moments to hear what you’ve got to say.

Let’s look at some awesome examples.

Examples of the Hook

The place where you’ll most often use the hook is on your advertisements and in your emails — the only goal of those is to get the person to click.

It’s also good to have a hook somewhere at the top of your landing page.

If there’s an image, video, or graphic on your marketing asset, that’s going to draw the attention of your viewers before anything else… especially when they’re browsing through social media.

So pay close attention — will your visual element make them stop scrolling?

Here’s an example of an ad we’re currently running that catches the eye.

Notice the bright colors and bizarre images in the video? That’s intentional. We want to override people’s mindless scrolling to get them to stop.

Then they’ll read the title of the video: “Why Websites Don’t Work” and they think to themselves, What? I paid good money for my website! or Maybe they’re right. MY website isn’t working very well.

Either way, we’ve got ‘em.

The rest of the copy gives them a tiny bit more detail and tells them to click on the button if they want to learn more.

This next example comes from Bryan Ward of Third Way Man — it’s an awesome email that makes it really difficult not to click…

Examples of the Hook, Bryan Ward.

Imagine how this would catch the attention of someone who’s going through exactly what he’s talking about.

They would have to click to learn more!

Also, notice how he doesn’t tell you what he’s offering… he simply tells you how what he’s offering is going to solve your problem.

That creates curiosity that drives people forward.

How to Craft a Compelling Hook

Now let’s talk about how to create a compelling hook — copy that drives people to your landing page.

Three tips.

1. Use Curiosity

If you’re trying to figure out how to create a hook in your sales copy, the first thing you should think of is creating curiosity in your target market.

Curiosity is a powerful force.

And it drives humans to want to know more.

Check out the video below — the first tip, in particular — to see how Russell Brunson helped a client change just one headline to increase curiosity and drastically improve conversion rate.

Creating curiosity might sound difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s how you do it.

  • Determine the problem that your dream customer wants to solve and tell them that you’ve got a new solution.
  • Explain what your solution doesn’t include (i.e. all the stuff they’ve tried before that hasn’t worked).
  • Tell them what they need to do to learn more.

2. Leverage Empathy

One of the main reasons that someone leaves a landing page or scrolls past an advertisement is because it doesn’t feel like the copy is written for them.

They don’t feel understood.

So they leave.

That’s why empathy is so important.

You’ve got to prove to your target market that you understand them fully and that you empathize with their situation.

Then they’ll be far more likely to keep reading… because it feels like the solution you’re offering is specifically for them.

Here’s an example of Jon Morrow — whom I consider the king of empathetic writing. Check it out…

How to Craft a Compelling Hook, Empathy example.

That’s how you add empathy to your copy.

Explain where you used to be, or simply explain where your target market currently is — be kind and gentle about it, but also be honest.

They’ll want to learn more if you prove that you really understand where they’re coming from.

3. Make a Promise

What problem are you solving for your target market?

Make them a big promise that catches their interest.

Imagine that your target market wants to lose weight. Now imagine how compelling this promise would be…

Lose 30 Pounds in 3 Months Without Giving Up The Foods You Love!!

They’re imagining that they will have to give up the foods they love… and so making a big promise that tells them their worst fears are misguided is pretty inspiring.

Here’s a real-world example from our Traffic Secrets landing page.

Check out the promise we make at the top of the page.

How to Craft a Compelling Hook, make a promise example.

Your target market wants their problem solved.

Promise to solve it without any of the pain that they’re expecting to experience… and they’ll beg you to learn more.

Our Imaginary Hook

Let’s give it a try!

Imagine that we’re trying to sell ClickFunnels to a new group of entrepreneurs and marketers who’ve never heard of our software before.

Below, I’ll take my best swing at crafting a compelling hook that could easily fit inside an advertisement or email.

Notice how I make use of the three tips above.

Read mine. And then try it for yourself!


You could have sworn that it was going to work this time.

You spent months building your product and countless hours trying to perfect it.

Then you launched.

You hit the big red button.

And so few people signed up that you’re wondering if maybe it was all a big mistake.

You can’t believe it didn’t work AGAIN.

This has happened in the past.

You just thought this time would be different.

We understand.

And we want to help — in fact, we KNOW we can help because we’ve helped tens of thousands of entrepreneurs just like you to build 6- and 7-figure businesses.

It’s not a pipedream.

It’s a reality.

And you don’t need to create a new product or launch a new service — you just need a sales funnel.

What’s a sales funnel?

I’m glad you asked. Go here to find out → LINK

Step 2. The Story

You’ve hooked the reader’s attention. 

And maybe the last thing you think you should do is tell them a story… won’t you lose their attention? 

Not if it’s a good story

After all, humans love stories.

And compelling stories don’t just entertain us, they persuade us, they make us reflect, and executed correctly by a marketer, they make us pull out our wallets.

The questions you have to ask yourself are…

  • What is a compelling story you could tell that naturally guides people toward your product or service?
  • How do you tell that story in a compelling and irresistible way?

Let’s look at some examples, then I’ll give you some tips, and we’ll finish by practicing!

Examples of the Story

Our first example of excellent storytelling comes from MUD/WTR — an eCommerce company that sells an alternative morning beverage to coffee.

Check it out…


MUD\WTR is a coffee replacement. It tastes like chai and cacao had a hippie child.

♬ Promoted Music

Notice how his own story easily resonates and runs parallel to his target market’s story? But there’s only one difference: he found a solution. And he’s sharing it.

That’s how your story should work, too.

The story you tell is really just your target market’s story… but it’s about you or someone else you know — that way, you can approach your dream customers indirectly and prove to them that you really do have the solution to their problems.

Our next example comes from the middle of our Traffic Secrets landing page where Russell transitions from building curiosity to solving the target market’s problem.

Here’s the copy…

Just 5 short years ago, I launched a new company called ClickFunnels, and as the “non-technical” co founder who had no skills in coding, I wasn’t able to help create the software, but I knew my role.

When the cart opened on launch day, I needed to have a pipeline of people begging to sign up for their free trial…

And everyday after that, I needed to make sure I kept filling our funnels with our dream customers.

To do that, I had to learn how to get traffic from dozens of different sources…

I couldn’t rely on just Facebook, or just Google.

I had to learn how to do things differently… I had to be smarter.

Five Years And Thousands Of Tests Later…

That was 5 years ago…

During that time, we almost lost ClickFunnels.

We had a great product, but it was very hard to get people to know we even existed.

We tested everything…

If someone said this would get us more traffic, we tested it, on our own dime.

Most of the things we tried didn’t work…

But a few of the things, the “REAL SECRETS” that did work started to compound on each other.

Each new secret would help us to tap into a new stream of our dream customers!

What seemed impossible before (getting a consistent flow of our dream customers into our funnels), was now a reality.

Again, notice how his story relates to his dream customers and allows him to talk about them indirectly, proving that he knows where they’re coming from?


So how do you do that?

How to Craft a Compelling Story

Let’s talk about how to craft a compelling story — one that drives people seamlessly toward conversion.

Three tips!

1. Start in the Middle

You might think the place to start your story is at the beginning.

But I’d suggest otherwise.

If you start your story by giving people all of these details about stuff they don’t care about without giving them a peak at what’s coming… they’ll likely stop reading.

So start with the best stuff first and build a bit of curiosity.

Here’s how I did that in some recent copy I was working on for a “Mindset Mastery” course (which is about exactly what it sounds like).

How to Craft a Compelling Story copy.

That simple line at the beginning — “Three words changed my life” — gives people an idea of what’s coming up and encourages them to keep reading.

If I had started this copy with the following line, it would be far less intriguing.

The point?

Give people something to look forward to with your first line. Build curiosity and they’ll want to keep reading your story to find out more.

2. Trim the Fat

This is a simple tip but an important one.

Once you’ve finished writing your story — that is, once you’ve got all of the important information on the page — go back and take out as much as possible.

You read that write.

Remove as much as possible while keeping the integrity of the story.

The longer it takes for people to read your story, the less likely it is that they’ll stick around for the ride. That’s not to say that long stories can’t keep people engaged — they can. But only if the story itself is engaging.

So trim the fat.

3. Make the Slide Slippery

I first heard the metaphor of a slippery slide for writing copy when I read The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook.

The idea is that your copy is so interesting and compelling that people can’t help but keep reading. Every sentence — hell, every word — drives them to the next.

As if your reader is going down a slide coated in vegetable oil and they can’t get a grip no matter how hard they try… they just keep sliding.

That’s how you write a great story.

For example, here’s an excerpt from Bryan Ward’s landing page for his “Kiss My Ass, Wall Street” course…

In my twenties, I tried to play the investing game *their* way.

I had some money in mutual funds but hated the fees and was frustrated with how SLOOOOOOW the balances were growing:

I knew I’d never hit my wealth goals at the rate I was going.

So, after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I decided to try my hand at flipping houses.

After an apartment deal that would have netted me $60K (equal to almost TWO YEAR’S salary at the time) fell apart at the final hour…

…I crawled into bed and stayed there for two days straight, more dejected and discouraged than I’d ever been.

Want to know more, don’t you?

That’s because his copy is like a slipper slide — every line makes you want to read the next. It makes you curious and keeps you reading.

That’s the goal.

Our Imaginary Story

Let’s try it out!

Pretend that you’re trying to tell a compelling story about our sales funnel software here at ClickFunnels. Here’s my version…

I had $100 left in my bank account.

My business had failed.

I’d spent all of my money on advertisements, copywriters, and website builders.

I kept waiting for the promised land — that point where the amount of money you’re making EXCEEDS the amount of money you’re spending.

It never happened.

And I was ready to quit.

Until a friend told me about ClickFunnels. I was intrigued. So I signed up for their One Funnel Away Challenge with my $100.

And it’s changed my life forever.

I now have a business that’s consistently profitable and supports myself and my family.

How does it work?

Let me show you.

Notice how I start in the middle of the story, keep it relatively short, and make the slide as slippery as possible.

Try it out for yourself!

Step 3. The Offer

At this point, you’ve hooked the reader’s attention and you’ve told them a compelling story.

Let’s assume that your story was compelling and now they’re ready to hear your offer — they want to know how you can solve their problem and they’re even hesitantly interested in buying if the offer is good enough.

How do you craft a compelling offer?

Let’s look at some examples and then some tips.

Examples of the Offer

When we talk about the offer, we’re talking about that part of your sales page where you tell people about your product or service, reveal the price, and increase perceived value. 

This is a critical part. 

In fact, you can get everything else right and if your offer is wrong… then people won’t buy. 

A great offer will always feel like a great deal — the customer should feel like they’re getting way more value than they’re giving. 

Our first example comes from our Traffic Secrets landing page.

Examples of the Offer. You've Gotta Be Crazy example.

Notice how we put the risk on our own shoulders with the money-back guarantee? We also increased perceived value to $509.95 so that people are thinking, Oh boy. How much is this going to cost?

And then we hit them with it… it’s free — we just ask them to pay $9.95 in shipping and handling. 

That’s an irresistible offer for our target market. 

Our next example comes from It’s All You Boo — a personal development site — specifically, their Slay Your Goals Planner.

Examples of the Offer, Slay Your Goals Planner.

What’s great about this planner is how she uses bonuses and urgency to get people to take action. Here’s the countdown timer…

Examples of the Offer, countdown timer.

And here are the bonuses…

Examples of the Offer, bonuses.

See a pattern?

The most compelling offers deliver more value than they ask for in return. They create urgency to take action. And they reverse risk with some sort of guarantee.

Here’s how to do it!

How to Craft a Compelling Offer

Let’s talk about how you can craft irresistible offers for your target market.

But first, check out this video of Russell Brunson selling his iPhone from the stage for over $500,000… it’s a great lesson in creating compelling offers.


Three tips!

1. Create Urgency

People are procrastinators.

And not just when it comes to doing homework or taking out the trash… also when it comes to buying things that would genuinely help them.

That’s why urgency is so powerful.

Check out these stats/studies (courtesy of Business2Community)…

  • “An Experian report found that promotional or emails conveying a sense of urgency had at least 14% higher click-to-open rates, 59% higher transaction-to-click rates, and twice as high transaction rates compared to their average marketing emails.”
  • “De Nieuwe Zaak, a full-service eCommerce agency in the Netherlands, ran an A/B test and found that the use of a countdown timer increased conversions versus no timer. Their simple test showed the timer worked best when placed at the bottom of the page. Of course, the countdown timer increased product purchases. The presence of the timer alone created an 8.6% lift in conversions.”

If you want people to buy right now… use urgency.

There are many different ways to do that — set a deadline and add a countdown timer, limit stock or attendance, or make your special offer only last a certain amount of time.

2.  Increase Perceived Value

If you want people to pull out their wallets and pay you for what you’re offering, then they have to believe that the money is worth it.

If you want thousands or millions of people to pay you for what you’re offering, then they have to believe that what they’re getting is more valuable than what they’re paying.

That’s how you build an empire.

But don’t lower your price.

Just increase perceived value.

You can do that by price anchoring — message a really high number in your copy before telling them the actual price.

You can also add a ton of free bonuses to surge the perceived value over the moon.

And add testimonials and case studies to create a sense of truth to your promises.

Do that and people will want to pay you for what you’re giving them.

3. Reverse Risk

Imagine that someone wants what you’re offering… but it’s a bit spendy and they’re not sure if it’s smart to take that sort of risk with their bank account. 

How do you push them over the edge? 

With something called “risk reversal.”

This is where you take the risk they’re experiencing and put in on your own shoulders with a money-back guarantee or a free trial. 

People are far more likely to buy if they don’t feel like they have to take a big risk.

Our Imaginary Offer

Let’s give it a go!

Imagine that we’re creating an offer for ClickFunnels software — how could we make that offer irresistible?

Here’s my example…

Here’s what I want to give you.

  • 14 Days Free of ClickFunnels ($50)
  • Training on Building Your First Sales Funnel ($500)
  • Advanced Training on Building Sales Funnels That Convert ($1,000)
  • One-On-One Training With a Sales Funnel Expert ($500)
  • My Book on Building High-Converting Sales Funnels ($20)

But I know that’s expensive — it comes to $2,070

And I want to make sure you feel like you’re getting a good deal.

So for TODAY ONLY, I’m offering it to you for $100.

(I can’t afford to keep this offer up for more than a day).

If you want to do it, now is the time.

And if you still aren’t sure, I’ll even offer a money-back guarantee so that I’m taking all the risk on my own shoulders.

What’ve you got to lose?

Notice how I create urgency, increase perceived value, and reverse risk?

Try it for yourself!

Final Thoughts

Copywriting is not an easy task.

But anyone can write compelling copy by following the format above — hook, story, offer.

Catch people’s attention, tell them a relevant story that naturally guides them toward your product or service, and then make them an irresistible offer.

That’s the process.

Click the link below if you want to learn more!

Get the Book That Started it All (FOR FREE)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *