Quick Win Copy Tip #4: Transformation Narrative
If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Don’t give me none of that “I like me just the way I am” BS. This is a hypothetical.
For those of you struggling: imagine a pissed off genie is demanding that you make a wish to change something about yourself right now. Before he smites you or whatever genies do.
What’s your answer?
Maybe it’s because my coffee cup is empty and it’s super gray outside. Or maybe it’s because I was born lazy. Who knows. But either way, right now, I would love to be magically transformed into a person with boundless energy.
Short of hard drugs, I’d do about anything to accomplish that.
The truth is, we all wanna be something we’re not.
Think about it: we buy a burger to transform from hungry to full. We buy a new mattress to transform from sore to well-rested. We buy a yacht to transform from peasant to elite.
But it goes even deeper.
We also love watching others transform.
It’s not the person with the most screen time.
It’s not the “good guy.”
And it’s not the one who “wins” in the end.
The protagonist is the character who transforms.
All the most successful, timeless films on the planet follow “The Hero’s Journey.” Which says that the entire reason a protagonist goes on an epic journey is to resolve some internal flaw. And guess what?
The audience eats it up.
We effing LOVE movies about transformation. About underdogs. Redemption. Overcoming adversity. Growing up. Settling down. Falling in love. Moving on. The list goes on and on and on.
You may be wondering now, “How does this relate to copywriting?”
Your audience, also known as the protagonist, wants to transform. And if they want it bad enough, they will do anything to achieve it—kill climb a lava mountain to get rid of a weird ring, kill a baldheaded snake-nosed guy, or blow up a highly-flawed moon-sized space station.
As their mentor, it’s your job to guide them towards their needed and desired transformation. But how do you do that?
QWCT #4: Show your audience their dream come true in a Transformation Narrative
Good testimonials take that one step further.
I say “good” because some awful testimonials will be like…
“McDonald’s is soOOOooOOooo good it’s my favorite I love McDonald’s.”
…which is worthless.
A good testimonial uses a Transformation Narrative. It shows your audience how your business changed a previous client’s life.
The basic format usually is something like: “Before, I *blah blah blah*. But then, I tried *blah*. And now, I *blah blah blah*.”
Here’s a blah-less example of a transformation narrative as a testimonial:
“Before, road trips were exhausting. I had to fix tons of snacks for each of my kids, and we always ran out, which of course, led to obnoxious bickering.
“But then, I tried the McDonalds drive-thru. It was so cheap and had such a good selection!
“Now, I have five full bellies, a quiet car, and my sanity back. Thanks, McDonald’s!”
More persuasive than before? Definitely.
The good news is, you don’t need a great testimonial to have a transformation narrative at your disposal. You can create one.
A transformation narrative is a story that bundles pain points and desires together.
It shows your audience how your offering helps them go from who they are to who they want to be.
So tell them how life sucks. And then show them their evolved form like BAM!
- “Can’t ignore that toothache any longer? Let the #1 dentist in all of north-central Cleveland give you your smile back — without emptying your wallet.
- “The last thing you want is for your raft to pop when you’re towing your kid behind your boat. Keep the family vacation going strong with the most trusted raft in Minnesota.”
- “Ever get stuck standing in front of your full closet thinking, ‘I have nothing to wear’? Feel confident and comfortable every day in your new go-to shirt.”
Now let’s take ‘em inside that transformation process with QWCT #4. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Toothaches are miserable.
It’s a nagging pain that never entirely goes away. It rears its ugly head at times when you most want to relax. When you’re trying to savor some ice cream. Crunch down on some popcorn. Or even just go to sleep.
But even more miserable than a toothache is the damage fixing it does to your wallet.
At the #1 dentist in all of north-central Cleveland, we understand. We help give you your smile back—without emptying your wallet.
So you can go back to enjoying what you love.
Imagine: you and your family are out on the lake.
The boat’s motor is growling, your wife is laughing, the wind is in your hair. Your kids are screaming happily on the raft as you tug it over the water behind you.
All is going great, the dream vacation, until—POP! The raft rips.
You wind the boat down and check out the damage. “It’s ruined,” one of your children says as they saunter onto the boat. You putter back to the shore, wondering how you’re going to salvage the weekend getaway.
Don’t let this be you.
Keep your family vacation going strong with the most trusted raft in Minnesota. It’s made of a super durable material that will never rip, ever, guaranteed. Plus, your kids will love it’s super comfortable grips.
Now, the fun never has to stop.
And finally, the shirt:
I used to stand in front of my closet every morning with a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. Even though I had so many articles of clothing to choose from, I had nothing to wear.
I’d try on one thing after the next, but nothing felt right. Too tight. Too loose. Too casual. Too formal. And each time I pulled down a new thing to try, I felt my anxiety growing. Maybe I’m just weird…
Then, in the back of my closet, I found an old, plain shirt I’d completely forgotten about. It was soft, comfy, simple, and looked great. It was an instant relief. And to my surprise, I got so many compliments from my friends and colleagues. “Where’d you get that?” they’d ask.
Eventually, I got asked so much that I set out to replicate it. I found the perfect materials. The most flattering silhouette. The most versatile design. And created the Cool Shirt.
Now, every morning is a breeze. And yours can be, too.
Your immediate thought might be “That’s nice, but isn’t the copy a bit long?” If so, I encourage you to check out some of the massively successful long-form sales letters.
Like this one by Jay Abraham. It digs into the transformation an entrepreneur will undergo by attending his $5000 Abraham Factor Weekend.
Or this one by Martin Conroy. Many copywriters consider it to be the greatest sales letter of all time. It generated more than $2 billion for the Wall Street Journal! His technique (which is now widely copied) asks the reader to imagine two men who transform in vastly different ways.
Or even this infamous bad boy by Gary Halpern. On page two, he launches into his own first-person transformation narrative. It’s insanely compelling.
1. Who is your audience? Describe them.
This is the Before picture. It’s usually the pain point you identified in QWCT #2, realized.
2. Who does your audience want to be? Describe them.
The After picture. The simplest way to identify it is the complete opposite of the Before. But there’s a catch: it has to be believable.
If you paint an After that’s too incredible, your audience won’t believe you.
3. Weave it into a Transformation Narrative.
Paint a picture. If you get stuck, work your way through the five senses. This isn’t a creative writing assignment—you’re just stating the facts.
And that’s it!
How did it go?
I’d love to see what you come up with! Send me what you’ve got at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d be happy to give you some quick feedback.
Love story and psychology?
Get our best insights delivered straight to your inbox! No spam, no B.S., guaranteed.
Other Stuff You Might Like
This is not like when a company “accidentally” (how can an entire marketing team approve it and it still is “accidentally”?) runs a “tone-deaf”…
The truth is, your logo doesn’t matter—not yet, anyway. Not when you don’t have a client to look at your logo. Especially not when you don’t even have leads looking at your logo.
No, at this point what you need is a solid, powerful, compelling story.
If you can solve one of someone’s most burning pain points, don’t just kick ’em. Tell them you can fix it.
Or better yet, use benefits to paint them a beautiful, stunning image of what their life could look like if that pain point was magically taken away.