Hook, Story, Offer — A 3-Step Framework to Craft Your Marketing Message

Hook the right people, tell a good story, then show them what you offer

If marketing had to be defined in one single word, that word would be ‘message’. Marketing is about sending a message out to the world where hopefully some people listening will be interested in what you have to say.

The ultimate goal of this message and of marketing is to attract people’s attention, so they listen to what you have to say. This is increasingly difficult in a technology filled world, where people are advertised to over 300 times a day. It’s a constant struggle that we all face, but it can be made that little bit easier by using three simple steps in your marketing.

Three Steps

The chances are you already use similar steps with any messaging you send out, but it can often feel like it doesn’t fit with certain methods. However this three-step formula has been proven to generate great results, in any industry, with any niche, regardless of your businesses size, brand, or audience.

It’s a formula I use for my own (and my client’s) marketing, across multiple formats and for industries such as real estate, finance, tourism, sales and ecommerce.

As I say it works in any format, whether that is magazine articles, your website, Google Ads, sales letters, funnels, cold calls, webinars, live events, newspaper ads, or pay-per-click ads including those on Facebook and Youtube. The list goes on.

What Are the Three Steps?

  • Step 1: Hook
  • Step 2: Story
  • Step 3: Offer

It’s important to note that you follow each step in the order they come in.

Let’s take a deep dive into each of these, starting with hook.

Step 1: The Hook

A physical hook is designed to grab something, and this is also how it works in our marketing. Hooks are designed to grab your target audiences’ attention; separating yourself from 100s of other companies trying to advertise to the same audience each and every day.

By hooking somebody in, you have a unique opportunity to give more of your message through your story and offer in steps 2 and 3. But what makes a good hook?

Hooks are typically short, bold and often shocking statements at the very beginning of your marketing. But in order to really hook your audience in, the hook must relate to your audience in a personal and emotional way. It needs to really connect with them, otherwise it won’t hook them in and they’ll carry on with their day.

Here’s a few examples:

  1. Target audience: People who want to leave their day job and start their own business. Hook: One out of ten people who want to start their own business (and leave the 9–5 hustle and bustle) ever really make it.
  2. Target audience: People who want to sell their product but are struggling. Hook: Do you have an amazing product, but are struggling to get people to buy it?
  3. Target audience: People who want to be financially free, so they can create a great future for their children and grandchildren. Hook: It’s so important to leave something behind for our children, and their children, when we pass on — but the average parent only has $5000 in their will.

As you can see, they’re short and designed to really hit home with the target audience. Now that we have their attention, we can tell our story.

Step 2: The Story

The story is the bulk of your marketing and message. It’s called a story because that’s exactly what it is. It’s designed to tell a story that will really relate to your audience even more personally than the hook, ultimately leading to the offer.

Stories can come in one of two forms

  1. It can either come from the perspective of the business owner and founder, who had the same problem the audience has now, but overcame it because they had an epiphany.
  2. Or the story can be about other people who had a problem that audience has now, but you were able to help out, because of a previous epiphany you had.

Examples From the Original Target Audiences

Example 1

Target audience:

People who want to leave their day job and start their own business.

Story:

Five years ago I was desperate to get out of my 9–5 job and start my own business. I was sick of taking orders from overpaid management, and I knew I deserved better. But I just couldn’t find a way out.

That was, until one day, I was reading a book [insert], and something it said really struck me deeply: “XXXXX”. I then realised I had to get started immediately, so the next day I handed my notice in and started working on my plans.

It wasn’t easy, absolutely not. The first three to six months I was working longer hours than at my job, for much less. But once that initial hurdle was overcome, my business started to blossom and give me the freedom I so desperately needed.

Example 2

Target audience:

People who want to sell their product but are struggling

Story:

I started a business three years ago with a few friends of mine. It was based around this amazing and innovative product: [insert]. This was the first of it’s kind, and the research we did suggested it would be a great hit!

We invested most of our startup capital in a launch campaign we had high expectations for. It flopped, massively. We sold about 15% of what we had originally estimated.

Desperate, I stayed up one night checking our sales figures to see if we could turn things around, where I came across an article “XXXX”. This article taught me a simple selling system, and I was able to transform that into a whole new marketing and sales technique.

In two weeks, we’d sold five times as much of our product from our original launch, and things really looked up. In no time at all, we were struggling to keep up with the demand, and had to expand fast to cope!

Example 3

Target audience:

People who want to be financially free, so they can create a great future for their children and grandchildren

Story:

I’ve always been financially cautious, never spending excessively on elaborate things like cars and holidays. I wanted to make sure that if something bad happened, my family would be well looked after and wouldn’t want for anything.

But no matter how many hours I worked in my day job, doing overtime and saving, I wasn’t getting anywhere. I knew if something didn’t change soon, I wouldn’t leave enough behind to get my children through college, never mind anything else.

One day I came across a poster for a free seminar in my city about finances, and learnt how to build up multiple streams of income alongside my day job. In 12 months I had more saved up than I had from the previous five years of work!

It’s important to note that a story can be of varied length. Definitely longer than the hook, but other than that it can be of any length, as long as it fulfils its purpose of relating to your audience.

The story then leads onto the last part, the offer:

Step 3: The Offer

Up until now, you have hooked your audience in with a very bold statement that relates to them. Then you told them a story which, again, relates to them and shows you’ve been there before. Or helped others who have.

This all sets you up to make an offer, in other words, a proposal whereby they purchase or take an action. Offers can include:

  • A sale
  • Signup to your emails/newsletter
  • Signup to a free event/webinar

Literally anything whereby they need to take an action.

The length of an offer depends on how much you’re asking of your audience. If you’re trying to get them to sign up for something free, your offer can be short. If you’re asking them to hand over thousands of dollars, your offer needs to be long enough to justify that spend.

Examples of the Offer

Here’s some examples, again using the three target audiences we’ve been working on:

Example 1

Target audience

People who wants to leave their day job and start their own business

Offer:

Join me on my 30 day online course that you can do for two hours each day alongside your day job! It teaches you how you can slowly build a business whilst keeping your job going — until you reach the point that you can sustain yourself and resign.

The course uses my own proven system that I used to escape the dreaded 9 to 5 life.

Example 2

Target audience:

People who want to sell their product but are struggling

Offer:

Come to my free one day event where I’ll show you how you can start selling ten times as much of your product in less than two weeks. I’ll spend time personally with you at the event and you’ll leave the room at the end of the day with a bespoke action plan so you can start selling more of your product, instantly.

Example 3

Target audience:

People who want to be financially free, so they can create a great future for their children and grandchildren

Offer:

Join me on my live webinar on Monday where I’ll be teaching the seven different income streams you can build instantly, alongside your main income stream.

Attendees are guaranteed to have two new income streams active within 90 days of attending this webinar, and I’ll be sharing first hand experience from both myself and my clients.

Summing Up

There you have it: hook, story, and offer.

As I say, these three steps can be applied to any and all industries and niches, in any forms of marketing. And it absolutely works. You can go now and look at any advertising any business does, and you’ll be able to easily spot these three steps at work.

Dan

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