Monica Badiu, Email Copywriter & Copy Coach

Are you struggling to write copy that connects with your audience and persuades them to enroll in your course? The Before and After framework can help you tap into your customers’ emotions and show them how your course can transform their lives.

And it goes beyond the regular approach.

In this blog post, I’ll explain how to use this framework to identify your customers’ pain points, highlight the benefits of your course, and craft persuasive sales copy.

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“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.”
— David Ogilvy

The Before and After framework is a powerful tool for copywriters and marketers

The Before-and-After exercise is a popular marketing and copywriting framework developed by Ryan Deiss, the co-founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer, a company that provides marketing training and certifications.

The exercise involves identifying the transformation that a customer undergoes before and after using a product or service, and using that information to craft effective marketing messages and sales copy.

It’s a powerful tool that can help course creators connect with their audience’s desires and create compelling marketing messages that lead to higher conversions.

  • It helps you become very clear about the before and after state of your buyer.

  • It helps you organize your customer avatar information in an easy-to-see panel you can share with your entire team or outsourced copywriter to give them a quick glimpse into your audience.

  • It shows you what is the potential for transformation and it opens a whole new perspective into how your course can actually help transform your consumer’s life.

  • It takes you beyond features and benefits, but into the actual emotional and everyday transformation that oftentimes most copy simply overlooks.

  • It helps you understand what is the VALUE your course can provide both your consumer and the world at large. And this is where the Before and After exercise shines. I’ll explain more later. So, please continue reading.

Important note: Before you take on this exercise, I strongly recommend you work on your customer avatar and customer language document. There’s more about those elements here.

Doing this exercise without having your customer avatar document based on proper market research AND testimonials from your course students is going to make it difficult to get good results with it.

It’s not an imagination exercise.

Here’s how to Do this exercise:

Before: Start by describing your customers’ current situation. What do they have? What are they feeling? What’s an average day like?

For example, if you’re selling a course on weight loss, you might describe your audience as feeling frustrated with their inability to lose weight, struggling to find clothes that fit, and experiencing low self-esteem.

After: Next, describe the outcome your customers can expect after using your course. How will they feel? What will their life look like?

For example, you might describe your customers as feeling empowered, confident, and included, with a leaner body and improved self-image.

This is information you already have in your customer avatar. You obtain it from sending surveys and analyzing your students’ testimonials.

What are they feeling? Before solving their problem with your course:

These are the feelings, emotions and fears people who are problem-aware would usually experience. You will get this information from testimonials, where students explain what it was like before having found your course. You can also focus on surveying non-buyers, new subscribers, social media users and even research competitors websites or popular review websites.

Example of what they are feeling in the before state: low self-esteem, frustration, self-hate, fear of being seen.

What are they feeling? After solving their problem with your course:

Your students hold the key to this part of the exercise. They talk about how they are feeling now when it comes to dealing with the problem or after having solved their problem.

Common examples include: hopeful, empowered, increased confidence, relieved.

What’s an average day like before your course

Focus on describing the specific events and problems they are struggling with because they haven’t found a solution to their problems.

For the weight loss example, it would be things like not meeting their calories goal, craving, crying, struggling to find clothes that fit, feeling bad about themselves, not wanting to show themselves in the world etc.

What’s an average day like after your course

Look at testimonials to see how things have changed. If you don’t have this information, ask your students. You can have 1:1 with your best students, group coaching sessions or group quizzes.

Examples: not struggling with cravings that much, overall positive state of mind, losing weight, changing sizes.

Before: What is their status?

The key is to highlight how your course can help them achieve that transformation, and how it can improve their overall status and standing in their industry or community. This will help potential customers see the true value in your course and how it can help them achieve their goals.

Example: Their current weight status may be affecting their self-esteem and they may feel like they don’t fit in socially. They may be struggling with alienation, isolation, and societal pressure to conform to a certain body type.

After: What is the new status?

Example: With the help of the weight-loss course, they can achieve a healthier and leaner body, regain their confidence, and feel like they belong. They can become a part of a supportive community that appreciates and accepts them, which can lead to a more positive social status. They may even become an inspiration for others who are struggling with their weight and self-esteem.

BONUS

This last part of the exercise is the one I LOVE because it shows so much more into the value your course has for creating positive impact in the world. Not many people think about their course’s impact beyond the short term or the person who just bought access. You don’t normally see it in the Before-and-After exercise because most people find it either too conceptual or confusing. But this is a treasure of an exercise, so don’t skip it.

Good versus evil: Before

Now, identify the societal beliefs, myths, and industry scams that your audience is a victim to.

For example, if you’re selling a weight loss course, you might mention the media’s portrayal of the “perfect” body, the prevalence of quick-fix diets, and the lack of emphasis on healthy eating and behavior change.

After: What is the good your audience can do: Finally, highlight the positive impact your customers can have on themselves and society by using your course.

For example, you might describe your customers as becoming an inspiration for others struggling to lose weight and contributing to a healthier, more inclusive society.

Creating meaning in a consumer’s life is an essential aspect of successful marketing.

When a purchase is associated with creating meaning, it becomes more than just a transaction; it becomes an investment in a better future.

As course creators, it is your responsibility to understand the values and beliefs of your target audience, and to communicate how your product or service can align with and contribute to those values and beliefs. When you do this effectively, you tap into a deeper level of motivation and create a more meaningful connection with your customers.

In the words of marketing expert Simon Sinek,

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

The Before and After framework is an effective way to optimize your course sales copy. By identifying your customers’ pain points, highlighting the benefits of your course, and crafting persuasive copy, you can connect with your audience and increase your enrollments.

Try this framework before you write your next sales emails or landing pages and let me know how your perception of what your course can do for your students has changed.

Want to learn more about effective copywriting techniques? Check out our other blog posts on the topic.

If you want to learn more about the Before-and-After exercise, check this podcast episode from Building A Brand Story.

About the Author

Monica Badiu is an email copywriter and copy coach. She specializes in sales copywriting for online course creators who want to send emails that speak to their ideal customer and generate conversions without using fearmongering or pressure. She’s made clients over $3 million in 2023.

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