How to Create a Killer Hook

The most critical part of your sales copy is your hook. It compels your reader to pay attention. If you can't capture the reader's attention, the sale will be lost. At Merchant Mastery, we say that hooks should be SHARP.

Here are the five elements of a SHARP hook:

  • S: Short, Succinct
  • H: Hyper-specific to Audience: Pain | Gain | Motives
  • A: Attention Grabbing (Shock, Curiosity, Intrigue, Funny)
  • R: Relatable, Resonant
  • P: Provokes (Compels an Action, Next Step)

If you get these five elements right, your reader will be excited and ready to take the next step.


Now, with those five SHARP elements in place, here are seven common hook categories:

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

People don't want to miss out. Help them get what they want. Here are some examples.

  • Almost sold out. Only 12 seats left for our year-end concerts.
  • Airline seat prices for Thanksgiving week are up 18% from last month.
  • These prices won't last. Our year-end sale ends this Saturday.
  • This is our most popular item.
  • Free shipping for the first five buyers.


Avoid Pain

People want to avoid pain. It's that simple. Hooks that warn people of impending threats capture people's attention. Here are some examples.

  • Not all jewelry is hypoallergenic. (But ours is!)
  • Not all-natural cleaning products are safe. Our cleaning products are made with 100% SAFE natural ingredients.
  • These candles burn bright without all of the smoky residue.
  • Your WiFi is exposing your private data. Here's how to fix it.


Support their Values, Beliefs, and Identity

People love to be around people who share their values and world views. Here are some examples.

  • This society leaves many people behind. It's unfair, and it's cruel. Here's how you can help.
  • Jewelry should never be gaudy. Elegant and understated is always in style.
  • Books. Physical Books. That's the only way to read a novel.
  • First family, next work, and then (maybe) some time for me. That's how every day seems to go. And that's perfect.


Provide Knowledge

Give people information they didn't know or a different take on what they do know. Here are some examples.

  • 62% of Millennials have not started a retirement savings plan. But if you have a spare $100/month, here's how to get started.
  • Here are the five most common hiding places for your valuables. (And where thieves look first.)
  • These three hairstyles are coming back. And these three are already out.
  • Extremely dry skin is almost always a result of this.


Understand Them

People want to deal with people who understand what they are experiencing. Here are some examples.

  • If you are a first-time buyer, these are the only five things you need to check
  • It's 5 pm with three teenagers in the house, and I still haven't started dinner.
  • Sweats on, feet up, wine poured. Now, what should I watch?
  • Here's what I hate about heels.



Show people who they can be; what they can do. Here are some examples.

  • Want to be a rock star? Learn to play guitar in just 30 days.
  • Do you want to be paid to travel to these 5-star resort destinations?
  • This is the suit that will get you noticed.
  • Be the interviewee that recruiters call back.


Show Them What They Get

Clearly describe what people will receive. Here are some examples.

  • Get a new professionally designed logo in just three days.
  • Get your kitty a new box of toys and treats each month. Sent right to your door.
  • You can have three times more closet space with this simple organizer.
  • You only have to mow this lawn once a month.


Also, don't be afraid to be a ruthless editor. Chop, chop, and chop some more. The flavour is enhanced in a concentrated broth.
Here's an example from above:


  • 62% of Millennials have not started a retirement savings plan. But if you have a spare $100/month, here’s how to get started.


  • 62% of Millennials lack a retirement savings plan. Got $100/month? Here's how to start.



If you spend three hours writing your copy, 90 minutes should be spent on creating the perfect hook. But crafting the perfect hook is not just an art; it's a science that requires deep customer understanding and empathy. By focusing on the SHARP principles, you can create hooks that are attention-grabbing and deeply resonant with your audience's needs and desires. From avoiding pain to aspiring for greatness, the power of a well-crafted hook can transform a mere statement into a compelling call to action. Make your hooks SHARP, and watch your engagement soar.