The most important aspect of any business is selling the product or service. Without sales, no business can exist for very long! You win all the way! We take all the risk! If you're not satisfied, simply return the product and we'll quickly refund your money! Do it now! Get that check on its way to us today, and receive the big bonus package! After next week, we won't be able to include the bonus as a part of this fantastic deal, so act now! The sooner you act, the more you win!"
Offering a reward or bonus
of some kind will almost always stimulate the prospect
to take action, However, in mentioning the reward or bonus, be very careful that
you don't end up receiving requests for the bonus with mountains of requests for
refunds on the product to follow. The bonus should be mentioned only casually if
you're asking for product orders, and with lots of fanfare only when you're seeking
Too often the copywriter,
in his enthusiasm to pull in a record number of
responses, confuses the reader by "forgetting about the product," and devoting
his entire space allotted for the "demand for action" to sending for the bonus. Any
reward offered should be closely related to the product, and a bonus offered only
for immediate action on the part of the potential buyer.
Specify a time limit. Tell
your prospect that he must act within a certain time limit
or lose out on the bonus, face probably higher prices, or even the withdrawal of
your offer. This is always a good hook to get action.
Any kind of guarantee you
offer always helps to produce action from the prospect.
And the more liberal you can make your guarantee, the more product orders you'll
receive. Be sure you state the guarantee clearly and simply. Make it so easy to
understand that even a child would not misinterpret what you're saying.
The action you want your
prospect to take should be easy - clearly stated - and
devoid of any complicated procedural steps on his part, or numerous directions
for him to follow. Picture your prospect, very comfortable in his favorite easy chair,
idly flipping through a magazine while "half-watching" the television. He notices
your ad, reads through it, and he's sold on your product. Now what does he do?
Remember, he's very comfortable - you've "grabbed" his attention, sparked his
interest, painted a picture of him enjoying a new kind of satisfaction, and he's
ready to buy. Anything and everything you ask or cause him to do is going to
disrupt this aura of comfort and contentment. Whatever he must do had better be
simple, quick and easy!
Tell him without any ifs,
ands or buts, what to do - Fill out the coupon, include your
check for the full amount, and send it in to us today! Make it as easy for him as
you possibly can - simple and direct. And by all means, make sure your address
is on the order form he's supposed to complete and mail in to you, as well as just
above it. People sometimes fill out a coupon, tear it off, seal it in an envelope and
HOW TO WRITE ORDER
The most important aspect
of any business is selling the product or service.
Without sales, no business can exist for very long. All sales begin with some form
of advertising. To build sales, advertising must be seen or heard by potential
buyers and cause them to react in some way. The credit for the success or the
blame for the failure reverts back to the ad itself.
GAINING CUSTOMER ATTENTION
The bottom line in any ad
is quite simple: Make the reader buy the product or
service. Any ad that causes the reader to only pause in his thinking, to just admire
the product, or to simply believe what's written about the product - is not doing its
job completely. The ad writer wants the prospect to do one of the following:
Visit the store to see and
judge the product for himself
Immediately write a check and send for the merchandise
Phone for an appointment to hear the full sales presentation
Write for further information
Any ad that does not elicit
the desired action is an absolute waste of time and
money. In order to gain a response from the prospect all ads are written
according to a simple master formula known as AIDA:
Attract the Attention of
Develop the Interest of your prospect in the product
Create new Desire for the product
Demand an Action from the prospect
Never forget the basic rule
of copywriting: "If the ad isn't read, it won't stimulate
any sales. If it isn't seen, it can't be read. If it doesn't grab the attention of the
reader, it won't be seen." Successful advertising copywriters know these
fundamentals forwards and backwards. Whether you know them already or you're
just now being exposed to them, your knowledge and practice of these basics will
determine your future success as an advertising copywriter.
Classified ads form the
basis upon which most successful businesses are
started. These small, relatively inexpensive ads give the beginner an opportunity
to advertise his product or service without losing his shirt if the ad doesn't pull or if
customers don't beat his door down with demands for the product. Classified ads
are written according to established advertising rules. The message of a
classified ad should be the same as that of a larger display ad, but in condensed
form. Generally, however, classifieds should only be used to create a lead or a
To learn how to write good
classified ads, clip ten examples from ten different
mail order publications. Select ads that you think are pretty good. Paste each of
these ads onto a separate sheet of paper. Analyze each of these ads: How has
the writer attracted your attention? What about the ad keeps your interest? Are
you motivated to want to know more about the product? What is the desired
action? Are all of the above points covered in the ad? How strongly are you "sold"
by each of these ads?
Rate the test ads on a scale
of one to ten, with ten being the best according to the
AIDA formula. Now, just for practice and without clipping the ads, apply the same
test to ten different ads from a Sears, L.L. Bean, or other mail order catalog. In
fact, every ad you read from now on, quickly analyze and rate it somewhere on
your scale. If you'll practice this exercise on a regular basis, you'll soon be able to
quickly recognize the "Power Points" of any ad you see, and you'll know within
your own mind whether an ad is good, bad, or mediocre, and what features make
it so. Practice examining ads for an hour each day. Write the ads you've rated 8,
9, and 10 exactly as they've been written. This will give you a feel for the
fundamentals and style necessary in writing classified ads.
For your next project, pick
out what you consider to be the ten worst ads you can
find in the classifieds sections. Clip these bummers out and paste them onto a
sheet of paper so you can work with them. Read these ads over a couple of
times, and then beside each of them write a short comment stating why you think
it's a poor ad. Is it lost in the crowd by being too much like other ads? Does it not
attract your attention? Doesn't hold your interest? Is there nothing special to make
the reader want to own the product or no is there demand for action?
You probably already know
what's coming next, and that's right. Break out those
pencils, erasers and scratch paper - and start rewriting these ads to include the
missing elements. Each day for the next month, practice writing the ten best ads
for an hour, just the way they were originally written, Pick out ten of the worst ads,
analyze those ads, and then practice rewriting those until they do the job for which
they were intended.
Once you're satisfied that
the ads you've rewritten are perfect, go back to each ad
and cross out the words that can be eliminated without detracting from the ad.
Classified ads are almost always "finalized" in the style of a telegram. For
example, the original message might read: "I'll arrive at 2-o'clock tomorrow
afternoon, the 15th. Meet me at Sardi's. All my love, Jim." Edited for sending, the
same message becomes,"Arrive 2-pm - 15th - Sardi's. Love, Jim." Applying this
method to ads works in much the same manner. Original Ad: "Save on your food
bills! Reduced prices on every shelf in the store! Stock up now while supplies are
complete! Come on in today, to Jerry's Family Supermarkets!" Edited Ad: "Save
on Food! Everything bargain priced! Limited supplies! Hurry! Jerry's Markets!"
It takes dedicated and regular
practice, but you can do it. Simply recognize and
understand the basic formula; practice reading and writing the good ones; and
rewrite the bad ones to make them better. Practice it over and over - every day -
until the formula, the idea, and the feel of good ad writing becomes second nature
to you. This is the only way to gain expertise in writing good classified ads.
A display or space ad differs
from a classified ad in that it has a headline and a
layout, and the style isn't telegraphic. However, the fundamentals of writing the
display or space ad are exactly the same as those for a classified ad. The basic
difference is that you have more room in which to emphasize the "master
formula." Most successful copywriters rate the headline and lead sentence as the
most important parts of the ad. You should do the same. After all, when your ad is
surrounded by hundreds of other ads, information, and entertainment, what
makes you think anyone is going to notice your particular ad? The truth is, it will
not be seen unless you can "grab" the reader's attention and entice him to read
all of what you have to say. Your headline (or lead sentence when no headline is
used) has to make it more difficult for your prospect to ignore or pass over than to
stop and read your ad. If you don't capture the attention of your reader with your
headline, anything beyond is useless effort and wasted money.
Successful advertising headlines
are written as either promises or warnings. The
former offer to show you how to save money, make money, or attain a desired
goal. The latter are cautions against something undesirable. A promise-style
headline might read: "Are You Ready To Become A Millionaire - In Just 18
Months?" On the other hand, a warning-style headline will say something like: "Do
You Make These Mistakes In English?"
Both of these examples posed
a question as the headline. Headlines that ask a
question seem to attract the reader's attention almost as surely as a moth is
drawn to a flame. Once the reader has seen the question, he just can't seem to
keep himself from reading the rest of the ad to find out the answer. The best
headline questions are those that challenge the reader - that involve his self-
esteem - and do not allow him to dismiss your question with a simple yes or no.
"You'll Be The Envy Of Your
Friends" is another type of reader appeal to
incorporate into your headline when appropriate. The appeal has to do with basic
psychology: everyone wants to be well thought of, and consequently will read
further into the body of your ad in order to find out how he can gain the respect
and accolades of his friends.
Wherever and whenever possible,
use colloquialisms or words that are not
usually found in advertisements. The idea is to shock or shake the reader out of
his reverie and cause him to take notice of your ad. Most of the headlines you see
day in and day out, have a certain sameness with just the words rearranged. The
reader may see these headlines with his eyes, but his brain fails to focus on any
of them because there's nothing different or out of the ordinary to arrest his
attention. For example, "Are You Developing A Beer-Belly?" grabs the attention
much faster than "Are You Gaining Weight?"
headline is the comparative price style: "Three For
Only $3, Regularly $3 Each!" Still another of the "tried and proven" types of
headlines is the specific question: "Do You Suffer From These Symptoms. . .?"
And of course, if you offer a strong guarantee, you should say so in your headline:
"Your Money Refunded, If You Don't Make $100,000 Your First Year."
"How-To" headlines have
a very strong basic appeal, but in some instances,
they're better used as book titles than advertising headlines. An approach with a
very strong reader appeal can also answer who else is interested in your product
or service. The psychological need of everyone to belong to a group - complete
with status and prestige motivations - can be addressed by your advertising
Whenever, and as often as
you can possibly work it in, use the word "you" in your
headline and throughout your copy. After all, the ad should be directed to one
person, and the person reading your ad wants to feel that you're talking to him
personally, not everyone who lives on his street.
Personalize. Be specific.
In advertising, you can throw many of the teachings of
your grammar teachers out the window - the rules of "third person, singular" or
whatever else tends to inhibit your writing. Whenever you sit down to write ad
copy intended to pull orders and sell a product or service, picture yourself in a
one-on-one situation and "talk" to your reader just as if you are sitting across from
him at your dining room table. Say what you mean, and sell HIM on the product
you are offering. Be specific and ask him if these are the things that bother him.
Are these the things he wants? Let him know that he's the one you want to buy the
The layout you devise for
your ad, or the frame you build around it, should also
command attention. Either make it so spectacular that it stands out like lobster at
a chili dinner, or so uncommonly simple that it catches the reader's eye because
of its very simplicity. It's also important that you don't get cute with a lot of
unrelated graphics and artwork. Your ad should convey the feeling of excitement
and movement, but should not tire the eyes or disrupt the flow of the message
you're trying to present. Any graphics or artwork you use should be relevant to
your product, its use, and the copy you've written about it. Graphics should not be
used as artistic touches nor to create an atmosphere. Any illustrations with your
ad should complement the selling of your product, and prove or substantiate
specific points in your copy.
Once you have your reader's
attention, the only way you're going to keep it is by
quickly and emphatically telling him what your product will do for him. Your
potential buyer doesn't care in the least how long it's taken you to produce the
product, how long you've been in business, nor how many years you've spent
learning your craft. He wants to know specifically how he's going to benefit from
the purchase of your product.
Generally, his wants will
fall into one of the following categories: Better health,
greater comfort, more money, increased leisure time, heightened popularity,
greater beauty, success and security. Even though you have your reader's
attention, you must follow through with an enumeration of the benefits he can gain.
In essence, you must reiterate the advantages, comfort and happiness he'll enjoy,
just as you have implied in your headline. Mentally picture your prospect -
determine his wants and emotional needs - put yourself in his shoes, and ask
yourself: "If I were reading this ad, what would appeal to me?" Write your copy to
appeal to your reader's wants and emotional needs and ego cravings.
Remember, it's not the "safety
features" that have sold cars for the past 50 years -
nor has it been the need of transportation. It has been and almost certainly always
will be, the advertising writer's recognition of people's wants and emotional
desires. Visualize your prospect, recognize his wants, and satisfy them. Writing
good advertising copy is nothing more or less than knowing "who" your buyers
are, recognizing what they wants, and then telling them how your product will fulfill
each of those hopes. This is one of the "vitally important" keys to writing
advertising copy that does the job you intend for it to do.
The "desire" portion of
your ad presents the facts of your product; creates and
justify your prospect's conviction, and causes him to demand "a piece of the
action" for himself. It's vitally necessary that you present "proven facts" about your
product. Survey results show that at least 50% of the people reading your ad -
especially those reading it for the first time - will tend to question its authenticity.
Thus, the more facts you can present in the ad, the more credible your offer.
As you write this part of
your ad, always remember that the more facts about the
product you present, the more product you'll sell. People want facts as reasons
and excuses for buying a product - to justify to themselves and others that they
haven't been "taken" by a slick salesman. It's like the girl who wants to marry the
guy her father calls a "no good bum." Her heart and her emotions tell her yes, but
she needs facts to nullify the seed of doubt lingering in her mind; to rationalize her
decision to go on with the wedding. In other words, the "desire" portion of your ad
has to build belief and credibility in the mind of your prospect. It has to assure him
of his good judgement in the final decision to buy, and must furnish evidence of
the benefits you've promised, thereby affording him a "safety net" in case anyone
should question his decision to buy.
People tend to believe the
things that appeal to their individual desires, fears, and
other emotions. Once you've established a belief in this manner, logic and
reasoning are used to support it. People believe what they "want" to believe. Your
reader "wants" to believe your ad if he's read it through this far. It's up to you to
support his initial desire.
Study your product and everything
about it - visualize the wants of your
prospective buyers - dig up the facts, and you'll almost always find plenty of facts
to support the buyer's reasons for buying. Here is where you use results of tests
conducted, growing sales figures to prove increasing popularity, and "user"
testimonials or endorsements. It's also important that you present these facts -
test results, sales figures, and/or testimonials - from the consumer point of view,
and not that of the manufacturer.
Before you end this portion
of your ad and get into your demand for action,
summarize everything you've presented thus far. Draw a mental picture for your
potential buyer. Let him imagine owning the product. Induce him to visualize all of
the benefits you've promised. Give him the keys to seeing himself richer, enjoying
luxury, having time to do whatever he'd like with all of his dreams fulfilled. This can
be handled in one or two sentences, or spelled out in a paragraph or more, but
it's an ingredient you must include prior to closing the sale. Study all the sales
presentations you've ever heard - look at every winning ad. The mental imagery
created by the ad is the element included in all successes that actually makes the
sale for you. Don't try to sell anything without it.
Every one of the fundamentals
in the "master formula" (AIDA) is necessary.
Those people who are "easy" to sell may perhaps be sold even if some of these
factors are left out. However, it's wiser to plan your advertisement so that it will
have a powerful impact upon those who are "hardest" to sell. For unlike
face-to-face selling, one cannot in printed advertising come to a "trial close" in the
sales talk in order to see if those who are easier to sell will buy without further
persuasion. Always assume that you are talking to the hardest ones - and that the
more thoroughly your copy sells both the hard and the easy, the better chance you
have against the competition for the consumer's dollar.
ASK FOR ACTION! DEMAND THE MONEY!
Lots of ads - beautiful,
almost perfectly written, and quite convincing - fail to ask
for or demand action from the reader. If you want the reader to have your product,
then tell him so and demand that he send his money now. Unless you enjoy
entertaining your prospects with your beautiful writing skills, always demand that
he complete the sale by taking action now - by calling a telephone number and
ordering, or by writing his check and rushing it to the post office. Once you've got
him on the hook, land him! Don't let him get away! Probably, one of the most
common and best methods of moving the reader to act now, is written in some
form of the following:
"All of this can be yours!
You can start enjoying this new way of life immediately,
simply by sending a check for $XX! Don't put it off, then later wish you had gotten
in on the ground floor! Make out that check now, and "be IN on the ground floor!"
Act now, and as an "early-bird" buyer, we'll include a big bonus package -
absolutely free, simply for acti don't know where to send it. The easier you make it for him to respond, the more
responses you'll get.
There you have it, a complete
short course on how to write ads that will pull more
orders for you and sell more of your products. It's important to learn "why" ads are
written as they are - to understand and use, the "master formula" in your own ad
Now that you have the knowledge
and understand what makes advertising copy
work, you should be able to quickly develop your copywriting abilities to produce
order-pulling ads for your own products just by conscientiously studying good
advertising copy and practicing the writing of your own ads. Even so, once you do
become proficient in writing ads for your own products, you must never stop
"noticing" how ads are written, designed, and put together by other people. You
must keep pace with new trends, methods, and approaches to winning the
confidence of the reader. The best ad writers are people in touch with the world in
which they live. Every time they see a good ad, they clip it out and save it.
Regularly, they pull out these files of good ads and study them, always analyzing
what makes them good, and why they work. There's no school in the country that
can give you the same kind of education and expertise so necessary in the field
of ad writing. You must keep yourself up-to-date, aware of and in-the-know about
the other guy - his innovations, style changes, and the methods he's using to sell
his products. On-the-job training - study and practice - is what it takes. If you've
got that burning ambition to succeed, you can do it too!
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1) WHAT'S THE MOST PROFITABLE WAY TO USE CLASSIFIEDS?
Classifieds are best used
to build your mailing list of qualified prospects. Use
classifieds to offer a free catalog, booklet or report relative to your product line.
Rarely will a classified become your primary selling tool.
2) WHAT CAN YOU SELL "DIRECTLY" FROM CLASSIFIEDS?
Generally, anything and
everything, so long as it doesn't cost more than five
dollars, which is about the most people will pay in response to an offer in the
classifieds. These types of ads are great for pulling inquiries such as: "Write for
further information"; "Send $3, get two for the price of one"; "Dealers wanted,
send for product information and a real money-maker's kit!"
3) WHAT ARE THE BEST MONTHS OF THE YEAR TO ADVERTISE?
All twelve months of the
year! Responses to your ads during some months will be
slower in accumulating; but by keying your ads according to the month they
appear, and carefully tabulating your returns from each keyed ad, you'll see that
steady year round advertising will continue to pull orders for you, regardless of the
month it's published. I've personally received inquiries and orders from ads
placed as long as 2 years previous to the date of the response! Obviously, there
are certain product lines that are more viable during certain seasons. For
example: don't advertise water skiing equipment during November and
4) ARE MAIL ORDER PUBLICATIONS GOOD ADVERTISING BUYS?
The least effective markets
are mail order ad sheets. Most of the ads in these
publications are "exchange ads," meaning that the publisher of ad sheet "A" runs
the ads of publisher "B" without charge, because publisher "B" is running the ads
of publisher "A" without charge. The "claimed" circulation figures of these
publications are almost always based on "wishes, hopes and wants" while the
"true" circulation goes out to similar small, part-time mail order dealers. This is a
very poor medium for investing advertising dollars because everybody receiving
a copy is a "seller" and nobody is buying. When an ad sheet is received by
someone not involved in mail order, it's usually given a cursory glance and then
discarded as "junk mail."
Tabloid newspapers are slightly
better than the ad sheets, but not by much. The
important difference with the tabloids is in the "helpful information" articles they
carry for the mail order beginner. A "fair media" for recruiting dealers or
independent sales reps for mail order products, and for renting mailing lists, but
still circulated among "sellers" with very few buyers. Besides, the life of a mail
order tab sheet is about the same as that of your daily newspaper.
With mail order magazines
it depends on the quality of the publication and its
business concepts. Some mail order magazines are nothing more than
expanded ad sheets while others strive to help the opportunity seekers with
on-going advice and tips he can use in the development and growth of his own
5) HOW CAN I DECIDE WHERE TO ADVERTISE MY PRODUCT?
First of all, you have to
determine who your prospective buyers are. Then do a
little bit of market research. Talk to your friends, neighbors and people at random
who might fit this profile. Ask them if they would be interested in a product such as
yours, and then ask which publications they read. Next, go to your public library for
a listing of the publications of this type from the Standard Rate & Data Service
Make a list of the addresses,
circulation figures, reader demographics, and
advertising rates. To determine the true costs of your advertising and decide
which is better buy, divide the total audited circulation figure into the cost for a
one inch ad. An ad that costs $50 per inch in a publication showing 100,000
circulation would be 100,000 into $50 or 50 cents per thousand.
Write and ask for sample
copies of the magazines you've tentatively chosen to
place your advertising in. Look over their advertising - be sure that they don't or
won't put your ad in the "gutter" which is the inside column next to the binding.
How many other mail order type ads are they carrying? You want to go with a
publication that's busy, not one that has only a few ads. The more ads in the
publication, the better the response the advertisers are getting, or else they
wouldn't be investing their money in that publication.
To properly test your ad,
let it run through at least three consecutive issues of any
publication. If your responses are small, try a different publication. Then, if your
responses are still minimal, look at your ad and think about rewriting it for greater
appeal and pulling power. In a great many instances, it's the ad and not the
publication's pulling power that's at fault!