1. Get your message in the headline. The headline should tell the whole story—including the brand name and key consumer promise. Avoid blind headlines that tell nothing.
2. Flag your prospect. Select your audience by appealing to the reader’s self-interest.
3. Offer a benefit in the headline. Headlines that promise a benefit sell more than those that don’t. Make the benefit quickly apparent. Make the benefit easy to get.
4. Inject news in your headline. If you have a new product or an improvement of an existing product, announce it with a loud bang, not a quiet whisper.
5. Don’t be afraid of long headlines. Research shows that, on the average, long headlines sell more than short ones.
6. Avoid negative headlines. Sell the positive benefits of your product or service.
7. Make the copy clear. Give facts, not puffy adjectives; specifics, not generalizations.
8. Use powerful illustrations.
An illustration is the most effective way to get a reader’s attention. The illustration and headline must say the same thing.
9. Use photos. Photos increase recall an average of 26% over artwork.
10. Use before-and-after photos. They make your point better than words.
11. Use simple layouts. One big picture works better than several small pictures. Avoid clutter.
12. Don’t be afraid of long copy. The people who read beyond the headline are prospects for your product. They want information, and lots of it.
13. Include testimonials. They add credibility. Buyers like to know how well your product has worked for others.
14. Give coupons. Make coupons look like coupons: broken borders, little scissors, placed in the lower right hand of your ad or brochure.
15. Talk normally. Write the way people talk.
16. Put captions under photos. The readership of a picture is twice as great as body copy.
17. Make each ad stand on its own, like an island. Assume it will be the only advertisement for your product a reader will ever see.
18. Develop a single ad format. It doubles recognition. One format makes your company look like a large unified company, rather than several smaller offshoot companies.
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How should you market your business during a recession?
Let’s say we are the middle of a recession. Do you continue to advertise? Or do you stop all together?
You want to cut costs, but where? Some companies make a quick decision to cut advertising first, but you’re not so sure.
Here are some solid reasons to continue advertising during a recession. They might even justify boosting your budget, but only if you are prepared to become a market leader when the recession period ends.
1. Aggressive advertising can help you capture market share while your weaker competitors are slashing ad budgets and waiting out the storm.
2. Your sales team needs your help. While existing customers are cutting orders, advertising is needed to identify new prospects.
3. Memories are short. Buyers can easily forget your name. If a competitor continues to advertise, he is the one most likely to be remembered.
4. Advertising is an important part of the sales team. You aren’t going to lay off your sales staff just because business is slow. Why would you cut off the most important elements of sales support?
5. It takes time to make a sale. Advertising has a cumulative effect. If you cut your ads today, you’ll lose the ground you’ve gained. Continuity is the single most important factor in effective advertising.
6. Good advertising generates sales. If you cut your advertising, the sales slump you experience may be self-inflicted.
7. There is more to advertising than immediate sales. It is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with customers, to let them know that you are alive and well in spite of the slow down.
8. New conditions create new needs. The recession may be creating new prospects for your products or services and advertising will help you find them.
• • •
Ask your reader to do something easy, not hard
Sherwin Cody was an American writer and entrepreneur who developed a long-running home-study course in speaking and writing.
His signature series of advertisements asked: “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?”
His course, presented in a patented workbook format which he described as self-correcting, was purchased by over 150,000 students from its inception in 1918.
There are several things that make this ad great:
• It worked. He sold his books.
• The headline asks a question.
• The word “mistake” is what makes this headline so good. Nobody wants to make mistakes in English.
• The classic style:
- Big headline
- Smaller headline
- Lots of subheadings
- Lots of copy
- A coupon
- Long copy
Use a step-by-step method
What I really like is his offer. He doesn’t sell the book. He gives away another book “how you can master good English in 15 minutes a day.”
Nothing beats free. The free book leads to his paid book. If you want to create ads that create a direct response, this is still a classic format.