Surgeon Shows No Mercy;
Dissects Dealers' Ads Before Their Eyes
By Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon "!
© Copyright Drew Eric Whitman All rights reserved. Reproduction
in whole or part is prohibited without prior written permission
from the author.
This article is not for the FAINT of heart.
This article tells - in
graphic detail - about a killer disease that's spreading
throughout the country like a dark, fiendish plague. It's the
evil virus known as: Advertis Waytoo Boringus. And once
it infects you, it could mean the death of your business
If the sight of broken headlines and severely fractured body
copy makes your stomach churn, stop reading here. Otherwise,
slip on your scrub-greens and join me in the Direct Response
Emergency Room(tm) for some simple (and painless) ad-writing
techniques that can do wonders for your career - and your bank
Right now -- thanks to Collin Almeida,CEO,
Success Strategies Inc, I am going to examine
actual mail order ads (some that are running in publications
this very minute) and dissect each one - bit-by-bit - before
your very eyes. I am going to tell you exactly what is right.
And what is wrong. If the ad stinks, I'll tell you, and if it's
terrific, I'll tell you that too. I'll show you how to avoid
making the mistakes these dealers made. And how you can save
hundreds - even thousands of dollars by doing so. Since ad
writing is so important to your success, I want to be sure this
lesson really sinks in. There's a lot of ground to cover,
therefore this article will be presented in two parts.
NOTE: If one of these ads happens to be yours - lucky you! Why?
Because you are getting a free evaluation telling you how to
make it better! So ... let's get started!
First: Do you remember what I said in my first article about
headlines? Well, I'll remind you! I said that "60% of all
people who see your ad will read only the headline and no
more." That means if your headline does not stop your
reader and force him or her to read the rest of your ad...
"you ain't gonna make no money!" We can't have that
now, can we? Nope. This article is dedicated to teaching you how
to crank out powerful, irresistible headlines that defy people
to pass them by! I call them "Dragon-Slayer" Heads
because some of them could knock even old gasoline-breath
Godzilla off his scaly green feet! So let's go!
AD CRITIQUE #1:
MLM DOLLARS IN YOUR
Easy & Exciting Mail Order Opportunity!
FREE details. Send LSASE to: XXXXX
Would you send for the
information on this MLM program? I wouldn't. Let's look at the
headline. It does nothing to attract you. It only states what
most dealers today have already heard thousands of times. It has
no hook. It doesn't grab. It's too general. Actually, it's
rather boring. This advertiser is trying to get people to
respond without giving away any inkling of what the
"system" involves. This is no good, especially today.
Do you know why? Because publications today are plagued with too
many similar sounding offers of MLM... stuffing envelopes...
mailing commission circulars... and similar work-at-home
programs. Most people who read this ad will automatically say,
"Yeah, here's another one of those crazy deals. I've seen 'em
all. Why bother sending the SASE?"
The following tip will save
you piles of money ...
Do not expect any significant response to curiosity-type offers
that have no unique positioning. What the heck is positioning?
Let me explain. Positioning is the theme you give to your offer.
It's what newspaper reporters call their "slant" or
"angle." It means what key idea is behind the offer.
Do you want an example? Okay. Here it is:
Which of these two ad
headlines attracts your attention most?
"DOLLARS IN YOUR
- OR -
"78 YEAR OLD MAN
DISCOVERS SNEAKY MLM PLAN
TO GET PEOPLE TO SEND YOU MONEY IN THE MAIL"
Which did you pick? If you have the marketing and advertising
savvy I think you do, then you probably picked the one about the
"78-year old man." You are not alone. Most readers,
too, would first respond to an ad with this headline, as opposed
to the "Dollars in Your Mailbox" line. Because it is
what I call, "Specifically Unique." It gets people
conjuring up images in their mind. They wonder, "What about
this 78-year old man? How did he discover this MLM plan?"
People have not heard this before. It's fresh and different. If
you want your ad to stand out from the crowd, say something
Do you understand what I mean about positioning your offer now?
Let me give you another example to make this even more clear.
AD CRITIQUE #2:
RAGS TO RICHES!
Discover little-known success secrets.
Easy! Profitable! Free details with SASE.
Ugh! Look at that poor ol' headline! The fine person who wrote
this ad is probably not very happy with the results he's
getting. And you know... this ad could have been 100% more
effective if he had changed only a few words! That's because
this man, unlike the previous advertiser, does have relatively
clear positioning. Do you see his positioning? Take a minute and
look at this ad again. And see if you can spot the angle he's
Did you catch it? If you didn't, don't worry. Sometimes it takes
a little practice to instantly spot it. After I'm done with you,
your eyes will pop out of your head when you see a
well-positioned offer. Now - back to this "Rags to
The position here is "Little-known success secrets."
Now -compare this to the previous "Dollars in Your
Mailbox" ad. All that ad said was that the method was
"Easy & Exciting." I'm not excited. Are you
excited? It's simply not enough. It's too vague. It's too
general. It gives us nothing. No information.
But the "Rags to Riches" ad (despite the headline),
does give us some information. Instead of saying to ourselves,
"This is just a stuff envelopes scheme." we are more
likely to say, "Hmm... Why are these secrets little known?
Do I know them? Who does know them? It's probably not a stuff
envelope program because everyone knows about them." And so
Now - this ad, although it is doing something right, still
suffers. A lot. And the problem is with the headline. So let's
stop complaining and start doing something about it! Hmm...
let's see. Instead of "Rags to Riches," how about if
we put the main idea of this ad right up in the headline. First,
decide what's so unique about this plan. Who developed it? Is
this person, or his or her situation, unique in any way? For
Reveals The Secrets
That Helped Make Him So Rich."
Agrees To Reveal
His Secrets Of Wealth And Success."
Private Diary Found -
Reveals Little-Known Secrets Of Success"
Do you get it? The whole point here is to think up a headline
that is different from what thousands of other dealers are
saying. Be truthful, of course, but find an intriguing way to
say it! Stop all the, "Get Rich By Mail" nonsense.
People are tired of this vague, generic, fluff! Ask yourself,
"What is unique about my offer? Am I the only one offering
this plan, product or service? What is unique about me that I
can play up?
Am I a farmer with a great money making plan? ("Idaho
Farmer Says, 'Growing $20.00 Bills Are As Easy As Growing
Potatoes When You Follow My Plan!' ")
Am I losing my hair? ("Bald Man Offers The Only 24-Hour
Print & Mail Service." ) Make sure you put a picture of
yourself on everything if this describes you! You will become
well known very quickly!
Are you a big or tall man or woman? ("6'8, 300-Pound Man
Offers The Biggest ______ in the Industry!) In this case, use a
photo - taken from floor level to emphasize your size - on
Are you a great fisherman or woman? ("Fishing Expert Says,
"Hooking PEOPLE are as easy as hooking flounder when you
follow my secret plan to build your down-line!")
Get the idea?
And this is extremely important: If you remember only one point
from this entire month's article - remember this one. BE
SPECIFIC! In other words, don't say, "Make A Lot of
Money." Say, "Make $32,098.00 in 4 months." Don't
say, "Mail Order Dealers Love the Fishhead
Advertiser." Say, "176 Of Today's Most Successful
Dealers Advertise In The Fishhead Advertiser - 92% Repeat Every
Issue." Don't say, "Send For My Big, Big Mail."
Say, "... 25 Publication Big Mail." or "... 104
Piece Big Mail." or "... 3-1/2 Pound Big Mail."
Why be so specific? Because specifics are more believable than
even figures. It tells readers that you actually sat down and
counted. That builds your credibility. And the more credible you
are, the more likely people will buy from you. So ... BE
SPECIFIC UNTIL IT HURTS!
Let's take a peek at another ad, shall we?
AD CRITIQUE #3:
I'm currently mailing a circular pulling 36.6% in sales!
I'll send you a copy for a long, stamped #10 return envelope.
Now we're cookin'! This guy has something here. Check it out.
First - his headline is very S_______C. Were you able to fill in
the blank? Good for you! The headline is SPECIFIC! He doesn't
say, "I'm Getting Many Orders." He is on target with
an exact figure, "36.6%." Hey look! He isn't saying
just 36%. He is going all the way and saying that extra .6% too!
Could this guy get even better response to his ad? Definitely.
How about if he said something that gave more of an idea of his
offer in his headline rather than just a number...
"Circular Pulls 36.6% In
Yours Free For The Asking!"
This way this chap tells everything right up front. Remember:
60% of the readers will read just the headline and no more. In
this case, they'll read "36.6%". This number alone
means nothing. So you gotta hook your fish the right way before
he swims to somebody else's bait! Onward!
Are you learning? Great! Now, keep paying attention here - class
is not over yet.
AD CRITIQUE #4:
Join The Kristo Mailers Club.
A bonanza for the small mail order dealer.
Now take a look at this ad. Is there something wrong with it?
Before I say anything - you tell me! Yes - something is wrong.
First of all, let's look at the headline. It says simply
"MAILERS." That's all. Okay. Now you can argue that it
does target its audience. In other words - it will attract
Mailers, and that's who this advertiser wants to attract. If you
said that, I'd surely agree. The problem here, in that case, is
that even if we read the rest of the ad (the "body
copy"), we discover something amazing... NOTHING! This ad
contains no BENEFITS. No reason to get us interested in
responding. All it says is "A BONANZA FOR THE SMALL MAIL
ORDER DEALER." Yes, okay, a bonanza, but what the heck is a
bonanza? A bonanza of what? Money? Membership benefits? Printing
discounts? Free ads? Commission Circulars? Tuna fish? WHAT???
Let's stop for a minute to catch our breath. I need to make a
point here. I want to teach you about what I just mentioned
regarding the ad above. I said, "BENEFITS." Play close
attention now, because I'm going to give you the facts - clear
and straight. If you pass this over lightly and do not
incorporate it in your ads, you may as well pack up now and try
a different business. If you don't put BENEFITS in your
advertising, whether it's an ad, brochure, sales letter,
whatever, then kiss your money bye bye!
Now before you start puckering up - let me show you how easy it
is to load your ad - and headlines especially - with so many
powerful benefits that it will make your readers' heads spin.
First, let's examine what a benefit is in advertising terms.
Benefits are those things that offer the reader value. And as
the word implies - they are things that directly benefit him or
her. Is a benefit the same as a feature? NO! NO! NO! You must
learn the distinction! A feature is simply a component of a
product or service. For example:
1997 Rolls Royce Silver Spur
The soft feel underfoot
Rolls Royce Engine
The feeling of power and success
Get it? The features are the attributes. The benefits are what
you get from the features. And it's the benefits that entice
people to buy. People want to know how your money-making plan
will benefit them ... they're not much interested in the kind of
paper it's printed on.
Now that we've straightened that up, let's return to our
"Bonanza" ad. What we have to do to improve this ad
is: (1) Create our benefit headline and (2) Load the copy with
benefits. Look how much more exciting and persuasive the
following copy is now ...
Thousands of Dollars in
Mail Order Discounts
- If You Can Qualify!
Join the Kristo Mail Order
Club and enjoy: (1) 25% off Quality Printing that makes you look
pro! (2) 15% off Rubber Stamps that save you hours of time! (3)
Free Commission Circulars that put dollars in your pocket! (4)
Free Advertising Consultation for dramatically better response!
(5) Free Newsletter to keep you informed! (6) And much more!
FREE Details! Send SASE today to:
See, it's not so hard, is it? All I did was take (what I thought
might be) the benefits of joining that club and just list them!
By adding the sneaky, "If you qualify", it gives the
offer a flavor of exclusivity ... like not just anyone can join.
Remember: People want what they cannot have. I also capitalized
and bold-faced the word "FREE" whenever it appeared
(it's a magic word!) and added energy by using exclamation
marks! My question to the person who placed this ad is, "If
your club offers such a great bonanza of benefits - then why
didn't you tell me what they are?"
Look - you don't need a full page to write a good ad. In the
sample ad above, I condensed the details. So Can You. In fact,
little one inch ads can be tremendously successful, but you have
to say the right things! You have to pump up the benefits!
Okay ... let's review what you've learned.
- You've learned that about
60% of all readers will read your headline and no more, so your headline MUST be strong!
- You've now know that in
order to stand out, you must give your offer unique
"Positioning" - the "slant" or
"angle" as newspaper reporters call it. Give your
main benefit a twist and say it in your headline!
- You learned that you can
use something unique about you, your background, your
appearance, your hobbies and more, as one way to develop
your positioning! Ideally, your positioning should, in some
way, denote solid benefits for your reader.
- You now know it's
extremely important to give readers Specifics because it
increases believability and thus, response!
- And you learned the
differences between Features and Benefits. In order to
persuade people to buy, you must load your copy with
BENEFITS! (This is the #1 secret of successful ad-writing
- and I'm not kidding!)
Okay, that's enough for this
article. But don't leave the Emergency Room yet! Be sure to join
me here at the great Marketing Resources InfoCentre (Which is,
in my opinion, one of the best and most valuable business web
sites available.) next time and we'll continue the operation!
Until then ... I wish you health, happiness and prosperity!
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audio program, "How to Create Power-Packed Ads,
Brochures & Sales Letters that Make Money NOW!"
I teach you how! Come on... try it for ONE FULL YEAR
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Whitman, D.R.S. -- is an outspoken, humorous and
philosophical advertising trainer, speaker and columnist with
15+ solid years of hands-on experience. His newspaper and
magazine articles teach thousands of business people how to
use simple, but powerful techniques of Madison Avenue
psychology to help them boost their advertising results.
He was a Senior Direct Response Writer for the direct response
division of the largest ad agency in Philadelphia. He was also
Senior Direct Response Copywriter of one of the largest
direct-to-the-consumer insurance companies in the world. He
created powerfully effective advertising for small retail shops,
to giant, multi-million dollar organizations, including Faber-Castell
Corporation, Texaco, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American
Automobile Association, Amoco, American Legion and many others.
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