STRIKES AGAIN! Leaves Broken Headlines, Fractured Body Copy in
By Drew Eric
Direct Response Surgeon
© Copyright Drew
Eric Whitman All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part
is prohibited without prior written permission from the author.
Here we are
again - hands still bloodied from our last session - intent on
ridding that evil, response-killing disease: Advertis Waytoo
In the last article, I gave you some of the most important
advice that any advertising professional possibly could. So let
me quickly recap those five main points so we can jump right in!
- You learned that about 60%
of all readers will read your headline and no more, so your
headline MUST be strong!
- You learned that in order
to stand out, you must give your offer unique
"Positioning" - the "slant" or "angle"
newspaper reporters call it.
- You learned to use
something unique about you, your background, your
appearance, your hobbies and more, as one way to develop
- You learned to give
readers specifics because it increases believability and
- And you learned the
differences between Features and Benefits. In order to
persuade people to buy, you must load your copy with
If you don't remember all this,
I advise you to reread the last issue before continuing. These points are critical.
Now - let's jump right in with Ad Critique #5.
Hmmm - here's a real beauty of an ad (snicker) that I just saw
the other day in the classifieds:
AD CRITIQUE #5:
NO HYPE, ONLY RESULTS
FREE CASSETTE TAPE, 24-PAGE BOOKLET
AND COMPLETE DETAILS. SEND $2.00
(POSTAGE & HANDLING) DEDUCTIBLE
Yes! That's the entire ad! Before I get out the scalpel on this
one, you tell me what's wrong with it. Are you thinking the same
thing I am? What the #!@&%! is this person selling? This ad
tells us nothing about nothing. All I know after reading it is
that it's guaranteed - but to do what? You get a free tape (for
$2.00) and a 24-page booklet. And if you're not happy, you can
get your money back.
Can you see why this person is severely limiting the response
that she could get? I hope so. Most people today don't want to
play games sending their hard-earned money away for something
that promises nothing.
Hey, look folks - if you're going to take the trouble to produce
a tape and a 24 pages of info, at least tell your readers what
they're going to be reading and listening to! People love tapes
-- they're powerful sales tools. But can you imagine your local
record and book store featuring a display of tapes and books
without titles? Who's the artist? Who's the author? Chances are
you wouldn't buy even at half price, let alone struggle to send
for it through the mail! This ad is so poor that I don't want to
spend any more time on it. I can't even improve it because I
don't know what the product or service is! Sigh. I'm depressed.
Let's move on.
AD CRITIQUE #6:
Homeworkers Needed Now!
Easy work, Big Profits. Send Free
Remember what I told you last time about placing ads like these
in MLM publications? Without a unique positioning, your
opportunity ad is like a grain of sand in the Sahara. MLM is
plagued with thousands of these offers. Remember: Don't expect
any significant response to curiosity-type offers that have no
unique positioning, "slant" or "angle."
An ad like the one above may work okay in a local newspaper
or shopper because the general public hasn't been completely
overwhelmed by these offers ... yet. There are still a lot of
out-of -the-circle people who are attracted by this "Homeworking"
But that's not to say that this ad would be great for that
audience either - it just has a better chance.
Want Powerful Headlines?
Try This ...
That ad brings to mind a very powerful kind of headline that
you might want to try. It's the newsworthy-type headline. With
this approach, you say things like, "ATTENTION
READERS"- "ANNOUNCING XXX"- "PRESENTING XXX"-
"AT LAST! XXX"- "FINALLY! XXX." Those "XXX"s
represent additional headline copy.
For example, "Finally! A Print & Mail Dealer Who's
Not Afraid to Prove What He Mails!" Or, "At Last! An
Easy Way to Deal With Even The Most Obnoxious People!" Or,
"Announcing a Powerful Mental Technique that Breaks Most
Any Habit In 2-1/2 Minutes!"
Get the idea? Good.
And oh, do you see how I wrote those headlines? Can you feel a
strong attractiveness about them? You almost want to respond
yourself, don't you? How did I do this? IT'S ALL IN THE
POSITIONING! (Read last month's article!) You need to discover
what is UNIQUE about your offer and then say it in an appealing
way! If there's nothing very appealing about your product or
service (There usually is, it just takes some digging!), then
there's probably something unique about YOU (Again, see last
month's issue.) that you can use!
AD CRITIQUE #7:
Make Money Writing!
I do it full time for big bucks.
Send me a long SASE (self-addressed,
stamped envelope) for my FREE report
on how you can do it, too.
I like this little ad. It immediately appeals to those
people who are interested in writing because it says the offer
right up in the headline. It was also designed in an appealing
manner, with the main headline "knocked out" (as we ad
folk say) of a black background in a small square with the three
headline words set on three decks (levels) with a subhead and
body copy on the right side. This was an effective use of small
What's more, (The words, "What's more" is a good
lead-in and creates a nice transition from one thought to
another. Try it!) the copy uses "Prescription #5:
"YOU. ME. I. HE. SHE. HIM. THEY. THEM PRONOUNS." It
sounds as if it were written by a human, not a cold, impersonal
corporation. It's warm and friendly.
For example, notice the line, "I do it for big
bucks" She didn't say, "Tremendous financial wealth
is possible." Plus, the subhead, "ANYONE CAN" is
reassuring to readers who would like to write for money, but
believe they're not capable.
Still, I would have liked to see some specifics. What kind of
writing? Ads? Poetry? Insurance literature? Pre-school books?
All these and more? You see, by not being specific, this
advertiser may be chasing many respondents away by having THEM
improperly conjecture what kind of writing is required. Porn?
Real estate ads? Something illegal? Something dreadfully boring,
like prescription medication usage-summaries for physicians? Why
let your (already suspicious) readers talk themselves out of
ordering because you didn't give enough information?
So ... just like they jam a tap into the trunk of a maple tree
and watch the thick, sweet syrup ooze out, let's now tap into
the brain of a typical opportunity seeker when s/he comes across
this ad, and listen in for a moment, shall we? The words in all
CAPITAL LETTERS denote the ad copy being read.
"La, de da ... look at all this stuff ... all these
hyped-up offers ... DO YOU SUFFER FROM HEART TROUBLES? ... no,
thank God ... Aunt Betty did have heart problems ... wonder how she's doing? CTEAM + WATKINS=SUCCE$$ ... What's the Team? Who is
Watkins? ... Hmmm ... this looks like an interesting article,
I'll read it later ... Here's an ad: EASY WORK, EXCELLENT PAY
TAKING SNAPSHOTS ... sounds interesting, but I don't have a good
camera and you probably need one ... Wish I could afford one of
those nice auto-focus models like Bill has, that rich sucker ...
maybe I should get into his business ... I could always put it
on my Master Card ... yeah, right, I already owe $3,500 ... I
really should budget my money ... GET PAID $25 FOR EACH NAME YOU
RECEIVE ... How? What do I have to do? Whose names? Sounds like
a major exaggeration here. I've seen a million of these ads. If it's so great why isn't he doing it instead of placing ads
asking other people to do it? A NEW BODY-CARE SYSTEM--LIKE TO
FEEL YOUNG & HEALTHY? ... Hmmm ... My body is fine ...
besides, "Like To Feel Young And Healthy" should have
been the headline, not sentence number two. (Doctor's Note: I
think we tapped into MY mind here! Ha!) MAKE MONEY WRITING ... I
like to write ... would be great if I could make money doing it
... but who would BUY what I write ... I don't know if I'm THAT
good ... ANYONE CAN ... Hmmmm ... that makes me feel better ...
maybe they know a secret of how to do it even if you're not a
Hemingway ... What do I have to write, though? Hmmm ... I DO IT
FULL TIME FOR BIG BUCKS ... This person does it full time and
makes good money ... what does s/he know that I don't? ... SEND
A LONG SASE FOR A FREE REPORT ... that's easy enough ... plus
it's free, I like that ... not much risk here ... could be
interesting ... hmmm ... okay, I'll send for this one."
That "Brain-Tap" showed you a mere fraction of the
thousands of separate thoughts running through people's minds
when they read ads. In actuality, it all happens in seconds! You
think that all they're doing is reading your ad? Think again!
They're criticizing, judging, negating, fantasizing, evaluating
and running through a whole slew of other feelings and mental
conversations! The trick is to GRAB them with your headline by
targeting them so precisely with an offer you know is right up
For example, "Make $38.00 per Hour Downhill
Skiing!" placed in a Ski magazine. Or through a strong
curiosity/benefit appeal such as, "New York Psychologist
Reveals Powerful Speaking Technique that Instantly Puts Rude
Salespeople In Their Place." This is something that almost
every consumer would like to know. As much as I hate to admit, advertising is not an exact science.
No matter how good you think an ad, brochure or sales letter is,
you never really know for sure until you thoroughly test it. But
knowing what has produced results in the past does give you a
MAJOR advantage. Knowing how to persuade people to buy through
the skilled use of words definitely helps. These are things you're learning here in this column every month, thanks to Rick
Hanson and this super Marketing Resources InfoCentre web site!
Okay gang ... that's it for this month! If you learned nothing
else from the past two articles, I hope you now understand the
importance of Positioning: the idea of finding something unique
and appealing to say about your product or service and saying it
in your headline ... specifically, interestingly and believably.
If you want to succeed in business -- any business -- put this
lesson to immediate use.
Next issue, I'm going to give you a whole slew of Quick Tips
that you can put into immediate use to boost the power of your
ads, brochures, sales letters and more! Until then, I wish you
health, happiness and prosperity!
you like to spend 4-1/2 hours with me and learn how to
persuade people like an ad-agency pro? In my 6-cassette
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
risk free. CLICK HERE FOR
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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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