AOH :: HOWTO312.TXT|
How To Write "Order Pulling" Ads
HOW TO WRITE "ORDER-PULLING" ADS
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, this
advertising must be seen or heard by potential buyers, and cause
them to react to the advertising in some way. The credit for the
success, or the blame for the failure of almost all ads, reverts
back to the ad itself.
Generally, the "ad writer" wants the prospect to do one of the
a) Visit the store to see and judge the product for
himself, or immediately write a check and send for
the merchandise being advertised
b) Phone for an appointment to hear the full sales
presentation, or write for further information
which amounts to the same thing.
The bottom line in any ad is quite simple: To 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" must know exactly what he wants his reader to do,
and any ad that does not elicit the desired action is an absolute
waste of time and money.
In order to elicit the desired action from the prospect, all ads are
written according to a simple "master formula" which is:
1) Attract the "attention" of your prospect
2) "Interest" your prospect in the product
3) Cause your prospect to "desire" the product
4) Demand "action" from the prospect
Never forget the basic rule of advertising copyrighting: If the ad
is not read, It won't stimulate any sales; if it is not seen, it
cannot be read, and if it does not command or grab the attention of
the reader, it will not be seen.
Most successful advertising copywriters know these fundamentals
backwards and forwards. Whether you know them already or you're
just now being exposed to them, your knowledge and practice of these
fundamentals will determine the extent of your success as an
Classified ads are the ads from which all 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 the people don't break his door
down with demands for his product. Classified ads are written
according to all the advertising rules. What is said in a classified
ad is the same that's said in a larger, more elaborate type of ad,
excepting in condensed form.
To start learning how to write good classified ads, clip ten
classified ads from ten different mail order type publications -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 ads keeps your interest - are you
stimulated to want to know more about the product being advertised -
and finally, what action must you take? Are all of these points
covered in the ad? How strongly are you "turned on" by each of
Rate these ads on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best
according to the formula I've given you. Now, just for practice,
without clipping the ads, do the same thing with ten different ads
from a Sears, Wards or JC Penney's catalog. In fact, every ad you
see from now on, quickly analyze it, 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 know within your own mind whether an ad is good, bad or
otherwise, and what makes it so.
Practice 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 the "feel"
of the fundamentals and style necessary in writing classified ads.
Your next project will be to pick out what you consider to be the
ten "worst" ads you can find in the classifieds sections. Clip these
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 bad, lost in the
crowd, doesn't attract attention - doesn't hold the reader's
interest - nothing special to make the reader want to own the
product - no 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 measure up to doing the job they were intended to do.
Once you're satisfied that the ads you've rewritten are perfect, go
back into 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.
EXAMPLE: I'll arrive at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, the 15th.
Meet me at Sardi's. All my love, Jim.
EDITED FOR SENDING: Arrive 2 pm - 15th - Sardi's. Love, Jim.
CLASSIFIED 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
EDITED FOR PUBLICATION: 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 rewriting the bad ones to make them
better. Practice, and keep at it, over and over, every day - until
the formula, the idea, and the feel of this kind of 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 because it has a
headline, layout, and because the style isn't telegraphic. However,
the fundamentals of writing the display or space ad are exactly the
same as 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/or the lead sentence of
an ad as the most important part of the ad, and in reality, you
should do the same. After all, when your ad is surrounded by
hundreds of other ads, and information or entertainment, what makes
you think anyone is going to see your particular ad?
The truth is, they're not going to see your ad unless you can "grab"
their attention and entice them 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 - in classified ads, your first
three to five words serve as your headline - are written as
promises, either implied or direct. The former promises to show you
how to save money, make money, or attain a desired goal. The latter
is a warning against something undesirable.
EXAMPLE OF A PROMISE: Are You Ready To Become A Millionaire - In
Just 18 Months?
EXAMPLE OF A WARNING: Do You Make These Mistakes In English?
In both of these examples, I've 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 he's 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 kind of "reader
appeal" to incorporate into your headline whenever appropriate. The
appeal has to do with basic psychology: everyone wants to be well
thought of, and consequently, will read into the body of your ad 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.
EXAMPLE OF COLLOQUIALISM: Are You Developing A POT BELLY?
Another attention-grabber kind of head-line is the comparative price
headline: Three For Only $3, Regularly $3 Each! Still another of
the "tried and proven" kind 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. Who Else wants in on the finer things - which your
product or service presumably offers - is another approach with a
very strong reader appeal. The psychology here being the need of
everyone to belong to a group - complete with status and prestige
Whenever, and as often as you can possibly work it in, you should
use the word "you" in your headline, and throughout your copy.
After all, your 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, and be specific! You can throw the teachings of your
English teachers out the window, and the rules of "third person,
singular" or whatever else tends to inhibit your writing. Whenever
you sit down to write advertising copy intended to pull the orders -
sell the product - you should picture yourself in a one-on-one
situation and "talk" to your reader just as if you sitting across
from him at your dining room table. Say what you mean, and sell HIM
on the product your offering. Be specific and ask him if these are
the things that bother him - are these the things he wants - and
he's the one you want to buy the product...
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/or the copy you've written about it. Graphics should not be
used as artistic touches, or to create an atmosphere. Any
illustrations with your ad should compliment 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
Generally, his wants will fall into one of the following categories:
Better health, more comfort, more money, more leisure time, more
popularity, greater beauty, success and/or 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 - 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 are the things that would appeal to me?"
Write your copy to appeal to your reader's wants and emotional
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 needs/ego cravings.
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 he wants; and then telling
him how your product will fulfill each of those wants, Remember this
because it's 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 is where you present the facts of
your product; create and justify your prospect's conviction, and
cause him to demand "a piece of the action" for himself.
It's vitally necessary that you present "proven facts" about your
product because survey results show that at least 8% of the people
reading your ad - especially those reading it for the first time -
Will tend to question its authenticity.
So, 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/or excuses for buying a
product - to justify to themselves and others, that they haven't
been "taken" by a slick copywriter.
It's like the girl who wants to marry the guy her father calls a "no
good bum." Her heart - 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 - furnish
evidence of the benefits you've promised - and afford 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 test 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 to do, and 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 the absolute ingredient you must include
prior to closing the sale. Study all the sales presentations you've
ever heard - look at every winning ad - this the element included in
all of them that actually makes the gale for you. Remember it, use
it, and don't try to sell anything without it.
As Victor Schwab puts it so succinctly in his best-selling book, How
To Write A Good Advertisement: Every one of the fundamentals in the
"master formula" is necessary. Those people who are "easy" to sell
may perhaps be sold even if some of these factors are left out, but
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, we cannot in printed advertising come to a
"trial close" in our sales talk - in order to see if those who are
easier to sell will welcome the dotted line without further
persuasion. We must assume that we are talking to the hardest ones
- and that the more thoroughly our copy sells both the hard and the
easy, the better chance we have against the competition for the
consumer dollars - and also the less dependent we will be upon the
usual completely ineffective follow-through on our advertising
effort which later takes place at the sales counter itself.
ASK FOR ACTION DEMAND THE MONEY!
Lots of ads are beautiful, almost perfectly written, and quite
convincing - yet they 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 now, 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's 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 acting immediately! You win all the way! We take
all the risks. 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 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 primarily,
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 inquiries.
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 thru a magazine while "half-watching" TV. He notices
your ad, reads thru it, and he's sold on your product. Now what does
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
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 - your name and
address on the order form, as well as just above it. People
sometimes fill out a coupon, tear it off, seal it in an envelope and
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 course on how to write ads that will
pull more orders for you - sell more of your product for you. It's
important to learn "why" ads are written as they are - to understand
and use, the "master formula" in your own ad writing endeavors.
By conscientiously studying good advertising copy, and practice in
writing ads of your own, now that you have the knowledge and
understand what makes advertising copy work, you should be able to
quickly develop your copyrighting abilities to produce order-pulling
ads for your own products. Even so, and 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. To stop learning would be comparable to shutting yourself
off from the rest of the world.
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 - that's what it takes - and 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
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 info and a real money-makers 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 a careful tabulation of 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. Advertisers
have received inquiries and orders from ads placed as long as 2 years
previous to the date of the placement.
4) ARE MAIL ORDER PUBLICATIONS GOOD ADVERTISING BUYS... The least
effective are the 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. 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 try to 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 amongst "sellers" with very few buyers.
Besides that, 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 - such as
BOOK BUSINESS MART! Strive to help the opportunity seekers with
on-going advice and tips he can use in the development and growth of
his own wealth-building projects. Book Business Mart is not just
the fastest-growing publication on the mail order scene today, it's
also the first publication in more than 20 years to offer real help
anyone can use in achieving his own version of "The American Dream"
of building one's own business from a "shoestring beginning" into a
multi-million dollar empire!
5) HOW CAN I DECIDE WHERE TO ADVERTISE MY PRODUCT... First of all, you
have to determine who your prospective buyers are. Then you 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 them 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 catalogs.
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 the better buy, divide the
total audited circulation figure into the cost for a one inch ad:
$10 per inch with a publication showing 10,000 circulation would be
10,000 into $10 or $.10 per thousand. Looking at the advertising
rates for Book Business Mart, you would take 42,500 into $15 for an
advertising rate of less than THREE TENTHS OF ONE CENT PER THOUSAND.
Obviously, your best buy in this case would be Book Business Mart
because of the lower cost 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, you should 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 small, 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!
The entire AOH site is optimized to look best in Firefox® 3 on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986- AOH
We do not send spam. If you have received spam bearing an artofhacking.com email address, please forward it with full headers to email@example.com.