How To Write “Order Pulling” Ads – Part 2
In the second part of our series I’m going to move on to display ads and building the close.
A display or space ad differs from a classified ad because it has headline, layout, and because the style is not telegraphic, i.e. short and to the point.
However, the fundamentals of writing the display ad or space 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”.
Successful copywriters rate the headline and/or the lead sentence of an ad as the most important part of the ad, and 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 ad?
The truth is, they’re not going to see your ad unless you can “grab” their attention and entice them to real all of what your 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 or warnings, either implied or direct. You may promise to show them how to save money, make money, or attain a desired goal. Alternatively you may use a warning against something undesirable if they don’t have your product.
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 examples. I have 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 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 human mind can’t stand anything that is incomplete, it has to find the answer to complete the interaction.
The best headline questions are those that challenge the reader; that involve his self esteem, and do not allow him to dismiss you 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 and find out how he can gain the respect and accolades of her friends.
Wherever and whenever possible, use expressions or words that are usually found in advertisements. The idea is to shock or shake the reader out of his comfort zone and cause her to take notice of your ad. Most of the headlines you see today 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 is nothing different or out of the ordinary to arrest his attention.
Example of what I mean here; Are You Developing A POT BELLY?
Another attention-grabber kind of headline is the comparative price headline; Three For only $3, Regularly $3 Each!
And 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 are 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 strong reader appeal. The psychology here being the need of everyone to belong to a group–complete with status and prestige motivations.
Whenever 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 are 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 is 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 top roast of beef at a vegetarian 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 strain the eyes or disrupt the flow the message you are 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.
A word of warning here for when you are using a graphic designer for your work. It is vital that you retain control of the project. You’re the sales copy specialist, they just want to show off their graphic skills. If you don’t keep them under control you will end up with something so over-the-top that your sales message will get completely taken over by the graphics.
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 have been in business, nor how many years you have spent learning your craft. She wants to know specifically how she’s going to benefit from the purchase of your product.
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 explanation of the benefits your reader can gain. In essence, you must reiterate the advantages, comfort and happiness he or she will enjoy–as you have implied in your headline.
Mentally picture your prospect, determine their wants and emotional needs–put yourself in their 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 needs or 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 the people’s wants and emotional needs and ego cravings.
Visualize your prospect, recognize what he wants: and satisfy them. Writing good advertising copy is nothing more or less than knowing “who” your buyers are; recognizing what she wants; and telling her 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 them to demand “a piece of the action” for themselves.
It’s vitally necessary that you present “proven facts” about your product because survey results show that at least 80% 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 the reason, and/or excuse for buying a product–to justify to themselves and others, that they haven’t been “taken” by a slick copywriter. It is good to remember that we almost always buy for emotional reasons and the seek to justify our decision logically afterwards – usually to our spouse!
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 justify the seed of doubt lingering in her mind–to rationalize her decision to go on with the wedding and convince her father that she should.
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 them of their good judgement in their 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 they have read through this far–it’s up to you to support their initial desire.
It’s also a fact that people buy what they want, NOT what they need. So they require facts to justify satisfying that want when it is initially obvious that they don’t need it, and inside they know it.
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 reason for buying.
Here is where you use the 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 you demand for action, summarize everything you’ve presented thus far. Draw a mental picture for your potential buyer. Let him imagine owning the product. Cause him to visualize all 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, identify the element included in all of them that actually makes the sale 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 the “hardest” to sell.
For, unlike face-to-face selling, we cannot come to a “trail close” in our sales talk in printed advertising 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’s dollar-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 them and demand that they spend their money now. Unless you enjoy entertaining your prospects with your beautiful writing skills, always demand that they complete the sale now, by taking action now-by clicking your ‘buy now’ button.
If you are running the one-page mailshot ads you should be demanding that they go to your squeeze page now to check out this fantastic product.
Once you’ve got them on the hook, land them! Don’t let them get away!
Probably, one of the most common and best methods of moving the reader to act now, is written in some of the following:
All of this can be yours! You can start enjoying this new way of life immediately, simply by clicking the button now! don’t put it off, then regret it later when the limited number we have available at this price are gone! Click that button now, and be one of the lucky few to get in! 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 risk! If you’re not satisfied simply return the product and we’ll quickly refund your money! Do it now! Click the big red ‘Buy Now’ button, and receive the big bonus package! When the first 250 are gone, 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 sweetener of some kind will almost always stimulate the prospect to take action. However, in mentioning the sweetener or bonus, be very careful that you don’t end up receiving primarily requests for the bonus with mountains of request 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, confuse the reader by “forgetting about the product” and devoting his entire space allotted for the “demand for action” to sending for the bonus. Any bonus 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 withdraw 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 front of the computer, casually flipping through her email or she maybe just picked up the mail and is casually opening up the envelopes. She notices your ad, reads through it, and is sold on your product.
Now what does she do?
Remember, she is very comfortable, she’s going about her business, you’ve “grabbed” her attention, sparked her interest, painted a picture of her enjoying a new kind of satisfaction, a new life, and she is ready to buy…
Anything and everything you ask or cause her to do is going to disrupt this aura of comfort, excitement and contentment. Whatever she must do had better be simple, quick and easy!
Tell her without any ifs, ands or buts, what to do-go to the web address in your letter and read more, click the big red ‘Buy Now’ button! Make it as easy for her as you possibly can-simple and direct. And whatever you do, make sure your squeeze page captures her name and email address.
Incidentally if you are selling through the post make sure that your name and address is on the order form, and just above it on your sales letter. People sometimes fill out the coupon, tear it off, seal it in an envelope and don’t know where to send it. The easier you make it for her 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, 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 copywriting abilities to produce order pulling ads for your own products.
However, 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 in what is known as a swipe file. The best copywriters have cabinets full of swipe files. Regularly, they pull out these files of good ads and study them, always analyzing what makes them good, and why they work.
There is no school in the world 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 is using to sell his product. 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!
In the final part of this series I’ll be covering some of the common questions I get and answering them for you.
Until next time,
Remember, It’s not the knowledge you have that brings success but what you do with that knowledge.
“Nothing happens until you take Action”