And for those that think the long sales letter/ad doesn’t work, it
was tested by Merill Lynch. They did an ad that had over 5600 words in it and was the full page of the NY Times or Wall Street Journal (I forget which) They got over 10,000 responses.
And then there was Bill Bernbach that sold the Volkswagen with a paragraph and a headline that said ‘Lemon.’ Yes a one word headline. However, the difference between the Merrill Lynch Ad and the VW ad was that ML ran just ONE ad. And VW ran many, many ads.
You write to persuade and to reduce risk. Once you’ve done that your sales letter can stop.
It’s finally your decision, but Claude Hopkins said it best. He wrote this almost a hundred years ago and it’s just as valid today. Take it away Claude 🙂
Some advertisers, for sake of brevity, present one claim at a time. Or they write a serial ad, continued in another issue. There is no greater folly. Those serials almost never connect. When you once get a persons attention, then is the time to accomplish all you can ever hope with him. Bring all your good arguments to bear. Cover every phase of your subject. One fact appeals to some, one to another. Omit any one and a certain percentage will lose the fact which might convince.
People are not apt to read successive advertisements on any single line. No more than you read a news item twice, or a story. In one reading of an advertisement one decides for or against a proposition. And that operates against a second reading. So present to the reader, when once you get him, every important claim you have.
The best advertisers do that. They learn their appealing claims by tests – by comparing results from various headlines. Gradually they accumulate a list of claims important enough to use. All those claims appear in every ad thereafter.
The advertisements seem monotonous to the men who read them all. A complete story is always the same. But one must consider that the average reader is only once a reader, probably. And what you fail to tell him in that ad is something he may never know.
Some advertisers go so far as to never change their ads. Single mail order ads often run year after year without diminishing returns. So with some general ads. They are perfected ads, embodying in the best way known all that one has to say. Advertisers do not expect a second reading. Their constant returns come from getting new readers.
In every ad consider only new customers. People using your product are not going to read your ads. They have already read and decided. You might advertise month after month to present users that the product they use is poison, and they would never know it. So never waste one line of your space to say something to present users, unless you can say it in your headlines. Bear in mind always that you can address an unconverted prospect.
Any reader of your ad is interested, else he would not be a reader. You are dealing with someone willing to listen. Then do your level best. That reader, if you lose him now, may never again be a reader.
You are like a salesman in a busy mans office. He may have tried again and again to get entree. He may never be admitted again. This is his one chance to get action, and he must employ it to the full.
This brings up the question of brevity. The most common expression you hear about advertising is that people will not read much. Yet a vast amount of the best paying advertising shows that people do read much. Then they write for a book, perhaps – for added information.
Question:What makes an advertising campaign successful and enduring?
What’s in it for me?