Everybody wants to make more money... In fact, most people would like to hit upon something that makes them fabulously rich! And seemingly, one of the easiest roads to the fulfillment of these dreams of wealth is mail order or within the professional circles of the business, direct mail selling...
The only thing is, hardly anyone gives much real thought to the basic ingredient of selling by mail - the writing of profitable classified ads. If your mail order business is to succeed, then you must acquire the expertise of writing classified ads that sell your product or services!
So what makes a classified ad good or bad?
First of all, it must appeal to the reader, and as such, it must say exactly what you want it to say.
Secondly, it has to say what it says in the least possible number of words in order to keep your operating costs within your budget.
And thirdly, it has to produce the desired results whether inquiries or sales.
Grabbing the reader's attention is your first objective. You must assume the reader is "scanning" the page on which your ad appears in the company of two or three hundred classified ads. Therefore, there has to be something about your ad that causes him to stop scanning and look at yours! So, the first two or three words of your ad are of the utmost importance and deserve your careful consideration.
Most surveys show that words or phrases that quickly involve the reader, tend to be the best attention-grabbers. Such words as: FREE... WIN... MAKE BIG MONEY... Whatever words you use as attention-grabbers, to start your ads, you should bear in mind that they'll be competing with similar attention-grabbers of the other ads on the same page. Therefore, in addition to your lead words, your ad must quickly go on to promise or state further benefits to the reader.
In other words, your ad might read something like this: MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy & Simple. We show you how! In the language of professional copywriters, you've grabbed the attention of your prospect, and interested him with something that even he can do.
The next rule of good classified copywriting has to do with the arousal of the reader's desire to get in on your offer. In a great many instances, this rule is by-passed, and it appears, this is the real reason that an ad doesn't pull according to the expectations of the advertiser.
Think about it - you've got your reader's attention; you've told him it's easy and simple; and you're about to ask him to do something. Unless you take the time to further "want your offer," your ad is going to only half turn him on. He'll compare your ad with the others that have grabbed his attention and finally decide upon the one that interests him the most.
What I'm saying is that here is the place for you to insert that magic word "guaranteed" or some other such word or phrase. So now, we've got an ad that reads: MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy & Simple. Guaranteed! Now the reader is turned on, and in his mind, he can't lose. You're ready to ask for his money. This is the "demand for action" part of your ad. This is the part where you want to use such words as: Limited offer - Act now! Write today! Only and/or just...
Putting it all together, then your ad might read something like this: MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy & Simple. Guaranteed! Limited offer. Send $l to:
These are the ingredients of any good classified ad - Attention - Interest - Desire - Action... Without these four ingredients skillfully integrated into your ad, chances are your ad will just "lie there" and not do anything but cost you money. What we've just shown you is a basic classified ad. Although such an ad could be placed in any leading publication and would pull a good response, it's known as a "blind ad" and would pull inquiries and responses from a whole spectrum of people reading the publication in which it appeared. In other words, from as many "time-wasters" as from bona fide buyers.
So let's try to give you an example of the kind of classified ad you might want to use, say to sell a report such as this one... Using all the rules of basic advertising copywriting, and stating exactly what our product is, our ad reads thusly:
MONEY-MAKER'S SECRETS! How To Write winning classified ads. Simple & easy to learn -should double or triple your responses. Rush $1 to BC Sales, 10 Main Anytown, TX 75001.
The point we're making is that:
l) You've got to grab the reader's attention...
2) You've got to "interest him" with something that appeals to him...
3) You've got to "further stimulate" him with something (catch-phrase) that makes him "desire" the product or service...
4) Demand that he act immediately...
There's no point in being tricky or clever. Just adhere to the basics and your profits will increase accordingly. One of the best ways of learning to write good classified ads is to study the classifieds - try to figure out exactly what they're attempting to sell - and then practice rewriting them according to the rules we've just given you.
Whenever you sit down to write a classified, always write it all out - write down everything you want to say - and then go back over it, crossing out words, and refining your phraseology.
The final ingredient of your classified ad is of course, your name, address to which the reader is to respond - where he's to send his money or write for further information. Generally speaking, readers respond more often to ads that include a name than to those showing just initials or an address only. However, because advertising costs are based upon the number of words, or the amount of space your ad uses, the use of some names in classified ads could become quite expensive.
If we were to ask our ad respondents to write to or send their money to The Research Writers & Publishers Association, or to Book Business Mart, or even to Money Maker's Opportunity Digest, our advertising costs would be prohibitive. Thus we shorten our name Researchers or Money-Makers. The point here is to think relative to the placement costs of your ad, and to shorten excessively long names. The same holds true when listing your post office box number. Shorten it to just plain Box 40, or in the case of a rural delivery, shorten it to just RRl. The important thing is to know the rules of profitable classified ad writing, and to follow them. Hold your costs in line. Now you know the basics... the rest is up to you.
Internet users receive tons of email messages everyday not to mention all the spam in their inbox and it is up to you to create a subject line that commands their attention so that they do not scroll past your message.
With so much spam on the Internet, you should concentrate on making your email *not* look like spam. Don't make outrageous claims or try to sell from your subject line.
The key is to make your email stand out from the rest.
One of the most powerful techniques to use is personalization. Everybody loves to see their name written out, so it commands their attention when they see it.
But putting the person's name in the subject line is still not enough to guarantee that they open you email.
One of the most powerful marketing strategies is stimulating curiousity in your reader. Curiousity is like an itch that cannot be satisfied until it is itched.
Creating a subject line with curiousity will dramatically improve the rate at which people open your email messages.
If you make them curious enough about the content of the email, they will want to open it and start reading it right away.
Here is an example of a lousy subject line:
"Hi, don't buy a new car until you get a reasonable auto insurance quote."
Here is an example of a great subject line:
"Hey Jake, don't make this mistake when you start looking for a new car."
Which would you open first?
People would open up the second email over the first because they will be curious to know what the mistake is and benefit from the information.
Some email mailing providers allow you to split-test emails to your list. You could easily test which subject line has a higher click-thru rate.
This is especially important if you have a number of emails in a follow up sequence on an autoresponder. You want to make sure you have the *best* subject lines for each email.
Another method is to send emails to yourself and see what subject line grabs your attention. It is much different to receive and see subject lines in your inbox compared to writing them.
Remember that in email marketing, the subject line is the first step to the entire sales funnel. If you get this step wrong, it doesn't matter how well the rest of your system is because your prospect will get a chance to go through it.
In this age of blogs, podcasts, Google Adwords and article syndication, you might by wondering why in the world an article about solo ads would be worth reading. But, solo ads are still incredibly powerful.
So much so that everyone is still using them. Have you taken a look at your email lately? Have you noticed all those emails from the top "experts" announcing this new product and that recommendation? Guess what... those are solo ads.
Maybe not like you're use to seeing... the hypey, do this now type of ad. Nonetheless, they are solo ads. And they still work.
A client of mine and I were talking the other day about his advertising campaign that we recently worked on and how amazed he is about the performance of the solo ads. "I have to admit, I really didn't want to waste the money on this type of advertising. But, when the results came in... well, can you write a few more?"
Solo ads are here to stay and I truly believe that there isn't anything available yet to replace them.
"Why are your ads so effective?"
That's what someone asked me the yesterday. Luckily, I've already been thinking about it and could immediately tell them my personal ad writing tips for successful solo ads.
Be Conversational With Your Solo Ad
I love the new direction that solo ads are taking. Actually, I've been writing ads this way for quite awhile now and it seems that it is really beginning to take off. Remember, the question at the beginning of this article about the emails you receive from the top "experts"? They don't really seem like ads do they?
I mean, we know they are, but it just isn't your regular "hyped up, buy this amazing product now" type of ad. It's more... well, conversational. It feels like the person sending the email (ad) to you is talking to you.
Powerful isn't it? I have never, and I say this with all honesty, bought anything from a short solo ad that "forced" me to visit a site. But, I do feel compelled to visit sites from ads where I feel like they really care that I visit this site.
And I know it's an ad!
Personal, conversational, relational. Write your ad like you're actually sitting across from the person or talking on the phone.
Target Your Ad To Fit Your Reader
So many times I see ads for products that I am not even remotely interested in (and I'm interested in a lot of things). I ask myself, why am I receiving this ad? Yes, I might subscribe to the ezine, but why would this person be advertising this product through this mailing list? It's a huge waste of money.
The most important principle of advertising is targeting your audience for the best possible results. So, it would only be logical to do the same thing with the actual ad itself.
Write the ad to fit your reader, not your product.
So many ads are written to tell about the product, what it can do, and how many special features it has that makes it worth the hundreds of dollars they're asking for it.
The thing I've been doing recently is placing a tremendous emphasis on narrowly focusing the ad to fit the reader. What do people in this niche need? What are they feeling right now? What will help them the most?
For example: Let's say you are selling an ebook about t-ball practice drills. In writing the ad I would focus on one particular audience... new coaches. I wouldn't even begin to try to satisfy all people. Just one narrow focus.
The ad would then take on a life of it's own. Instead of limiting your creativity, the sky is the limit. You could write from the emotion of a new, bewildered father who is stepping in to coach because no one would. Or, set up the ad like a personal letter from one "new" coach to another describing a great resource that really helped.
Focus your ad to fit the reader.
Solo Ads Work Best In The Third Person
This ties into the previous "secret".
I have found that the solo ads that work best are not the ones that are written for your own product. What I mean by this is when you write an ad for your own product, you shouldn't write the ad like you own the product. Write it in the third person point of view. As a recommendation.
Anyway, I tested out a lot of theories and writing styles and the consistently high click thrus and conversion rates came from the ads that were written in the third person. The ads that were like I was recommending my own ebook, instead of saying "buy my ebook", outperformed the other ads... most of the time by 50-75%.
If you're struggling with your current ads start using my personal secrets to write some new ones or rewrite your current ones.