People lust after novelty. And in advertising, according to Ohio marketing consultant Dean Rieck, that can cost them dearly. “When it comes to copy,” he says, “the old ideas are generally the best ideas.” He offers these eight tips:
Use time-tested copy tactics
Know your objectives ... dramatize your benefits ... buttress your claims ... add sweeteners to your appeal ... tell your reader what to do and how to do it ... and remember that “free” is still a magic word.
Focus clearly on your biggest benefit
Usually, Rieck observes, your major benefit belongs in your headline. Hit it hard. Don’t fuzz up your reader’s attention by paying undue attention to lesser benefits.
Make things clear
People do not look for entertainment in advertising, Rieck says. They seek relevance to their lives. So edit out clever verbiage, state your message clearly, and keep on point.
Muscle up your offer
Your offer is crucial to your advertising. Make it strong, understandable, and appealing.
Provide just enough information
If you think that a buying decision will be difficult for a sales prospect to make — for instance, if it involves a lot of money ... if it presents a complicated or new concept ... or if it requires a long-time commitment — consider a soft approach, such as a no-risk trial.
Never flood your reader with too much information. If you leave your prospect with the perception that he knows all about what you are selling, he has no reason to respond to your advertisement.
Put teeth into your guarantee
Because life is full of rip-offs, people need as much assurance as you can give them. A guarantee is not a legalistic throwaway, Rieck stresses. It is a powerful, confidence-building benefit in its own right. Highlight it.
Give your prospect a reason to respond
Research indicates that people are likelier to act on an offer when the advertiser specifies some reason to do so: is a limited supply available? ... do you need to have a response by a certain date? ... can your prospect avoid a seasonal rush by an immediate order? ... is your price going up soon?
Ask for the order — and make ordering easy
Make ordering painless. Provide toll-free phone and fax numbers, a postpaid reply envelope, and a complete Internet address.
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