What I learned from reading Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.
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Individuals come and go, but they leave their records and ideas behind them. These become a guide to all who follow.
Genius is the art of taking pains.
The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. The best ads are based entirely on service. They offer wanted information. They site advantages to users.
Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. The care nothing about your interests or your profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a common mistake and a costly mistake in advertising. Ads say in effect, “Buy my brand. Give me the trade you give to others. Let me have the money." That doesn't work.
We learn that people judge largely by price. We often employ this factor. Perhaps we are advertising a valuable formula. To merely say that would not be impressive. So we state as a fact that we paid $100,000 for that formula. That statement when tried has won a wealth of respect.
The weight of an argument may often be multiplied by making it specific. Makers of safety razors have long advertised quick shaves. One maker advertised a 78-second shave. The difference is vast. If a claim is worth making, make it in the most impressive way.
The product itself should be its own best salesman. Not the product alone, but the product plus a mental impression, and atmosphere, which you place around it. Samples are of prime importance. However expensive, they usually form the cheapest selling method. Samples serve numerous valuable purposes. They enable one to use the word "Free" in ads. That often multiplies readers. Samples pay for themselves in multiplying the readers of your ads.
Mail order advertising tells a complete story if the purpose is to make an immediate sale. You see no limitations there on the amount of copy. The motto is, "The more you tell the more you sell." And it has never failed to be proven wrong in any test we know.
Show health, not sickness. Don't show the wrinkles you propose to remove, but the face as it will appear. Your customers know all about the wrinkles. Show pretty teeth, not bad teeth. Talk of coming good conditions, not conditions that exist. We are attracted by sunshine, beauty, happiness, health, and success. Point the way to them, not the way out of the opposite.
I spend far more time on headlines than on writing. I often spend hours on a single headline. The identical ad run with various headlines differs tremendously in its returns. It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns by five or ten times over.
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