Breakthrough Headline Formulas

If you often get stuck like me looking for a great headline for ad or a blog post, then you’ll find this list really helpful.

And where from this list?

I stole them from a master craftsman.

And who’s this craftsman?

He’s none other than the advertising genius Eugene M. Schwartz.

I’m reading his Breakthrough Advertising for the second time. The first time I didn’t finish it. But this time I’m determined to see the last page.

The book is quite instructive and revealing. It takes you through the planning stages of writing a winning ad. You get to know how to face any ad-writing challenge. How to start and how to finish your project. It teaches you how  to dig into your market to reveal what sells.

Right now, I wish to share with you thirty-eight headline formulas Eugene discussed in this book. Forget the excessive use of capital words and exclamation marks. Rather look for the gem of wisdom buried in each headline formula and see how you can use the lesson to write your next winner.

Here we go…

1. Measure the size of the claim:

“20,000 FILTER TRAPS IN VICEROY!”

“I AM 61 POUNDS LIGHTER…”

“WHO EVER HEARD OF 17,000 BLOOMS FROM A SINGLE PLANT?”

2. Measure the speed of the claim:

“FEEL BETTER FAST!”

“IN TWO SECONDS, BAYER ASPIRIN BEGINS TO DISSOLVE IN YOUR GLASS!”

3. Compare the claim:

“SIX TIMES WHITER WASHES!”

“COSTS UP TO $300 LESS THAN MANY MODELS OF THE LOW-PRICED THREE!”

4. Metaphorize the claim:

“BANISHES CORNS!”

“MELTS AWAY UGLY FAT!”

5. Sensitize the claim by making the prospect feel, smell, touch, see or hear it:

“TASTES LIKE YOU JUST PICKED IT!”

“THE SKIN YOU LOVE TO TOUCH!”

6. Demonstrate the claim by showing a prime example:

    “ JAKE LAMOTTA, 160 POUNDS FIGHTER, FAILS TO FLATTEN MONO PAPER CUP!”

 “AT 60 MILES AN HOUR, THE LOUDEST NOISE IN THIS ROLLS ROYCE IS THE ELECTRIC CLOCK!”

7. Dramatize the claim, or its results:

“HERE’S AN EXTRA $50, GRACE, I’M MAKING BIG MONEY NOW!”

“THEY LAUGH WHEN I SAT DOWN AT THE PIANO – BUT WHEN I STARTED TO PLAY…”

8. State the claim as a paradox:

“HOW A BALD-HEADED BARBER SAVED MY HAIR!”

“BEAT THE RACES BY PICKING LOSERS!”

9. Remove limitations from the claim:

“SHRINKS HEMORRHOIDS WITHOUT SURGERY!”

“YOU BREATHE NO DUSTY ODORS WHEN YOU DO IT WITH LEWYT!”

10. Associate the claim with values or people with whom the prospect wishes to be identified:

“MICKEY MANTLE SAYS: CAMELS NEVER BOTHER MY THROAT!”

“9 OUT 10 DECORATORS USE WUNDAWEAVE CARPETS FOR LONG LIFE AT LOW COST!”

11. Show how much work, in detail, the claim does:

“NOW! RELIEF FROM ALL 5 ACID-CAUSED STOMACH TROUBLES – IN 10 SECONDS!”

“RELIEVES CONGESTION IN ALL 7 NASAL CONGEST IN 10 SECONDS”

12. State the claim as a question:

“WHO ELSE WANTS A WHITER WASH – WITH NO HARD WORK?”

“COULD YOU USE $25 A WEEK EXTRA INCOME?”

13. Offer information about how to accomplish the claim:

“HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE!”

“HERE’S WHAT TO DO TO GET RID OF PIMPLES FAST!”

14. Tie authority into the claim:

“BOSS MECHANIC SHOWS HOW TO AVOID ENGINE REPAIR BILLS!”

“HERE’S WHAT DOCTORS DO WHEN THEY FEEL ROTTEN!”

15. Before-and-after the claim:

“BEFORE COLDENE A CHILD GOT OVER A COLD AFTER 5 DAYS OF ACHING, SNEEZING, WHEEZING, DRIPPING, SUFFERING, COUGHING, CRYING, GAGGING, SPITTING.’’

‘’WITH COLDENE A CHILD GETS OVER A COLD IN FIVE DAYS!”

16. Stress the news of the claim:

“ANNOUNCING! GUIDED MISSILE SPARK PLUGS!”

“NOW! CHROME PLATE WITHOUT HEAT, ELECTRICITY, MACHINERY!”

17. Stress the exclusivity of the claim:

“OURS ALONE! PERSIAN LAMB ORIGNINALS – $389.40!”

“ONLY GLEEM HAS GL-70 TO KEEP TEETH CLEAN ALL DAY LONG WITH ONE BRUSHING!”

18. Turn the claim into a challenge for the reader:

“WHICH TWIN HAS THE TONI? AND WHICH HAS THE $15 PERMANENT?”

“DOES SHE OR DOESN’T SHE? HAIR COLORING SO NATURAL ONLY HER HAIRDRESSER KNOWS FOR SURE!”

19. State the claim as a case-history quotation:

“LOOK, MOM – NO CAVITIES!”

“WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT – I HAVE A COLD!”

20. Condense the claim – interchange your product and the product it replaces:

“NOW! A RING AND PISTON JOB IN A TUBE!”

“POUR YOURSELF A NEW ENGINE!”

21. Symbolise the claim – replace the direct statement or measurement of the claim with a parallel reality:

“STARTING NEXT TUESDAY, THE ATLANTIC OCEAN BECOMES ONLY ONE-FIFTH AS LONG!”

22. Connect the mechanism to the claim in the headline:

“FLOATS FAT RIGHT OUT OF YOUR BODY!”

“FEEDS WASTE GAS FUMES BACK INTO YOUR ENGINE!”

23. Startle the reader by contradicting the way he thinks the mechanism should work:

“HIT HELL OUT OF THE BALL WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND,’ SAYS TOMMY ARMOUR!”

24. Connect the need and the claim in the headline:

“THERE IS ONLY ONE SOLUTION TO AN ADVERTISING PROBLEM: FIND THE MAN!”

25. Offer information in the ad itself:

“WHY MEN CRACK…”

“WHAT EVERYBODY OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THIS STOCK AND BOND BUSINESS!”

26. Turn the claim or the need into a case history:

      “AUNT MEG, WHO NEVER MARRIED…”

     “AGAIN SHE ORDERS – A CHICKEN SALAD, PLEASE”

 27. Give a name to the problem or need:

“WHEN YOU’RE WEARY WITH DAY-TIME FATIGUE, TAKE ALKA-SELTZER.”

28. Warn the reader about possible pitfalls if he doesn’t use the product:

“DON’T INVEST ONE CENT OF YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY UNTIL YOU CHECK THIS GUIDE!”

29. Emphasize the claim by its phraseology – by breaking it into two sentences, or repeating it, or a part of it:

“A MAN YOU CAN LEAN ON! THAT’S KLOPER-MAN!”

“NOBODY BUT NOBODY UNDERSELLS GIMBEL’S!”

30. Show how easy the claim is to accomplish by imposing a imiversally-overcome limitation:

“IF YOU CAN COUNT TO ELEVEN, YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR SPEED AND SKILL AT NUMBERS!”

31. State the difference in the headline:

“THE DIFFERENCE IN PREMIUM GASOLINE IS RIGHT IN THE ADDITIVES!”

32. Surprsie your reader into realizing that former limitations have now been overcome:

“SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CRUSH A HARTMAN DC-8? NOTHING!”

33. Address the people who can’t buy your product:

“IF YOU’VE ALREADY TAKEN YOUR VACATION, DON’T READ THIS. IT’LL BREAK YOUR HEART.”

34. Address your prospect directly:

“TO THE MAN WHO WILL SETTLE FOR NOTHING LESS THAN THE PRESIDENCY OF HIS FIRM.”

35. Dramatize how hard it was to produce the claim:

“WHEN JENS FINISHED DESIGNING THIS CANDLEHOLDER WE HAD TO INVENT A WHOLE NEW KIND OF CANDLE.”

36. Accuse the claim of being too good:

“IS IT IMMORAL TO MAKE MONEY THIS EASILY?”

37. Challenge the prospect present limiting beliefs:

“YOU ARE TWICE AS SMART AS YOU THINK.”

38. Turn the claim into a question and answer:

“YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD AND YOU COULDN’T CARE LESS AS LONG AS YOUR CAR RUNS SMOOTHLY. WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IF IT DOESN’T?…SOMEONE WHO CARES – UNTITED DELCO.”

Did you find anything you may use in writing your next killer ad or post? Share your thoughts.  I’d be combining two or three of these formulas to produce my winners. How about you?

 

Sales Strategies You Can Easily Apply to Make Your Business Sell More

 

In business, as in other things, it’s the little things that matter. It’s these little things, which will either make or break your marketing efforts. Below is a checklist of eight little things that you can do to make your business sell more…

  • What name should you give to business or product? Your marketing efforts start from your choice of name. Business or product names that suggest some benefit to the customer are the ones that attract customers naturally. Take your time. Don’t rush into choosing a company or service name. Choose a name that best sells your business.
  •  How should your position your product or service? Usually a product or service has so many ways of looking at it. For example, while other restaurants may just be happy to sell food, you can choose to sell something unique – say a romantic experience between couple. This one idea can separate you from the masses, which sell identical things. Always ask this question, ‘What am I really selling?’ This one question forces you to look beyond the obvious to see your business in a new light.
  • What’s your Unique Selling Proposition (UPS)? On a certain school campus, there were a number of pizza sellers. Some claimed theirs was ‘the cheapest’ and others said theirs was ‘the most delicious.’ Someone offered something different – and more specific. He said, ‘fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less.’ It caught the market hands down. ‘Fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less’ was his USP. This one statement promised the customer something specific – fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less. In other words, order a pizza, and you’ll get it fresh and hot in a time of 30 minutes, or even less. He made sure he delivered on his promise, and his customers loved him for that.
  • Let your marketing message be one. Don’t confuse your customers with multiple marketing messages. Your adverts and other forms of marketing material must sing one marketing message. This way, old and new customers will know what your business stands for. It builds trust. And trust brings sales.
  • Be brutally honest with your customers. You can’t cheat the customer forever. She isn’t a moron. She’ll soon detect your dishonest schemes and cease doing business with you. Find a way to tell your customer the unpleasant truth. The following story will illustrate my point. I heard it from an online marketer. Here it goes…

An advertising executive bought an apple orchard by a mountain side. He sold his apples by mail order. He sold them with the name, ‘Uncle Jim’s Mountain Grown Apples.’ He also gave an unconditional guarantee…

‘If, for any reason, you find the apples unacceptable, just let me know and I’ll return your money with no questions asked.’

One year, hail storm blemished the apples. Yet they were tastier. Uncle Jim had more orders that year ever before. What was he to do? Send the blemished apples and hope his customer wouldn’t find out, or decline to supply the orders? This was what he did…he dispatched the apples to his customers with a note that read,

‘Notice the hail marks on the apples. These are proof of their growth at a high mountain altitude where sudden chills from hail storms help stimulate the natural fruit flavours which give Uncle Jim’s apples their incomparable taste.’

He was honest and yet turned his adversity into an advantage. As a result, he had fewer money-back requests than ever. Subsequent orders came with the inscription, ‘Hail-marked apples, if available. Otherwise, the regular kind.’

  • Create ads that sell. We have discussed these sort of ads in a previous article. You need to craft your ads like David Ogilvy, Claude Hopkins, John Caples, Mel Martin and other best ad writers. Hire a good copywriter to write the ads for you, if can’t do it yourself.
  • Sell your business through direct mail. Send good sales letters to your prospective customers. Here again, you should consider hiring a copywriter to craft these letters for you. It’s their job to persuade people to take action, through written messages.
  • Ask your clients for feedback. Display those that speak well of your business at vantage points as testimonials. But first ask your clients for their permission to use them as testimonials. Include client’s full name and address in the testimonial. Show these testimonials on your complimentary cards, brochures, stickers, web pages and other marketing material. Testimonials give credibility to your business. And credibility brings more sales. Never forget to use them.

You’d agree that these eight little things are not burdensome. Consider them in the light of the 80/20 rule, which says 20 percent of the things you do are responsible for 80 percent of your success. Follow this checklist and you’ll live to give your testimony later.

Any thoughts? I invite you to share your thoughts about the blog post with millions out there.

Advertising Wisdom from Claude Hopkins – 27 lessons for grabs

The sole purpose of ads is to bring sales, says Claude Hopkins, in his book titled, ‘Scientific Advertising.’

For adverts to bring sales, they need to be based on established principles. They need to be based on the patterns of human behavior. Various tests have proved these principles true. And we could also model our adverts by them.

What are these principles? What brings sales and what drives it away? Let’s learn from the wisdom of Claude Hospkins. I thought it best to present these lessons in his own words. Memorise each lesson and apply them to your own adverts. And watch what the difference they make.

Listen to Claude Hospkins now as he teaches ageless advertising wisdom.

Lesson one: how you should view advertising

‘Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship….Thus every advertising question should be answered by the salesman’s standards.’

Lesson two: why do you advertise?

‘The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales. It is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen.’

 Lesson three: should your advert be long or short?

‘Some say “Be very brief. People read for little.’” And Mr. Hopkins replies, ‘The only readers we get are people our subject interests. No one reads ads for amusement, long or short. Consider them [readers] as prospects standing before you, seeking for information. Give them enough to get action.’

Lesson four: how should you type your advert?

‘Some advocate large type and big headlines. Yet they do not admire salesmen who talk in loud voices…. It only multiples your cost of advertising.’

Lesson five: how should you write your advert?

‘Ads are not written to entertain. When they do, those entertainment seekers are little likely to be the people whom you want. That is one of the greatest advertising faults. Ad writers abandon their parts. They forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Instead of sales, they seek applause.’

Lesson six: how should you target your prospects?

‘Don’t think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you sell. Don’t try to be amusing. Money spending is a serious matter. Don’t boast, for all people resent it. Don’t try to show off. Do just what you think a good salesman should do with a half-sold person before him.’

Lesson seven: do you make this mistake when writing your adverts?

‘Ads are planned and written with some utterly wrong conception. They are written to please the seller. The interests of the buyer are forgotten. One can never sell goods profitable, in person or in print, when that attitude exists….Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They 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 is not a popular appeal.’

Lesson eight: the best way to sell

‘The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often they do not quote a price. They do not say that dealers handle the product. The ads are based entirely on service. They offer wanted information. They site {sic} advantages to users. Perhaps they offer a sample, or to but the first package, or to send something on approval, so the customer may prove the claims without any cost or risks. Some of these ads seem altruistic. But they are based on the knowledge of human nature. The writers know how people are led to buy.’

Lesson nine: why you should include coupons as part of your adverts

‘Mail order advertising usually contains a coupon. That is there to cut out as a reminder of something the reader has decided to do. Mail order advertisers know that readers forget.’

Lesson ten: the advantage of long adverts

‘Mail order advertising tells a complete story if the purpose is to make an immediate sale. You see no limitations there on amount of copy. The motto there is, “The more you tell, the more you sell.” And it has never failed to prove out so in any test we know.’

Lesson eleven: why do you use headlines?

‘The purpose of headline is to pick out people you can interest. You wish to talk to someone in a crowd. So the first thing you say is, “Hey there, Bill Jones” to get the right person’s attention. So in an advertisement. What you have will interest certain people only, and for certain reasons. You care only for those people. Then create a headline which will hail those people only.’

Lesson twelve: how helpful are headlines?

‘Headlines on ads are like headlines on news items. Nobody reads a whole newspaper….We pick out what we wish to read by headlines, and we don’t want those headlines misleading.’

Lesson thirteen: why do you think people read adverts?

‘But people do not read ads for amusement. They don’t read ads which, at a glance, seem to offer nothing interesting. A double-page ad on a women’s dress will not gain a glance from a man.’

Lesson fourteen: the importance of psychology in advertising

‘The competent advertising man must understand psychology. The more he knows about it the better. He must learn that certain effects lead to certain reactions, and use that knowledge to increase results and avoid makes…Human nature is perpetual. In most respects it is the same toady as in the time of Caesar. So the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learn about them.’

Lesson fifteen: two ways to apply psychology in advertising

‘We learn, for instance, that curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives. We employ it when we can.’

‘We learn that people judge largely by price. They are not experts. In the British National Gallery is a painting which announced in a catalog to have cost $750,000. Most people at first pass it by at a glance. Then later they get farther on in the catalog and learn what the painting cost. They return then and surround it.’

Lesson sixteen: why you should make your adverts more specific

‘Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck. They leave no impression whatever.  To say, “Best in the world,””Lowest price in existence,” etc. are at best simply claiming the expected. But superlatives of that sort are usually damaging. They suggest looseness of expression, a tendency to exaggerate, a careless truth. They lead readers to discount all the statements that you make.’

‘The weight of an argument may often be multiplied by making it specific. Say that a tungsten lamp give more light than a carbon and you leave some doubt. Say it gives three and one-third the light and people realize that you have made tests and comparisons. A dealer may say, “Our prices have been reduced” without creating any marked impression. But when he says, “Our prices have been reduced 25 per cent” he gets full value of his announcement.’

Lesson seventeen: why you need to make your advert detailed

‘Whatever claim you use to gain attention, the advertisement should tell a story reasonable complete….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.’

Lesson eighteen: the purpose of each repeated advert

‘In every ad consider only new customer. 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.’

Lesson nineteen: when to use pictures in adverts

‘Pictures in advertising are very expensive….Pictures should not be used merely because they are interesting. Or to attract attention. Or to decorate an ad….Use pictures only to attract those who may profit you. Use them only when they form a better selling argument than the same amount of space set in type.’

Lesson twenty: what it takes to write an advert that sells

‘An ad-writer, to have a chance at success, must gain full information on his subject….A painstaking advertising man will often read for weeks on some problem which comes up…Perhaps in may volumes he will find few facts to use. But some one fact may be the keynote of success.’

‘The uninformed would be staggered to know the amount of work involved in a single ad. Weeks of work sometimes. The ad seems so simple, and it must be simple to appeal to simple people. But back of that ad may lie reams of data, volumes of information, months of research. So this is no lazy man’s field.’

Lesson twenty-one: the game of advertising

‘Advertising is much like war, minus the venom. Or much, if you prefer, like a game of chess. We are usually out to capture other’s citadels or garner others’ trade.’

‘We must have skill and knowledge. We must have training and experience, also right equipment….We dare not underestimate opponents.’

Lesson twenty-two: why use samples in advertising?

‘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. That being so, samples of prime importance. However expensive, they usually form the cheapest selling method. ‘

‘Samples serve numerous valuable purposes. They enable on to use the word “Free” in ads. That multiplies readers. Most people want to learn about an offered gift. Test often shows that sample pay for themselves – perhaps several times over – in multiplying the readers of your ads without additional cost of space.’

‘A sample gets action. The reader of your ad may not be convinced to the point of buying. But he ready to learn more about the product you offer. So he cuts out a coupon, lays it aside, and later mails it or presents it. Without that coupon, he would soon forget. Then you have the name and address of an interested prospect. You can start him using your product. You can give him fuller information. You can follow him up.’

Lesson twenty-three: the right people to give samples

‘Give samples to interested people only. Give them only to people who exhibit that interest by some effort. Give them only to people whom you have told your story. First create an atmosphere of respect, a desire, an expectation. When people are in that mood, your sample will usually confirm the qualities you claim.’

Lesson twenty-four: the importance of tests in advertising

‘Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign….Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.’

‘Now we let the thousands decide what the millions will do. We make a small venture, and watch cost and result. When we learn what a thousand customers cost, we know almost exactly what a million will cost. When we learn what they buy, we know what a million will buy.’

‘Suppose a chemist would say in an arbitrary way that this compound was best, or that better. You would little respect his opinion. He makes tests – sometimes hundreds of tests – to actually know which is best. He will never state a supposition before he has proved it. How long before advertisers in general will apply that exactness to advertising?”

Lesson twenty-five: the need for a human touch to adverts

‘That’s why we have signed ads sometimes – to give them a personal authority. A man is talking – a man who takes pride in his accomplishments – not a “soulless corporation.” Whenever possible we introduce a personality into our ads. By making a man famous, we make his product famous. When we claim an improvement, naming the man who made it adds effect. Then we take care not to change an individuality which has proved appealing. Before a man writes a new ad on that line, he gets into the spirit adopted by the advertiser. He plays a part as an actor plays it.’

Lesson twenty-six: why adverts should have a constant tone

‘In successful advertising  great pains are taken to never change our tone. That which won so many is probably the best way to win others. Then people come to know us. We build on that acquaintance rather than introduce a stranger in strange guise. People do not know us by name alone, but by looks and mannerisms. Appearing different every time we meet never builds up confidence.’

Lesson twenty-seven: why you should avoid negative advertising

‘To attack a rival is never good advertising. Don’t point out others’ faults. It is not permitted in the best mediums. It is never good policy. The selfish purpose is apparent. It looks unfair, not sporty. ‘

‘Show a bright side, the happy and attractive side, not the dark and uninviting side of things. Show beauty, not homeliness; 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.’

‘We are attracted by sunshine, beauty, happiness, health, success. Then point the way to them, not the way out of the opposite. Picture envied people, not the envious. Tell people what to do, not what to avoid. Make your every ad breath good cheer.’

‘Assume that people will do what you ask. Say, “Send now for this sample.” Don’t say, “Why do you neglect this offer?” That suggests that people are neglecting. Invite them to follow the crowd.’

‘Compare the results of two ads, one negative, one positive. One presenting the dark side. one the bright side. one warning, the other inviting. You will be surprised. You will find that the positive ad out pulls the other four to one, if you have our experience.’

Thanks for taking time to read the lessons. I hope you found one or two lessons helpful. Do you have anything to say about them? Feel free to share thoughts. We appreciate your contributions.