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Two Advertising Secrets To Improve Your Profitability

Aug 17, 2007
Small business owners, home based entrepreneurs and online business owners are always looking for ways to improve their marketing program. By showing an improvement in their annual marketing program, the business firm can attract new customers, show significant annual revenue (sales) increases, record attractive and higher profit margins, and record substantial improvements in their annual cash flow.

I will focus this article about one email letter that I received from Gary Bencivenga. Many marketing experts consider him to be the world's foremost direct response copywriter. His clients believed in him and invested tens of millions of dollars in scientific direct response tests.

Next, let me explain in more detail what I am talking about.

His email to me started with the question.

Which headline pulled best?

HEADLINE A: (next to photo of financial guru, Charles J. Givens):

If you've got 20 minutes a month,
I guarantee to work a financial miracle in your
life.
(caption under photo)
Charles J. Givens, the self-made $200-millionaire,
entrepreneur and best-selling financial author of all time.

HEADLINE B: (same photo and caption):

The Millionaire Maker
(subhead) Can he make YOU rich, too?

Which of these headlines absolutely smashed the other in a split-run test, outpulling it by a huge margin and becoming a profitable control for years?

Gary said rather than just tell you the winner, he would use them to teach you how to understand the two most powerful secrets in advertising today.

Once the reader of Gary's email learned the two secrets, no advertising principle you will ever read will give you more sheer power to boost your response consistently. And he said that he doubted if the reader would have ever read this anywhere, even if you have been a lifelong student of advertising.
And he went on to say that some conventional wisdom is wrong.

First, you must understand why some of what you have been taught about direct marketing is wrong, or at least outdated and incomplete.

Most of the few great books on direct response were written more than a generation ago by legends such as John Caples, David Ogilvy, Claude Hopkins and one or two others.

Their main teaching: benefits, big benefits, are the key to high response.

Makes sense. But there's a problem. These giants wrote this advice long ago when, compared with today, prospects were under-marketed. So, yes, back then, flat-out big benefits and words like FREE and NEW got people excited.

But today, Gary believed, more often than not, these same words and super-sized claims instantly trigger rejection. The problem is, words like FREE and NEW and the big-claim style of advertising they reflect, have been so overused, they have become bright red flags that instantly scream to your prospects, throw me away!

As proof, Gary said: "If I were to send you an email with the words "new" and "free," I must misspell them, or your spam filter may bounce my message.

Best proof: just ask yourself, do you get overly excited when you encounter an email or direct mail package trumpeting free or new or some fantastic claim to make you rich, change your life overnight or grow your body parts bigger than you ever dreamed?

Of course not.

You have heard such claims too many times. Your own exquisitely sensitive mental spam filter rejects all such messages instantly, as you think to yourself, YEAH, SURE.

And those two words are the two most powerful and influential words in advertising today. Yeah, sure.

They are the near-universal response of a too-busy world awash in marketing.

These two words are merciless tyrants, mass murderers of response, because they are exactly the words your harried prospects think every time they must slog through the daily, ever-rising tide of advertising claims.

Get rich quick! Yeah, sure (toss it).

Lose weight fast! Yeah, sure (toss it).

Make $1,000 a week stuffing envelopes! Yeah, sure (toss it).

Elect me and I will make the world safe, cut your taxes and give everyone universal health care. Yeah, sure.

And so on, including almost all of the big-promise messages you were taught to trumpet by the direct response scriptures.

Gary said here is A Simple Secret for Exploding Your Response.

As a result, the vast majority of B level copywriters spend most of their days dreaming up ways to pump up ever-bigger claims ... which is why their mailings are almost always beaten easily by the tiny handful of A level copywriters who know this simple secret of successful selling in an over marketed world...

And Gary said never make your claim bigger than your proof. And always join your claim and your proof at the hip in your headlines, so that you never trumpet one without the other.

There is no more powerful nor consistent way to explode your response. Surround your claims with stronger, bolder proof and watch your response soar.

And Gary went on to indicate that he was not talking just about testimonials, which do help but have become so overused themselves, they have lost some of their magic. I am talking about every method you can possibly find to bolster your proof and credibility.

One of the easiest ways to add credibility is to avoid like the measles phrases so overused, they instantly trigger the Yeah, Sure response, phrases such as get rich quick ... lose weight fast ... and, yes, become a millionaire.

Another way is to sandwich your big promise inside an IF ...THEN construction in your headline.

When you say IF (followed by a requirement your prospects have to meet), it seems to magically switch off and bypass their Yeah, Sure alarm and usher you right in their front door to sell.

Gary said: Surprisingly, it even works when you make the requirement easy to meet.

And now you know the winner, headline A:

If you've got 20 minutes a month,
I guarantee to work a financial miracle
in your life.

The promise still seems so big and hard to believe. But that is the power of the IF...THEN construction. For some reason, it seems to put the universal Yeah, Sure alarm to sleep, like punching in the alarm code when you enter your home".

The advertising secret (formula) is a reasonably easy requirement, followed by a strong promise. Think up ways to use this for your own product.

Gary said: Of course, be sure to pay off in your body copy why and how the benefit can be achieved by such an easy requirement. And if it is not extremely easy, but only moderately easy, that is even better, as it is more believable. Surprisingly, candor is gloriously effective in boosting ad response.

Anyway, test this IF...THEN idea sometime soon, measure the results, and you may be startled by how much it outpulls the typical big-promise headline most ads rely on.

Gary said: In fact, the headline above was so successful for Givens, his publishers asked him if they could adapt it for another of their products, a weight loss newsletter by Richard Simmons. Against a strong control package that had beaten off all comers, they tested this headline, keeping all other elements in the package the same:

(Next to photo of Richard Simmons)
If you've got 20 minutes a month,
I guarantee a thinner, healthier you.

It worked like a charm and handily beat the previous champ. (Notice the absence of exclamation marks, the overuse of which increases the aroma of hype and a resulting Yeah, Sure response.)

Home based entrepreneurs and online business owners are always looking for ways to improve their marketing program. By using the IF___THEN construction in your headline, you can show an improvement in your annual marketing program. This can translate into important financial benefits. Your business firm can attract new customers, show significant annual revenue (sales) increases, record attractive and higher profit margins, and record substantial improvements in their annual cash flow.

I will close my article with this question.

What are your plans to use the IF___THEN principle?
About the Author
David Wiley, MBA, specializes in teaching individuals the creative tools they need in order to earn a six figure income online. Go here for his free series of email letters:

http://www.dwphbs.com/onlineincome.html

Visit his main website here:

http://www.dwphbs.com

Copyright 2007
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