Winning More Business With Effective Ads Part 2

Last time we started discussing how to write more effective ads. We’re continuing on the same theme, and we’re starting with…

The Headline

If you’re going to make a single change to boost your response rate the most, focus on your headline (you do have one, don’t you?).

Why? Because five times as many people read your headline than your copy. Quite simply, a headline is… an ad for your ad. People won’t stop their busy lives to read your copy unless you give them a good reason to do so. So a good headline promises a benefit.

Think about the last time you browsed through the newspaper. You checked out the articles, one by one, and occasionally an ad may have caught your eye. Which ads were the ones most likely to catch your eye?

Most likely the ones with the most compelling headlines that convinced you it’s worth a few minutes to read the copy.

The headline really is that powerful and that important.

I’ve seen many ads over the years that didn’t even have a headline. And that’s just silly. It’s the equivalent of flushing good money spent on advertising right down the toilet.

Why? Because your response can increase dramatically by not only adding a headline, but by making that headline almost impossible to resist for your target market.

And those last three words are important. Your target market.

For example, take a look at the following headline:

Discover How To Prosper In A Down Economy!

A strong benefit.

Will that headline appeal to everyone?

No, and you don’t care about everyone.

But for someone who is struggling financially in a downturn sure would appreciate knowing about this little gem.

That’s your target market, and it’s your job to get them to read your ad. Your headline is the way you do that.

Ok, now where do you find great headlines?

You look at other successful ads (especially direct response) that have stood the test of time. You look for ads that run regularly in magazines and other publications. How do you know they’re good? Because if they didn’t do their job, the advertiser most likely wouldn’t keep running them again and again.

I also suggest you read The Sun.


Yeah, you heard that correctly.

The Sun has some of the best headlines in the business. They catch people’s attention – and their headlines is a huge reason why they are successful.

Pick up a recent issue and you’ll see what I mean. Ok, I don’t tink you should copy any of those headlines, but do they serve to illustrate the point!

Your headline should create a sense of urgency. It should be as specific as possible (i.e. say €1,074.23 instead of “a thousand Euros”).

The headline appearance is also very important. Make sure the type used is bold and large, and different from the type used in the copy. Generally, longer headlines tend to out pull shorter ones, even when targeting more “conservative” prospects.

For some sites online where you can get great headlines (including from master copywriter John Carlton) visit !

It should go without saying that when you use other successful headlines, you adapt them to your own product or service. Never copy a headline (or any other written copyrighted piece of work for that matter) word for word. Copywriters and ad agencies are notoriously famous for suing for plagiarism. And rightfully so.

The Structure of AIDA

There’s a well-known structure in successful sales letters, described by the acronym AIDA.

AIDA stands for: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

First, you capture your prospect’s attention. This is done with your headline and lead. If your ad fails to capture your prospect’s attention, it fails completely. Your prospect doesn’t read your stellar copy, and doesn’t order your product or service.

Then you want to build a strong interest in your prospect. You want him to keep reading, because if he reads, he just might buy.

Next, you channel a desire. Having a targeted market for this is key, because you’re not trying to create a desire where one did not already exist. You want to capitalise on an existing desire, which your prospect may or may not know he already has. And you want your prospect to experience that desire for your product or service.

Finally, you present a call to action. You want him to pick up the phone, return the reply card, attend the sales presentation, order your product, whatever. You need to ask for the sale (or response, if that’s the goal). You don’t want to beat around the bush at this point. If your letter and AIDA structure is sound and persuasive, here’s where you present the terms of your offer and urge the prospect to act now.

A lot has been written about the AIDA copywriting formula, and it’s well worth following this tried and tested method for generating more response for your ads.

The final piece of the puzzle…

The final, missing ingredient you need, is being brave and test. Try something different. Don’t rely on others to tell you what it should look like, unless they’re your customers paying with hard cash. The only people who can tell you whether your ad is right, are your customers.

Be daring, and try something new – you might just be surprised at the positive effect it might have on your business!

Next time we’ll work more on the attitude of being a business success, and how you can use an extremely effective technique to overcome the mental anguish of today’s difficult economic situation.

Many business owners find themselves unable to move forward and let the down economy affect them in an unhealthy way – next time you’ll discover a very powerful way to keep yourself positive and moving forward whether the economy is going down or up!

In the meantime you can visit to download a FREE Ad Writing Checklist sponsored by Canarian Weekly, or call Jennie on 902 789 660 for a free printed copy!

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