Mail Order Association
Headlines...Powerful Copy…Powerful Sales
by John Schulte
What words you use in your advertising and how you put them together can mean the success or failure of an advertisement. That's why copywriters are called "wordsmiths" and the good ones get paid very well.
I have assembled this collection for you to have by your side when writing copy…so when you need an idea as you work you can refer to it as needed. Copywriting takes practice, to get good takes time. If you can't afford to practice while you are selling, hire a pro. In the long run it will be better for you. Onward.
This is not a large-scale study, but the chief findings are significant; namely, the words you, new and how are out-standing.
Every copywriter should remember the value of hammering away at you, you, you, both in headlines and in copy.
Regarding new, David Ogilvy said: If you try hard enough, you can almost always use new in your copy.
Then there is the word how, which is in third place on the list. People want to know how to solve problems, how to get ahead, how to be attractive, how to win friends and how to end money worries.
So, the next time you write an ad or a direct-mail letter or a TV commercial, try to give your copy the benefit of these three important words: you . . . new . . . how.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PERSUASIVE WORDS IN ADVERTISING?
Ogilvy also said: Don't turn up your nose at these cliché's. They may be shopworn, but they work. That is why you see them turn up so often in the headlines of mail-order advertisers and others who can measure the results of their advertisements."
Max Sackheim seconded this advice by reprinting Ogilvy's list of words in his book My First Sixty Years in Advertising.
AN ENLARGED LIST
I would like to enlarge on Ogilvy's list and give the aspiring copywriter an even greater range of words to choose from. In order to do this, I turned to the following:
- Successful direct marketing ads
- Successful direct-mail letters
- Mail order catalogs
- Textbooks on advertising
- Direct response classified advertising
I reviewed these and other sources, and tabulated the persuasive words that occurred most often. Listed below are the results of this analysis. For easy reference, the words are grouped under ten headings.
1. Words That Denote News
If you have news to tell, here are a number of ways to present it:
People are more apt to buy if you can furnish evidence of the value of your product or service.
3. Large Size
Here are words you can use if large size is a feature of your product:
The element of surprise or unusualness is an attractive feature in some cases.
Every reader or listener is concerned with the quality of your product.
The following words denote interest and apply mostly to books, booklets, pamphlets, etc.:
Sometimes the appearance of a product is its most important feature.
In writing your copy, do not neglect the tested words and phrases that are used in direct marketing advertising. Keep the lists in this chapter handy. Look them over before you write. Refer to them often. Put some you, new and how to into your ad, letter or commercial. And before you write your Act now paragraph, review the action phrases that experienced ad writers have found helpful in promoting the thing that every advertiser wants . action.
There are times when the utility of a product is the important consideration.
Making money and saving money are topics of universal concern.
Here are useful words that apply in a variety of categories:
The next time you write an ad, you may find it helpful to review these word lists. For example, if you have news to tell, take a look at the list of words that denote news. Do the same with the other lists.
Your copy will be improved if you include some of the persuasive words that have sold millions of dollars' worth of goods and services.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PERSUASIVE PHRASES IN ADVERTISING?
What are the persuasive phrases that are used again and again by direct marketing advertisers? Here are examples:
1. Free Offers
A review of direct marketing ads, letters, catalogs, etc., reveals that the most frequently used phrases are free offers.
Ask for free folder
Free guide book
Moneymaking facts free
Free trial lesson
Free to new members
Free cost estimate
Try it ten days free
Thirty-two-page catalog free
Free plans for_________________
Yours for the asking
Test lesson free
Free gift if you act at once
2. Charge Offers
Some advertisers charge a fee or require a postage stamp.
Moneymaking facts free
Free lesson, $.50
$.25 brings details
Stamp brings details
$1.00 brings complete______________
Free gift if you act at once
Stamped envelope brings_______________
Send $.25 to help cover postage and handling
If you have news to tell, it should be given prominence. It
will increase response.
The world's first ___________
Just off the press
Hot off the press
New method of ________
People want to know how to do things-how to get ahead-how to solve problems-how to make money-how to enjoy life. In each of the following how phrases, you can complete the phrase with your own solution to the prospect's problem.
How to ________
How to get __________
How to have _________
How to keep _________
How to start ____________
How to begin ___________
How to become __________
How to improve your _________
How to develop __________
How to get the most out of ________
How to avoid ________
How to end ________
How to get rid of ________
How to conquer How I ______
How I improved my ___________
How to enjoy How you can ________
People buy magazines and newspapers and listen to broadcasts to get information. You can successfully compete for attention by telling your prospects the things they want to know.
Seven ways to _________
The truth about _________
The one sensible way to _________
Plain talks with _________
Profitable tips for _________
Confidential chats with ________
Twenty tips for _________
The common sense of ________
Your one sure way to ________
Guide to ________
Helpful hints on ________
Practical hints on __________
Advice to _________
What you should know about _________
Facts you should know
Mistakes you can avoid
6. Confidence Building
No matter how attractive your offer is, you must build believability into your ad. Here are phrases that will help.
Award winning Seal of approval
Established ________ years
You risk nothing
Make this test
Over _________ thousands sold
What others say (include testimonials)
See before you buy
Money back if not delighted
Proved in laboratory tests
If not delighted, just write Cancel on the bill.
People are always looking for bargains. Here are some phrases that deal with price:
Only ten percent above wholesale/dealers cost
Save up to $ ____________
Less than half price
Price going up
Price goes up (date)
Order before the price goes up
Never again at this price
8. Miscellaneous Phrases
Here are frequently used phrases that can work in a number of situations:
Send no money
No salesperson will call
The key to ________
Only $.25 a day
Now you can ___________
You don't have to be rich to _____________
The secret of __________
Yours if you can qualify
Do you have these symptoms of ________?
Who else wants _________?
From manufacturer to you
Buy direct and save
For quick information, call _________
Orders shipped within 24 hours
Easy payment plan
9. Immediate Action
Most folks tend to delay action. Urge them to act quickly. Or better still, give them a valid reason for quick action.
Order now, pay later
Delay may be serious
Don't put it off
Send post card today
Get started today
Be the first
Rush name for details
For a short time only
While the supply lasts
Price going up
John Schulte is a Small Business Consultant and Direct Marketing Strategist.
He is a 30-year veteran of advertising, marketing, publicity, promotions and
sales. He is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of mail
order, direct mail, cataloging and overall direct marketing. He is one of
the few people in the United States that has been certified by a United
States Federal Court as a Direct Marketing and Catalog expert, able to act
as an expert witness in federally related corporate disputes. John is also
president of the National Mail Order Association and author of
Marketing Toolkit for Small and Home based Business. This article
is an excerpt from this book.
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This page was updated on
January 30, 2009
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