Magazine Article 2
How to Make Your Ads More Believable
I am a mailorder copywriter. One of the services I offer new new clients is a free critique of their current advertisement. I find that analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of ads helps sharpen my copywriting skills. Over the years I’ve been able to single out two key reasons why mailorder ads fail. This article reveals my findings and includes specific ways to increase the pulling power of any ad.
The first requirement for having a winning mailorder ad is to select a product or service that is marketable. No amount of clever ad copy or compelling words, phrases and claims can make a bad offer sell. I’ll be quick to state, however, this has not been the main reason the ads I’ve critiqued weren’t working. The problem was in two correctable areas:
1) The selling message wasn’t believable
2) There wasn’t enough proof to substantiate claims.
People are wary of advertising claims. The bolder the claim, the more it is discounted. In order to make claims believable, they need to be supported with “hard facts”. The more exact the facts, the more people trust the claim. For example, Ivory Soap had a claim their soap was 99&44/100% pure. So pure it floats. Even though there was no scientific explanation of this claim, people believed it – and bought the soap. People have more confidence in claims that are written as specific facts. What’s more specific than 99&44/100% pure? It wouldn’t sound as credible if it were written as 100% pure.
Many promoters of income opportunity offers make exaggerated claims regarding the income potential of their programs. Rather than enticing prospects to send money to join their programs, they are turning them off. People don’t trust offers that make unrealistic claims like, “Make $50,000 in the next 90 days”. It goes too far beyond the bounds of believability.
One business ran a classified ad announcing a high but realistic income for a job they were looking to fill. Inquiries lagged. When they ran a subsequent ad lowering the income potential, inquiries tripled. Sometimes you get better results by toning down claims – even if those claims are true.
Emotional Appeals Aren’t Enough
Appeals to emotion (e.g., making a lot of money, looking sexier, becoming more popular) are strong motivating forces. But appeals to emotion aren’t enough to get people to buy your product. You also have to appeal to reason. People need justification for their buying decisions. You need to appeal to the “head” as well as the “heart” of the prospect.
Proof of claims builds belief. It provides evidence that what you promise in your ad is true. The more concrete the evidence, the more readily your claims will be accepted. People want to believe all those wonderful things you promise in your ad but they need logic and reason to support their buying decisions.
Making Your Ads More Believable
Writing good ad copy requires a comprehensive search for facts about your product. If you are offering a business opportunity, search for marketplace evidence that supports its money making potential. You can quote authorities in the field, such as business leaders, analysts or economists. Show sales records or examples of earnings and profits. Include records showing how your company’s products are increasing in popularity and consumer acceptance.
You can use the testimony of others who have started the business and profited. Testimonials need to be specific, however, to be effective persuaders. A testimonial such as, “I sent for your money making program and loved it” isn’t nearly as powerful as “I sent for your money making program and made $756.50 my first two weeks in business”. Use complete names and addresses of people quoted, rather than just initials and states. If possible, include a photo of the individual. Seeing the person who made the statement increases its authenticity in the eyes of the prospect.
Use Known Truths
Believability can be increased by using statements that “ring true”. For example, if you are promoting a home business, you can write about how working for a large organization no longer equates to lifetime job security. Most people will agree with that statement. There are ample news accounts of corporate downsizing causing major layoffs. You then offer proof that some people are doing better financially and have greater economic security operating the home business you are promoting. No risk of layoffs. You want the reader to conclude they would be better off by taking advantage of your business opportunity. Here you are using an emotionalappeal (need for financial security) with a logical argument to persuade readers.
Start with known truths. Get readers in agreement with familiar facts. Then move them from what they know is true to what you tell them is true.
Increased Believability Means Increased Profits
If you examine every claim you make in your ad and back it up with supporting facts, it will dramatically increase the ad’s believability. And the more people who believe what you say in your ad is true, the more sales you will make. If you supply enough “prove it” facts, readers will be persuaded that buying your product or investing in your program is a wise decision. You’ll sell more, profit more and feel better about your advertising practices.
The author of this article invites readers to write him for related free information about writing effective mail order ads. People who write will also receive a certificate good for a free critique of any ad they are using or plan to use. No purchase is necessary.