Fundamentals of a Good Advertisement

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To increase sales and profits focus your attention on the five fundamentals of a good advertisement

Fundamentals of a Good Advertisement – How to Create Campaigns That Increase Sales and Profits

In almost every instance of sales that have flat-lined and/or are declining you’ll discover that one or more of the fundamentals of a good advertisement have been ignored, overlooked and/or left out of your ad campaigns.

Maybe your ads simply not good enough to make people notice, read and then take the desired action you want. 

Ogilvy on the Fundamentals of Good Advertising - Getting Attention Comes First copy

The blame for failure or the credit for success in the majority of your campaigns and promotions can rightly be laid at the doorstep of your advertisements and as a result I’ve chosen to focus your attention on the five fundamentals of a good advertisement.

For the sake of clarity I want to point out that an advertisement that qualifies as “good” in my opinion GENERATES MEASURABLE INCREASES IN SALES AND PROFITS.

So what are the fundamentals of a good advertisement?

There are five fundamentals of a good advertisement which I have listed below:

  1. Get Attention – Your ads can only be successful if they can stop a prospect in their tracks and give your ad their full attention.
  2. Show People an Advantage – Your ads must provide a demonstrable advantage to your prospects.
  3. Prove It – Your ad must provide proof that your claims of advantage are true.
  4. Persuade Prospects to “Take Hold” of The Advantage – Your ads must copy that not only holds… but persuades prospects to take advantage of the advantage(s) your product and/or service offers them
  5. Ask for Action – Your ad must tell them exactly what you want them to do (i.e., “click the buy now button below”…. “call now for an appointment”, etc.)

Successful direct response copywriters and marketers know these fundamentals.  Many of us practice them. Some of us should get back to them.

As you progress through the fundamentals of a good advertisement I want to encourage you to remember the basic purpose of any ad you create for your business:  to increase sales of your products and/or services and increase your profitability.

A successful direct response copywriter will always include the fundamentals of a good advertisement in his/her work.

If you think an advertisement’s job is to get your prospects to pause, or admire, or even merely to believe the claims about your business then realize this:  The advertisements you create will be nothing but an expense (not an investment) for your business (assuming you’re the business owner).

And as John Caples said (referring to image and/or brand advertising) in his book Tested Advertising Methods:

“That’s a very clear purpose. But in practice-that’s where the fuzziness comes in. And the result: Beautiful examples of the art of (“image”) advertising are produced, printed, admired-and, page after page, flipped over by the public.”

OK… let’s take a spoonful of common sense and wash it down with some good old fashion wisdom and dig right in to the fundamentals of a good advertisement beginning with fundamental #1:

1. Getting Attention

Your advertisements cannot stimulate sales if they aren’t read; they cannot be read if they aren’t seen: and they will not be seen unless they can get (i.e., “demand”) the attention of your prospective customers, clients or patients.

Your Advertisements Are Perceived By Prospects As Uninvited Guests

One of the first (and most costly) mistakes you can make when creating your ad is to underestimate the fierce competition it will face simply to get the attention of your prospects.

Not a single one of your prospects… in fact no one on the face of the planet (except you) is waiting for your advertisement to appear.  Everyone on the planet (including your prospects) would much rather read the news, comics, news, stories, articles, editorials, even the obituaries before they read your ad.

Caples continues by stating:

“You, the advertiser are the Uninvited Guest… actually, let ‘s face it, an intruder.”

No one reading a magazine; a blog post; chatting with a friend on Facebook; skimming through Pinterest; researching on LinkedIn; listening to the radio or watching TV has invited you into the conversation. You paid to get in.

The reader has invested in the content he is reading with his hard-earned money (magazines, membership sites online, cable TV, etc.) or with her attention (reading a blog post, etc.) for news, entertainment, or instruction which is of helpful personal value.

So if you want your advertisement to command the attention of your prospects it also must provide (if it is to have any chance of competing with the publication’s editorial matter for the interest and attention of your prospects) news, entertainment and/or instructional value.

What is the value I’m speaking about?  Your ad must provide enough value to the prospect who reads it to justify the time she must invest to read it. 

Individuals who consistently produce good advertisements ALWAYS begin with this premise:

People don’t want to read advertising–not even mine.

We’ll then work our way around this challenge by creating advertisements that are “easier to read than to skip.”

The ads we create try to offer so enticing a “reward for reading” that prospects will want to read our advertisements right through–ignoring all and all ads and/or editorial content that competes against it. 

Only after these obstacles have been surmounted can your advertisement face the contest of winning the attention of as many of your prospects as possible. And, to capture that attention, you’ve to earn it with your headline or with your layout, and preferably with both.

How big of a role does your ad’s headline play in the accomplishment of our first goal of getting attention?

It’s possible that you may have read somewhere that 50 percent of the value of an entire advertisement is represented by the headline itself. Or 60 percent. Or 70-80 percent.

another reason to adhere to the fundamentals of good advertising is that Your Advertisements Are Perceived By Prospects As Uninvited Guests

The truth is that the importance of an ad’s headline can’t be evaluated in percentages.

If I were to ask you how much better (percentage wise) is a car that runs and performs amazingly well as compared with one that won’t run at all?

It ‘s the same with headlines.

You can have ad with amazing body copy that totally flops because the headline failed to get the attention of your prospects and then compel them to continue reading. 

You run the same ad using a different headline that works like magic in enticing readers by the thousands into the ad… where that amazing body copy moves people to take action and as a result your sales and profits increase.

Yes. there is really that much difference in the power of headlines.

It isn’t enough to cram persuasive copy into the body of your ad.

Many of the biggest advertising flops of all time were filled with convincing copy in the body of the ads.  But the excellent copy was never read or realized because the ad’s headline did not get attention.

It should be obvious to you at this point that it is the headline that gets your prospects into your ad’s copy; the copy doesn’t get them into the headline. 

In other words,  your primary goal when beginning to craft an effective advertisement is create a headline (and then body copy) that makes it harder for your prospective customers, clients and/or patients to pass up your advertisement than read it. 

So much for the importance of headlines–and for the staggering waste and loss of effectiveness advertising space is devoted to displaying poor ones.

In our next post, we’ll pick up where we left off here with:  “The sole purpose of the headline”

If you have additional questions or would like to schedule a 20-minute no-obligation consultation with Ken Newhouse simply visit our contact page and complete the brief webform. A member of our team will be delighted to respond to your request within 24-hours.  

Additionally we’d like to invite you to check our our Beat Your Campaign Challenge – where we guarantee to beat your best advertisement, sales letter, webpage, or direct mail piece by a minimum of 23.7% or we’ll pay for the marketing and you pay us nothing!  We typically beat Client’s “best campaigns” (when not created by top-direct response companies) by 211% or more… but think about it…  Who else can offer a challenge like that?

Be sure to check out our 100% FREE resource center… the Ken Newhouse & Co., Profit Vault before you go!



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2 comments on “Fundamentals of a Good Advertisement

  1. John Walsh says:

    I agree that you’ve got to have a great headline to get readers into the body copy of your advertisements… but I’m not so good at writing headlines. Any suggestions on how I can improve my headlines?

    1. KenNewhouse says:

      Thanks for the input John! Eugene Schwartz covered how to write powerful headlines in his book “Breakthrough Advertising”. To be able to write an effective headline you have to understand and be able to correctly implement the five phases of MARKET AWARENESS strategy (concerning your product or products like it) as well as the FIVE PHASES OF MARKET SOPHISTICATION.

      Admittedly his book (on Amazon) is more than most folks will pay… but in my mind his book offers a GRADUATE LEVEL COURSE in not how to create awesome headlines… it covers every aspect of how to create advertising that sells – information you simply can’t find in any books today. I’ll be writing about it extensively in my upcoming posts so if you want to save a hundred bucks then be sure to check out my blog here in the near future.

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