The 5 Questions and 10 Steps to More Effective Advertising

John Caples in his book “Tested Advertising Methods” gives an interesting example of an advertising test. The company running the ad produced a hand cream called Fragrant Frostilla. In a split run newspaper they ran two ads that were identical except for the headline:

Headline A was:

‘Hundreds are Changing to Fragrant Frostilla’

Headline B was:

‘Popular Secretary caught Red Handed’

Which do you think worked best A or B?
If you picked B you’re in agreement with the top advertising gurus. If you picked A then you’re right.
Headline A outperformed B by 89%

So what happened here? …….Advertising is not about creative wording or suspense and definitely not correct English grammar….
Advertising is about the consumer.


Who are you advertising your product or service to? Have you first clearly defined your target market? Have you asked these 5 Questions:

  1. Who are they?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What do they want?
  4. Why do they want it?
  5. When do they want it?

As soon as you’ve got answers to those 5 Questions, you’ve virtually got your Advertisement ready.

Here the 10 Steps to put it all together:

From the answers to Question 3 ,4 and 5 write 10 Headlines

  1. Turn every feature of what you’re offering into a benefit according to answers from 2, 3, 4, 5
  2. Write as you would speak to a prospect, using emotive adjectives
  3. Be specific in your claims
  4. Use testimonials to add credibility
  5. Make an offer that can’t be refused, check answers 2,3,4 and 5 for this
  6. Work a Guarantee into it
  7. Make a strong, very clear call to action from what answers to 2,3,4 and 5 brought you, depending on your product or service
  8. Put your body copy together using what you’ve just written in steps 2-8
  9. Decide on the most appropriate and powerful headline from your selection

How easy is that??…and if you’re clear on your target market and have fully researched each of the 5 Questions…..you’ll have a killer copy and headline for your ad!
Good Luck!

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