Victor Schwab: 5 Fundamentals Of A Good Advertisement

The advertising and copywriting genius Victor O. Schwab outlined the 5 fundamentals for writing a good advertisement:

1. Get Attention
2. Show People An Advantage
3. Prove It
4. Persuade People To Grasp This Advantage
5. Ask For Action

This simple outline from Schwab's masterpiece "How To Write A Good Advertisement" really is spot on.

The only addition I would make is to point out the biggest secret to really getting attention, showing an advantage your prospect would be interested in and persuading them to grasp that advantage is to gain an intimate knowledge of your prospect before you write a word of your ad.

Schwab also elaborated on each of these principles.

1. Get Attention:

Schwab said the most reliable way to get attention is by using a powerful headline.

Good headlines use specific place names and numbers, they're highly targeted to a specific prospect and they draw a reader into the body copy.

Schwab also believed that a headline should be as long as it needs to be to grab the attention of your prospect.

Many of Schwab's most successful headlines were quite long.

He also warned against getting "arty" in your ads.

Advertisements (and online sales letters) that look too much like highly produced ads can often decrease your sales response.

You want your ads to closely resemble what your prospects would normally read.

Schwab also points out that large, simple photographs of people, children and animals get more attention.

He also reveals that having a picture of your product IN USE doing something, accomplishing something that appeals to the reader is more likely to get attention.

2. Show People An Advantage

Victor Schwab said there is one question prospects have above all others when they're reading an ad for your product or service:
"What Will It Do For Me?"

You need to put yourself in your prospect's shoes when you're writing an ad and work out what THEY want...what major hidden motivators will drive them to buy your product.

Schwab also listed some of the basic human desires you should be aware of including:
# Money and a better job
# Security in old age
# Popularity

# Praise from others
# More comfort
# Social advancement

# Improved appearance
# Personal prestige
# Better health
# Increased enjoyment

You don't try to sell the powerful stain removing power of a new kitchen cleaner.

You sell the "admiring looks on the faces of your friends when they see your kitchen sparkling like it was brand new and never used".

Schwab also stresses the vital importance of giving people a real reason to keep reading your ad in the first paragraph.

My own tests have shown that rewriting that key opening line can dramatically increase your sales.

3. Prove It

Schwab points out that most people will not believe what you tell them in an ad unless you prove it with facts, figures, testimonials, scientific proof and any other method you can devise.

Even more important Schwab reveals a huge secret: while most prospects will buy for deeper emotional reasons they want to justify their purchase with hard facts.

That's where proof becomes especially valuable.

Proof also helps build belief in your prospect fueling those emotional desires to buy.

While we might believe that we buy on logic the truth is the heart dictates to the head when it comes to most of our buying decisions.

4. Persuade People To Grasp This Advantage

One of the key methods Schwab recommends is to sum up the emotional and logical reasons your prospect should buy then help them picture themselves already enjoying the benefits of your product or service.

In modern copywriting terms we call this "future pacing".

Once your prospect is already imagining himself and the life he'll have when he already has your product he'll be especially eager to buy it.

And that leads to:

5. Ask For Action

In his book Advertising For Immediate Sales John Caples once wrote:
"There are a lot of good advertisements that are weak in the final urge to act. They are like salesmen who are charming talkers but weak closing men. If they had the right stuff they would pick the reader up by the collar of his coat and the seat of his trousers and stiff-arm him into a showroom."

You need to tell you prospect exactly what to do to buy your product.

And you need to make it simple, easy and specific.

Most important of all the call to action in your sales copy needs to get your prospect to act NOW.

Any delay and the chances are that you'll lose the sale altogether.

Also read:
Sales Letter Format
J Walter Thompson Knowing Your Prospect
41% Response From This Headline Secret
Turning Tables And Captions In Your Copy To Gold
Online Video On Your Sales Letters
Powerful Emotional Triggers

Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

More FREE High Value Online Copywriting Secrets Than Any Other Site On Earth. Andrew Cavanagh's Online Copywriting Blog

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