Not For Hire Direct Response Sales Copy Writer

How To Write A KILLER Ad In One Hour Or Less

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Feb 8, 2016 Advertising Tips And Secrets, Freelance Writing , , 1 Comment

Give me one measly hour of your time (including the few minutes it takes to read this article), and I guarantee you’ll have a killer ad when we’re done.

Use it as a business card, postcard mailer, flyer, radio or TV commercial, vehicle lettering, pay-per-click ad or anything else you can think of.

Your Warp-Speed Advertising Crash Course

First, you need to understand why most marketing completely blows.

Here’s why… Most advertisements either try to be entertaining, or they announce boring, generic information that no one cares about. Ads like this do not sell. Period.

Instead, your new ad will feature alluring benefits that appeal to your market. You will also use a headline that promises a solution to either A.) a pain, worry or frustration your prospects have, or B.) a burning desire your prospects have.

Ok, your crash course is over.  Let’s get started…

Step One:  Read This Article

(takes about 10 minutes)

Spend ten minutes reading the rest of this article.  Then come back to Step Two and get to work.

Step Two: Brainstorming

(takes about 10 minutes)

Try to come up with 5-10 things your prospects love about your industry, and 5-10 things your prospects hate about your industry.

For instance, I have a background in the carpet cleaning industry where prospects love fast dry times, pleasant fragrances, clean-cut technicians, appointments that are on time and free follow-up visits if spots or stains reappear.

They hate missed or late appointments, upselling, bait-and-switch tactics, strong chemical odors, scary technicians who smell like cigarette smoke and being ignored if spots or stains reappear.

So spend about ten minutes making a list of loves and hates for your industry.

Step Three: Choose A Theme And Write A Headline

(takes about 5 minutes)

Pick the most powerful item from your list of loves and hates and use that as the theme for your entire ad.  Choose whatever you think will best appeal to your audience.

Now write a headline that reflects the theme you chose.  Here’s how…

Going back to the carpet cleaning example, my market research revealed that customers were very worried about letting rough, scary-looking technicians into their homes.

So instead of using a lame headline like “The Best Carpet Cleaner In Toad Suck, Arkansas!”, I often used a picture of the business owner next to a headline that would say something like this:

Your Neighbors Are Raving About Their Carpet Since We Cleaned It

 

The picture of the owner shows that he’s a nice guy, and the headline offers subtle social proof. The result is a headline that instantly destroys the biggest worry that customers have when hiring a carpet cleaner.

Once you’ve selected what you think is the most powerful item from your list, write 5-10 headlines that are concise and attention-getting.

Pick the best one, and move to Step Three.

Now, I don’t normally do this, but if you want help with your headlines, contact me by clicking here and type this in the subject line: Headline Help.

I won’t rewrite your headlines for you.  I’ll tell you what I think, and offer a suggestion or two. If your headlines are completely hopeless, I’ll simply tell you to try again.

Professional marketers spend hours or even days writing headlines, but you should only spend about five minutes on this.

Even if your final headline sucks compared to what a pro would come up with, it will still blow away the lame headlines your competitors are probably using.

Step Four: Choose Four Bullet Points

(takes about 20 minutes)

Now that you have a headline, expound on it with bullet points. Your bullet points don’t have to be an exact continuation of the headline. I’ll explain…

Let’s say I sell an energy drink that’s supposed to burn fat. I’ve determined my target market hates the bitter taste of similar energy drinks, so my headline is “Fat-Melting Power Without The Tongue-Melting Taste”.



 

powerthirst_by_powerthirstplz



 

When I write my bullet points, it’s not like I’m stuck to the topic of flavor, even though flavor is the main theme of the headline.

My bullet points will simply compliment the headline. I wouldn’t want to use a bullet point that says:

  • We’ve never been sued for false claims!

Even if that statement is true, it doesn’t compliment the headline.

But I can definitely use a bullet point that says this:

  • Organic blend of herbs grown on our farm in Pennsylvania…raw, natural energy with ZERO caffeine and no jitters!

Notice that this statement says nothing about flavor, but it does compliment the headline.

So where do you get your bullet points? You already wrote them!

Go back to the list of things your prospects love and hate about your industry. Choose the four best items—they can be loves or hates, it doesn’t matter—and turn them into bullet points.

Just write one easy-to-understand sentence or phrase for each item.  It should take about twenty minutes.

Now you’ll have a headline and four bullet points that are tailor-made for your audience. Instead of announcing generic information no one cares about, your ad will inflame their desires and soothe their worries.

Here are some examples of carpet cleaning bullet points that compliment the headline I mentioned in Step Three:

Your Neighbors Are Raving About Their Carpet Since We Cleaned It

  • We only hire non-smokers…your house will smell fresh and clean when we’re done.
  • Spots will not reappear…and if they do, we’ll come back for free.
  • Plant-based cleaning products…no dangerous chemicals or strong odors.
  • We’re NEVER late…or else we’ll pay you!

You might notice that my example bullet points make a statement and then provide an explanation.  This is  a semi-advanced technique you can learn more about here.

You’ll also notice they compliment the headline.  They are not strictly tied to it, but they do fit the overall theme.

And you’ll see that I didn’t pull these bullet points out of my butt.  They are based on the brainstorming exercise from Step Two.

Step Five: Call To Action

(takes about 5 minutes)

People need to be told what to do, so tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do next. This is your “call to action”.

Try to make it more persuasive and inviting than “Call Today!” If you create some urgency or give people a reason to call, they’ll be more likely to take action.

Try something like this:

  • Dial 555-555-5555 right now and ask for Shannon. Tell her you saw this ad and she’ll give you 10% off.
  • Sign up this instant and you’ll be a better public speaker within 45 minutes. Simply click the “Yes, I Want My Free Report” button now.
  • Bring this card to the free meeting and you’ll be rushed to the VIP seating area and given your surprise gift.

This step shouldn’t take longer than about five minutes.

Let’s see what our sample carpet cleaning ad would look like with a call to action…

Your Neighbors Are Raving About Their Carpet Since We Cleaned It

  • We only hire non-smokers…your house will smell fresh and clean when we’re done.
  • Spots will not reappear…and if they do, we’ll come back for free.
  • Plant-based cleaning products…no dangerous chemicals or strong odors.
  • We’re NEVER late…or else we’ll pay you!

Call our office now and ask for Linda.  Tell her you saw this ad in the Toad Suck Observer and she’ll give you $25 off!

Step Six: Logo And Contact Info

(takes about 5 minutes)

Put your logo and contact info at the end of your ad. Trust me, this stuff does not belong at the beginning.

Too many businesses think their name or logo should serve as the headline of their advertisements. Actually, there’s no better way to make sure your ad gets completely ignored. Nobody cares about your company and they didn’t ask to see your ad.

When you advertise, you are imposing on people. Don’t bore or insult them with your own self-importance. Instead, give them something they might actually want to see, hear or read.

That’s why your headline, bullet points and call to action go first. Your contact info means very little to people until they want to do business with you. So earn their business first, then tell them how to contact you.

This is the easiest step.  It shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

Here’s what our carpet cleaning ad looks like with the contact info:

Your Neighbors Are Raving About Their Carpet Since We Cleaned It

  • We only hire non-smokers…your house will smell fresh and clean when we’re done.
  • Spots will not reappear…and if they do, we’ll come back for free.
  • Plant-based cleaning products…no dangerous chemicals or strong odors.
  • We’re NEVER late…or else we’ll pay you!

Call our office now and ask for Linda.  Tell her you saw this ad in the Toad Suck Observer and she’ll give you $25 off!

Bronson Maxchop • Maxchop Rug Sucking • 555-666-6969 • www.MaxchopRugSucking.org • info@maxchoprugsucking.org

Finished!  Now What?

 

Publish your ad wherever you want it to go.  Have your graphic designer turn it into a business card.  Or a postcard you can mail to prospects.

Use it as an outline to write a manuscript for a radio or TV commercial.

If you have a work van or a fleet of business vehicles, incorporate it into your lettering or vinyl wrap.

You can even use it for pay-per-click ads if you’re marketing online. You might have to abbreviate your ad a little bit, but it will definitely work.

The options are endless.  Just make sure you double check your contact info.  You don’t want to print 100,000 postcards with the wrong phone number.

Also, do not let the design take away from the copy you wrote.  Copy comes first.  ALWAYS.

You will get push-back from graphic designers about this.  They’ll tell you it’s stupid not to put your logo and business name front and center.

Well, they’re wrong.  Ignore their advice.  Graphic designers don’t know squat about selling stuff.

Finally, it’s ok to add some extra sentences, phrases or paragraphs here and there.  The outline I’ve given you is very, very basic.

Feel free to expand on it, but you have to make sure that anything you add actually contributes to the overall purpose, which is this…  INFLAME DESIRE; SOOTHE WORRY. 

If you follow these steps, you’ll have a pretty darn good ad in about an hour.

Yes, advertising is a rabbit hole that goes much, much deeper than what I’ve discussed here.  So if you’re an old vet of the biz, don’t bother complaining about how basic this info is.

If you’re a newb or a business owner who’s trying to write your own ad, this article is all you need for now.

Your Pal,

Signature

 

 

PS:  Relate your ideas, tips & tricks, or suggestions for writing an ad in the comments below.  Feel free to include a sample ad using the steps outlined in this article….  Headline, bullet points, call to action, contact info.

PPS:  Need help writing an ad?  Well guess what, amigo.  That’s what I do for a living.  Contact me if you want professional help.

PPPS:  Subscribe to this blog.  You do realize I’m freely giving away secrets that have been closely guarded for decades, right?

 

 



Comments

  • Terry Johnson
    Apr 21, 2017 at 9:55 pm Reply

    Hello Ross, Great content and much appreciated!! I TOTALLY agree with you about online marketing It’s very frustrating and confusing that most of the time all they want is big bucks! If they are so successful then share the goodness and ask less and give back to people but it falls on deaf ears!!
    Question: What marketing tool(s) do you/would you use when selling on Amazon? Thanks for your helping hand, Terry

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