A smart (and honest) fishing salesman will tell you…
…fancy fishing equipment isn’t meant to catch more fish… it’s meant to catch more fishermen.
Which brings us to this week’s brilliant direct response ad…
First of all, can you even tell if this is an ad or an article in a newspaper?
Most people can’t. In fact…
…When I asked my web guy to scan the “fishing ad,” he told me there was no fishing ad. Just an article about a fishing lure.
That’s how much this ad looks like a legitimate newspaper article. And that’s why it’s so successful. It looks like news.
In fact, this type of advertising has a name. It’s called an ADVERTORIAL It’s part ADVERTising and part editORIAL.
Here’s why advertorials are so powerful when it comes to selling…
People buy newspapers and magazines to read news and learn something new. So, whenever you can make your ad look like news, odds are, more people will read it.
And when more people read your ad… more people will buy.
Unlike traditional advertising, which screams, “I’m an ad.” Advertorials are more like ”stealth” advertising. They blend into the newspaper and magazine they’re in.
When someone starts reading an advertorial, in their mind… they’re reading news. They’re learning something new. Getting good information. They pay more attention to the “article.”
If you run advertising in newspapers, you may think “But I want my advertising to stick out. I don’t want it to look like boring news.”
But the fact is, people buy newspapers for the news. And when you can make your ad look newsworthy, more people will read it.
OK, let’s see how this direct response ad makes so much money…
It all starts with the headline. The job of the headline is to make a reader stop dead in their tracks. And if you’re a fisherman, this headline makes you want to read more.
New lure’s catch rate may be too high for some tournaments.
It starts with the word “New.” And isn’t that exactly what newspapers write about? New stuff? So this direct response ad fits right in with the editorial style of a newspaper.
And we, as humans, are just wired to want to learn new things.
The headline is not salesey. It sounds like something an unbiased reporter would write.
Compare this subtle, but intriguing headline, to the typical headline, like “Catch more fish with the XYZ lure” or “The best lure for fishing.”
Those are bland, hypey headlines. EVERY fishing lure claims to help you catch more fish or bigger fish.
The key to a great advertising headline (and direct mail sales letter for that matter) is to find a unique way of saying your product/service does something better than every other product, in an intriguing way.
Right after the headline, are two great subheads…
Out-fishes other bait 19 to 4 in one contest.
Uses aerospace technology to mimic a real fish.
The first subhead immediately backs up the claim of the headline. You see, just saying a lure’s catch rate me be too high is hype without the facts. This ad provides the facts right after the claim. It’s an impressive number, yet believable.
And notice, it’s a specific fact, “19 to 4.” In direct response advertising, specifics sell. So when you can use specific numbers, do so.
Don’t say “majority” when you can say “97 out of 100.” Don’t say, “Most” or “More than” when you san say “9 out of 10″ or “95%.” ALWAYS be as specific as you can be in your direct response advertising.
And then the next subhead hooks the reader with an intriguing piece of information: this lure is made from aerospace technology and mimics a real fish.
This line does two things simultaneously:
1) It gives the reader the reason this amazing lure
outfiishes other bait by 19 to 4. It mimics a real fish.
2) At the same time it gives the reader an answer…
It makes it easy for the reader to ask a question in
his mind. The first thing the reader thinks is,
“Sounds reasonable. anything that mimics the
motion of a real fish should fool a fish. But exactly
how does it work?”
And that question in the reader’s mind gets them to continue reading to find the answer.
Just like a real news article, this “article” starts with city and state. Fits right in with all the other articles in the paper.
The copy starts off innocently enough… describing a “small company” in Connecticut. Nothing about the fishing lure. Nothing about buying the lure.
Even though this is an ad to sell a fishing lure, the writer is in no rush to sell the product. And that brings us to today’s big lesson…
How to Sell… by NOT Selling…
I’ll use an example I first saw the great direct response copywriter Gary Halbert use. Let’s say you’re a guy and you feel like picking up a woman. You go to a bar. See an attractive woman sitting alone.
Now, would you go up to that woman and say,
“Hey, you’re hot, let’s go back to my place and have sex.”
Of course not!
Even though sex may be your goal, you need to romance the sale first.
You work up a conversation. Get to know each other. Have a few drinks.
In essence, you’re slowly showing her what a great guy you are. Let the chemistry build.
It’s often the same way with advertising. You don’t just come out and say, “Buy my product!”
Here’s How Most Small Businesses And Advertisers
Screw Up Advertorials...
First of all, most advertisers can’t resist putting something salesy in the headline. Or worse yet, their company name. Right off the bat, they destroy the illusion of news.
Then after one or two sentences, they screw up even more by getting right into the selling. This ruins the illusion of news. It sets off alarm bells inside the reader’s mind saying, “Hey, this guy is trying to fool me. This is an ad!” And of course, they stop reading.
And when the reader stops reading your advertising… you can’t make the sell.
I know you want to sell more of your products and services. But if you’re going to do an advertorial, you have to be 100% committed to making it look like news.
OK, back to the ad. It starts off by telling how this amazing fishing lure fooled eight professional fishermen. This “proves” the lure is legit, because even the pros are fooled by it.
Then it goes on to describe how the design makes tis lure so realistic. So far, no selling. Just an interesting story. A story every fisherman interested in catching more fish will read.
The ad goes on to tell the reader how fishing tournaments may ban the lure because it’s too good. This pays off the headline.
Remember, when you’re creating advertising, when you say something in your headline, you must “prove” it in your copy.
Think about it, the headline got the reader to start reading. So you must “prove” the claim you made in your headline.
But many direct response copywriters make a big bold claim in the headline, then never back it up in the copy. That’s just hype. And while hype may catch someone’s attention, hype doesn’t sell.
Finally, in the second column, the copywriter mentions the name of the lure. See how this is different than most advertising?
Most advertising SCREAMS the name of the product. But the consumer doesn’t care about the name of your product. They only care about the benefits.
The “article” goes on to describe the results of an informal test of the fishing lure between eight professional fishermen. Again, more proof.
Even though this isn’t a double-blind study from a famous university, to the reader, it’s 100%, believable proof. And that’s what counts.
Also, the article makes sure to pay off the subhead and shows how the lure outfished other bait 19 to 4. Again, the problem with most advertising today is, the headlines make claims, but those claims are ever shown in the ad.
And if you don’t prove your claims after you made them, the reader won’t buy your product or service.
Another great line in the ad copy is…
“Fisherman reserved thousands of KickTails before we produced it!”
This shows a high demand for the product. So the reader “knows” it must work. And also, it helps the reader know he’s not the only one who will buy it.
Even though people often like something unique, they also don’t want to feel like they’re the only idiot buying it. The “huge demand” shows social proof this is an acceptable product to buy.
Then it casually mentions the company offers a money back guarantee. Bu, it’s not a vague guarantee. It’s specific…
“If you don’t catch more fish, return the lures within 30 days.”
Actually, there’s a typo in the ad. If you read the guarantee carefully, it actually says…
“If you don’t catch more fish and return the lures within 30 days.”
See…there’s an extra “and” in there. But guess what? Readers don’t care about typos! In fact, direct marketing companies sometimes intentionally mispell words to make the copy seem more real.
So when you’re writing your advertising and marketing, don’t get caught up in grammar and spelling. It’s the least important part of selling.
Back to the guarantee…
…If you were writing a straight-forward direct response ad or sales promotion, you might use this guarantee in the headline or subhead. But in an advertorial, you must make it more subtle to be believable to the reader.
Remember, an advertorial is written by a “third party.” To the reader, it looks like a reporter is writing this. And a real reporter would never bend over backwards to help promote the product he’s writing about.
And finally, in the very LAST PARAGRAPH, the writer lets the reader know they can purchase the lure.
Here’s the sales psychology for this advertorial…
By the time the reader gets to the last paragraph, he should be thinking to himself,..
“Damn, I wish I could get this lure. If I only had this lure, I would catch more fish then all my fishing buddies combined.”
In fact, the reader probably doesn’t even think he can buy this lure, because he’s reading an article about it.
Ideally, you want the reader to think he missed out on buying this lure. You want him to think, “Why didn’t my local sporting goods store sell this? How did I miss this? I can use this!”
And that thinking, sets him up perfectly for the final paragraph…
…When he reads that last paragraph, and see he can get his hands on the lure, he thinks he’s hit paydirt. And out comes the credit card.
Read this ad carefully. Even though it’s an advertorial, it’s packed with selling copy. And tons of proof this lure catches more fish.
So, if you want to try your hand at an advertorial ad for your product or service, what should you do?
First of all, look at as many advertorials as you can. Get a “feel” for how they’re written and designed.
Then get lots of back issues of the paper of magazine you plan on advertising in. See how their articles are written.
Remember, it must be written like an article. Don’t worry about selling the product. Worry about telling an interesting story that convinces the reader the product being written about is something they want.
Here’s a great tip on how to write an advertorial direct response ad. It comes from the great direct response copywriter Gary Halbert.
Sir Gary said to pretend you’re a reporter that’s fallen in love with your product. And just write a rave review about your product or service.
What you write won’t be perfect, especially the first draft. But odds are, with a handful of revisions, it’ll be better than anything your competition is doing.
When this ad was written, the name of the company was NGC Sports and the website was: www.NGCSPORTS.COM. If you go to that website today, you’ll see the name of the company is now Scientific Fishing, and offers all sorts of great fishing gear.
Comments? Suggestions about this ad or the blog itself? Let me know in your comments below.