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Copywriter extraordinaire, John Caples, author of the revered advertising book, “Tested Advertising Methodsdefined effective advertising as…

“A believable promise to the right audience.”

Based on my own experience as a marketing professional for the past 22 years and counting, I would build on what Mr. Caples said and present to you that effective advertising is…

“A believable promise of TRANSFORMATION to the right audience.

People want that promise to be believable. But the flood of marketing messages we receive every day causes us to put our guards up. This defense mechanism has a name. It’s called SKEPTICISM.

Gary Bencivenga, a hero to many of the world’s top copywriters, has some simple but brilliant insights into skepticism (and why it’s the biggest hurdle to overcome in any ad).

He says…

The Two Most Powerful Words in Advertising.
(No, they’re not FREE and NEW.)

He says the 2 most powerful words are ACTUALLY “Yeah, sure.”

“Yeah, sure” is how most people respond to the majority of marketing messages they read.

***”Yeah, sure” means skeptical AND dismissive.

So how do you overcome those objections and get the reader to say “Ok, I hear ya, tell me more” instead of “Yeah, sure”?

Let’s look at a couple of examples, an A/B test, if you will, (again from Gary’s bullet site)…

Headline A:
Tension Headache?

Or Headline B:
When Doctors Have Headaches, What Do They Do?

The difference that makes all the difference (for writing better headlines)

Headline A makes the reader think “Yeah, sure”.
Like… “Yeah, sure I get tension headaches”. It also makes them think “this is probably an ad.”

*ABOVE ALL ELSE, make sure to avoid letting the reader think “Yeah, sure.”

Headline B makes the reader think (at a lightening fast, subconscious level)…

Headline B is: When Doctors Have Headaches, What Do They Do?
– Again, readers will think at a subconscious level…

  • “I get headaches, wish they would go away”…
  • “Doctors are respected and credible authorities on pain relief”…
  • “What trade secrets do they know, specifically, about getting rid of their own headaches?”…
  • “If I read this article, there’s a good chance I’ll learn the best way to get rid of my headache”

– Bam! They are hooked. Time to reel ’em in boys and girls.

What makes Headline B so much better than Headline A (without having to spend a dime on testing)?

…Headline B does a better job of overcoming skepticism, making what you have to say next (and for the rest of the sales letter) more believable.

There’s that believable promise to the right audience that John Caples was talking about.

Believable promise: Telling your right audience what the pros use themselves to fix their headache problem…

***…so they BELIEVE they will be TRANSFORMED, from a state of pain to a state of relief.

So, if you want to write more effective headlines, make sure to build believability into them. That way, you’re eliminating skepticism right off the bat and paving the way to more conversions and more sales.

Without belief, nobody buys.
And without seeing in your headline a hint of proof, most prospects won’t even read your message.

Gary Bencivenga

Now, go out into the world and shout:
“I BELIEVE… (I can write great headlines)”
– because Al Carmona told me what two of the greatest copywriters of all time, John Caples and Gary Bencivenga, practiced and preached.