When I first started learning how to write copy, everybody told me “read Scientific Advertising.” It’s a book written at the beginning of the 20th century, over 100 years ago, by Claude Hopkins, who many consider the father of direct-response copywriting.
I did read the book. I read it again. In fact, I read it 15 times.
For today’s show, I reviewed it. This is part of our Old Masters series.
I pulled out five powerful takeaways and we’re going to talk about them and how they apply to copywriting today. In the show notes on copywriterspodcast.com, you’ll find a link to get the book on Amazon.
All I can say is, it’s well worth it. One of the most valuable books I’ve ever read.
Here are the key takeaways. Much more detail on the podcast itself:
1. The only purpose of advertising is to make sales
“Advertising is multiplied salesmanship.” Ask this question about your sales copy: “Would it help me sell them if I met them in person?”
2. The right headline can increase sales by 5 to 10 times.
You can use your headline to target a particular type of prospect. The trick is to call out the type of qualified prospect that there are the most of.
3. Psychology is the gas in the engine — and the GPS — of all advertising.
We can’t actually read people’s minds. But we can keep track of all their different behaviors. And the more specific things we know about what people respond to, and how they behave, the better our copy will perform.
4. The more specific you are, the more people will believe you.
It’s always a bad idea to lie about specifics. But it’s always a good idea to include as many meaningful specifics as you can.
“Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck… [but] the weight of an argument can often be multiplied by making it specific.”
5. How to guarantee your advertising WON’T make a profit.
You can lose a lot of money by trying to change people’s habits. “It is a very shrewd thing to watch the development of a particular trend, the creation of new desires. Then at the right time offer to satisfy those desires.”
Link to Scientific Advertising on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0844231010