How To Make A Magazine Ad That Sells

How Get Readers' Attention, Keep Them Reading And Make Them Take Immediate Action

 By Swans Paul, Direct Reponse Marketing Copywriter

There are two major kinds of advertising: Brand Awareness Advertising and Direct Response Advertising.

The following guide will teach you nothing about "brand image." On the other hand, it will introduce you to the world of accountable advertising---advertising that you can rely on to acquire new customers-new customers almost immediately and at the lowest cost.

The first requirement in writing a magazine ad is to know the specific prospect you're trying to reach. If a magazine has a circulation of 200 000 readers, not all of them are prospects for your product. Perhaps, 10% of them are real prospects. You should recognize this fact, and plan your ad accordingly.

To know your prospects, ask yourself these questions: What does this person want the most? What is the biggest problem this person has? How my product or service is going to solve this person's problem?


The second requirement is to know how your product solves the prospect's need(s). Your prospect will buy your product only for the end results, and not for the physical product itself. Let me illustrate what I mean by end results. If you're selling a weight loss pill, your prospect is buying a WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT. So what matters the most to the prospect is how your pill is going to help him or her lose weight. If you're selling a pair of shoes, your prospect is more interested in the following benefit/ end results such as: new style, elegance, prestige, comfort, savings, beauty...and not the shoes. Like the old saying: sell the sizzle, not the steak. The sizzle is what your product will do for the buyer, and not what your product is.

Once you have identified both your ideal prospect, his or her main desire and the way your product satisfies this desire, only then you can start writing your ad.

The most important part of your ad is YOUR HEADLINE. According to David Ogilvy, "Five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy." Thus, the great importance of headlines. If your headline is strong (I'll give you some tips later on), more prospects will read.

How do you make your headlines strong? Well, there are many formulas for writing headlines. For instance, if you have news about your product, you should include the news in your headline. Example: Announcing A New Way To Lower High Blood Pressure. The words "announcing" and "new" convey the news in my example.

Also you can promise a benefit in your headline---but again the benefit must be benefit in which the ideal prospect is interested in. Example:"How To Win Friends and Influence People". This headline offers a benefit to the reader. The benefit(s): 2)Win friends 2)Influence people.

If you can apply these two techniques in your headline, you'll do better than 90% of most magazine advertisers. Here's a bad example of headline from Men's Magazine. The headline says, "Power, Precision and Style". By reading the headline alone, you can't tell what is being sold. Is it a car? Is it a boat? Is is a motorcycle? Is it a computer? Is it a new video camera? Ah, it is none of these things. It is just a watch. Where is the benefit to consumer? Where is the news?

The goal of the headline is to select ONLY the right prospect. Your headlines doesn't need to attract everyone in the publication. It needs to attract only those who will be interested in what you have to offer.

Now, after you have gained the attention of the ideal prospect, what should you do? Well, your lead paragraph should enlarge on the benefit promised in the headline or the news offered in the headline. This is the best way to turn the prospect's attention into interest.

After you've gained the
prospect's interest by enlarging upon the headline, you must convert that interest into desire. You must clearly illustrate how your prospect is going to BENEFIT from buying your product or service. You must show all the better things that this product will bring to your prospect's life.

And if your product is truly unique, if it offers a truly unique benefit, then you can totally separate your product from your competitors. With this unique feature, you'll be able to create a Unique Selling Proposition. Example: "M&M are the only candy bars that melt in your mouth not in your hands"

Now after (and while) you create desire, you must also create belief in your claims. Why do you need to be believed? Well, prospects are skeptical and if they don't believe your claim, they won't take action on your offer.

One of the easiest ways to build belief is by the way of testimonials. A testimonial enables you to show to the doubtful prospect that all youv'e said is true...because here's what a customer/ user is saying about your product.

Another way to increase the prospect's belief in your ad is to be VERY SPECIFIC. Example"At Sixty Miles An Hour, The Loudest Noise In This New Rolls Royce Comes From The Electric Clock" You'll find it easy to believe this statement because of these two specifics: 1)"Sixty Miles an Hour" and 2)"Electric Clock"

Now that you have gained your prospect's attention, gained his interest, aroused his desire, and made him believe you, it would be a crime to leave him dangling.

The next step is very important, for it lets you know without doubt, how successful your magazine ad is at getting new customers at the lowest cost.

This next step is to ask for action. You can tell your prospect to call a number, or to write for a free brochure. And here's where your magazine advertising can become scientific. You can assign specific codes in your response method.

For instance, if you ran one ad in Black Belt and a different ad in Men's Magazine, you can have one 800-number, but all the calls from Black Belt will be directed to John and all the calls from Men's will be directed to Joseph. So you'll know for a fact what ad in what magazine is working best for you.

You can do the same with the coupon. You can write DEPT A for the coupon in Black Belt and DEPT B for the coupon in Men's. Thus, you'll be able to know what ad in what magazine is working for you.

I didn't touch upon design in this short guide. Here are three things.

First: NEVER write your ad in reverse (White type/text on black background). According to David Ogilvy not using reverse can boost results by 200%. Look at it this way: company runs ad in reverse 100 people respond. Same company runs same ad in black type on white background and 200 people respond.

Second: Make your ad look like a magazine article and don't doll it up to make it beautiful and signal to the reader:"Just another ad". This technique alone can boost readership by 500%. Usually, put your ad in three colums.

Third: don't put a big picture at the bottom of the page. This picture, if it belongs in your ad, should be at the top of your page. 

About the author: Swans Paul is a multilingual direct response copywriter. He rewrote a sales letter for a French company. His letter got a 2.055% response and it beat the company's best sales letter by 4%. He wrote two direct mail packages for an American company. The company got a 2.75% response rate. Because Swans Paul guarantees high response rates, he only takes clients whose promotion he can beat. Reach him at: 508-468-1617 for a free consultaion.