THE LEVISON LETTER
Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting
Volume: 23 Number: 9
How small ads can be big money-makers
Sure, it would be nice to have a huge advertising budget to spread
around a bunch of
hot publications. But this isn't always possible.
Sometimes you have to count your pennies
and rely on smaller ads
to get the job done.
My advice? Don't lose heart. Small sized ads can do very well if you
understand how to
use them. Here are some practical tips you can put to
use if you need to save money
on your media budget.
(Note to Bill Gates: You can skip this issue.)
* 1. Don't be afraid of going to a fractional-page size ad. My
experience proves that
you can get extremely good results with
fractional ads. An excellent study published
by the highly-regarded
research firm, Starch INRA Hooper came to the same conclusion.
while ago Starch completed a study of 535 fractional ads and found
that they can be
used very effectively indeed. Starch's findings?
That the scores of the various fractional
ads do not correspond
directly to the relative sizes of the ads.
That is to say, half-page and two-third page ads do not earn "Noted
Scores" that are
half or two-thirds of one-page ads. In fact,
fractionals score considerably higher than
their correlated size!
Another interesting result . . . Starch discovered that one-third page
ads actually scored
higher than their half-page counterparts!
* 2. Use short, punchy headlines. Remember, you don't have the
space for War and Peace,
so get right to the point with two, three, or
four word headlines. When you keep the
character-count short you can
come up in type size and have your headline POP. This
is VERY important!
Official Levison-approved words for inclusion in short headlines: “Free”, “Now”, “New”,
“At last,” “Finally”, “Guaranteed”, “No
Obligation,” “No Risk.”
* 3. Boil the body copy down so it's lean and tight. One of my
favorite short ads was
written by Ernest Shackleton, the great polar
explorer. The ad, which attempted to recruit
volunteers for a trip to
the South Pole, ran in London newspapers in 1900. Here's the
"Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long
months of complete
darkness, constant danger, safe return
doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of
success — Ernest
Did the ad pull volunteers? Shackleton later wrote, "It seemed as
though all the men
in Great Britain were determined to accompany
me, the response was so overwhelming."
What was the tremendous appeal of the ad? The promise of
adventure and recognition,
of course. But I think its real power
derives from all that is NOT spelled out. It's a
true masterpiece of
British understatement and fabulous, intuitive copywriting.
* 4. Use small ads for lead generation only. Let's face it. It's hard
enough to sell
off the page when you have a lot of space. When you
have only a small space to
work with all you can hope to do is get
prospects to raise their hands and show their interest.
That means you can offer free White Papers, Executive Reports,
Information Kits, a free Web Guided Tour, you name
it. Once you've got their
names in your database, you can follow up
with telemarketing, attractive fulfillment
* 5. Spice up your ad with a little visual impact. A small photo or
spot illustration can
add a lot of impact and draw the eye to your
message. Don't forget that you can add a
around your ad or a portion of it. This is a powerful graphic
that you ought to try some time. The coupon dotted line
communicates the unspoken message
that there is hot information
being offered and that you must act immediately.
Need help with your ad (large or small) or any other copywriting
project? Give me a
call at (415) 461-0672.
Let’s go to work!
How To Get In Touch
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
Web Site: http://www.levison.com
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