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Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting

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Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting

September, 2008
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.
A 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
complete text:

"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 Shackleton"

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, Demo Disks,
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
materials, etc.

* 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
hashmark/dotted line around your ad or a portion of it. This is a powerful graphic technique
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

Ivan Levison
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Web Site: http://www.levison.com

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Copyright 2008, by Ivan Levison, All Rights Reserved.

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