Eight Lost Secrets of Marketing Legends

Copyright 2005 – Authentic Communications All Rights Reserved – Worldwide www.secretsofmarketinglegends.com

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Secret One – Understand What Marketing Is Secret Two – Know What Makes People Buy Secret Three – Know What Makes Good Copy 4 6 8 11

Secret Four – Write Headlines that Work Like Magic 13 Secret Five – Write Winning Sales Letters Secret Six – Tell Your Story for Increased Sales Secret Seven –Do What Smart Parents Do Secret Eight – Bring Character to Your Campaign Conclusion – Bonus Secret 16 19 22 24 27


If you want a better return on your direct marketing dollar, you can have it. It’s that simple. You stand on the shoulders of marketing giants. If you do as they did, you’ll get the terrific results they got. Because modern technology has brought so many changes, you might think that marketing is an entirely different art than it was years ago. But marketing is as much a science as an art, and its principles don’t change. When we talk about the principles of marketing, we’re really talking about one thing – human nature. Today, people may come by phone or online, instead of by horse or camel, to shop from your market. But what makes them buy hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. Modern marketing really began about 100 years ago, when people began to use a scientific approach to communicate what works in advertising. When we say something is scientific, that just means we can test it and get the same results, time after time. We have different tools, but if you experiment with the methods of successful marketers, you’ll find their methods work just as well for you. That’s what Eight Lost Secrets of Marketing Legends is all about. Here, you’ll find eight powerful tools developed by the best marketers of the last 100 years. You’ll be able to use these tools for yourself – right away – and see the results in your sales.


Secret 1: Understand What Marketing Is
You may not know this, but until the 19th century, the majority of businesses didn’t really advertise. They just announced. For instance, you’d see an “ad” in the newspaper that said something like, “Paul Bunyan, Woodcutter, 123 Main Street.” Few copywriters took the opportunity to tell readers about the incredible muscle power they’d get from hiring a Paul Bunyan! Earlier in history, they didn’t need to give a reason to hire this woodcutter, since there was only one woodcutter in town. But with the growth of cities came the need to differentiate one woodcutter from another. John E. Kennedy, who began his career as a copywriter in 1904, got his start because he knew what makes people buy. In fact, he was so sure he knew that he sent the following note to the ad agency of Lord and Thomas as his “application.” I’m in the saloon downstairs, I can tell you what advertising is. I know you don’t know. It will mean much to me to have you know what it is and it will mean much to you. If you wish to know what advertising is, send the word ‘yes’ down by the bellboy. Signed – John E. Kennedy When Kennedy was summoned upstairs later that same night, he defined advertising and earned himself his first copywriting job. What he said was deceptively simple: “Advertising is Salesmanship-in-Print.” Kennedy was hired and, at $52,000 per year, became the highest paid copywriter of his day. Lord and Thomas become the training center for


all copywriters, using the principles of human nature that Kennedy wrote down in a series of lessons called The Book of Advertising Tests. John E. Kennedy knew that people must have a reason to buy. It’s not enough to say, “Buy my product.” You have to give people a reason to buy from you. You have to tell them what’s in it for them. In fact, the book of tests was later re-published under the name Reason Why Advertising and became very popular. You can count on human nature to be what it was 100 years ago. Kennedy was a wildly successful direct marketer. He didn’t have the Internet, but he knew people. Imagine how wildly successful you’ll be, when you combine today’s powerful marketing tools with insight into human nature. Take an honest look at yourself and your product or service. Find one good reason your prospects should buy from you. Then, tell them why!


Secret 2: Know What Makes People Buy
Whether you sell your product or service online or offline, you must know what makes people buy. To know what makes people buy, you must understand one key aspect of human nature – self-interest. People are not as much interested in your product or service, as they are in what that product or service will do for them. They want to know if it will entertain them, save them time, ease their pain, or enhance their quality of life. Most people realize this to some degree. What they don’t realize is how many of their decisions are governed by forces they are barely aware of, if at all. As George French wrote many years ago in his book, The Art and Science of Advertising, “Our minds are more automatic, more mechanical than we are willing to admit. That which we loosely call mind is largely the automatic expression of tendencies controlled by physical conditions wholly apart from conscious intellectual or moral motives or qualities.” In other words, to be a top-notch marketer, you need to be something of a psychologist. You must make it your business to observe and learn from human behavior. An article from the early 20th century put it this way: “Whether a man buys or not depends on his state of mind, and his state of mind depends upon the effect the advertisements or the salesman’s arguments have upon him. This being true, you can see the wisdom of gaining some knowledge of the mind and how it operates.”


Pay attention to the effect of your words and images on your prospects. Have you ever noticed that the most effective advertising is one that delivers an order? “Buy Now!” “Use Acme Brand!” “Go Greyhound!” That’s because most people have very little sense of what they really want. They’re actually relieved to have someone tell them what to do. Because you’re an entrepreneur who lives your life on your own terms, you may find it hard to believe this. You may even feel it shouldn’t be this way. But the fact is that 90% of people, maybe more, act on the direction of others. If you’ve got something that you’re convinced is a great value, you can direct people to buy it, and some of them will. The benefits you tell them about just help them justify the “decision” that you’ve already made for them. Of course, your advertising must create pleasant associations in people’s minds for this to work. If you’re selling infant teething rings, images of screaming babies won’t help you make the sale, unless they stop screaming when handed a ring! Avoid making negative associations in people’s minds about your product or service. One more thing to know about human nature is that most people will put off until tomorrow what they could do today. You want them to act today, before something else catches their attention. Your marketing must work for quick action. There are a number of ways to accomplish this – the low price for a limited time, limited quantities at a lower price, and many others.


Advertising is only good if it makes people buy. Appeal to their selfinterest by focusing on the benefits of your offer. Give clear directives to be carried out promptly. You’ll soon see results, because people will buy.


Secret 3: Know What Makes Good Copy
No matter how long you’ve been in marketing, you can improve your ability to write and recognize good copy. These tips are drawn from an article written in 1912, and its principles are even more applicable in today’s busy world. • Copy must be clear and to the point. This is not the place for nuance or clever wording. Readers should hear your message, not how smart you are. Winston Churchill said, “Short words are best, and the old words when short are best of all.” Churchill’s words are even truer now, since attention spans are shorter than they were just 50 years ago. The copywriter’s short, clear words must do three things. They must attract attention, interest the reader, and convince the reader. • To attract attention, the writer must pay attention to the title or headline. John Caples once wrote, “5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. Therefore, unless your headlines sell your product, you’ve wasted 90% of your money.” We’ll explore the secret to writing winning headlines in the next chapter. • Whenever possible, use a good picture of your product or service. Better yet, use a picture that depicts the benefit of your product or service. A trademark is a good eye-catcher, too, especially when used consistently.


Highlight the benefit. Once you get your readers’ attention, you hold their interest in the body of your copy. The way you do that is to make clear how your product or service will benefit them. Unless your prospect is that rare technical hobbyist, a memory card for a digital camera is not that interesting, in and of itself. But if you talk about the carefree fun of clicking photos on a dream vacation, without worrying about running out of memory, you’ve inspired interest. Your prospect will be on a mental holiday, with your memory card recording the fun.

Of course, it is not what you say that convinces people to take action – it’s how you say what you say. If your advertisement doesn’t convince your reader to buy, then it hasn’t done the job, no matter how good it sounds to you. Good copy is made up of words that convince the reader to do as the advertisement directs. As a good copywriter, you direct your readers with clarity and authority.


Secret 4: Write Headlines that Work Like Magic
E. Haldeman-Julius never wrote a book, but he knew how to sell them. He sold literally millions of books in the 1920s. If a title didn’t sell over 10,000 copies a year, it went to a place in his office called “The Hospital,” where Haldeman-Julius gave it a new title. If the book didn’t break through with the new title, it went to “The Morgue.” One of his books was first called Art of Controversy. It sold less than the 10,000-copy minimum with that title. Haldeman-Julius resurrected the book as How to Argue Logically, and sold over 30,000 copies. The contents of the book did not change. All that changed was the title – and its sales figures! Another successful patient in his “hospital” was a book that sold only 3,000 copies when released as Patent Medicine. Haldeman-Julius simply added one magic phrase, and he found that The Truth About Patent Medicine sold a perfectly respectable 10,000 copies. In fact, the phrases, “How to…” or “The Truth About…” have proven to be consistent bestsellers for marketers. Other winning phrases are, “The Facts About…,” “The Key to…,” “The Story of…,” and the allimportant question, “Do You…?” No matter what you’re selling, the most important part of your copy is its title or headline. What John Caples said is worth repeating: “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. Therefore, unless your headlines sell your product, you’ve wasted 90% of your money.” He went on to say that your ad should


offer a clear benefit to the reader, right in the headline, such as a “whiter wash” or “more miles to the gallon.” The content of your copy may be stellar, but if your prospect never reads it, where does it get you? Today, some copywriters consider it hip to use clever headlines that make the reader guess at their meaning. If that’s your purpose, then so be it. But if the purpose of your marketing is to sell your product or service, forgo the trendy and tell your reader why they should continue to read and buy from you. The magic phrases first discovered by Haldeman-Julius worked well, because they told readers exactly what benefits they’d receive from his books. They would learn to argue well, possess the truth about medicine, or get the facts they wanted. Although short and simple is best in advertising, a long headline that really says something is much better than a short one that says nothing. One of the most famous headlines of all time was written by John Caples for the U.S. School of Music: “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano – but When I Started to Play…” You can adapt this ad to your own uses. It’s still being used effectively today. Or follow the example of master copywriter David Ogilvy, who wrote out his headlines and practiced them on friends and family. He’s famous for this still-quoted headline, “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls Royce comes from the electric clock.” It was hugely successful and more than rewarded Ogilvy for the 104 other


headlines his loved ones auditioned, before he came up with the winner. You can use the wisdom of these marketing greats in your business today, no matter what your field. Try out your headlines on those around you. Remember to make the benefit clear to your readers. Play with Haldeman-Julius’ magic phrases in the title of your articles, reports or ad copy. With practice, you’ll come up with your own magic phrases that sell.


Secret 5: Write Winning Sales Letters
Do you have any sales letters that give returns of 20, 30 or even 61 percent? There are sales letters that do exactly that, and there is a classic text that will show you how to write them for yourself. Published by A.W. Shaw in 1921, 72 Letters and What Made Them Pay is just what it says. It is a collection of 72 letters, chosen from over 5,000 letters that had made big sales. These 72 are analyzed and dissected in such a way that you will be able to create letters of your own that get the kind of returns you want. For instance, one common denominator of these powerful letters is that they begin with an interesting hook. The hook may be in the form of a story, such as, “There is a man in Boston who has a unique way of making a living.” It may be in the form of a request for help, “Will you do me a favor?” It may even offer a gift, right from the get-go: “With your permission, I’d like to send you…” One master letter writer was Robert Collier. He’s the one that conceived the idea of the “Will you do me a favor?” letter. He had heard about a manager who asked a competitor for advice in handling customers who took advantage of their terms. This technique turned a competitor into a friend and helped bring the two companies together. Collier decided to use this technique in print to sell “Keepdry” raincoats. Collier wrote in the voice of his client, asking the prospect to wear one of his new coats for a week and return a survey that would give an opinion of the coat. If the prospect liked the coat, he could


keep it at a “discount” price. If not, he would simply return the coat, along with his honest opinion. This particular letter was responsible for selling 20,000 raincoats. Today, it’s even easier to give people something of value in return for their opinion. If you operate your business offline, you can offer coupons and ask for opinions by direct mail. If you work online, you can offer some online product in exchange for customer opinion, as long as the product you offer is useful. By asking people for their opinion and giving them a gift, you make friends who become interested in what you have to offer. Referrals from current customers also make use of the personal touch. An example from 72 Letters and What Made Them Sell came from a golfing club that wanted to increase its membership. The letter came to prospects from the chairman of the club, named Davis, and began: “The other day I met a friend of yours…He handed me your name and said, ‘There’s a fellow, Davis, that I’d like to see join the club.’” This letter had such personal appeal that many people actually wrote a personal letter in reply! The letter pulled a massive 30% return, and many other organizations have used the same letter, in one form or other, ever since. No matter what your line of business is, you can apply the same principles to your letters. Ask you customers to do you a favor. That may be in the form of a referral, or it may be feedback on your products, services, or even the design of your website. Once they’ve


done you a favor, they feel invested in your success, and you’ve turned customers into friends who will support your business for years to come.


Secret 6: Tell Your Story for Increased Sales
When you want to be successful, you do what successful people do. Advertising giant David Ogilvy read one book at least seven times, and he recommended that everyone in advertising do the same. That book is Scientific Advertising, by Claude C. Hopkins. Marketing wizard Jay Abraham said, “Claude Hopkins is the master of them all. His influence has easily added over $6m to my personal income…and still counting.” How is it that a guy who lived 80+ years ago is still the guru of top marketers? Hopkins was a true advertising pioneer of the early 1900s - an innovative genius. He’ s the guy who created free sampling, risk-free trials, money-back guarantees and market testing. Rather than just place an ad and “see how it went,” Hopkins measured everything. One of his most powerful strategies for creating business for clients is now called “the pre-emptive strike.” Hopkins never called it that, though. He just called it “telling the story.” For example, here’s what Hopkins did for Van Camps’ pork and beans. Hopkins carried out his scientific research and learned that 94% of housewives were baking their own beans, a process that took about 16 hours from beginning to end. Hopkins realized that no one was telling the housewives about the benefits they’d get from buying pork and beans in a can – namely, more time and better pork and beans.


Hopkins ran a campaign that explained all this. He pointed out how much time it took to make beans at home and described how disappointing the results were. Usually the beans on top were burned, while the ones underneath got mushy. Hopkins also told the story of Van Camps’ beans – the process for selecting their beans, the soft water they used, and the steam ovens and sealed containers that kept in the flavor. Here’s the thing. All the manufacturers of canned pork and beans made their beans this way. But because Van Camps was the first to tell the story of how canned pork and beans are made, the Van Camps name came to mean “pork and beans” to consumers. After that “preemptive strike,” any other manufacturer that tried to tell that story would just look like an imitator. That’s one reason Van Camps’ pork and beans are still around today. So what’s your story? Maybe you think to yourself, “Those were pork and beans. My business is different.” Well, so is selling beer. When Claude Hopkins began work on the Schlitz Beer campaign, Schlitz was ranked 5th in its share of the market. All the companies claimed that their brand of beer was “pure,” and consumers yawned, until Hopkins told the story that explained what “pure” really meant. When Hopkins told the story – of beer dripping over pipes in plate glass rooms of filtered air, bottles that were sterilized four times, and the cleanest water drawn from 4,000 foot deep artesian wells – his campaign took Schlitz from being ranked 5th to being the number 1 beer, in just a few months.


Again, what’s your story? What is the process or benefit that you take for granted? What do you assume everybody knows? Tell the story of how your family business began. Tell the story of how you make what you make. Tell what it was like to take the risk, leave that secure office job, and go out on your own as an entrepreneur, all because you believe in what you sell. What Claude Hopkins learned from his results was this: If you open up and tell the story of whatever you sell, then your prospects will buy.


Secret 7: Do What Smart Parents Do
What do good parents know about marketing? Plenty! Have you ever tried to talk a preschooler into taking a bath? Smart parents don’t. What they do at bath time is a technique revealed by marketing genius Elmer Wheeler in his 1937 classic, Tested Sentences That Sell. You don’t say, “Do you want to take a bath?” That just allows a prospect (in this case your kid) a chance to say No and requires you to cajole, beg, or threaten. If you’re savvy, you say, “Which will it be – a bubble bath or a bath with the crayon soap?” Similarly, if you have ever worked at a fast-food restaurant, you were probably trained in suggestive sales, as in, “Will that be large fries?” This, too, is a method that Wheeler discovered by scientific observation. What you may not have noticed is that, if you employed that technique, 70% of your customers said Yes. Elmer Wheeler started out as a newspaper ad salesman. Stores complained that his papers’ ads got people into the store, but then the people didn’t buy anything. When Wheeler carefully analyzed the situation, he concluded that the stores’ salespeople weren’t asking the right questions or saying the right words. So Wheeler set up his famous “Word Laboratories.” He’s the man who taught salespeople to, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” During 10 years of research, he tested over 105,000 words and phrases on over 19 million people. The results of this can benefit you today.


Learn from these examples how to get to “Yes.” For instance, a pharmacy was having trouble selling shoe insoles. Wheeler got the salespeople to ask, “Are you on your feet much?” Most people, of course, would say yes to this question. Then the salesperson could hand the customer an insole and say, “This will ease your feet. It’s especially for people who are on their feet a lot.” These words sold hundreds of insoles each week. In a very different business, Wheeler tested 100 sentences until he found something that worked. Naïve salesmen at a garage had been asking, “Can I check your oil?” to which customers routinely replied, “No.” But then Wheeler had them say, “Is your oil at the safe driving level?” About 58% of customers admitted they didn’t know the answer to that question, so felt they had to let the salesman check the oil. Wheeler came up with a list of five Wheeler Points to help choose the words that work for any business. These lead to very simple, but amazingly effective, words for successful salesmanship. One of these “Wheeler Points” is to give your prospect a choice between something and something, not between something and nothing. In restaurants, this principle is at work when your waiter says, “Will you be having white wine or red wine with your dinner?” The point is that, at each moment of decision, you word the options in such a way that “No” is never an appropriate response. The choice is always between Yes and Yes. So remember, instead of “bath or no bath,” it’s “bubbles or crayon soap.”


Secret 8: Bring Character to Your Campaign
Once upon a time, there was an entrepreneur who wanted to reach all the customers in the land. You already want to know more, don’t you? Was this person male or female? Was s/he my age, younger, or older? Was s/he honest, hard working, and down-to-earth, or just a polished and slick snake-oil salesman? Did s/he reach the largest customer base in the land? And if s/he did, how can I do it, too? Your prospective customers are people, just like you. They want to know more when faced with a rare – but very effective – technique of great copywriters. It’s sometimes called “the character formula,” and you can begin now to put it to work for you. A great advertising man of the 1950s, Leo Burnett believed in what he called “inherent drama.” He said that every product or service, no matter how boring it might first appear, had an inherent quality that could be highlighted to attract its customers. He knew that people are attracted to stories. They want to experience new characters and encounter mystery, romance, and anything different from their usual experiences. He knew what great moviemakers know, that history and folklore provide the characters that will trigger a viewer’s interest. At the heart of inherent drama is the character used to represent a product or service. Burnett is probably most famous for his creation of the “Marlboro Man.” Marlboro was a minor cigarette brand, until this character made it a big seller.


Leo Burnett also created such characters as the Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Tony the Tiger. He was quoted as saying, “Make it simple; make it memorable; make it inviting to look at; make it fun to read.” It’s clear he did all of that when he created these characters that are forever part of Western pop culture. Thirty years earlier, another marketing legend created a concept of character that can be used for any sort of business there is. Maxwell Sackheim made a character out of his client, the advertiser. He wrote his ads as if the clients themselves were talking. Here’s part of a letter he wrote for his client Frank E. Davis, a.k.a. The Gloucester Fisherman: “There is no use trying. I’ve tried and tried to tell people about my fish, but I wasn’t rigged out to be an ad writer…I can close-haul a sail with the best of them. I know how to pick out the best fish of the catch. I know just which fish will make the tastiest mouthfuls, but I’ll never learn the knack of writing an ad that will tell people why my kind of fish…is lots better than the ordinary store kind. “I can’t explain it; but at least you can taste the difference. So you won’t mind, will you, if I ship some of my fish direct to your home? It won’t cost you anything unless you feel like keeping it…” This letter, and others like it, sold tens of thousands of tubs of fish across the country. It succeeded because of the authentic character of


the Gloucester Fisherman and Sackheim’s technique of letting that character communicate directly to the consumer. Try this for yourself. Tell people who you are and what you have to offer them. Or maybe you are a professional marketer, but your clients aren’t. Let them talk “person-to-person” – by direct mail, an open letter in the newspaper, or online – with the customers they’re trying to reach. That way, the entrepreneur can reach all the customers of the land, and you just might live “happily ever after.”


Conclusion: Bonus Secret
We hope you’ll return to this ebook, again and again, to help you keep your copy fresh and effective. As our way of saying “thanks” for using Eight Lost Secrets of Marketing Legends, we’d like to offer you a final secret – one that makes all the rest even more powerful. Before you can write copy that will convince your prospects, there is one all-important person who must be convinced of the value of your product or service. That person is you. If you lack the conviction that what you offer is valuable, copywriting won’t cover the lack, even if you think you have the perfect words. You will express yourself most convincingly when you believe in what you say. When you have something genuine to offer at a great value, you want to let people know about it. Then, it’s easy to write copy that attracts their attention, holds their interest, and convinces them of the benefits of buying from you. Happy marketing!

(For more wisdom from the advertising greats of the past, visit www.secretsofmarketinglegends.com)


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