Does Your Ad Measure Up?
by Hallie Mummert
ONE OF THE biggest names in mail order started their empires with nothing more than a little, black and white space ad in a magazine. Banana Republic, Lands' End and The J. Peterman Co. all looked to direct response advertising to test the appeal of their products. While their first ads were a bit less complex than the voluminous catalogs these companies mail today, the offers and copy were just as finely crafted.
So, too, should be the ads you run, whether they be tests or rolled-out programs. Just as there are numerous considerations in a direct mail campaign, you'll find more than a few elements of a successful direct response ad to keep in mind. One crucial element, the headline, merits great attention as it sets the stage for the rest of the ad—text and artwork.
Assembled on these pages are a handful of ideas on headlines from the experts in creating winning space ads. While just a starting point in evaluating headlines, these tips should help you take a more critical look at the ads you run and their ability to reach your prospective audience.
Does your headline select an interested audience and promise the prospect a worthwhile reward for reading further? —Vic Schwab
Does the headline tune in the most latent daydream of the reader? —Tom Collins
Does your headline offer a benefit (i.e., what's in it for me now)? —Axel Andersson
If you use a question headline, does it have a genuine "bite," a thought-provoking quality?
Is your headline a provocation to read the subhead and the first paragraph of body copy?
Could you use an exhortative command headline, the most commonly used and effective headline in direct marketing?