Scientific Advertising: How to Find Mr. Right
Lacking a headline, the traditional salesman wastes much time in speaking to people who have no interest. Ads that contain good headlines are sophisticated — your pre-programed remote vetting device. These short lines save enormous resources. Your ad, even if it be written perfectly as we discussed last week, will only attract people who are interested in its headline.
Have a great product but trouble getting response? Perhaps with a better headline you could snag Mr. Right. “It is commonly said that people do not read advertisements,” says Hopkins. “That is silly, of course. We who spend millions in advertising and watch the returns marvel at the readers we get. Again and again we see 20 percent of all the readers of a newspaper cut out a certain coupon. But people do not read ads for amusement. They don't read ads which, at a glance, seem to offer nothing interesting. A double-page ad on women's dresses will not gain a glance from a man. Nor will a shaving cream ad from a woman.”
Here’s where journalists who learn what a story is have a gain on marketers. To make up for it, marketers spend a long time figuring out what headlines work best. On the other hand, journalists can learn from copywriters, who know the words that sell.
Says Hopkins, “The writer of this chapter spends far more time on headlines than on writing. He often spends hours on a single headline. Often scores of headlines are discarded before the right one is selected. For the entire return from an ad depends on attracting the right sort of readers. The best of salesmanship has no chance whatever unless we get a hearing ... The identical ad run with various headlines differs tremendously in its returns. It is not uncommon for a change in headlines to multiply returns from five or ten times over.”