Making Ads Pay

By John Caples

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2014 by Michael C. Gray

How many times have you watched or read an advertisement, scratched your head and wondered, "I wonder what they are trying to sell?"

John Caples wrote ads for which you knew. His ads were tested for successful selling.

Two of Mr. Caples's ads were featured in Julian Watson's The 100 Greatest Advertisements 1852-1958. One of them is considered a true classic, with the headline "They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play…"

In this classic book, Making Ads Pay, Mr. Caples shares the stories of how he created many of his famous ads, and the tested elements for creating successful ads. He tells us that it's OK to copy ideas from successful ads of the past and study the failures to discover the differences. It's also a good practice to test new ideas and expand our knowledge.

Many times, how prospective customers respond to these elements in tests is surprising.

For example, many of us know that it's usually a good idea to highlight a benefit that appeals to your target customer in your headline. By testing, Mr. Caples found that customers responded even more favorably when the brand name, such as G.E., was featured in the headline. Why? Probably because customers have learned to trust major brand names. (Most small businesses don't have the financial resources for brand building as the major purpose of their ads.) This is an exception to the rule that ads shouldn't focus on the product or the producer but on the desires and problems of the customer.

Mr. Caples demonstrates how to attract the customer with a good headline, how to then to engage the customer to keep him or her reading the ad, and how to lead the customer to the offer and to take action now.

These classic strategies that started as direct mail advertisements are now the same strategies that, with minor adjustments, are successfully used for internet web pages. Technology may change, but the psychology of people, including their common wants and desires, don't change very much.

I highly recommend that you study this classic book on Making Ads Pay and adapt the ideas for your business or venture.

Buy it on Amazon: Making Ads Pay: Timeless Tips for Successful Copywriting (Dover Books on History, Political and Social Science).

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