The Rules of Copywriting by David Aldridge - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.

Part 2

00001.jpgModule 7.
What are classified ads?

I’m sure that you know what a classified advert is, but I would like to just clarify a few things here which I hope, will help you as we progress through this part of the course.

First a classified ad is a way of bringing to the attention of a large number of people the product you are promoting, this is done by advertising in national newspapers, specialist magazines etc.

A classified ad for promoting most products should be around 25 to 35 words long, you will be charged by the word or by the line for your ad.


NOTE. You should never try to sell a product from a classified ad.

Ok then, let’s make a start, now writing classified ads is an art but as you have hopefully found out thus far, it is like the composition of sales letters, an art that can be taught, and therefore learned by anybody.

It’s just a question of knowing, understanding then applying the rules, so what are the rules for writing great attention grabbing classified ads?


Well they're the same as for sales letters, remember The Rule of AIDA?

The first thing you need to understand, is that unlike your sales letter, your little classified ad will be surrounded by similar little classified ads all jostling for the attention of the reader.

The above may not apply to some national newspapers, but will certainly apply to specialist magazines.


So you need, as you do for your sales letter, an attention grabbing headline, you need to stand out from the crowd, you need to get noticed.

In other words you apply the same principles to your classified ads as you would to your sales letter, the difference is that unlike your sales letter, you won’t have the luxury of space, you won’t be able to use so many words.

So what do you need to do to compose a successful classified ad?


Writing a successful ad.

The first thing you need, as I’ve already explained, is a powerful attention grabbing headline, its got to give the reader a clue as to what’s on offer, and give a big benefit using as few words as possible.

Your ad copy should excite the reader, make them inquisitive and want to find out more, again using as few words as possible.


Now as you can see below, I have given an example classified ad, so lets analyse it ... let’s see if it does what’s needed.

“Play Golf Like A Pro In 8 Days Or Your Money Back” This new teaching method will

transform your game That’s guaranteed. Go to:

Let’s start with the headline, does it do the business? Well it certainly tells you what it’s about, it targets golfers and offers them a nice powerful benefit, they hopefully will think ... well there’s no harm in reading the rest.

That leads us onto the copy, does it excite the reader? Does it make them inquisitive enough to find out more?

Well I’m not sure about the excitement bit, but I think it would make them inquisitive enough to find out more, after all it is a new teaching method, and it guarantees to improve their game.

So hopefully they will say ... Yes ... I think I’ll go online and take a look.


Notice that the magic word ‘FREE’ has been included in the ad.

Now of course once online they will see the online version of your sales letter, this will explain the product and all the benefits they will enjoy when they order.
At the end will be an order facility through PayPal or similar, remember once they have read your ad, and have gone on to read your sales letter, you need to keep the momentum going.

You need to allow them to order the product, by simply clicking a ‘Buy Now’ button, or for an offline sales letter dial your ‘ Order Hotline’ number whilst they still have the letter in their hands.

I’m drifting off here somewhat aren't I, lets get back to our classified ads.

Ok, I have put another little ad below; I want you to scrutinize it ... see if it comes up to standard, in other words does it fulfil all the necessary criteria for the making of a great sales pulling ad? Does it comply with the AIDA rule?

MakeMoneyTheEasyWay NewMethodshowsHow

Fantastic opportunity .. New system secrets revealed. Free report available now at

So on go the thinking caps, see if you can improve it in some way, get a pen and paper and write what you think is a better ad, go back and read the last couple of pages again.

To give you a clue, this ad is supposed to offer an online marketing system, so imagine you are making money from the system on offer, let’s say £1,380 per month, and you are now marketing it with a classified ad.

Now take this exercise seriously ... If you are going to market an information product that you have written yourself, or a product that you have a licence to market, even copywriting for a client or marketing as an affiliate, a well written inexpensive classified ad can make fortunes.

So get cracking and see what you can come up with. We will go through the ins and outs of the above ad on the next page.


After you have written your (hopefully better) version of it.


MakeMoneyTheEasyWay NewMethodshowsHow

Fantastic opportunity .. New system secrets revealed Go now to For your FREEreport

Ok, lets start with the headline ... Does it comply with the first rule of AIDA? In other words does it grab the readers ATTENTION.

Well I suppose everyone wants to make money the easy way, but would it not make the reader a bit sceptical? So whilst it may get some attention, I don’t think this headline is going to do the business for us.

It doesn’t give any clues as to what the product is about, neither does the copy for that matter, and it doesn't really give a benefit so the headline has to go, lets see if we can come up with something a bit better.

Now we don’t know much about the product, but for this exercise we don’t need to, all that’s required is that it’s an online marketing system and you are making on average £1,380 per month from working it.

Don’t tell fibs about your earnings, newspapers and magazines may require proof of earnings before they print your ad.


So what sort of headline did you come up with then? Well how about this one?

Do What I Do
And Earn £1,380 Per Month Part Time.

Well I think that may get more attention from the readers, it offers a big benefit and although it doesn't give a hint as to what the product is (we can do that in the copy) I think that will do for a start, so lets work on the copy.

Note that I included the full amount of £1,380, it looks better, more realistic than say ‘Earn £1,000 per month’. Another point here, the word ‘earn’ sounds like work, should we use the word ‘make’ instead?

Remember the Rule of AIDA Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

So hopefully we have achieved the first rule with our headline by getting ATTENTION, we now need to build INTEREST and DESIRE into our copy, interest in the product and a desire to find out more.

This new online marketing system is guaranteed to make you money I will reveal all. For free report & proof of earnings

go now to:


Well its a start, the copy also calls the reader to ACTION withGo now to’ , so lets put the headline and copy together, and compare it with the first ad.

Make Money The Easy Way New Method shows How
Fantastic opportunity .. New system secrets revealed. Free report available now at

Do What I Do
And Make £1,380 Per Month Part Time.

This new online marketing system is guaranteed to make you money I will reveal all. For free report & proof of earnings go now to:

As you can see, I have stated ‘ proof of earnings’ in the copy, there’s no reason why ... in fact there’s every reason why you should ... include a copy of your bank statement showing monthly earnings in your sales letter.

By doing this you are stating a ‘fact’, this will build trust and increase the potential customers desire for the product.


Getting back to the second ad, does it fulfil the requirements of AIDA?


Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

Well the headline hopefully will attract attention, the copy gives a hint at the product and offers a benefit ’This new online marketing system is guaranteed to make you money’ this we hope will create interest, the statement ’For free report & proof of earnings’ will (we hope) give the reader a desire to find out more.
Now you may have noticed in the last paragraph on the previous page, an awful lot of hopes and hopefuls. Now whilst you should always look to improve your ad before you submit it for publication, you can’t be 100% sure that it will work.

The only people that can tell you this are the reader’s, they will tell you loud and clear whether your ad or sales letter is successful.

For example, lets say you are going to market a product by placing a small classified ad in a national newspaper, your ad will lead the reader on to your one page website which contains your sales letter.

You find that hardly anyone goes onto your website, the reader’s are telling you that your ad is not doing the business, it needs to be worked on.

On the other hand, you find that you are getting thousands of people going onto your website, but sales are poor, now you may jump to the conclusion that your sales letter is the problem.

But hang on a moment, look again at your ad, does it give a clear hint as to what your product is about? There’s no point in getting thousands of rugby fanatics going to your site if the product is about improving the reader’s game of netball or basketball.

So if your ad is doing what it should, then obviously your sales letter needs working on.


In the next module we will look at testing and ways to improve your ads or sales letters.


We will also look at ways you can increase sales once you have perfected your ads and sales letters.

But before we move on I have a question for you, did you notice in the first ad example I showed you (the golf improvement course) on page 41, anything unusual? Anything that caught your eye?

Please go back and take a look ... see if you can find something different from the norm.


I’ll explain it on the next page, but to give you a clue ... it’s in the headline.
Go back now before you turn the page.


Did you notice the difference? Well it’s the ‘8 days’ bit in the headline.


You and I ... in fact everyone has been brought up with, and have now gotten used to 5’s and 7’s, five week days and seven days in a week.

So don’t you think it more eye catching, a more realistic, a more honest and genuine target to improve their game than 5 days or 7 days? Do you think the potential customer may think so?

I hope that the example above makes it very clear to you the importance of analysing every word you write, whether you are composing a full page ad in the national press for a client, or your own little inexpensive classified ad.

Try to find words that have the same meaning to the words you have used in your first draft copy, but are more powerful, try to put yourself in the shoes of the reader, try to find out what would turn them on to your product.

So if the need arises use 8 or even 9 days instead of the familiar 5 or 7 day norm. Another good thing is it would give your product or course more time to actually fulfil the stated promise you made.

The content of your manual should always fulfil the claims in your headline or copy; in this example the customer should see a significant improvement in their game in the 8 or 9 days as stated.

Now just one more thing before we move on, it concerns the statement above, please - please - please never make a promise in your headline or copy either in an ad or sales letter, that your product cannot fulfil.

All that will happen is the customer will return your product under your guarantee (you must always offer a full refund guarantee) which will not only cost you money, but you will lose the trust of your customer.

That means that they will never buy from you again. Now if you’re going to market your own products, the one thing you must do is build trust, the big money is made by selling more similar products to the same customer.

Ok, I think it time now to move on to the testing and ways to improve your ads or sales letters.


Module 8. Testing, have you got a successful ad?


Now as I have already mentioned, the only way you will know if you have a successful ad, is to present it to your potential customers.

So let’s assume that you have composed an ad and you have booked it to appear in one of the Saturday or Sunday national newspapers, and your ad directs people to your online sales letter.

On Monday afternoon you do your checks and find that your ad has not done the business, sales are very low and you have established that the sales letter is not the problem, so what do you do? ... Panic and hastily write a new ad so that you can get it in next weeks paper by the deadline?

No -No - No, that’s a recipe for disaster, lets start again.

OK, the first thing is you don’t just write one ad; you compose at least three, each one carefully considered, you could use a different benefit for each or a different headline.

Now the above also applies to your sales letter, have at least two more ready to go in case the first isn't getting the required response.

So if your first ad fails, you have another ready to publish, you keep testing in this way (changing the ad or sales letter slightly) until a successful combination of ad and sales letter is achieved.

The next question is at what point do you decide when a successful combination of ad and sales letter has been achieved?

Well the normal rule of thumb is when your net income from sales equals four to five times the costs, the costs being the cost of your ad and the total cost of getting your product to the customer.

Now the above is the minimum success rate, a well written small classified ad and sales letter could bring in 15 to 20 times income over costs and more.


So you could keep tweaking your ads and sales letters, or you could change the appearance of your ad, we shall look at that next.


How to increase your ad profits.

Ok, let’s suppose that you have a wining combination of a small inexpensive classified advert and sales letter, and you are making very nice profits, how can you try to increase those profits?

You don’t want to change the headline or copy in either the ad or letter, after all they are doing the business, they are making good money.

The answer is to make the ad stand out more, in other words turn it into a ’box ad’, now a box ad is exactly the same as a normal classified except that it has a line going all around it.

So from a small classified ad you test a small box ad, if that proves to be financially viable, you can move up to a display ad, again you test the response, then perhaps a two column wide ad.

See bellow for typical examples. (The ads have been enlarged and not to scale)

Do What I Do
And Make £1,380 Per Month Part-Time.
This new online marketing system is guaranteed to make you money I will reveal all. For free report & proof of earnings go now to:

Classified ad



00004.jpg00005.jpgAnd finally.


Well that basically brings us to the end of this course on copywriting, I hope that I have been able to pass on some tricks of the trade to you.

The main reason why I included the last module, on testing classified adverts and sales letters, is because I know that some people new to marketing have put an advert in a national newspaper, found that it didn’t come up to expectations and simply gave up.

Equally, some have sent out a direct mail sales letter, again found that it hardly covered costs, and also gave up.

By the way, if you are going to do a direct mail campaign, always test your sales letter by sending out 500 to 1000, if that brings in the required response then test again with 2000, then 3000, if all the tests are successful you can start (roll out) your campaign in earnest.

So if you are thinking of starting in the marketing business, please remember, keep the costs low by testing, if you get it wrong then change or tweak your ads or sales letter until you get it right.

I can assure you that once you do get it right; the rewards can be astounding, one of the quickest ways to legally become a millionaire is with marketing, and in particular the marketing of information products.

Allow me to explain something to you.

The most successful, the richest and the most experienced marketer’s on the planet, very rarely get either their adverts or sales letters right at the first attempt.

They have to test and tweak their ads and sales letters, it’s part of the business, part of the game if you will, they do this knowing that once they do get it right there’s a fortune to be made from every single product they market.

Well, all I can do now is to wish you every success in your new venture, just one more thing though, if you are interested in marketing information products, you may be interested in a course that complements this one.

Details on the next page. All the very best.