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100-Year Old Advertising Concepts you can Apply Today [Timeless]

ycee

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Sep 22, 2019
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Scientific Advertising, published in 1923, as the Bible of the advertising world. Pretty much every direct response advertiser(including David Ogilvy) learned a great deal from Claude Hopkins.

Here are 10 pieces of timeless advice you can use to adjust the way you do marketing for your business today

1. Give First, Don't Ask.

Good ads are based entirely on service. Offer the reader what they need to hear, and they will read your ads.

"The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often they do not quote a price." - Hopkins

2. Track Obsessively.

Hopkins says mail-order ad spend was "traced down to a fraction of a penny".

This is crazy precision because it's the 1900s we're talking about. They tracked with coupons, codes, and sales via dealers.

UTMs, Pixels, and Conversions. Tracking is now easier than ever.

Bonus Quote #1:
"The reason for most of the non-successes in advertising is trying to sell people what they do not want"

3. Product-Led Growth is Old.

You must've heard about PLG if you're in the SaaS space, turns out it is a pretty old concept.

In the good ol' days, ads used to offer people free samples of products to try.

The thesis was that if the maker is confident enough to pay for the product himself, the buyer should find it worth trading money for.

This is similar to today's free-trial model.

"Offer a sample, so the customer may prove the claims without any cost or risk"

4. User Personas may be Wrong.

With personas, we tend to assume a lot of things about our potential buyers. It's also an aggregate estimate, lacks nuance.

Hopkins advocates for looking at an individual buyer and writing ads for him/her, as opposed to assuming things about aggregate behavior.

"Don't think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you have to sell"

"The appeals we like best will rarely prove best, because we do not know enough people to average up their desires"


Basically, don't create personas based on assumptions. Focus on helping them in their buyer's journey instead.

5. Ads are just Salespeople at Scale.

This was a phase shift in how I think about ads.

It would be impractical to have a salesforce that reaches millions of people.
Ads do it for you.

Treat them like salespeople at scale.

Creative = Salesperson's dress
Font = How they speak
Copy = What they speak (script)

If one salesperson f*cks up, that's just one sale. If your ad f*cks up, that's potentially millions of sales lost. Tread carefully and give ads the attention they deserve.

Bonus Quote #2:
"People can be coaxed not driven. Whatever they do they do to please themselves. Many fewer mistakes would be made in advertising if these facts were never forgotten"

6. Copy what works.

Mail order ads that worked for a long time were rigorously tested by ad agencies.

Which means someone did the hard work for you. Just copy best practices from popular ads that work for your own product.

"Study those ads with respect. That is proved advertising, not theoretical. It will not deceive you"

7. Why People Read Ads.

Many struggle with getting their ads read but write ads that scream "Me! Me! Me!". Here's why people actually read ads:

People want to find things they're interested in. Make your ad stand out when your buyer is reading through a magazine (scrolling through FB)

Use headlines to do this. The job of a headline is to attract the right buyer, and dissuade those who won't buy.

Be Specific when you write, not vague. Numbers and Percentages instead of "huge" or "overwhelming".

8. Don't Waste Time on Unaware Audiences.

Don't waste time educating the market. Sell to those with an urgent need first. Always make products in growing markets.

If you absolutely have to educate a market, do so in collaboration with your competitors. That shares the cost, educates the same market, and you both profit.

Bonus Quote #3 (I love this one)
"Genius is the art of taking pains. The advertising man who spares the midnight oil will never get very far"



That's it folks, hope this added some strong value to your marketing knowledge. Here's my Twitter and LinkedIn for more marketing bombs like this one

- Yash
 

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Raja

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great summary, feels like self-promotion.
 

WJK

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Scientific Advertising, published in 1923, as the Bible of the advertising world. Pretty much every direct response advertiser(including David Ogilvy) learned a great deal from Claude Hopkins.

Here are 10 pieces of timeless advice you can use to adjust the way you do marketing for your business today

1. Give First, Don't Ask.

Good ads are based entirely on service. Offer the reader what they need to hear, and they will read your ads.

"The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often they do not quote a price." - Hopkins

2. Track Obsessively.

Hopkins says mail-order ad spend was "traced down to a fraction of a penny".

This is crazy precision because it's the 1900s we're talking about. They tracked with coupons, codes, and sales via dealers.

UTMs, Pixels, and Conversions. Tracking is now easier than ever.

Bonus Quote #1:
"The reason for most of the non-successes in advertising is trying to sell people what they do not want"

3. Product-Led Growth is Old.

You must've heard about PLG if you're in the SaaS space, turns out it is a pretty old concept.

In the good ol' days, ads used to offer people free samples of products to try.

The thesis was that if the maker is confident enough to pay for the product himself, the buyer should find it worth trading money for.

This is similar to today's free-trial model.

"Offer a sample, so the customer may prove the claims without any cost or risk"

4. User Personas may be Wrong.

With personas, we tend to assume a lot of things about our potential buyers. It's also an aggregate estimate, lacks nuance.

Hopkins advocates for looking at an individual buyer and writing ads for him/her, as opposed to assuming things about aggregate behavior.

"Don't think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you have to sell"

"The appeals we like best will rarely prove best, because we do not know enough people to average up their desires"


Basically, don't create personas based on assumptions. Focus on helping them in their buyer's journey instead.

5. Ads are just Salespeople at Scale.

This was a phase shift in how I think about ads.

It would be impractical to have a salesforce that reaches millions of people.
Ads do it for you.

Treat them like salespeople at scale.

Creative = Salesperson's dress
Font = How they speak
Copy = What they speak (script)

If one salesperson f*cks up, that's just one sale. If your ad f*cks up, that's potentially millions of sales lost. Tread carefully and give ads the attention they deserve.

Bonus Quote #2:
"People can be coaxed not driven. Whatever they do they do to please themselves. Many fewer mistakes would be made in advertising if these facts were never forgotten"

6. Copy what works.

Mail order ads that worked for a long time were rigorously tested by ad agencies.

Which means someone did the hard work for you. Just copy best practices from popular ads that work for your own product.

"Study those ads with respect. That is proved advertising, not theoretical. It will not deceive you"

7. Why People Read Ads.

Many struggle with getting their ads read but write ads that scream "Me! Me! Me!". Here's why people actually read ads:

People want to find things they're interested in. Make your ad stand out when your buyer is reading through a magazine (scrolling through FB)

Use headlines to do this. The job of a headline is to attract the right buyer, and dissuade those who won't buy.

Be Specific when you write, not vague. Numbers and Percentages instead of "huge" or "overwhelming".

8. Don't Waste Time on Unaware Audiences.

Don't waste time educating the market. Sell to those with an urgent need first. Always make products in growing markets.

If you absolutely have to educate a market, do so in collaboration with your competitors. That shares the cost, educates the same market, and you both profit.

Bonus Quote #3 (I love this one)
"Genius is the art of taking pains. The advertising man who spares the midnight oil will never get very far"



That's it folks, hope this added some strong value to your marketing knowledge. Here's my Twitter and LinkedIn for more marketing bombs like this one

- Yash
You're right. I still do some things for advertising and prospecting that I did 45 years ago and they still work. It's all tried and true methods. In many cases, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. I hope other people on this forum are listening to your common sense information...
 

100k

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Oct 20, 2012
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Scientific Advertising, published in 1923, as the Bible of the advertising world. Pretty much every direct response advertiser(including David Ogilvy) learned a great deal from Claude Hopkins.

Here are 10 pieces of timeless advice you can use to adjust the way you do marketing for your business today

1. Give First, Don't Ask.

Good ads are based entirely on service. Offer the reader what they need to hear, and they will read your ads.

"The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often they do not quote a price." - Hopkins

2. Track Obsessively.

Hopkins says mail-order ad spend was "traced down to a fraction of a penny".

This is crazy precision because it's the 1900s we're talking about. They tracked with coupons, codes, and sales via dealers.

UTMs, Pixels, and Conversions. Tracking is now easier than ever.

Bonus Quote #1:
"The reason for most of the non-successes in advertising is trying to sell people what they do not want"

3. Product-Led Growth is Old.

You must've heard about PLG if you're in the SaaS space, turns out it is a pretty old concept.

In the good ol' days, ads used to offer people free samples of products to try.

The thesis was that if the maker is confident enough to pay for the product himself, the buyer should find it worth trading money for.

This is similar to today's free-trial model.

"Offer a sample, so the customer may prove the claims without any cost or risk"

4. User Personas may be Wrong.

With personas, we tend to assume a lot of things about our potential buyers. It's also an aggregate estimate, lacks nuance.

Hopkins advocates for looking at an individual buyer and writing ads for him/her, as opposed to assuming things about aggregate behavior.

"Don't think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you have to sell"

"The appeals we like best will rarely prove best, because we do not know enough people to average up their desires"


Basically, don't create personas based on assumptions. Focus on helping them in their buyer's journey instead.

5. Ads are just Salespeople at Scale.

This was a phase shift in how I think about ads.

It would be impractical to have a salesforce that reaches millions of people.
Ads do it for you.

Treat them like salespeople at scale.

Creative = Salesperson's dress
Font = How they speak
Copy = What they speak (script)

If one salesperson f*cks up, that's just one sale. If your ad f*cks up, that's potentially millions of sales lost. Tread carefully and give ads the attention they deserve.

Bonus Quote #2:
"People can be coaxed not driven. Whatever they do they do to please themselves. Many fewer mistakes would be made in advertising if these facts were never forgotten"

6. Copy what works.

Mail order ads that worked for a long time were rigorously tested by ad agencies.

Which means someone did the hard work for you. Just copy best practices from popular ads that work for your own product.

"Study those ads with respect. That is proved advertising, not theoretical. It will not deceive you"

7. Why People Read Ads.

Many struggle with getting their ads read but write ads that scream "Me! Me! Me!". Here's why people actually read ads:

People want to find things they're interested in. Make your ad stand out when your buyer is reading through a magazine (scrolling through FB)

Use headlines to do this. The job of a headline is to attract the right buyer, and dissuade those who won't buy.

Be Specific when you write, not vague. Numbers and Percentages instead of "huge" or "overwhelming".

8. Don't Waste Time on Unaware Audiences.

Don't waste time educating the market. Sell to those with an urgent need first. Always make products in growing markets.

If you absolutely have to educate a market, do so in collaboration with your competitors. That shares the cost, educates the same market, and you both profit.

Bonus Quote #3 (I love this one)
"Genius is the art of taking pains. The advertising man who spares the midnight oil will never get very far"



That's it folks, hope this added some strong value to your marketing knowledge. Here's my Twitter and LinkedIn for more marketing bombs like this one

- Yash

Totally agree with all the points.

1) Focus on helping the person and solving their painful problem. Actually CARE, as if it was your best friend or your brother/sister/mom/dad/son/daughter. Treat people like that, and you'll see magic happen.

2) Know what works and what doesn't = kill what doesn't perform, scale what does.

3) Take away the risk = let your product prove it does what you promise.

4) Focus on that 1 person you believe would get the most out of your product, know their pains, their frustrations, their dreams, their goals and include some of those things in the copy (if your product helps them with those things).

5) Yep, a 24/7 sales person that doesn't need sleep - but he does require a nice big fat juicy investment upfront. Don't be a cheap a$$ and hire the newbie because he writes copy for $5 per 100 words. LOL

6) Study what works, not just in your niche/sector, but other sectors too and remember test, test, test. That's how you'll find the best things that work that nobody else is doing and get the best ROI.

7) Headline draws them in; hone in on what they want, kill the excuse i.e

Get wash-abs in less than 3 months, even if you've always failed in the past.

8) Who needs your product the most, who has a painful problem and wants it solved urgently. Focus on that person. Not the guy that will be like "well, that's kinda nifty but I'm good... I think I'll check it out later."

Focus on the guy that is like "I'd do ANYTHING to solve this today. I can't take another min. of this bullshit. I am so fed up, someone please HELP!"
 
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