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“Save up to $1000 a Year on Your TV Repairs!”
“Earn 6 figures a year at almost any age”
You have probably seen this kind of ads everywhere, but chances are you have never clicked on them.
And there is a reason why this type of ads don’t convert.
They could work if you were the only person making those kinds of claims. But most ads on the internet are like those whiter than white detergent ads.
This is the reason that you cannot always use the most powerful claim in your headline. Or even the very problem that you solve.
Because without supporting evidence already existing in the mind of your prospect to prepare him for that headline claim, he just won’t believe it.
Either he’ll believe that it’s exaggerated or false, or he just won’t believe it applies to him.
So, your most powerful claim does not always make your most powerful headline.
So what can we do to solve this problem?
When your most powerful claim does not always make your most powerful headline, what you should do is use far fewer claims.
If you do that you are more likely to be believed.
What we are looking for here is not content, nor promises, nor claims; but the way these promises and claims arc arranged in the ad, to help each one of them gain full acceptance.
A detailed example.
This ad was written in 1951. Its purpose was to sell a Television Repair Manual. Theoretically, every TV owner who was having any trouble with his set (and almost all of them were at that time) was a prospect.
But, before the prospect could be turned into a customer, he had to believe two things:
1. That he could save money by making his own TV repairs.
2. That he was capable of making them.
Both these statements were matters of fact. The average TV owner certainly could save money if he had made his own repairs, and about 80% of those repairs were simple enough for him to make himself.
But the overwhelming majority of prospects simply didn’t realize these facts.
Most of them thought that they were not capable of making such changes.
And, in 1951, the TV set was considered a complicated mechanical monster.
So it was pretty intimidating.
These two factors blocked the use of the obvious power claim headline for this product.
Such a headline was written and tested—”Save up to $100 a Year on Your TV Repairs!”—but it failed to make a profit. It was unsuccessful.
Power alone could not move the product.
So they had to convince two things to the general public.
- They had to reach all his prospects in this market and not just those among them who considered themselves handymen.
- They had to convince all these non-handymen prospects that their sets weren’t really such fragile, complicated monsters after all and that they themselves could easily correct most troubles that arose.
Once these two statements were believed by the prospect and only then—could the previous headline claim of “Save up to $100 a year on your TV repairs” be brought in at full power.
“WHY HAVEN’T TV OWNERS BEEN TOLD THESE FACTS?”
No claim. No promise.
Facts have been withheld. This is something they can agree with!
Here is another great example:
“Was your set purchased after the spring of 1947?”
95% of television owners would answer Yes. Thus the ad has built two acceptances in its first two sentences. It has started a Habit of Agreement in its reader. It now exploits that agreement by making its first definite promise in the third sentence:
“Then here is the full, uncensored story of how you can avoid those $15-$20 repair bills—avoid those $30-$60 a year service fees—and still get the perfect, movie-clear pictures you’ve dreamed about!”
“How many times this week have you had to get up to fix a jumpy TV picture?”
. How many times have you had to put
up with ghosts? . . . How many times. . . .”
“90% Of These Breakdowns Are Unnecessary!”
“All of these breakdowns may have seemed tragic to
you at the moment they happened—but here is the real
tragedy! Do you know that the same exact set that you now
have in your front room . . . has been playing in the manufacturer’s test rooms for months—and playing perfectly!”
Why it solved the problem.
1. So in one of the examples, It says that the promise will come true only in certain cases; that it will only work for television sets purchased after 1947; that the ad cannot make this promise for sets purchased earlier.
2. The second attempt at adding believability is by the descriptive nature of the promise.
It is not only a promise of reward (the money saved) but a catalog of almost-universal symptoms (repair bills and service fees).
Since the overwhelming majority of set owners were suffering from these problems, their descriptions evoke two more “Yes—I have them” reactions from the reader, and carry these reactions over to the save-money claims that immediately follow them.
3. And finally, even though the causes of the set owner’s problems are specifically described, the cures for them are deliberately left ambiguous.
This is also one of the reasons it was so successful.
If the market is in a stage where people are just tired of listening to power claims and exaggeration. Try doing something different.
- First, get the acceptance of the reader.
- Do not use power claims.
- And make your claims more believable.