Review of Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

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A book that is highly recommended by Jay Abraham and many other marketing legends is Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. It has a total of 21 chapter over forty plus pages. Here’s a summary of some key points from the first ten chapters of the book. As repeated readings of the book might be required to obtain more understanding, I have provided a link to download the pdf version of the entire book at the end of this article.

1) Advertising Laws

Through numerous testing by large advertising agencies, advertising has evolved into a science and is based on fixed principles. It is a safest and surest venture that can lead to large returns.

It is more worthwhile to track the cost per customer or cost per dollar of sale than the cost per reply. Two separate offers might produce replies of different quality.

2) Just Salesmanship

Treat advertising as your salesmen. It’s purpose is to make sales, and not for general effect.

The only difference is that effects are multiplied. A lousy salesman might have little effect on your overall business. A lousy advertisement, on the other hand, affects your entire business.

When writing advertisements, write it as if there was one prospect seeking information standing before you. Don’t try to be funny, don’t boast. Be plain and sincere.

Write it in the best interests of the consumer, and not to please the seller.

One way of finding out what possible buyers want is to go out there and sell face-to-face first. It should not be based on guesswork.

3) Offer Service

The best ads ask for not a sale, but some advantage to the user. Perhaps a sample, or a free trial.

4) Mail Order Advertising

The best test of an advertising firm is in selling goods by direct mail.

Do not waste any space.

Pictures can be powerful but must be tested.

The more you tell, the more you sell.

If you have a proven mail order copy, your other advertisements should try to model it.

5) Headlines

The purpose of a headline is to pick out people who might be interested in your offer.

People are hurried and will not read your ad unless your headline shows it to be worth their while.

In crafting an ad, the most time should be spent on the headline.

6) Psychology

The more you know about psychology, the better. The principles do not change.

Curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives.

Cheapness is not a strong appeal. People want bargains but not cheapness.

When something is expensive, people will take more notice of it.

A “try now and pay later” approach will usually perform many times better than just a “buy now and if you don’t like it, you can refund it”.

An offer limited to a certain class of people is far more effective than a general offer.

Giving away a free trial or free product sample in the wrong way can cheapen your product and make people lose interest.

7) Being Specific

General statements count for little while a definite statement is usually accepted as the truth.

8) Tell Your Full Story

When you get a person’s attention, there is no better time to tell him everything as he is unlikely to read your ad again.

Do not waste any ad space with information for present customers in your ads.

Whether an ad is long or short is irrelevant; the most important is that the story must be reasonable complete.

9) Art in Advertising

Using ad space for pictures is expensive.

Use pictures only to attract people who might be interested in your offer.

Use them only if no text can do a better job than them.

Do not use an eccentric picture.

Color pictures do not generally perform better than black and white pictures, although they might attract more people.

10) Things Too Costly

Any project that requires educating people to change their habits might be too costly and should be thought through carefully.

It might be a better time to present your offer after new desires or trends have been created.

Prevention has always provided less of an incentive than a cure.

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