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books &reviews Martin Lee on 21 Sep 2007 02:02 pm

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins is a book that has been recommended by Jay Abraham and many other marketing legends. The book has a total of 21 chapter over forty plus pages. Here are some points extracted from the first ten chapters of the book. Repeated readings of the book might be required to obtain more insights, therefore I have provided a link to download the pdf version of the entire book at the end of this post.

1) Advertising Laws

Through numerous testing by large advertising agencies, advertising has envolved 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.

Colour 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.

Download Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.

13 Responses to “Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins”

  1. on 21 Sep 2007 at 3:46 pm 1.Paul said …

    A book recommended this often from the top copywriting experts just cannot be ignored by any serious marketer.

    Forget the fact that it is over 80 years old. As you can see from Martin’s summary, the advice is timeless.

    I can’t say that it is the easiest read but when you hear Jay Abraham say that he has read it over 70 times and still finds hidden nuggets you have to realise that it is a book worth going back again and again.

    I urge you to lick on Martin’s link and learn from the master.

  2. on 21 Sep 2007 at 5:19 pm 2.Coast said …

    Thanks for the book recommendation. How did you say you could get the pdf of it? I didn’t see that after I clicked the link.

  3. on 22 Sep 2007 at 12:13 am 3.Martin Lee said …

    Hi Coast,

    The link to the pdf download page is at the end of the post.

    Hi Paul,

    70 times is pretty amazing. Don’t think I will ever get to that.

  4. on 23 Sep 2007 at 3:47 pm 4.John B said …

    I admit, this book isn’t the easiest to read. It’s dry…the information doesn’t immediately leap off the pages.

    Something I’ve found useful with this book is to make mental notes of real life case studies..i.e. ads are not for general effect, they’re there to make sales.

    I.e. “Got milk ads” here in the US, or superbowl ads that are a huge waste of money.

    You can also see how much of it is used today..i.e. headlines on tabloids at the supermarket.

    “A lousy salesman might have little effect on your overall business. A lousy advertisement, on the other hand, affects your entire business.”

    If you understand this, you’ll be light years ahead of your competitors. Most people dont understand this.

  5. on 25 Sep 2007 at 9:24 am 5.Listen Up said …

    I’ve been researching “Jay Abraham” and “Scientific Advertising”.

    I am in 2 minds. On the one hand, there is no doubt about being “scientific” – particularly for small business, but also for big business.

    However, “non-scientific” adverts are NOT as ‘bad’as you think. They DO create “branding” and “brand awareness”.

    For example, SuperBowl ad with “Apple vs. Big Blue IBM” was indeed recognized and realized. It did “brand” Apple and Jobs is not “stupid”.

    Beer Ads “do” work. You “recognize” and “feel like that brand” that you come across.

    “Cola Cola” adverts DO work.

    “Fashion Magazine CONSISTENT BRANDING – Gucci, Armani, CK etc.” do indeed cause you to “feel” for THAT brand and purchase THAT brand.

    Anyway – the point is that “scientific advertising” is GREAT; but it is NOT the ONLY way, NOR neccessary THE BEST way. Imagine if BIG BRANDS like “Gucci” started to “scientifically brand themselves” – do you REALLY think that would be WISE ? REALLY? I think it would kill their brand !

    “Scientific Adverts” are oftentimes NOT preferred BY SCIENTIFICALLY MINDED people and EDUCATED people. They ARE preferred by those people that are LESS EDUCATED – the type that purchase “self help” material; not the type that go to Harvard. Am I correct ?

    Main point:

    Is “scientific” the right way to get through to your IDEAL customer ?

    How much money do you have? LOTS or LITTLE. If little, then use it. If LOTS – then think twice about whether it is right for your brand.

    How long and how much are you know in business? If “long” and “known” then BRANDING is a great way to KEEP your brand in public perception. If “unknown” then indeed scientific may be a way to go.

  6. on 26 Sep 2007 at 4:34 am 6.John B said …

    Jays audience is small business. I think those under $10-25 million a year in revenue.

    Definitely not targeted at Gucci, Prada or Big Branded names.

    He doesn’t like “institutional ads”…that put your name out there, say how wonderful you are, that don’t offer a specific benefit or advantage.

    He wants you to accept that ads are there to make sales, and nothing else. Not to win awards or win hype.

    If the branding ads do get your name out there, but don’t translate to increased sales/profits..then is it a wasted ad, wasted money? Jay would say yes.

    And big Fortune 500’s obviously have alot more money than a small start up. They can waste plenty of money on “branding ads” and it won’t hurt them.

    Jay is very dollar conscious and wants to get the maximum return for your dollars and effort.

  7. on 26 Sep 2007 at 11:15 pm 7.Paul said …

    The big problem with institutional or image advertising is the large chunk of money that has to be spent to build up that brand awareness.

    Now sometimes that can be through advertising but how long has the Coca Cola brand been around.

    The biggest problem I have is when I can be “entertained” by an advert but have no idea at all whose products it is promoting or even what they do. Sometimes these adverts are just too clever for their own good.

  8. on 26 Sep 2007 at 11:53 pm 8.Martin Lee said …

    Yes, there’s a place for both institutional and direct response ads.

    For most of us here, we will not have the budget to run enough institutional ads for them to have any sort of meaningful impact.

  9. on 27 Sep 2007 at 11:38 am 9.Andy Iskandar said …

    I just want to add one more book written by Claude Hopkins that is another must-read…My Life In Adverstising.

    Bookstores are selling this book and Scientific Advertising as a single volume. I have a copy and it is definitely a mainstay in my marketing books collection. I have already read it 3 times ever since I got it last year.

    With regards to Brand Marketing vs Scientific Advertising…I believe a lot of direct marketers are too quick to slam the practitioners of brand marketing ala Madison Avenue. The way I see it, they must be doing something right. I always felt that there is definitely something to learn from their kind of marketing that we can apply to direct response advertising.

    In fact, there is a good book out there titled Think Two Products Ahead by Ben Mack. The author was a branding specialist from BBDO, but now, he is plying his trade in the direct marketing world. He has quite effectively drawn out the essence of brand marketing and incorporate it into direct marketing. I thought his book was quite brilliant…albeit a little bit too self-serving…

  10. on 28 Sep 2007 at 2:58 pm 10.Martin Lee said …

    Hi Andy,

    I have heard about Ben’s book but haven’t got a chance to read it yet. I remembered it was quite heavily promoted when it came out.

  11. on 01 Oct 2007 at 12:37 pm 11.Andy Iskandar said …

    I highly recommend you read it then…

  12. on 05 Oct 2007 at 10:25 pm 12.jim symcox said …

    Hi Martin,

    Yes I downloaded my own PDF of Claude Hopkins book when I heard Jay say he’d read it about 30 times when I first saw him.

    As to branding I’ve an article I’ve written on that exact subect on my own blog. In summary though my point is that branding is not actually a lot of use for smaller companies.

    Of course Coca-Cola, General Motors and Ford all look for branding but their purpose is to create Top of Mind Awareness so the first think you think of is their brand.

    Trying to do use a brand for a smaller business is doomed to failure, lots of wasted cash and frustrated management – I’ve seen them – very unhappy bunnies!


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