Gil-Ad Schwartz

 

“Takes the science of writing persuasive advertising that SELLS for any product or service, and makes it simple.”

Scott Murdaugh,
Marketing Strategist
Springfield, MO
MakeStuffSell.com

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“Gil-Ad Schwartz could very easily become the next Gitomer for the Advertising world. His style brings to the forefront common sense that relates direct to profits.”

Kim Kalan,
VP Marketing & Sales
Route 29 Caramels
Golden Valley, Minnesota

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“I’ve long said that the best copywriters also make great teachers, with that rare ability to make key points so clear and easy to understand -- they seem obvious... Gil-Ad Schwartz proves that point, presenting deep concepts with a practical, easy-to-grasp approach.”

Alan Carr, Author,
Carr’s Copywriting Checklist for Professional Copywriters

A tale of WWII propaganda

If you say these six words, people will be open to believing anything you tell them

It’s World War II.

On the American home front, demand for manufacturing is the highest it’s been since Black Tuesday. But with 16 million Americans – over 11% of the population – serving in the armed forces, the country faces a huge labor shortage.

A government propaganda campaign calls on the nation’s housewives to fill the empty factories. For the campaign’s architects, it’s a steep hill to climb. The problem they face isn’t a lack of patriotic motivation – they’ve got that aplenty. The problem is something else.

Asking an American woman to take a job in heavy industry is the 1940s equivalent of asking her to take a job on The International Space Station. It’s foreign territory. For the average housewife, the idea is inconceivable. Imagine this:

We’re at war. You want to do your part to help out. One day, I appear on your TV screen and I say:

“We need you!
Help the war effort – take a job
on The International Space Station.”

What’s your gut reaction?

If you’re like most people, it’s a twinge of anxiety. “Sure,” you might say to yourself, “I’d like to help. It sounds interesting. But… The International Space Station? Me? That’s not for me. There must be some other way in which I can contribute.”

The concept is so alien that you don’t have any frame of reference with which to process it. Resistance is natural, unconscious, and overpowering.

That’s what the U.S. government is up against when it launches its campaign. But, against the odds, the number of American women in the workforce balloons from 12 million in 1940 to 20 million in 1944. How did they do it? How did they break through the mental barriers?

Before I tell you the answer, read the copy used in one propaganda ad of the time:

“Can you use an electric mixer?
If so, you can learn to operate a drill.”

Think about it. Ignore the political incorrectness. Do you see the genius behind what’s going on here? If not, let me give you a hint:

“Can you use Twitter?
If so, you can learn to operate
The International Space Station.”

Notice your reaction.

Suddenly, the idea isn’t so inconceivable. Why not?

  1. Because I’ve put it in terms you can understand. I’ve linked my proposal to something you know you can do.
  2. Because I’ve added a qualification. My offer no longer applies to everyone willy-nilly. You must meet certain criteria first. If you meet the criteria, then there’s a good chance that my offer is suitable for you.

Thanks to these two elements, my proposal has somehow become plausible. Does this mean you’re ready to jump on the next outbound rocket-ship?

Not quite.

But it does mean that we can have a conversation about it. The door’s open. You’re willing to entertain the possibility. You’re now predisposed to being persuaded.

If you understand these principles, let’s move on to practical applications. Memorize this formula:

“If you can [meet qualification X],
then you can [do or experience Y].”

Qualification X can be whatever you want. It can be easy to meet or difficult to meet. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s a condition your clients can meet. If you can find such a qualification, then you can use this formula to persuade anyone of anything.

In the context of ad copy, the formula shines wherever you make a hard-to-believe claim – specifically, in the following two situations:

Situation #1 – Where the benefit is too big to be believable:

Let’s say you’re a personal trainer who specializes in high-intensity interval training. You run an ad with this headline:

“Get the body of a fitness model”

Your would-be clients may well want the body of a fitness model, but they’re not going to be impressed. That’s for two reasons. First, most people have relatively low self-esteem. Chances are they don’t believe that these results are possible for them at all. Second, even if they did believe they could get the body of a fitness model, they don’t believe it’s something you can deliver.

Compare with this:

“If you can take 6 minutes of pain a day,
then you can get the body of a fitness model”

Like magic, the qualification takes the edge right off your big claim. The client’s automatic response of “Yeah, right” gives way to “Oh? How? Tell me more.”

Here’s another example:

“Eliminate your bad breath forever”

Or:

“If you can gargle,
then you can eliminate
your bad breath forever”

See? It’s super-smooth and super-persuasive. If you can master this formula, then you can make even your biggest, boldest, most outrageous claims come across as believable.

Situation #2 – Where your clients have heard it all before:

In overcrowded markets, the same central claims are repeated so often that they lose all substance. Weight loss is a good example. Everyone’s making the same promises. Another example is the business opportunities market. The basic promises – get rich quick, fire your boss, work from home, have tons of money – are fairly consistent across the industry. Prospects get very tired of these promises very quickly.

For this reason, I consider the following example to be the best headline I’ve ever seen in a business opportunity ad. And that’s really saying something, given that this headline is riddled — and I mean riddled — with technical flaws. Written by Jimmy D. Brown to promote his “Small Reports Fortune” make-money-from-home system, the headline reads:

“If You Can Write 7-15 Page Reports,
Then You Can Make A Living Online
Working Just A Few Hours Each Week
From The Comfort Of Your Home!”

Even if you’ve read hundreds of similar ads… even if you’ve heard the same tired promises again and again… this headline still communicates the main benefit with impact and credibility. It’s almost as if you’re hearing the promise for the first time.

A word of warning, though:

Simply saying “If you can X, then you can Y” won’t close the sale for you. You still need to back up your claims with proof and credibility elements. You still need to make a clear and compelling offer. And you still need to assertively direct the close.

Having said that, if you’re looking for an elegant and effective way to open the sale – to get the conversation going in the right direction – then I recommend you use this formula. It’s magnificent and it works like magic and I love it.

>>> Next: Silver Bullets — 6 of the easiest, quickest, and most effective ways to crank up your response rates

“Gil-Ad’s advice is direct and actionable... His insights on salesmanship, customer- (not company-) focused ads and measurable results are refreshingly simple.”

Chris Williams,
MBA (Harvard)

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“Concise and credible... takes much of the confusion and clutter out of what good advertising is all about.”

Tim York, CEO
Unistraw Int’l Ltd
Sydney, Australia

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“The letter Gil-Ad wrote for us got a 6% response rate and brought in over £23 for every £1 we spent on the mailing. It is -- by far -- the most successful fundraising package in the club’s history.”

Philip Young,
Secretary 2011-13
Oxford University
Pistol Club

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“[15-minutes of advice] like a college course in sales copy.”

Will Atkinson
Texas-based online entrepreneur

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“You are amazing in your copy, I love the [headline idea], that is light years ahead of what I had and that was just off the top of your head. Wow.”

Edward W. Smith, MBA
New York

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