You are presenting an ad to millions. Among them is a percentage, small or large, whom you hope to interest. Go after that percentage and try to strike the chord that responds. If you are advertising bras, men and children don’t interest you. If you are advertising cigars, you have no use for non-smokers. Beard-trimmers won’t attract women, lipstick will not interest men.
– Claude C. Hopkins, Scientific Advertising
Just to be clear, I’m not a smoker. But I am into advertising.
Hopkins provides timeless advice. (Scientific Advertising was published in 1923). He knew that to be successful in advertising, you would have to focus on special interest groups.
Ben Settle, a very successful copywriter, often talks about how he likes it when people unsubscribe from his mailing list. Quite frankly, he doesn’t want people on his list who aren’t really interested in his products and services.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say Ben has a certain type of marketer who is his list subscriber.
Someone who isn’t easily offended, who gets a kick out of cultural references, who is a bit of a rebel and rejects the commonly-held practices of “goo-roos.” (Ben’s word, not mine.) This is the sort of buyer that Ben pursues. His copy reflects it. His website encourages it. His email messages are built upon it.
Hopkins said, “Address the people you seek, and them only.”
Who are you trying to reach?
I’m usually an easy-going gal, but if I see one more Home Page that says, “Welcome To ABC Company…” I think I’m going to take a baseball bat into their server room and pulverize it.
Someone may have thought the “Welcome” message was a headline.
It decidedly is not.
It is weak and lazy. There. I just said it.
There is enough information on the Internet to help someone write a better headline. I’ve talked about them many times and will probably continue to talk about them. As long as people keep saying “Welcome!” I’ll keep reminding them what constitutes a decent headline and what doesn’t.
People don’t have time to figure out your company’s differentiators. You need to hook your audience with a great headline and then immediately follow it up with nailing your audience’s concerns.
Remember, people will not be bored on the Internet. They may listen to you politely at a networking event but on the web, they choose their own friends. If you want their attention, you need to first decide that they’re the ones you want to reach and then secondly, get inside their head.
Which means if you want to reach cigar smokers, don’t hang out at a Nicotine Anonymous group.