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Three Cyber Ad Types

Creating ads for cyberspace takes a different approach than traditional advertising methods. If you'd rather play it safe than be sorry, read on...

© 1998, by Copy/Cyberwriting Expert Joe Vitale

For more than one hundred years good advertising professionals have been using the same formula for creating their ads. Known as "AIDA," it represents "Attention, Interest, Desire, Action:" a proven structure for a successful ad.

But the online world requires a new formula. Use the old one and you're likely to create an ad that will get you many replies: all flames. Why? Online travellers prefer less direct forms of advertising. While this prejudice is changing by the moment, it will be a while before direct selling is accepted online. Until then, you need a safer formula. I have one, and I call it "TARGET." Before I tell you how it works, let me explain the three online ad formats that I think will work best for you:

Three CyberAd Types

1. Imaginative

Bruce Barton, co-founder of BBDO, one of the largest ad agencies in the world, often used a method for creating ads called "Imaginative." With it he wrote some of the greatest ads in American history. In my book on Barton, titled The Seven Lost Secrets of Success, I said this method "Reveals the Business Nobody Knows." It is a powerful way to write an online ad. Let me give you a couple of examples:

In the 1920's there was an ad for a door that had the headline, "The Personality of the Doorway." The copy revealed why a door was special, as well as what it revealed about the home and the home's owner. This ad helped sell more doors because it imaginatively revealed something typically unseen about doors. It went deeper than the obvious. Instead of writing an ad that said, "Buy our doors," it made their ad and their product new and different. The ad was imaginative.

Back in 1925, when Barton was speaking before the American Petroleum Institute, he told his audience they were not selling gasoline at all. He said, "My friends it is the juice of the fountain of eternal youth that you are selling. It is health. It is comfort. It is success. And you have sold it as a bad smelling liquid at so many cents a gallon. You have never lifted it out of the category of a hated expense."

Look for what your product or service delivers. When people buy a drill, they don't want a drill, they want the holes the drill will help them create. But go deeper. Why do they want the holes? It may be to hang sentimental pictures of their family. It may be to help create a new room in their warm home. Use your imagination and focus on something deeper.

2. Interpretive

This approach asks you to say something new about an old product. Create a fresh viewpoint. Someone selling soap might explain (as one ad did) "Your skin has five miles of pores. How clean are yours?" People reading that ad stop and say to themselves, "I didn't know that!" Your new information makes your product more interesting.

Recently I saw a television commercial for a long distance service that explained how a telephone call worked. It was interesting information that made me sit up and take notice where I might otherwise have paid no attention at all.

Think about your product or service and consider the history of it and facts about it. What you take for granted may be exciting news to your readers. I once worked with a large motor repair company. I said they should announce that they could fix any motor within one hour. They countered with, "Any good mechanic can say that." I said, "But are they saying it? If not, you have an opportunity to capitalize on a fact your peers take for granted and your customers don't know."

What is obvious to you that might be news to your prospects?

3. Initiative

Confront readers with a direct question and you're likely to involve them in your ad right away. That's why when you go to a movie theater they say, "Large or small soda?" They assume you want a drink. They are taking the initiative in the sales process. When a salesperson asks, "Which do you prefer -- a small car or a large one?", they are taking the initivative with you.

You can plunge a reader into an interaction with your product with this approach. For example, the most successful ad in history began with the question, "Do you make these mistakes in English?" The question yanked people right into the entire ad because it's involving, personal, and bold. It takes the initiative.

Think of your business and how you might write an ad that suggests and even demands involvement. Asking a personal, relevant, fascinating question can grab readers as they are whizzing by in cyberspace and pull them right to your ad.

Want to learn the entire new TARGET formula and discover how to create "cyber-ads" that SELL?

Just get your hands on the book, CyberWriting: How to Promote Your Product or Service Online (Without Being Flamed) by Joe "Mister Fire!" Vitale.

© 1998 - 2000 Joe Vitale, all rights reserved. If you really want to learn how to create cyberads that sell, grab a copy of Joe Vitale's latest book, CyberWriting: How to Promote Your Product or Service Online (Without Being Flamed), a bestseller at Joe is our "Copy/Cyberwriting Expert." For reprint permission contact Joe Vitale at [email protected].

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