This week’s post from our #ThrowbackThursday series, “52 Advertising Lessons From Past Advertising Greats That Online Marketers Should Still Be Using Today” comes from Maxwell Sackheim (1890-1982). Maxwell Sackheim was one of the pioneers of direct mail marketing and was the co-founder of the “Book-of-the-Month Club”. Sackheim wrote two books “My First 60 Years In Advertising” and “How To Advertise Yourself” and was inducted into the Copywriters Hall of Fame in 1975.
Being in direct mail, Sackheim knew the importance of the value proposition and had this to say:
People go through life with their minds only half turned on, except when they are promised an adequate reward for their full attention. Ordinarily their attitude toward nearly everything they see, read and experience is “so what?”.
If Maxwell Sackheim only could see the short attention spans and high tech distractions that today’s marketers must compete with. Regardless of whether you’re writing a headline for a landing page, advertisement, or email subject line, it’s imperitive that you give a valid reason for your reader to pay attention. This is equal part good copywriting and targeting. Even though internet marketers have the advantage of targeting our audience much easier than “the old days”, it still seems many people have difficulty in developing and sharing a strong value proposition. Don’t let your audience ask “so what?”.
- As soon as you have identified your target market, identify the single most important problem you can solve for them.
- No matter how funny, cute, or catchy your headline is, don’t expect people to want to read the rest of your ad unless you are able to clearly articulate the benefit they will receive.
- Test and measure the wording of multiple value propositions. Determine what your audience really wants and the best way they can relate to your offering. The terms “Low Fares” and “Cheap Flights” mean essentially the same thing but keyword research show people search “cheap flights” over 500 times more often than “low fares”.
- Don’t bury your value proposition deep in the body copy. The value proposition should be the first thing your reader sees.