Promotion Checklist the Pros Use
Check Your Promotion against the CHECKLIST the Pros Use
promotional checklist from
Leads Source, Inc.
( ) 1. Use a headline in every ad you run. Headlines draw people
into your ads. Without one they'll skip on by.
( ) 2. Headlines and subheads must be benefit-laden or give an
incredible reason to be in the ad, brochure, etc. Avoid commands
which don't give people a reason to read, e.g. Look at this! Don't
buy electrical equipment until you've read this ad!
( ) 3. You need lots of subheads to break up the copy for easy
reading. Also for readers who tend to skim the text, so the subheads
must tell the entire story. Acid test: read the headline and subheads
only. If you don't get the whole message, rewrite them.
( ) 4. In copy, don't use "we." (We this... We that...).
People don't care about "we." Use "you." Sometimes
you can't avoid "we" or "us." In that case,
put a "you" in front of it: "you'll discover we...."
"You find our...." Acid test: at least 4 "you"s
and "yours" for every "we" and "our";
otherwise it won't interest the reader as much. Try to begin your
copy with "You."
( ) 5. Verbs to use with "you" that interest people:
you'll uncover, find, get, discover, receive, have, be, feel, unearth,
meet, enjoy, love.
( ) 6. Copy gains strength by using short words, short paragraphs,
short sentences. Do not draw on passive voice. Use ACTION verbs!
Lively adjectives!! Adverbs that stir the soul!!!
( ) 7. If your audience is twenty-somethings in L.A., then become
a twenty-something in L.A. Pretend you are the recipient and write
( ) 8. Offers must pop for quick recognition. Acid test: if you
can't see it during a milli-second glance, it fails. The offer in
the headline helps. So do heavy dashed borders around offers.
( ) 9. Different offers dramatically affect results. A huge amount
of effort must go into choosing the right offer. Ideally, you want
to test at least two offers to find which one is better. Don't just
prejudge which offer will pull the best without testing.
( ) 10. Substantiate all your claims -- either in your copy or
graphics. If you don't support claims with specifics, people will
perceive your ad with disbelief and you won't give a plausible impression.
Allow no unsupported claims to sneak into your ad.
( ) 11. Make all your ads stand on their own two feet. They may
be part of a series, but cannot be dependent on the other ads for
results. Therefore, each at must carry an entire selling presentation.
Present enough information to move the reader, listener or viewer
This is why all promotion should be both direct response plus name
recognition. Budgets are too small to be dependent on repetition
to make everything work. Every promotion must pay for itself every
time it's run. Long-term repetition only enhances that payoff rate.
To approach it any other way kills your effort.
( ) 12. All promotion must have in it a "feel" for the
advertiser as a person. And it must make him/her likable. Several
ways to do this:
- D. Using the business owner's signature in the promotion.
- B. Include in the ad a photo of the entrepreneur
- C. The ad could incorporate the business' mission or owner's
- B. Integrate his/her quotes.
( ) 13. Photos must make the businessperson look likable or you
shouldn't use one. But wherever possible, use your photo since nothing
communicates better whether someone can trust him or her. Try to
use photos where he/she is smiling and touching a happy client/customer.
That communicates both results and reassurance.
( ) 14. Place the entrepreneurs name often throughout the piece.
Also in the headline, if possible, since it helps with recognition.
But it's not the headline alone.
( ) 15. Type size needs to be large enough to read easily and comfortably.
Most people in their forties can't read eight or nine point type
easily; many in their thirties can't either. Eleven or twelve point
is best in general for most readers. If you're dealing with an older
audience, 12 point is minimum; 13 can also be used. If the type
won't fit -- rewrite; don't downscale the font size.
( ) 16. Don't use compressed type where the letters touch each
other. It's too hard to read.
( ) 17. Make the copy readable. One copy trick is to use boxes
to compartmentalize it for an easier read.
( ) 18. Indent the first sentence of each paragraph to make it
easy to read. Blocking paragraphs with the first sentence flush
left actually makes it harder to read. And so are right-handed margins
that are justified flush right.
( ) 19. A print ad's main visual must work in concert with the
headline to support the headline's claim... or the visual must support
a secondary claim. If it doesn't, use a different visual. Don't
use unrelated visuals for their own sake. They tend to divert the
reader's attention away from the copy and lose their attention.
( ) 20. Underlining important phrases and sentences usually increases
( ) 21. Genuine testimonials ordinarily increase an ad's pull.
( ) 22. Two-page direct mail often out-pulls one-pagers.
( ) 23. Use a guarantee whenever you can. They inspire confidence
and minimize perceived risk. Therefore, they increase response because
they're a mark of your own confidence in your product or service.
( ) 24. Use the words people Love: Free. New. Now. At last. Introducing.
Yes, Guarantee, Announcing, How, Results, Benefits, Discover, First
time ever. Never before. Money, Secrets, Save, Sale, Safety, Discount.
Gift. Premium. Fast, Opportunity, Insider, Offer. Instantly. Forever.
Rush. You, Why, Proven, Easy, Priority. Love, Report, Bulletin,
Intelligence, info. These words have been tested and shown to transport
the reader into the copy.
( ) 25. Don't often use exclamation points! They mean you're shouting!
Use your words instead to grab their imagination! They also suggest
a ploy if used too much!
( ) 26. Use a source code in each direct response effort to allow
tracking and return on investment analysis by promotion and by source.
( ) 27. Place an expiration date in each offer. Expiration dates
increase response bygiving a feeling of urgency.
( ) 28. Emphasize a single major point. When you emphasize everything,
you emphasize nothing.
( ) 29. Be direct in your copy; subtlety doesn't work. You have
to attempt to provoke action from a single exposure.
( ) 30. Ask for specific action. People respond to commands. Otherwise
they walk away scratching their heads as to what was expected of
( ) 31. Talk the language of people, not the language of advertising.
( ) 32. Use subtle flattery to ingratiate yourself.
( ) 33.Repeat key points. Why?... because repetition works... because
repetition works... because... you get it.