I just read a free ebook I want to recommend to you on how to use storytelling techniques in ads and other marketing copy.
The ebook, The Greatest Marketing Secrets of the Ages, is by the legendary online marketing guru Yanik Silver.
It is basically a history of direct marketing and advertising writing by some of the historic copywriters in the past. What really jumped out at me was how many of these classic ads were presented in the form of stories. And even those that didn't had a "backstory" that seemed to exist behind the actual copy.
For example, he talks about Max Sackheim, who wrote the classic ad "Do You Make These Mistakes In English?" This ad selling a mail order English grammer course, was so successful that it ran for 40 straight years.
It was basically a story about a man who was embarassed by his poor grammer and this course helped him comport himself with greater dignity and earned him a promotion.
The book also mentions two ads which sold mail order food that were supposedly written in the words of the fisherman and grapefruit grower whose meticulous standards provided their customers with outstanding product.
Then there is the story of Claude Hopkins who turned Van Camp's pork and beans into a money machine. At the time, only 6% of housewives cooked store-bought canned beans. The other 94% cooked their beans at home (it takes about 16 hours to prepare beans, and even then the result is usually crispy beans on top and mushy beans below).
What Hopkins did was to tell the story of the process Van Camp's used to select their beans, how they used soft water in the cooking process, how the skins were made less tough by using lime, and how the steam ovens they used were sealed to keep the flavor in.
This was a story, and it was hugely successful in getting housewives to buy Van Camp's pork and beans.
There are also examples of how storytelling has been used to sell Ethan Allen furniture, overcoats, magazine subscriptions and books.
I should point out that Yanik does use this free ebook as a platform to sell his own products, but that doesn't get in the way of conveying some very useful information.
COPYRIGHT © 2008, Charles Brown
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