Claude Hopkins – Scientific Advertising – My Notes And Takeaways

I found out about this book a few days ago and was able to track down the audio version of it at:

The good news about Youtube is that you can speed up the playback speed to get through videos even quicker than normal. 😉

Anyway, I was putting notes together as I went through it and have put them down below:

Chapter 2

  • “Would it help a salesman sell the goods?”
  • “Would it help me sell them if I met a buyer in person?”
  • Do everything you would do if you met the buyer face-to-face.
  • Don’t think of people in mass. Think of a typical individual (man or woman) who is likely to want what you sell.

Chapter 3

  • Remember the people you address are selfish. They care nothing about your interests.
  • The best ads ask no one to buy.
  • Picture the customer’s side of the service until the natural result is to buy.
  • Whatever people do, they do to please themselves.

Chapter 4

  • Quantify the results (cost per response, etc.).
  • Use all available space (use every line, etc.).
  • “The more you tell, the more you sell”

Chapter 5

  • “Hey there, Bill Jones”
  • Get the right headline (this will more than likely take more time than writing the Ad itself)
  • Readers of your Ad will decide whether they should read them or not by a glance (by your headline or your picture(s)).
  • Address the people you see, and them only.

Chapter 6

  • Human nature is perpetual and doesn’t change.
  • Cheapness is not a strong appeal.
  • “Try the horse for a week. Come and pay me then.”
  • We’ve opened a line of credit for you. Next time you order, you’re welcome to use it.

Chapter 7 – Be Specific

  • Platitudes like “best in the world”, “lowest price in existence” undermine your message. Instead, use something like “supreme in quality”
  • “Our tungsten lamps give more light than a carbon” vs. “Our tungsten lamps 3 and a third more light than a carbon”
  • “Our prices have been reduced” vs. “Our prices have been reduced 25 per cent”
  • Include specific details (7 out of 10 people like this more than that) to portray actual research behind why something is better or worse than another.

Chapter 8 – Tell Your Full Story

  • When attempting to get a new customer, don’t hold anything back. Give them a story from beginning to end on why they should use your product.
  • You can always address an unconverted prospect.

Chapter 9 – Art In Advertising

  • Ads are not written to interest, please, or amuse.
  • Use pictures only when they form a better selling argument than the same amount of space set in type.
  • Don’t let your picture over-shadow your headline. Your main appeal lies in the headline.

Chapter 10 – Things Too Costly

  • Large scale changes to customers are too large to be taken on by any one advertiser. However, widespread co-operation with many advertisers can dramatically change results for the better.
  • Costly mistakes are made by blindly following some ill-conceived idea.
  • Track and quantify your ads. Try things, but keep track of everything.

Chapter 11 – Information

  • A very large volume of data usually precedes an advertising campaign. Even an experimental campaign, for effective experiments costs a great deal of work and time.
  • The uninformed would be staggered to know the amount of work involved in a single Ad. Weeks of work sometimes.
  • Behind an Ad may lie reams of data, volumes of information, months of research. So this is no lazy man’s field.

Chapter 12 – Strategy

  • Names of campaigns are very important. Use a product name to limit lines for competition (Kleenex, Vaseline, etc.).
  • Competition must be considered when creating Ads.
  • In order to convert (close) many people, you must first find out how you convert one person.

Chapter 13 – Use of Samples

  • The product itself should be its own best salesman. Not the product alone, but the product plus a mental impression, and atmosphere which you place around it.
  • Using the word “Free” in an Ad often multiplies readers and will generally more than pay for your samples.
  • Handing out free samples is usually a waste (they can’t be tracked).

Chapter 14 – Getting Distribution

  • Go town by town, until you get to a national level.
  • If you get a reply coupon from a reader by mail, send your products to a local store and have the store facilitate the transaction. This way, the reader will be able to get more of the product from that local store.

Chapter 15 – Test Campaigns

  • Quantify everything. Test campaigns, but utilize the data, not your opinions.
  • From a few thousand, learn what the millions will do. Then act accordingly.
  • Actual figures gained at a small cost can settle the question definitely.
  • Chemist example: Nobody believes a chemist until he has facts and data to support what he is saying. Apply that to why your Ads work or don’t work.

Chapter 16 – Leaning On Dealers

  • Sales made by conviction – by advertising – are likely to bring permanent customers.
  • Don’t give free products to dealers (i.e. 1 case in 10).
  • Window displays are generally useless.
  • Your objective in all of advertising is to buy new customers at a price, which pays you a profit…… Learn what your consumers cost and what they buy. If they cost you one dollar each, figure that every wasted dollar costs you a possible customer.

Chapter 17 – Individuality

  • A person who desires to make an impression must stand out in some way.
  • The impression must seem to come from the heart.

Chapter 18 – Negative Advertising

  • To attack a rival is never good advertising.
  • Picture what others wish to be, not what they may be now.
  • Picture envied people, not envious people.
  • Tell people what to do, not what to avoid.
  • Say “Send now for this sample.” Don’t say “Why do you neglect this offer?”
  • Invite them to follow the crowd.

Chapter 19 – Letter Writing

  • Letters to inquirers, follow-up letters, etc. should all be tested.
  • “You are a new customer, and we want to make you feel welcome. So when you send your order please enclose this card. The writer wants to see that you get a gift with the order – something you can keep.”
  • Strike while the iron is hot.
  • You can afford to pay for prompt action rather than lose by delay.

Chapter 20 – A Name That Helps

  • There’s great advantage in a name that tells a story.
  • Examples: May Breath, Cream of Wheat, Dutch Cleanser, Minute Tapioca, Alcorub.
  • Meaningless coined names: Kodak, Karo, Vaseline, Lux.

Chapter 21 – Good Business

  • Quantify and measure your Ads and responses.
  • Men and methods will be measured by the known returns, and only competent men can survive.
  • Small expenditures made on a guess will grow to big ones on a certainty.


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