43 Important Lessons from My Life in Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins

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Before 2 months, I read My life in Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins.

I made a list of 43 important points out of it.

I hope it will be useful to you.

Here you go:
  1. All experience in advertising proves that people will do little to prevent troubles. They do not cross bridges in advance. They will do anything to cure troubles which exist, but legitimate advertising has a little scope there.
  2. All are seeking advantages, improvements, new ways to satisfy desires.
  3. Superlative claims do not count. To say that something is “The best in the world” makes no impression whatever. Give actual figures, state definite facts.
  4. Say that it gives more light than other lamps, and people are but mildly impressed. Say that it gives 3 1/3 times the light of carbon lamps, and people will realize that you have made actual comparisons.
  5. People are seeking happiness, safety, beauty, and content.
  6. The best way found to sell a product to thousands is probably the best way to sell other thousands.
  7. Every ad, in my opinion, should tell a complete story. It should include every fact and argument found to be valuable. Most people, I figure read a story but once, as they do a news item. I know of no reason why they should read it again. So I wish them to get in that one reading every convincing fact.
  8. Every effort to sell creates corresponding resistance.
  9. The only way to sell is in some way to seem to offer super-service.
  10. The advertising man must study the consumer and tell what he wants to know.
  11. That is in most lines a great selling argument. People follow the crowds. It is hard for them in most things to analyze reasons and worth, so they accept the verdict of the majority.
  12. Boasting is the last thing people want to hear.
  13. The “free” offer cheapens a product.
  14. There is a certain resistance when we ask people to afterward pay for a product which came to them first as a gift.
  15. I have never found that it paid to give either a sample or a full-size package to people who do not request it.
  16. Products handed out without asking or thrown on the doorstep lose respect.
  17. One does not need to sell a product twice. One can rarely afford to sell to both dealers and consumers. If you sell the consumer the dealers will supply the demand. That is more important today than in old days.
  18. All of us love to study men and their accomplishments.
  19. Stop giving samples to uninterested people.
  20. Give samples only to people who take some action to acquire them because of an interest created.
  21. Remember that you are the seller. You are trying to win customers. Then make a trial easy to the people whom you interest. Don't ask them to pay for your efforts to sell them.
  22. Remove all restrictions and say, “We trust you,” and human nature likes to justify that trust.
  23. Serve better than others, offer more than others, and you are pretty sure to win.
  24. Ask a person to take a chance on you, and you have a fight. Offer to take a chance on him, and the way is easy.
  25. I have analyzed my proposition until I made sure that my customer had the best end of the bargain.
  26. Argue anything for your own advantage, and people will resist to the limit. But seem unselfishly to consider your customers’ desires, and they will naturally flock to you.
  27. Curiosity is a strong factor in human nature, and especially with women. Describe a gift, and some will decide that they want it, more will decide that they don't. But everybody wants a secret gift.
  28. The ultimate object of business is profit.
  29. Men are crying for new ways to make money. Discover those ways, find out how to promote them, and you will have offered ten times the work one man can ever do.
  30. People like to deal with men whose names are connected with certain accomplishments.
  31. Platitudes and generalities make no more impression than water on a duck.
  32. To say, “Best in the world,” “Cheapest in the long run,” “The most economical,” etc., does not create conviction. Such claims are expected. But when we make specific and definite claims, when we state actual figures or facts, we indicate weighed and measure expressions. That is a factor not to be overlooked. People follow styles and preferences.
  33. We rarely decide for ourselves, because we don't know the facts. But when we see the crowds taking any certain direction, we are much inclined to go with them.
  34. When we make an offer one cannot reasonably refuse, it is pretty sure to gain acceptance.
  35. No other activating factor compares with curiosity.
  36. We are influenced by our surroundings.
  37. The road to success lies through ordinary people.
  38. We do best what we like best.
  39. A good article is its own best salesman.
  40. Selling without samples is many times as hard as with them.
  41. “Get the leading men first. They will bring in the others.”
  42. The man who works twice as long as his fellows is bound to go twice as far, especially in advertising.
  43. My words will be simple, my sentence short. Scholars may ridicule my style.

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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Platitudes and generalities make no more impression than water on a duck.

    I would add, a list of IMPORTANT ideas from the the early days of advertising gurus. Quack, quack.

    How does this help anyone?

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      If you've got lots of time and nothing to fill it with, this can help.

      Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

      Platitudes and generalities make no more impression than water on a duck.

      I would add, a list of IMPORTANT ideas from the the early days of advertising gurus. Quack, quack.

      How does this help anyone?

      GordonJ
  • Profile picture of the author Best Seller
    Great post! All great information. That said, these two points stood out most to me:

    13. The “free” offer cheapens a product.
    14. There is a certain resistance when we ask people to afterward pay for a product which came to them first as a gift.

    These two are SO true.

    I teach price-based marketing and value-based marketing to authors who are trying to sell their books. You need to use different tactics and different language for each type of clientele. If you are telling someone what you're selling is truly valuable, then offering it free of charge for a certain amount of time can really backfire. It's a contradiction.

    In terms of books, you can offer "sneak a peek" portions of the book free of charge, to entice people to buy the whole thing. But never offer the entire book for free if it's a value sell. Only offer a price sell that way.

    Same concepts apply to all types of products. I just speak about books here because that is my niche.

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