Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“What makes a good ad?” The Father of Modern Advertising has an answer to that! [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]

May 25, 2021

Claude C. Hopkins

The Father of Modern Advertising.

One of the greatest copywriters of all time.

A pioneer in the advertising industry.

In the book, “Scientific Advertising,” Hopkins stated:

“Advertising and salesmanship share the same principles.”

Part of advertising’s goal is to make sales. You know your campaign is working when it brings in streams of revenue for your brand.

If you’re wondering why Hopkins stated that these practices are like two peas in a pod, here are some key points from the book about how you can write effective copies:

  1. Give people just enough information to catch their attention.

    “No one reads ads for amusement, long or short. Consider them as prospects standing before you, seeking for information” – Claude Hopkins

    When preparing for your advertising campaign, make sure the message you want to give your target market is brief and concise.


    It’s because every consumer has different attention spans.

    According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2000, the average human attention span was about 12 seconds.

    Fast forward to 15 years…

    That attention span decreased to 8.5 seconds!

    Now, imagine you only have 8.5 seconds or less to catch your target market’s attention.

    How will you do that?

    That’s the challenge Hopkins is posing―how to write content that is engaging and informative and at the same time, brief and concise!

  2. Avoid generalizing people.

    “Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you sell.” – Claude Hopkins

    Generalizing your target audience is not advisable in advertising or copywriting because if you do, you might end up writing copy for EVERYONE.

    … and “everyone” isn’t necessarily your “target market.”

    This is also one of copywriter Joanna Wiebe’s tips, which we talked about in a previous Write with the Pen of the Masters article.

    Keep in mind that while your target market is a group of consumers, it consists not of a single identity but of numerous, unconnected individuals who vary in age, gender, profession, etc.

    Hopkins believes that you should look at your target audience in a more “microscopic” way―meaning, you put yourself in the shoes of a single consumer instead of a collective group.

    Zeroing in on an ideal prospect is an important content writing aspect in order to have a primary target market to address.

  3. Think about how you can make a typical customer interact with your brand.

    “The maker of an advertised article knows the manufacturing side and probably the dealers side. His interests are not in their interests. The advertising man studies the consumer.” – Claude Hopkins

    Imagine having a face-to-face encounter with a typical consumer.

    Is he or she familiar with your brand?

    Do you know what his or her preferences are when choosing a product or service?

    Does he or she react and respond positively to your copies?

    Being able to answer these questions will make you more knowledgeable about the target market you need to address in your content.

    Once you have sufficient information about your customers and prospects, keep their considerations and preferences in mind as you construct your marketing copies.

    This will help you properly utilize the right tone and branding to reach your target market for impactful results!

  4. Measure statistics with numbers, not by amusement standards.

    “Ads are not written to entertain. When they do, those entertainment seekers are little likely to be the people whom you want. That is one of the greatest advertising faults. Ad writers abandon their parts. They forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Instead of sales, they seek applause.” – Claude Hopkins

    At the end of the day, advertisements are made to help boost your brand’s engagement with your target market and gain revenue.

    Take note that including unnecessary elements in your copies to merely entertain your readers or seek applause has its downside.

    According to a 2017 study about “The Influences of Advertisement On Consumer Buying Behavior”:

    “Although use of humour in advertisements can be risky at times as a large number of people may not be entertained by the same concept. Gulas and Weinberger in their book say that a failed attempt at entertaining ads is a lost opportunity to connect with consumers. It may even offend consumers and drive them away.”

    The bottomline?

    There’s nothing wrong with entertaining your target market through your copies. In fact, doing so may also help you establish a connection with consumers!

    However, be extra careful because humor and other types of amusement can also break your ad campaigns, especially when they’re used improperly.

    As Hopkins stated:

    “Money spending is a serious matter.”

    In utilizing your brand’s hard-earned money, you should also be aware of the various elements that can potentially drive down revenue.

To summarize Hopkins’ points on how to produce copies appropriate for your target market:

Be brief.

Don’t generalize.

Visualize your typical buyer.

Gauge through revenue and brand engagements.

With consistent practice and dedication to your content writing, you’ll be able to have an advantage over your competitors and write effective copies that compel your target market to choose your brand.

Apply these tips from Hopkins and see how they will help expand your brand’s reach and customer base!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”

Who doesn’t find content writing to be a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort?

In fact, many people may even find copywriting very intimidating.

However, you can be a good writer as long as you have the right tools. You won’t always get things right the first time, but with enough time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it!

When you write a copy for any brand or for your company, your aim is to make an impact and…

…to get people to remember.

Getting people to remember means getting consumers to buy your product or to avail of your service.

And when you get your content to deliver the results you want, THAT is a great copy!

Every Tuesday, we publish content based on tips and insights from the masters of content writing, copywriting, and storytelling.

Become more familiar with ways to write great copy that helps you gain ROI from your efforts, drive profitability, and achieve your business goals.

Learn time-tested tactics that better capture the attention of your target audience, and maximize the benefits of great copywriting.

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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