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Formula For a Successful Ad

By Jennifer Stewart
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004

Here's a formula you can use to sell any product or service - it works for online advertising as well as for ads in brochures, magazines and newspapers.

This formula is based on the premise that people are most interested in themselves, so if you want to sell something, you must give them a good reason to buy it.

The formula is as follows:


Problem / Fear

Start by presenting a problem - surely the easiest part of the whole process!

The 1990s have been an age of anxiety, due to the rapid pace of change - in society, politics, economics and technology.

Consider some of these changes and how they could impact on your product:

1. Work place changes - high unemployment, redundancy, early retirement, 'down-sizing' - have all taken their toll on the traditional belief in job security

2. The feminist movement, that burst onto the scene in the 1960s, has led to significant social changes and conflict, guilt and resentment among many people

3. A rising divorce rate has resulted in more single parent families and single income households

4. Political scandals in parties from both sides of politics have increased feelings of disillusionment and insecurity

5. Economic crises - large corporations collapsing, banks closing scandals and corruption - have all taken their toll on consumer confidence

6. Environmental fears have led to an unprecedented questioning of government policies and the activities of private enterprise

7. Technological advances have been so rapid that many people feel inadequate, afraid and insecure


With so much anxiety, it's no wonder that everyone is desperately seeking solutions. Advertisers need to respond to these anxieties and try to meet their consumers' needs.

There are three main needs that arise from these fears:

1. The need for control

2. The need for companionship

3. The need for confidence

Consider how your product can meet one or more of these needs,
and you'll be on a winner!

You must recognize that your customers are worried and either
give them ways to cope with their problems or offer them a light
-hearted escape from all their woes.


So, what are some of the benefits you can offer to meet these consumer needs?

The need for control

To answer your customer's question of, "What's in it for me?" or "What will I miss if I don't buy this?" you can show how your product will:

* Save time
* Save money
* Simplify a task
* Be easy to use
* Avoid unpleasant tasks or consequences
* Protect against unpleasant consequences
* Alleviate guilt
* Alleviate fear

The need for companionship

Show how your product will:

* Improve appearance
* Increase sexual attraction
* Increase chances of acceptance and belonging
* Be in fashion
* Lead to acceptance
* Improve family relationships
* Arouse sympathy

The need for confidence

Show how your product will:

* Give special privileges
* Improve skills / knowledge
* Lead to personal advancement
* Be dependable
* Improve status
* Give pride of ownership
* Show accomplishment
* Give recognition


When composing your ad, begin by listing all your product features in one column, then opposite, list the corresponding product benefits.

Go through your benefits and see which ones fit with the consumer needs discussed above and concentrate your message around solving those problems with your product benefits!

About the Author
Jennifer Stewart offers professional writing services for web pages, press releases, advertising material, business reports, content for autoresponders, technical booklets and articles for newsletters. For those who want their own writing double-checked for accuracy, Stewart offers proof reading or full editing. Website: ( Free writing tips:


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