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What is Advertising - and What Does it Mean on the Internet?

By Bret RIdgway
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005

Today’s Quick Tip answers the question “What is advertising?”

“Advertising is salesmanship. The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales.”

- Claude Hopkins, one of the early masters of advertising and author of My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising.

This #1 issue of Copywriting Classics Quick Tips focuses on the late, great Claude Hopkins and how you can apply his decades old marketing wisdom to your online efforts today.

Jay Abraham, renowned as 'America’s Number One Marketing Wizard' said this about Hopkins. “Claude Hopkins is the master of them all. His influence has easily added over $6 million to my personal Income…and still counting.”

So, what else did Claude have to say about advertising in addition to the quote above? Hopkins said “Advertising is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before the people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen. Treat it as a salesman. Force it to justify itself.

Compare it with other salesmen. Figure its cost and result. Accept no excuses which good salesmen do not make. Then you will not go far wrong.”

So how many of us do a good job of this in the online world?

Obviously the only way you can know if your advertising is profitable is to be able to accurately track its results.

How many of us have thrown money at the concept of branding - of keeping our name before the people? Just hoping we'd get some results. I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past.

So when you’re getting ready to place that banner ad, or pay for some online or offline directory listing, or bid on that keyword at Overture.com, how are you going to track the cost and result?

And don’t delude yourself into thinking that any advertising is “free.” The most valuable resource any of us have in our marketing arsenal is probably our own time.

What do you value yours at? $25 - $50 - $100 - $1000 per hour? Or more? So be sure and include the cost of your time or whoever you’re paying to perform that advertising task into calculating the true cost of your advertising.

This is truer then ever in the Internet world. So, know your costs and measure your results. There are online tools available to help you do this, so don’t get careless or lazy. The effectiveness of your online advertising can only be measured by its actual sales.

Your task: Analyze all your advertising to determine its true effectiveness. If you're not tracking your results you have to figure out a way to do it now. Why? Because Claude told you so.

Next week – you’ll get some more thoughts from Claude Hopkins. This time about how long you should make your ad copy in order to make the sales. Until then, my best wishes for success in all your marketing endeavors.

About the Author
Bret Ridgway is President of TWI Press, Inc., supplier of hard-to-find classic marketing books via the (http://www.twipress.com) website. He provides a copywriting and advertising resource center at internet marketing conferences for well known internet marketers like Carl Galletti, Jonathan Mizel, Michael Penland, Ron LeGrand and Fred Gleeck.