The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. -- Herbert Spencer

Contrary to the belief of millions of web site owners, copywriting is not just a bunch of "hype" words pushed together to make a sale. Your advertising approach must create a lasting impression or a memory, if you will. Successful copywriting is the technique of implanting a thought or idea that will invoke a response from the reader.

Although a very popular approach, advertising does not necessarily need to leap out and attack the reader; quite often it is better to have the reader voluntarily surrender to the idea. But, no matter what your advertising approach, your end goal is not a sale, but a thought. You want to leave something behind that the reader will take away with them, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

How can you leave this implanted message?

1. Headlines

You must first get the readers ATTENTION!! In a sea of advertising it is often next to impossible to catch the quick eye of the consumer. You are not only swimming in a shark-infested pool of competition, but today's consumers are more skilled than ever at tuning you out. This by far is the most important part of copywriting. Poor copy sells sometimes, but poor headlines sell no- times. If you can't get their Attention, you can't leave your message behind.

2. The "Conscious Stage"

Ok, you have grabbed their attention! Now what? At this point the reader becomes consciously aware of your advertising. Your ad now has a glimmer of life sparking. This is what I refer to as the reader's "Conscious Stage". That over-rated and underused memory chip you call a brain has just engaged. No matter how shallow or deep, the memory is now there. Often, building a conscious awareness can be a process of familiarity. The reader may not respond to you the first time they see your ad or the second, but eventually they will respond to your name for no other reason than the familiarity of seeing it repeatedly.

3. Decisive Reasoning

After the reader is consciously aware of your advertising presence, they must form an "opinion". The reader must use decisive reasoning. Decisive reasoning does not mean that the reader will react logically. There are many factors and formulas (known and unknown) for why a reader will react to advertising. Logic is one of them. But it could also be directed impulse, fear, need, personality or many others. The key is to get them to react. Your approach to advertising and how you provoke the reaction depends largely on the audience you are targeting. Nevertheless, you must get a reaction strong enough for them to buy from you or get more information.

4. Reaction Theory

My theory is that the reader will react one of three ways.

 a) They will react positively and most assuredly move into the fifth and final stage of the sale.

 b) They react negatively and your efforts have failed.

 Please note that you may sometimes use what I refer to as "Negative Advertising". This is where the ad copy will draw the consumer in by creating a negative atmosphere by openly attacking it's competition, another third party or even the reader themselves.

 c) They have not yet formed a substantial opinion. These are your most critical prospects. The other readers have already opted to continue or abort based on the opinion they have already formed. These people have not yet drawn a strong enough opinion to pull them through this stage.

5) Your potential customer now decides to take that final step of action. It all comes down to this:

 a) They buy your product, try your product, or ask for more information. But no matter what, your potential customer is now a legitimate sale or lead.

 b) They have followed through and decided against you.

If you have made the sale, Congratulations! You must be doing something right!

If you have not, here are things to consider:

When writing your ads, leave a tag on the end of your URL such as: <>

When I check my web site statistics, I can tell just how many clicks I have from this article, by watching for the tag (?fawss). If the ratio is low, I know my ad needs more work. If the ratio is substantial, then it comes to reason that the problem lies at the web site and the copy there in.

The "web site" makes the tracking of this individual much easier. If you track the movement of the reader from the time that they enter your site from the ad, you can assess the strengths and weaknesses web copy. If you find that many have made it to your site, but have not purchased, you are better able to see where you are losing them by tracking their movement. For this reason, you may want to divide your copy into different pages "stringing" the reader from one (tracked) page to the next.

Website owners don't forget about that second impression (Invitation & Follow-Up). If you can obtain their email address voluntarily, you have a much better chance of regaining some of those lost clients, by creating a good follow up system.

Remember: "Not Now" does not necessarily mean "Not Ever".