Lessons from “Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins

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If you’ve never heard of Claude Hopkins, you should look him up. He was the original conversion copywriter before there was ever any internet (born in 1886!) and his book, Scientific Advertising, can help you write winning copy today.

He placed ads with promo codes that consumers had to enter in order to get an offer. This means that he could measure the success of the advertisements he ran. He used the knowledge from these metrics to enhance the results, response rates, and cost-effectiveness of his clients’ advertising. He experimented with copy to discover what worked, which is why we can still depend on his advice today.

Scientific Advertising is regarded as the holy grail of advertising, and the majority of its principles are still relevant today. Here are my top takeaways from this book, in case you haven’t read it yet.

Your Ad Is a Salesman

The ultimate purpose of marketing and advertising is to generate sales or leads, thus you want to target people who are interested in purchasing.

The people you entertain aren’t the ones you want to target because after they’ve had their chuckle, they’ll turn the page, change the channel, or leave your website. This isn’t to say that you can’t make your ads funny and entertaining, but you should do this through the prism of the product benefits and why they are useful for your target audience.

But, be careful. Talking just about the features of your product is a big, big mistake. They aren’t the factors that influence a customer’s decision to buy a product. Rather, they are interested in the sensations and feelings they will have as a result of it.

The best way to figure this out is to probably imagine a one-on-one meeting with your target customer. How would you tell the story? Would it work in person? If not, maybe you should also change it on your website too.

People Are Selfish

Keep in mind that the individuals you’re speaking to are self-centered. They are unconcerned about your revenue and they are only looking for their own benefit, which is natural. Overlooking this reality is a typical advertising blunder that may be expensive.

Good copy doesn’t say “Buy this product!” Instead, it provides much-needed information. It highlights the benefits to users. Successful copy is built on an understanding of human nature. It should be developed around the service that your product offers, highlighting the benefits people will get if they purchase it.

Be Specific

When it comes to copy, especially marketing copy, our natural instinct is to simply say something that would apply to everyone. But the fact is that if you produce content that is incredibly generic, people are more likely to forget about it.

The more general it is, the more it just summarizes things and lacks really precise information. You’ll just blend into the backdrop. You must be able to write content that stands out, and one way to do so is through the use of specificity.

Tell a story

When it comes to crafting your sales page, this is a significant concern since people are frightened of taking up too much space and using longer messages. They believe that people don’t read on the internet, which is somewhat accurate, so they feel compelled to make everything as short and simple as possible.

They create little portions of material here and there, in the hopes that people will convert. However, as a result, you wind up with strange, partial persuasive arguments in which crucial components are entirely lacking, such as: “Why should I buy from you?”

To do this effectively, you should think about how their lives are without your product, and the problems they are facing. Then, offer the product that, if they decide to get, will result in satisfaction and solution for the problem. The point is to tell a story that people can understand and engage with when they realize it solves their problem. Your advertising offer should be complete, telling a story around your offer.

Use Headlines to Catch the Attention of Your Audience

The key to writing effective headlines is to classify your audience. There are only certain people that need your product. Focus on them. Not everyone is your target audience.

Get the most of your marketing spending by getting the correct eyes by directly appealing to a target group. Exclude individuals who have no intention of making a purchase and concentrate on those who may with targeted headlines.

Depending on the headline, your website’s traffic might fluctuate by 500%. So, pay a lot of attention to this crucial element of your copy.


Testing is the practice of comparing and contrasting different aspects in order to discover winning combinations.

Advertisers, according to Claude Hopkins, should test campaign aspects such as design, headlines, and targeted advertisements to see which ones are the most successful. Testing can help you discover what your target audience likes to see and what works for your product. Sometimes, changing just one word can skyrocket your conversions.

Marketing is completely different than what it used to be when Hopkins lived. But, it still all comes down to persuasion and human psychology.

We can’t just write a copy and hope it will work. We need to demonstrate that we’ve created winning copy through concrete sales. We achieve this by getting to know human psychology and testing various alternatives until we find the winning one.

If you liked “Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins, I also recommend you to check out “Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy.




Product Marketing @ Passion.io | https://www.linkedin.com/in/sara-miteva/

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Sara Miteva

Sara Miteva

Product Marketing @ Passion.io | https://www.linkedin.com/in/sara-miteva/

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