In this video, Dan Kaplan and Vincent Chough talk about “content that sells,” including tips from David Ogilvy’s “How to create advertising that sells“.

We follow many of the guidelines famed advertiser Ogilvy lays out in this tip sheet, but of special importance to internet marketing are Tips #25, 26, 30 & 31 on headlines, and #33 & 36 on images and captions:

  • Tip #25: Headlines. On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that, if you don’t sell the product in your headline, you have wasted 80 percent of your money. That’s why Ogilvy & Mather headlines include the brand name and the promise.
  • Tip #26: Benefit in headlines. Headlines that promise a benefit sell more than those that don’t.
  • Tip #30: Localize Headlines. In local advertising it pays to include the name of the city in your headline.
  • Tip #31: Select your prospects. When you advertise a product which is consumed only by a special group, it pays to “flag” that group in your headline – MOTHERS, BED-WETTERS, GOING TO EUROPE?
  • Tip #33: Story appeal in picture. Ogilvy & Mather has gotten notable results with photographs which suggest a story. The reader glances at the photograph and asks himself, “What goes on here?” The he reads the copy to find out. Harold Rudolph called this magic element “story appeal.” The more of it you inject into your photograph, the more people look at your advertisement. It is easier said than done.
  • Tip #36: Use captions to sell. On the average, twice as many people read the captions under photographs as read the body copy. It follows that you should never use a photograph without putting a caption under it; and each caption should be a miniature advertisement for the product – complete with brand name and promise.

Below we give a few examples of internet marketing that utilizes these important tips from a traditional marketing guru.

Brand Promise In The Title

Jeff Sirody is a bankruptcy attorney in Baltimore and this blog post implements some of the strategies described above. In the example below, his headline makes a brand promise to “Stop Foreclosure” and the image reinforces the story by showing a house facing foreclosure.

Headline and image that sells

periscopeUP makes headlines that sell. Image source.

Here’s another example. PCI, a Washington D.C. based marketing agency include in the header of their Marketing Services page a brand promise of “Marketing That Engages Audiences.”

Marketing that sells

periscopeUP gets more sales through headlines. Image source.

On our own website, we include in the title of our pay-per-click services page the brand promise that “You Can Hold Us Accountable.”


periscopeUP can improve your PPC results.


Selecting Your Prospects

The Yowza Fitness blog has many examples of how to “flag” prospects in the headline. This post includes “I Just Got My First Elliptical” in the header, which both defines and targets a very specific audience. If this article gets shared, first time elliptical buyers will be more inclined to read the article.


Flagging your audience in the post title can help increase engagement.


Use Captions That Sell

According to Ogilvy, twice as many people read captions as compared to the body copy. Not only should every picture have a caption, but each caption should be a mini advertisement that includes the brand and the promise.

The Sirody above example shows how this can easily be incorporated into blog posts. The image caption reads, “Sirody & Associates can help you keep your home”. The brand and promise elements are packed into a short – but very effective – caption which people are more likely to read than the body.

Headline and image that sells

Make your captions sell. Image source.


Want To Know More?

Content strategies that sell are more likely to produce the results you want. Visit our Content Marketing page to learn how we can increase leads and sales through sales tactics like these.

By / Published On: June 27th, 2014 / Categories: Blog, Content, Content Creation, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy / Tags: , , , /

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