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Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

Book Review Review – 5 Stars

Tested Advertising Methods : Fifth Edition by John Caples and revised by Fred E. Hahn is considered to be a direct response marketing classic.

John Caples was a naval engineer turned advertising man, and like all engineers, he thrived on feedback and analysis.

The only thing that interested him was advertising that sold and he systematically tested small changes to see if he could find things that worked even better.

The great thing about testing when it’s done properly is that, whatever the results, there are lessons to be learnt.

John Caples Was Also A Creative Genius

He was also a creative genius with words.

At the age of 25 and within months of starting as a copywriter, he created one of THE classic headlines to sell a correspondence course in playing the piano.

You may have seen it or seen derivatives of it…

“They Laughed When I Sat Down
At The Piano
But When I Started To Play!-“

There’s something about that headline that sucks you in. It’s a situation we can all relate to. Where friends have made fun of us… and we’d all love to be able to turn the tables.

Within a month, John Caples had reworked the headline to sell a French correspondence course:

“They grinned when the waiter spoke to me in French –
but their laughter turned to amazement at my reply”

This is the same kind of emotional pull – embarrassment turns into respect.

The last time I saw the twist was on the upgraded Magnetic Marketing System training product from famous copywriter and direct marketer Dan Kennedy who shows that he’s not embarrassed to borrow when it works.

“They all laughed when I said my business was growing by leaps and bounds despite the recession angst – but they don’t have THE MAGNETIC MARKETING SYSTEM…”

Tested Advertising Methods Includes An Excellent Section On Headlines

This book is particularly strong on headlines and a comparison of the results of headlines which have worked against those that didn’t.

The blunt truth is that if the headline doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, the advert is ignored and the product isn’t sold.

These few chapters will pay for the cost of the book on its own many times over.

The big conclusion is that headlines need to be focused on a combination of three factors:

  • Self interested benefit
  • Curiosity
  • News

The rest of the book is also packed with advertising ideas that works. When you see it, you  can understand why but when you’re trying to put the words together for yourself, things are never this easy.

The Revised Edition by Fred Hahn

When I reviewed Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins I said it was very good but the writing style is old fashioned and that made it difficult to get the most from it.

Fred Hahn has done an excellent job in bringing this advertising and copywriting classic comparatively up to date with this revision in 1997.

Modern adverts are used as well as the old classics and you can see how things have developed.

Overall Rating For “Tested Advertising Methods” by John Caples

Read this book if you want to improve your direct response marketing.

I rate it as a 5 star book which is a strong buy recommendation.

My copy is covered in highlights and I will be updating my copywriting notes with big chunks of this book.

While the ideas and concepts in this book are referred to in many modern copywriting books, I don’t believe that there is any substitute for reading the original.

You can buy your own copy from Amazon.com and Amazon.co..uk (affiliate links)

Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck. If your business is based in the UK, you can have a free Business SOS consultation with me.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister. I’ve also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs.

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