If you haven’t heard of David Ogilvy, you’re missing out. As the creator of some of the most successful advertising campaigns back in the 60s, there’s a lot to learn about sales from the man hailed as “the Father of Advertising”.

The good news is you’re about to learn some of Ogilvy’s tricks, and when you finish reading this post, you’ll be miles in front of your competitors. Why? Because today, your competitors are using the same advertising cookie cutter approach everyone else is using. 

And you should let them.

It struck me this morning walking to the train station: there’s ads everywhere! But who cares? You certainly don’t. In fact, you’re sick of them. These big giants are always trying to do the hard sell on you. Telling you to buy, buy, buy, and do it now, now, now. This type of marketing does more repelling than attracting.

Take a look at this ad I saw this morning at the train station:

Hard sell example 2

Now, let me ask you a question.

Does this ad engage you? Do you feel a sense of connection? Does it make you want to take the next step?

No? I didn’t think so.

On the other hand, take a look this timeless David Ogilvy ad for Rolls-Royce

Ogilvy Rolls Royce ad

This is what we call native advertising: an ad that looks like a story. It falls under the radar. And as a result, the viewer drops their ‘ad’ guard that they’ve built up to keep out the pushy train station billboards.

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There’s a couple of principles being used here:

Look and structure: the most important point to take note of is the overall structure and look is non “salesy”. Your ad shouldn’t look like an ad. If it does, your audience will switch off.

Compelling headline: make sure your headline has the audience intrigued, and wanting more. A captivating headline is crucial… so crucial in fact you should spend 80% of your time writing it.

Bold main points: emphasising important points, words or paragraphs throughout your advertising copy will capture the people that skim read. Doing this will help you influence more people, by creating content that’s easy to consume.

Use customer language: speak in the everyday language of your ideal customer.

Soft call to action: don’t push your customers, let them come to you. If you’ve followed the advice above, they will.  

If you’re thinking your product isn’t that exciting, Mr. Ogilvy has some news for you:

“There are no dull products, only dull writers”.

When David Ogilvy took on Rolls-Royce as a customer, he spent three weeks reading and studying all the technical characteristics of the car until he came up with the phrase “At 60 miles per hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock”.

That headline and the rest of the ad was composed of 607 words of copy.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t stick around to read 607 words of text without a good title that sticks. If you want them to read more, leave them wanting more.

Native advertising is powerful when you know how to get into the heart and minds of your prospects, and you don’t have to be grand master Ogilvy to use it. You can apply native advertising principles to your emails, blog, Facebook posts and ads, sales letters, landing pages… anywhere you connect with your customer.

Here’s what you need to do immediately after reading this: open a new window and search “David Ogilvy ads”. Take notes.

Model the greats. Don’t model your competitors.

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