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A Thousand Words

Posted on July 4, 2001

by Bob Osgoodby

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. While this may be true if the picture is a schematic of a complicated gizmo you're trying to put together, it is hardly the case when it comes to your ads.

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An image should be used as an attention getter. It should draw people in to read the words used in the ad. Words sell - not pictures. Each word used in the ad should lead the person to the desired outcome. In the case of a classified ad, the desired outcome should be to have them request more information.

Sales are seldom made from the first ad someone sees describing your product, service or opportunity. If you can get someone to ask for more information, your ad has done the first part of the job.

Anyone involved in Internet Sales without a web page is simply spinning their wheels. Many of the web pages however are disaster areas. People get so creative in their design, they forget their primary purpose. Once you have gotten someone to this point, it is now time to close the sale, and this is where many people "miss the boat".

Think about it - your ad had to be effective as it got them to your web site. Now they are looking for additional information. Some people want the presentation in the quickest possible fashion, while others are willing to spend the time researching your offer. To be effective you should try to accommodate both groups.

An effective presentation will provide a synopsis of what you want to cover. It should also have a "link" where a person can be sent for in depth information. This is definitely a case where more is better. But you should not use words simply to fill space - they should all be carefully crafted to bring the person to your order page.

Studies have shown that one large web page with internal links to additional information will rank better with the search engines. Think of these internal links as bookmarks within your page, which will quickly advance someone to the desired spot.

An image will make your page more attractive, but don't include one unless it has a purpose, and will help close the sale. A large image that takes a long time to load will often have the reverse effect of what is desired. If the visitor simply "clicks away" from your web page because the image loads slowly, it is defeating its purpose.

Some gurus recommend power words like "free" or "earn without work", but these terms have been overused. While power words may still have a place in your "teaser" ads, you should use down to earth language at your web site. The words must be vibrant and alive, driving the person toward the desired outcome.

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You must learn how to write persuasive words specifically written for your targeted customer. If your target market is professionals, write your message geared to them. Remember however that the vocabulary of many potential customers may be limited, so don't use words that will not be understood by the average person. Avoid the use of terms that will not be known by your prospects.

Your text should be written in a black, legible font with a light background, preferably white. While yellow text on a black background is "cute" you should avoid using fancy fonts or backgrounds that are difficult to read - people will simply "click away".

Remember - every word you use should have one specific purpose, and that is to lead your prospect to buy what you are selling . When writing sales copy, use words like "you" and "your" - write as if you are speaking with just one person -- one on one.

Finally, be aware that many Internet users are apprehensive about making a purchase on the Internet. You must put your potential customers mind at ease by displaying your full name, company name and contact information. This will put their mind at ease by building their confidence in you and your product. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, it is the words that will sell.

Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter. Visit his Web Site at to subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson, when you visit

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