Fred Schebesta

SmartCompany /

Why do some ads work and others don’t? In almost every case, the key is appealing to human nature.

How to make your website sell and never need to change it again

Fred Schebesta

When I was over in London last week I clipped a number of advertisements from the newspaper because I felt they had killer sales appeal to consumers. They tapped into the topics that we are all concerned with.

When you look at advertisements, consider them carefully to see what exactly they are appealing to. There are a lot of poor advertisements out there that are just wacky pictures and text and have absolutely no appeal or core benefit to the people who will potentially buy their product. Those are the ads that fail. You can tell an ad that fails because it won’t be run over and over again. 

Why do ads that work keep getting run?

You would have thought that ads that work get tired, because all of the people who have seen the ad have decided whether or not they are interested. This is not true. The reason why the same ad gets run over and over again is because it works (and brings in more net profit than it cost to place the ad). For example, the sales letter for the Wall Street Journal was run for over 14 years. The same letter sold subscriptions to that newspaper. There was no need to change it because it just kept selling subscriptions.

An advertisement close to home is the AAMI “piano” ad. They haven’t changed in two months, because they just keep making sales. Every time they run one of piano ads their phone rings and they sell enough product to pay for the ads and make a profit.

How to tap into an appeal to make your website sell over and over again

The first thing when you begin thinking about your appeal is to forget what business you are in. Any business can tap into a particular appeal, but it does not mean that it will sell. The process to figure out which will work best for you is testing. You need to test the different appeals.

There are some classic appeals for different markets such as:

  • Business books = Make more money.
  • Cosmetics = Popularity and attracting attention (especially from guys!).
  • Doors, Doors, Doors, Doors ads = Bargain (a little offensive but they have been working for 10 years now).

Appeals that have worked over time

The following have sold products throughout time. Which appeal is your website tapping into?

  • Make more money.
  • Save money.
  • Retirement security.
  • Better heath care now.
  • Healthcare security.
  • Security in old age.
  • Advance in profession or trade.
  • Prestige.
  • Enjoyment.
  • Easier chores.
  • Gain more leisure.
  • Comfort.
  • Freedom from worry.
  • To be one of the “in” group.
  • A bargain.
  • Be popular, attract attention.
  • Desire to outshine the neighbours.

So once you have decided which appeal you are going to test, you need to formulate a headline. Headlines are the most important part of an advertisement. I will go through headlines next week.

If you have a website with a great appeal that has worked, post a comment and I may review and use it next week. Make sure you have included a killer headline.


Fred Schebesta’s company Freestyle Media is an established innovative online marketing agency specialising in building search engine friendly corporate websites and running online marketing campaigns.

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