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Make sure your promotion copy repeats your teaser or headline copy.

In a recent article, excerpted here from Bencivenga Bullets, "The two most powerful words in advertising and how to use them to explode your response fairly easily and consistently," we committed a disconcertingly common sin in both excerpting and copywriting (4/16/04).

Gary Bencivenga graciously told us, "The recent excerpt doesn't pay off the headline, at least not in an obvious manner. This is one of the first things a copywriter should double-check in body copy, especially in an excerpt, where cutting is always necessary.

"In this case, 'the two most powerful words' are not identified as such in the body copy, so a reader searching for them could experience frustration. Since the article has my byline, it seems as if I teased without delivering, which can cause reader resentment," he wrote.

Sorry, Gary.

We did imply what "the two most powerful words" are by his demonstration of two competing headlines, but we didn't explicitly repeat that the winning "IF ... THEN" construction was what the headline promised.

We share what Gary calls "reader resentment"--most often when an envelope teaser lures us inside a DM package where we "experience frustration" at not finding the teaser copy repeated.

The disconnect is discombobulating and distracts the prospect from the message, even to the point of reading no further.

Recently, for example, we received a package with the carrier promising "The ONE ACTION you can take to dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack" (or words to that effect). Nowhere inside the package was that ONE ACTION explicitly spelled out.

Envelope teasers aside, the same can be said for a salesletter headline (or in our case an article headline). Explicitly repeat in the body copy what the headline promises.

Your teaser or headline is the hook with which you've caught the prospect. Without the flow of smooth copy repeating the promise, the prospect is "off the hook" of reading further.
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Title Annotation:Promotion
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:May 16, 2004
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