In the first part of ‘The test of a great copywriter‘ I introduced you to a number of copywriting kings. Each of them built their reputations pre internet, pre SEO copywriting, and all paid very close attention to the results of their work. Each continually and rigorously tested and honed their work. A constant pursuit of the most profitable SEO copywriting.

Caples and Hopkins

One of the most influential writers in marketing history and someone whose work still offers an amazing insight into effective SEO copywriting is John Caples.

His classic Tested Advertising Methods published in 1932 and now in its 5th revision, is a copywriting classic that offers proven evidence. Why some copy works and other copy doesn’t. TAM and Claude Hopkin’s Scientific Advertising both offered rigour and clarity to a part of the marketing industry that still far too often relies on subjective theory, opinion or preference.

So what is the essence of Caple’s message? What does he have to say about testing?

  1. Accept nothing as true about what works best in advertising until it has been objectively – what Caples called “scientifically”—tested.
  2. Build upon everything you learn from testing to create an ever-stronger system that you return to with each new project. (Even a slow learner should not have to invent the wheel more than twice.)
  3. Treat every ad as an ongoing test of what has been learned before. When something new works better—or something old stops working—be ready to admit you were wrong about what you thought you “knew.” But don’t just accept it. Find out why and apply it the next time.

Quoting John W Blake, Caples writes: “General advertising is frequently a structure of opinion and unproven theories. A structure without foundation…. big money should never be spent on advertising until it has been tested.”

17 ways to test your advertising

Caples offers seventeen ways to test your advertising. Ways in which you can properly evaluate whether you should wheel out the big money or not. We’ll look at these methods shortly.

The most useful book about advertising…

David Ogilvy contributes a forward to the 4th edition in which he say: “This is, without a doubt, the most useful book about advertising that I have ever read.” Could you ask for a  better testimonial than that?

He also goes on to credit the book with 7 vital discoveries. Lessons in copywriting that he applied throughout his career when writing advertisements. All proven SEO copywriting techniques based on Caple’s research.

As you can see. The questions are starting to mount up.

What are the 17 ways that you can test your advertising?

Ogilvy’s 7 lessons? What could they be?

How does all this 50 year old, 60, 70 year old copywriting advice even apply in a world increasingly dominated by internet marketing? And if it’s relevant, how can you use it to build your business?

All will be revealed…

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