What Elmer Wheeler Said That Can Enhance Your Marketing Content

As I write this post the Fourth of July holiday weekend is approaching. Soon, the familiar and annual sound of fireworks exploding overhead will symbolize how we Americans celebrate our freedom. And of course another sound will arise from BBQ grills across our grand land – the *sizzle* of hot dogs, burgers and steaks (hey…there’s always a reason to grill something during the summer season).

Referencing the word, “sizzle,” reminds me of the classic advertising line from the pioneer of persuasion, Elmer Wheeler. I discovered some marketing principles in an article highlighting his now classic book, Tested Sentences That Sell.

In fact, I’ll use his now infamous marketing phrase to lead off a list of 5 Keys to Enhancing Your Sales and Marketing Copy.

*Don’t sell the steak – sell the sizzle*

First things first. Effective copywriting sells benefits and deeper benefits. Life is too short to waste yours or your prospect’s time talking…talking…talking about the product.

*Don’t write – telegraph!*

In Wheeler’s day, telegraphs were all-the-rage for sending messages. Being charged by the word meant keeping the price down by choosing your words wisely.

Saying, “Don’t write – telegraph,” Wheeler implied, “Make every word count.” He would say, “…your first 10 words are more important than the next 10,000…” and “…you have only 10 short seconds to catch your prospect’s attention.”

*Say it with flowers*

In other words, it’s not enough to make a statement about your business, products, or services to your prospect. You have to prove it! Say, “I love you,” and then prove it…by sending flowers (sincerely and convincingly, of course).

*Don’t ask if – ask which*

Always give your prospect a choice between something and something. Never go with a choice between something and nothing. “Would you like fries with that…?” (Something and nothing). “Large or small fries with that…?” (Something and something).

*Watch your bark!*

Wheeler had a love of dogs. He knew you could tell how a dog feels at a given moment by the way they wag their tails and by the sound of their barks.

Saying, “Watch your bark!” Wheeler’s reminding that it’s not just what you say but…how you say it. When writing promotions keep the copy conversational and engaging.

Elmer Wheeler kept is simple and to the point. He knew what we all must come to understand – there’s freedom in simplicity (or something like that).

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