How to Advertise Your Product: 5 Effective Strategies

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Breakthrough Advertising" by Eugene M. Schwartz. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want your business to be successful? Do you know how to advertise your product?

According to Eugene M. Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising, the headline is the first and most important component of an advertisement that you should work on. He suggests five ways to use headlines to sell your product.

Keep reading to learn how to advertise your product in the best way possible.

1. Echo an Emotion or an Attitude

Schwartz suggests one way to learn how to advertise your product is to echo an emotion or an attitude that customers can identify with in your headline. You can then use your copy to educate them on why they need your product. For example, when advertising a dating app, you could use the headline, “Have you forgotten what it’s like to be in love?”

(Shortform note: Marketing experts expand on Schwartz’s advice for appealing to customers who don’t feel like they need your product. For a product to create a new desire in customers, it must have five characteristics: newness, surprise, intricacy, mystery, and an ability to raise questions in the customer. For example, the iPhone is a notable example of a product that created a customer desire that hadn’t existed before: Customers didn’t want hand-held computers that could make calls and browse the internet because they didn’t know it was possible. This changed in 2007 when Apple generated hype with an intriguing marketing campaign that showcased the product’s novelty.)

2. Present Your Product as the Solution

Schwartz suggests that your headline clearly define the need you’re targeting, convince customers that they urgently need a solution, and then present your product as the inevitable solution. For example, “Are you tired of feeling alone and unwanted? Download our app and you’ll never be single again.”

(Shortform note: Marketing experts expand on Schwartz’s advice by suggesting that you’ll reach more customers at this stage of awareness if you present your advertisements online as informative content. Customers often scroll through various articles and blog posts as they search for potential solutions to fulfill their needs. Gain direct access to these customers by writing informative posts that provide them with the information they need—be sure to include relevant keywords so that your content appears high up in the search results. Then, frame your product as the best solution for fulfilling their needs and include a link to the product’s sales page.)

3. Fulfill Your Customers’ Needs

Schwartz suggests that your headline should emphasize three points:

  • A definition of the specific customer need
  • Proof that it’s possible to fulfill that need
  • An illustration of how your product fulfills that need. 

For example, “Sick of bad dates? Sign up for [app name] where all the good ones hang out!”

(Shortform note: Be aware that even if you convince customers to read your copy, they might not progress from knowing what they want to buying what they want. This is because customers prefer to keep their options open instead of completing transactions. Browsing through advertisements involves imagining what it’s like to own different things. This process releases dopamine (the happy hormone) into your bloodstream and increases your desire to imagine more possibilities that make you feel good. However, this dopamine hit stops the moment you commit to one possibility. In other words, it feels more pleasurable to think about buying things than to actually buy them.)

4. Evoke Customers’ Aspirations

Schwartz suggests that you consider the type of person your customers aspire to be or the lifestyle they want to have. Then, convince them that they’re very unlike this aspirational self because they’re missing something. Finally, show them how your product will help them feel, become, or appear more like the person they dream of becoming. This is an effective way to advertise your product because when you provoke a feeling of dissatisfaction, you prime customers to actively seek a solution. This makes it easier for you to convince them that your product is the “missing” thing that can “fix” them or enable them to truly become the person they aspire to be. 

For example, include statements such as, “Aren’t you sick of always being the single one at parties?” and, “With this app, you’ll easily find someone that makes your friends jealous!”

5. Use Endorsements to Prove Your Product’s Effectiveness

Schwartz recommends that you include recommendations from professional experts, testimonials from happy customers, or celebrity endorsements to advertise your product. This is effective because endorsements act as external validators or social proof that convince skeptical customers that your product can fulfill their unmet needs. For example, “[Celebrity] found the love of her life through our app and she couldn’t be happier.”

How to Advertise Your Product: 5 Effective Strategies

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Here's what you'll find in our full Breakthrough Advertising summary:

  • Why the headline is the most important component of an advertisement
  • Specific techniques you can use to create captivating headlines
  • Persuasive methods you can apply to write compelling copy

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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