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I got a postcard in the mail, with this headline:

“The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of friends and family.”

Me: “I don’t know who you are or what you do and you’re talking about referrals?”

Into the trash. . .

But wait, I could use this as an example of really bad advertising, so. . . I keep reading. . .

Under the “headline” is a series of bullet points. See if you can figure out what this outfit does:

  • 9 Years in Business
  • 6 Months Federal Relief Program
  • Up to 60% Lower Payments
  • 4.7% Rating on Social Media
  • “A” Rating on BBB
  • Seriously Delinquent O.K.

Sounds like they do some kind of re-financing or workouts, but what do I know?

Next line: Visit Now [a website url that says nothing about the company or what they do]

Then: “Thank You for Your Trust, [Company Name].

And, finally, “Call Now” followed by a phone number.

And. . . that’s it.

So, no headline, no information, no benefits, no offer, no testimonials, no examples of before and after (e.g., lower payments). . . and no reason to keep this out of the trash.

Hold on, it’s a postcard. There has to be something on the back.

Ah, there it is. It says, “ARE YOU DROWNING IN STUDENT LOAN DEBT?”

Finally, something specific. A “sorting” question and a hint at a benefit. If you see this side of the postcard first and you have a lot of student debt, you might be interested enough to turn the card over to find out what this is all about.

But, when you do, you’re scratching your head, wondering what they do and why you should bother to call or visit.

To think, this company paid to have this printed and mailed. (I’m going to assume they DIDN’T pay a copywriter to write it.)

Anyway, if you want to know how to write an ad or directory listing, keep this handy and do the opposite of what they did. Or show it to your copywriter or agency and say, “Don’t do this.”

If you want a second opinion on your ad or sales copy, let me know

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