Sugarman Advertising Axioms

by Dan Walsh

Refreshingly Sweet Advertising Rules.

This is a quick review of the rules for advertising copy that Joseph Sugarman laid out in his book, Advertising Secrets of the Written Word. These rules make a lot of sense to me, and I try to incorporate them even in my essay writing. I’m not trying to sell a product, but I do want the essay to be compelling enough to read all the way through. I missed out on a few of these axioms when I wrote the copy for the Ketosiz pre-launch page. Hopefully having them more accessible will help in the future.

Axiom 1
Copywriting is a mental process the successful execution of which reflects the sum total of all your experiences, your specific knowledge and your ability to mentally process that information and transfer it onto a sheet of paper for the purpose of selling a product or service.

Axiom 2
All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sentence of the copy.

Axiom 3
The sole purpose of the first sentence in an advertisement is to get you to read the second sentence.

Axiom 4
Your ad layout and the first few paragraphs of your ad must create the buying environment most conducive to the sale of your product or service.

Axiom 5
Get the reader to say yes and harmonize with your accurate and truthful statements while reading your copy.

Axiom 6
Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.

Axiom 7
When trying to solve problems, don’t assume constraints that aren’t really there.

Axiom 8
Keep the copy interesting and the reader interested through the power of curiosity.

Axiom 9
Never sell a product or service. Always sell a concept.

Axiom 10
The incubation process is the power of your subconscious mind to use all your knowledge and experiences to solve a specific problem, and its efficiency is dictated by time, creative orientation, environment and ego.

Axiom 11
Copy should be long enough to cause the reader to take the action you request.

Axiom 12
Every communication should be a personal one, from the writer to the recipient, regardless of the medium used.

Axiom 13
The ideas presented in your copy should flow in a logical fashion, anticipating your prospect’s questions and answering them as if the questions were asked face-to-face.

Axiom 14
In the editing process, you refine your copy to express exactly what you want to express with the fewest words.

Axiom 15
The more the mind must work to reach a conclusion successfully, the more positive, enjoyable or stimulating the experience.

Axiom 16
Selling a cure is a lot easier than selling a preventative, unless the preventative is perceived as a cure or the curative aspects of the preventative are emphasized.

Axiom 17
Telling a story can effectively sell your product, create the environment or get the reader well into your copy as you create an emotional bonding with your prospect.