Command Performance

Ask prospects to take action, and guess what? They just might.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the July 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Among the forehead-whacking fundamentals we often need to remind ourselves of in creating good advertising is this: Always use the imperative voice instead of the declarative in leading off any promotion.

For example, if you happen to sell fishing lures, instead of declaring "Jitterbugs for sale," command the reader to "Catch 'em with our Jitterbugs." Why? Because we consumers are notoriously inert and impassive when it comes to advertising, and therefore we often won't do squat unless asked.

That's my message to Sandy Fifer of Loveland, Colorado, who wrote recently. Fifer recently opened a self-service dog wash and dog-bone bakery and is looking to start her advertising efforts off right. She hasn't really faltered on her first brochure effort even though she writes, "I did what you recommended not to do--putting [our] company name on the front." However, the name she's chosen is such a cute, catchy one--Doggie Dips & Chips--that it's an exception to my rule. (For the record, a clever, memorable name is always an asset in advertising.) Still, she needs to ask the prospect to take action. That's the purpose of my new rhyming headline, which dovetails with the company name.

What should you take away from this? Just as you should never fail to say thank you for an order, never fail to ask for that order in the first place.


The over should create an anticipation - a desire to turn the page and learn more.

1. Think of your brochure as a master of ceremonies: Give it an introductory role.

2. This cute store anme deserves to be on the cover, but it needs salesmanship to accompany it.


Is your logo self-explanatory? If not, make the cover headline explaine it, as this one now does.

1. The new headline rhymingly commands the reader to take action.

2. If you use a logo on the cover, couple it with a headline that reads into or complements it.

Jerry Fisher is an advertising copywriter, consultant and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising ($39.95), available by calling (800)?47-6553. If you'd like Jerry to consider your materials for a makeover in this column, send them to "Ad Workshop," Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92614, or e-mail him at

Contact Source

Doggie Dips & Chips, 265C E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538

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