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First Impressions

An intriguing introduction keeps potential customers from skipping your ad.

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This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Too many entrepreneurs miss the chance to make a sale by starting an ad with introductory thoughts that lose the prospect's interest. As late copywriting Hall of Famer John Caples put it in his book Tested Advertising Methods: "Millions of pages have been turned and millions of ads have been left unread because of [boring] first paragraphs."

Perhaps you, too, have high-fived yourself in the bathroom mirror for coming up with a great headline, only to produce an ad that fails because of a lackluster lead-in. Caples says you can overcome the first-paragraph scourge by putting your completed ad aside for 24 hours and then looking at it with fresh eyes. That's when a weak opening will leap out at you.

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