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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 bystarting an ad with introductory thoughts that lose theprospect's interest. As late copywriting Hall of Famer JohnCaples put it in his book Tested Advertising Methods: "Millionsof pages have been turned and millions of ads have been left unreadbecause of [boring] first paragraphs."

Perhaps you, too, have high-fived yourself in the bathroommirror for coming up with a great headline, only to produce an adthat fails because of a lackluster lead-in. Caples says you canovercome the first-paragraph scourge by putting your completed adaside 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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