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First Impressions An intriguing introduction keeps potential customers from skipping your ad.

By Jerry Fisher

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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.

How to find examples of great lead-ins to inspire you? Apartfrom observing other ads, Caples suggests reading the way newspaperand magazine stories begin. The best ones arouse curiosity, hesays, offering as an example one he plucked from Reader'sDigest: "As you sit quietly reading these lines, a whirlof activity is taking place in your body."