If you’ve been around the direct response water cooler for a while, you must’ve heard of Gary Halbert. And if you’ve heard of him, I’m sure you’ve also heard about his famous A-pile, B-pile mail sorting story. You know, the one about how people check their mail over a wastebasket. And everything that is or looks personal goes to A-pile (which they always read), stuff they might want to check later goes to B-pile (which they almost never read), and the rest goes straight to the bin.
Well, here’s the thing
Even though the A-pile, B-pile story is from an era before the internet and email, it still holds true today. We all have the same reaction regarding ads or anything that looks like an ad. And that is, we don’t want to read them! But guess what we DO always read? Personal emails…and news.
That’s why if you want your advertising to become A-pile material, ensure it contains newsworthy information to your target market. For example… Once upon a time, I worked in Canada with a talent recruiting company. They were placing IT contractors and wanted to get more contractor leads. At the time, one of the best-paying companies for Unix programmers was Nortel. Nortel was also a client of our recruiting company, and they were looking to hire more programmers.
Anyway, here’s what we did
We decided to run ads in business and tech journals that we knew our target audience was reading. But instead of doing the usual recruiting agency ad that everyone would glance over, we went for something better. Something that would catch the attention of almost everyone in our target market. Can you guess what we did? We created an ad that looked like a news article titled “Unix Contractors Commanding $55 Per Hour!”
Now, we knew that our audience was Unix programmers who were employees in a $ 50,000-a-year position on average. This means every single one who’d read that article would start doing the math in their head… and realized they were getting only $25 an hour!
Guess what happens when they do the math? This: After they realize they’re being underpaid, they all want to know how to get a position that offers twice as much.
Bingo. That’s exactly what we want.
An offer at the end of the article asks them to come to a website and get the latest updates on well-paying Unix contracts. This means after they do the math, that offer becomes very compelling! And here’s my point: You have to make your advertising so compelling to your target market that it becomes a no-brainer for them to raise their hand.
And the best way to do it? Give them something newsworthy.
Speaking of newsworthy content, head to the podcast where Shane and I hatch some evil schemes.