“Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz
His copy techniques are, to this day, considered to be the best, and his knowledge of markets is unmatched.
However, even though he spent most of his life as a copywriter, Breakthrough Advertising is invaluable for anyone who is trying to create an expert business.
A little background on the author, Eugene Schwartz…
He was born on March 18, 1927, in Montana, and studied at the University of Washington. He moved to NYC in 1949 and joined the Huber Hoge & Sons ad firm as a messenger boy. He worked his way up to Copy Chief, and in 1954 he went into business on his own.
Schwartz wrote some of the most celebrated lines in direct-mail history, such as “Are The Foods You Are Eating Today Starving Your Brain?” and “Don't Pay One Penny Until This Course Turns You Into A Human Computer.”
But the beauty in Eugene's wealth of knowledge is how uniquely useful it is to anyone.
In fact, the preface to the Boardroom edition, written by Founder and President Martin Edelston, has a particularly telling quote, “Since it was published, I have had people coming to me regularly to tell me that they directly credit reading this book with their making millions of dollars. Not a single one of these people was a copywriter.”
So what is it about this book that makes it such a golden goose for anyone who gets a hold of it?
(Which, might I add, getting your hands on this book is not an easy proposition.)
But, I'll get into that “bad news” later…
The Biggest Secrets Are the Most Obvious
Breakthrough Advertising really isn't about copywriting.
And, ironically, the biggest secrets that he reveals really aren't secrets at all; they are all elements of one big concept that every business owner should know about.
Awareness of your market.
Gene, as he is called, breaks down the process of doing that step-by-step… from defining their wants, needs, hopes and fears all the way to addressing how familiar they are with your product.
Every single element that he introduces is vital to your success as an expert business owner.
And although these techniques drastically help copywriters write good ads, they can also help you determine your best angle for marketing to your prospects.
Think about your clients for a second… if you've ever had a conversation with them, you've probably gotten to know a little bit about them.
And if you follow current events at all, you probably see things pop up that could really impact them.
So, let's say that you are a life coach and your client has expressed concerns about insurance when “Obamacare” begins.
And, by following the news, you discover that the media has been in a frenzy since its launch.
There's a good chance that this is the biggest thing on your client's mind right now, so wouldn't it be prudent for you to do a little digging yourself to see if you can guide your client in the right direction for information?
Or, if you happen to be knowledgeable about insurance policies and finance, give them advice yourself?
Speaking directly to an immediate fear or need can do wonders for your relationships, and give you a true edge in the marketplace.
And Breakthrough Advertising covers that topic in spades.
The Importance of Sophistication
One of the most fascinating and under-utilized aspects of this book is the concept of your prospect's sophistication.
Sophistication is basically your prospects knowledge of the product that you are selling and the advertising around it.
For example, we have all been bombarded with weight-loss ads, so we are completely “sophisticated” when it comes to that market. For a company to breakthrough our defenses, they really have to come from a unique angle that we can really identify with.
Conversely, there aren't many yoga-hypnotherapy weight-loss coaches out there, so we would need someone to explain clearly and concisely what that is and how we can benefit from it.
He makes a fascinating observation: if your advertising has been working beautifully but suddenly stops after a year, it doesn't mean the market is no longer interested in your product.
It means your market has become more sophisticated.
And in his book he carefully lays out how to handle this situation whether you are first, second, third or beyond in the market, and offers techniques to rise to the top in each scenario.
Just understanding that will put you light years ahead of your competition.
That's Really Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Breakthrough Advertising covers so much ground that is so invaluable, you really need to give it a read. Then read it again.
Some of the richest businesspeople around credit their success to this book alone.
Joe Vitale, one of the best internet marketers in the world, truly believes that, “no one in business should be without this information.”
Christian Godefroy, whom you may know as a prolific speaker and author of a number of self-help books, also says that Schwartz, “…made me a millionaire from a would-be millionaire with just a few breakthrough ideas. Breakthrough Advertising was out of print and I paid a lot of money to buy a copy. I have never regretted my investment.”
This brings me to the one bit of bad news about this post… the book is out of print and incredibly difficult to find.
But fear not, because there are a few options for you to get your hands on it:
- You can find it on Amazon.com… for a price. The original 1984 hardcover edition goes for a whopping $3449.84 new and $1899.33 used; or you can get the more recent version for a mere $215 used.
- Try contacting the folks at American Writers and Artists Inc. or the staff at Boardroom to see if they have any copies.
- There is a downloadable version floating around, as well. The typing is a bit off, but if you need a quick fix, this might be your best bet.
Of course, you can also try auction sites like ebay.com or even craigstlist.org.
However, E-bay can get very pricey, and Craig's List is a bit like Pandora's Box.
Use your own discretion.
Anyway, if there's one thing I want you to take away from this, it's that there is a reason that this book is so sought after and has skyrocketed in price.
Eugene Schwartz is a legend and his techniques made him millions of dollars just working a few hours a day.
If you take the time to sit down and read his book, you will come out a better business owner.
Well, that's all for this edition of the “Greatest Books You've Never Read.” Be sure to stay tuned for our final post in this series, as it will teach you how numbers can make or break your business.