The Top 5 SUICIDE Missions in Marketing, and How To Avoid Them
1999, by Harmony Major


How many times have we seen ads that begin like this, that we just skip right over? Or delete?

I'd have to say a countless many. I felt compelled to write this article yesterday as I was going through ads that people placed in MY own ezine. Even with my high-visibility, "no hype," ad placement, they're STILL lost if they write a terrible ad.

So, my duty today is to warn YOU of the many disgraceful faux pas that can make ANY and EVERY advertising campaign a flop. Each of the following five ad-writing techniques are SUICIDE missions to your marketing success. Let the user beware!

SUICIDE MISSION#1: Use phrases like "This is NOT a scam!"

First of all, if it's not a scam, you shouldn't need to waste valuable advertising space to tell me that. Talk more about your product and what it IS -- not what you claim it ISN'T. In addition to lessening the credibility of your ad, you're also telling us that you're not confident enough about what you offer to leave that judgement up to us!

SUICIDE MISSION#2: Use phrases like "HEY you! FREE SEX!!"

Now, just why would you think I'd want to buy something from (or work with) someone that uses street corner "Cat Calls" to get my attention? This seems to be a popular technique designed to make readers notice an ad due to the shock factor in seeing the word "SEX" in huge letters - but it's most commonly (and disgracefully) used to advertise BUSINESS opportunities!

Again, spend your time telling me about your product, not yelling offensive obscenities at me. And, if sex is irrelevant to your offer, why run the very likely risk of tar getting the WRONG audience??


Not only is this unnecessary, it's also considered to be rude on the Internet. All caps means that you're "yelling" at your readers, unless it's used selectively to stress certain points. It also makes your text VERY hard to read.

SUICIDE MISSION #4: Write a down-right BORING advertisement, like...

"If you ever wanted to make money on the Internet, you can do it now, with XYZ Company. My sponsor makes money like this every day. You can be like us and sell what we sell."

Not only was that ad BORING, it told me nothing but the fact that you make money, your sponsor makes money, and you sell some mysterious product that you think I'll make money from. If your ad doesn't get your prospect EXCITED about what you offer, it's *not* doing its job! Which leads me to number five...

SUICIDE MISSION #5: Spend a lot more time telling me how your product works than how it can improve my life!

I don't care that SpeedyCleen Vacuum Cleaners have a 75ft long hose. I want to know how SpeedyCleen guarantees that a 4ft 10inch woman will finally be able to reach those cobwebs in the formerly impossible-to-reach crevices in her vaulted ceiling!

We don't care that ZippyLemon Laundry Detergent has a garden-fresh lemon scent. We want to know that ZippyLemon will blast out the three-year-old mustard stain on my husband's favorite shirt... with only ONE washing!

To make a long story short, spend more time telling you readers HOW your product can make THEIR lives easier, not how the gadgets on it work!

So, now that you know what NOT to do, let's talk about how to write an ad that virtually FORCES your reader to respond! Remember these five important tactics that'll turn ANY suicide marketing mission into a bonafide success!


Don't use credibility-crushing phrases like "This is NOT a scam!" If it's not, then you shouldn't need to tell us. And, why would we take a stranger at his word, anyway?


Don't use the shock value of SEX-related words to get your reader's attention. Focus on tar getting the RIGHT audience for your purpose!


Only use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS when stressing important points in your ad. Remember -- an ad in all caps is both rude AND hard to read!


Use "excitement" words and symbols to have your readers salivating for more. Replace a few periods (.....) with exclamation points (!!!!!).


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Talk about how your product will enhance various aspects of my life make work easier, make me money, make me beautiful, etc. Don't waste time on telling me how your gadgets work and why they work that way.

Make your *target audience* understand EXACTLY how your product or service will benefit them, and your ads will go a long way!


Harmony Major is the author of Yahoo! Secrets, where she reveals how YOU can drive HUNDREDS more visitors to your site each day, by getting a #1 listing on Yahoo. Don't just settle for "getting listed." Use her instantly-effective tactics to boost your site traffic with a TOP Yahoo listing! Visit:

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