What a Crazy College Professor Can Teach You About Writing Better Ads

College professors.

You know the type.  Eccentric, wild-haired keepers of the Ivory Tower.  Wearers of bushy eyebrows and unfashionable tweed suits.

Many of them have interesting ideas.  But their heads are so full of theory it’s hard to get them to come down from of the clouds and operate in reality.

Probably why Claude Hopkins, the father of modern advertising, had a simple suggestion for improving the advertising textbooks  being forced upon students in his time:

Burn them!”

I can’t say I blame him, either.  You’re tired of theory.  You want results.

Professors can’t possibly teach you anything useful about writing better ads… or can they?

Meet Alan Monroe…

Enter Alan Monroe.

He was a professor at Purdue University in the 1930s.  And he came up with something very USEFUL.  Something you can incorporate into you ads right away…

It’s called “Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.”  Professor Monroe developed it as a technique to help people organize persuasive speeches.

But it works just as well with ads.  Remember, advertising is nothing more than “salesmanship in print.”  Ads are just written “persuasive speeches” multiplied to thousands of prospects instead of a few hundred in a convention hall.

So, what is Monroe’s technique exactly?  And how can you use it to write more effective ads?

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and How it Can Help You Write Ads That Flow

More than anything else, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is an organizational framework.  It doesn’t tell you exactly what to say, but it helps you organize your sales message for the most persuasive effect.

Sometimes I get so jazzed up about whatever it is I’m trying to sell I just want to rant about it.  It’s great to be passionate about your offer, but if your sales pitch is incoherent you can lose prospects along the way needlessly.  Monroe’s sequence helps keep you on track.

You want to connect your prospects’ desire to your solution (product/service).  Your ad lays down the tracks.  But if you just toss the stretches of track down haphazardly, your prospect won’t arrive at the intended destination: the land of opening wallets!

So, you can refer to Monroe’s sequence as a blueprint to help you make sure you’re building everything in the right order.

Here’s how it goes:

Step 1: Attention

The first thing you need to do is to get your prospects’ attention.  You need something to pull them away from the myriad of other things they have on their minds.

It starts with a good headline.  If you don’t have one, no one will even notice your train station.  They won’t get on your Offer Train… even if they would have been interested!  Instead, they’ll walk right by onto the next thing that catches their attention.

After you show people where the “train station” is with a great headline, then you roll into a solid opening paragraph in your body copy.  You get the engines running and build momentum with a story, a shocking example, a crazy statistic, etc.

Ideal audience response at this stage: “I want to hear what you have to say.”

Step 2: Need

Now that you have their attention, you need to let your prospect know why reading your ad further will be worth their while.  Remember, people are interested in themselves.  They want to know what your ad can do for them.

You can show them that by pointing out a particular problem or frustration they’re dealing with.  Don’t spare any details; be specific as you can about all the pain and frustration associated with this problem.

You want your prospects nodding their heads at this point.  Agreeing with every word.  Their problem is your “jumping in” point where you find common ground.  One more thing: make sure to point out that this problem won’t go away on its own.

Ideal audience response at this stage: “I agree.  I have that need/want”

Step 3: Satisfaction

Now you have your prospects relating with you about their problem.  This is right where you want to be.  But what next?  It’s time to change course… before this turns into a sobfest with no solutions

A solution!  That’s exactly where you want to take it next.  You build up hope by telling your prospects they don’t have to deal with this awful problem forever.  And they don’t need to look far for a solution… because you have the answer for them.

That’s because your product or service is the solution!  This is where you build a link in your prospects’ minds between the disappearance of their problem and your offer.  And you build credibility by being as specific you can and making sure to tell your full “selling story”… complete with all the juicy details!

Ideal audience response at this stage: “I see you have a solution and it will work.”

Step 4: Visualization

O.K.  Your prospects understand their problem doesn’t have to be a permanent frustration.  There’s a way to make their problem go away, and your offer is a believable solution to help them do that…

But that’s not enough.  Even if your prospects have a desire to solve their problem, you have to do a little more to push them out of their comfort zones (inaction, procrastination, “analysis paralysis,” etc.) and get them to act.

This is where visualization comes in.  You can’t just sell your solution on a logical level.  What would obtaining the wanted solution mean to your prospect on an emotional level?

Show them.  Paint them a picture of just how much their lives will change if they just took advantage of what you have to offer.

A promise to lose 15 pounds isn’t just a path to better health.  It’s a smaller bikini… and a chance for a husband to fall in love with a wife all over again.  See what I mean?

Ideal audience response at this stage: “This is a great idea… my life would be different.”

Step 5: Action

Your prospects can see the town of Opening Wallets on the horizon.  You just need to give them a little more steam to get them to their destination…

You need to tell your prospects exactly what they need to do to get this solution that they want so much.

How do you do it?  Come out and ask them to buy your product or service!  A lot of people assume their audience will connect the dots by themselves.  They shy away from going direct with their sales pitch and just put a phone number or link to a website on the bottom of their ads and hope for the best…

Don’t do that, unless you want to miss out on a lot of easy money.

Remember: you have them right where you want them.  All you have to do is come out and ASK them take you up on your offer right now.

Ideal audience response at this stage: “I want what they’re selling because I think it can help me solve my problem.  I’m going to buy it right now.”


Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a 5-step technique to help you organize your ads for the most persuasive effect.  It goes like:

Attention –> Need –> Satisfaction –> Visualization –> Action

Refer to it when you’re trying to get everything in order to carry your prospects from initial interest to a closed sale.

And don’t tell me college was completely worthless!