Now if the first sentence is so important, what can you do to make it so compelling to read, so simple, and so interesting that your readers-every one of them-will read it in its entirety?

  • The answer: Make it short.  Each sentence is so short and easy to read that your reader starts to read your copy almost as if being sucked into it.

Many magazines use a variation of this technique in their articles. They start an article not with a very short sentence but maybe with very large type. Once they have you sucked into reading the copy and you turn the page to read the rest of the article.

“The purpose of the first sentence is to get you to read the second sentence.” Nothing more, nothing less. You probably figured this one out already anyway.

Besides holding the reader’s attention, there is another important function we are trying to accomplish in the first paragraphs of an advertisement and that is to create a buying environment. Once you realize the importance of setting up a buying environment, you’ll know that it must be done in the early stages of an advertisement.

  • When you establish the reading momentum at the start of an ad, you also want to start establishing the buying environment as well. The saleslady first had to get me into the store and then slowly get me in that room to put me in the ideal buying mood.
  • If this all sounds hard to do in print, it really isn’t. You’ll see examples later of how to establish the buying environment as you establish the momentum.

Your ad layout and the first few paragraphs of your ad must create the buying environment most conducive to the sale of your product or service. The first thing you do in selling is to set up the selling environment. Whether it be a private room in a gallery or a car dealer’s showroom, you configure the physical environment to be your selling environment.