Introducing: 5 Quick Advertising Lessons for Busy Makers, Builders, & Engineers

Makers, Builders and Engineers all over the world have great ideas, decent execution but find it hard to attract the right attention, nurture it, and eventually translate that into sales. Here are 5 quick lessons to change that for the better.

Introducing: 5 Quick Advertising Lessons for Busy Makers, Builders, & Engineers

If you are a seasoned marketer or advertisement person, don't expect to find anything tremendously new here. 

I explain some basic lessons in advertising, marketing, and sales for upcoming makers, builders, and engineers.

There are many makers, product managers, engineers, and technologists all across the world, trying to build wonderful products and solutions.

They have excellent ideas and decent execution, but they fail to get people to use their products and services.

I am writing some basic lessons useful to makers and engineers who are starting with taking their products out into the market. 

In essence, their problem is that they struggle to gain the right attention, retain it, amplify it, and eventually convert into sales.

1: Three Business Capabilities You Must Understand to Consistently Generate Cash

In this section, I will explain why it is important to understand some aspects with absolute clarity to succeed in the modern economy.

Rewinding into ancient history, say we go back to the barter system, there were no separate functions such as marketing, advertising, and sales. 

A transaction had to happen — something like this: 

I have vegetables to give, and in return, I want some clothes to wear.

Given a localized village economy, where people know each other and are dependent on each other for existence, trust is comparatively higher. 

People know that the chances of getting cheated are low.

Despite that, one can imagine, that those who were more popular, had better reputations or had better relations with others getting the better end of the transactions.

So, one can imagine "integrated sales" being the original function — the art of getting a transaction to happen successfully in a mutually beneficial way.

But as the populations grew, cities emerged, and transactions happened between total strangers, based on authorized coinage/currency, the integrated sales function became more tricky to execute.

How do I know that agreements will be honored? OK - maybe the King of the land can offer some protection, but still, who wants to get into legal hassles?

So trust or belief in others became central to making a sale. A large part of a sale is all about gaining trust and establishing a strong belief in the validity of an offer.

But we are going too fast here. For one to consider trust and belief in someone else's offer - they must know each other, right?

Since the population is larger, and the discovery of goods and services is a big problem, advertisements have become the centerpiece of the modern economy.

Therefore, announcing & continuously attracting the right kind of attention is something that must be done. And the way to do it is via great advertisements (or similar devices).

Once the discovery has happened — there is a trust-building or belief-building phase. This is the marketing part. Marketing is about building up conviction about the upcoming transaction. There are many components to belief building:

  1. Conveying the track record of the seller
  2. Communicating the values and philosophies of the seller
  3. Proving that the seller understands the prospect's needs in detail
  4. And so on.

Overall, in the modern economy, once advertising grasps attention, marketing keeps or amplifies the attention long enough, so that the prospect wants to buy something.

Finally - usually people need various nudges to open their purses, and transact.

Presently, the salesperson is there to make the ask - in the most sophisticated way possible - so that the highest number of transactions happen while simultaneously delighting the customers.

So this is the story of how "integrated sales" of the past has branched into advertising, marketing, and sales of today.

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Why Sales Without Efficiency is Worse Than No Sales At All

The problem boils down to the minimizing costs and maximizing benefits in attracting attention, building belief and transacting.

That is, not only do we want sales to happen, but they must happen with minimal effort and costs.

We ultimately want sales with ease.

For each unit of money & effort put into attraction and persuasion, we want the highest results to come on the other end in terms of sales.

This topic is of great importance to anyone trying to get people to open their purses.

The path to people opening their purses starts with their attention.

First, you must attract the right attention (advertisements).

You must keep it or even amplify it for a sufficient period with a reasonable frequency, so a strong belief in the offer is built (marketing).

When the belief transcends a particular threshold, due to the effectiveness of the persuasion and/or circumstances of the individual, the sale happens.

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2: Why Titles Make 75% of Advertising Efficacy

The absolute fundamental to attracting the right attention is just a few words.

You may put these words on the title of a blog post, newsletter, social media post, video title, or wherever.

The medium doesn't matter as much.

The key thing is that the title or first impression of your offer has some specific qualities.

What makes a good title?

First of all — we should not think that just because a particular piece of title has many views — we should not automatically assume it leads to a high proportion of sales.

We must understand that interestingness is not the same as effectiveness.

Again — neither can we ignore the efficiency factor. In this context:

  1. Effectiveness means more sales
  2. Efficiency means more sales with less time, money and effort invested

We want the minimal number of words to push for action, as soon as possible.

So we are optimizing for quite a few factors with a title.

3: Attract Some, Filter Many - How This Principle Can Save Your Time and Sanity

Firstly, the title must clearly attract those who are more likely to spend money on the said thing while simultaneously politely discouraging those who are merely going to waste time.

This cannot be highlighted sufficiently. The title must have high standards. Don't attract everyone. You have a million people without any money upvoting your post — doesn't mean a thing.

If a millionnaire upvotes your post and is interested in your offer, that means your life and your team's life are going to change.

So — always set filters in the title.

Attention on its own is not beneficial. It can be quite lethal to your business — if you end up attracting the attention of time-wasters. You want qualified people's interest.

For example in this article title — I am particularly focusing on busy professionals. I like busy professionals. They are already good at something, engaged, motivated, and are more likely to want things done and also can pay. It is a good foundation for free trade. The giver and receiver both must benefit.

4: Five Short Formulae To Generate Winning Titles

The second aspect of importance is not to make the title about yourself, unless as a device to serve the reader's interest or to prove your credibility to help with the sale.


Self-interest is the strongest motivator for someone to care strongly about what you've written.

Remember that attention generated due to self-interest is most likely to convert into a sale later on.

Every other positive quality is worthless from sales point of view, if the title doesn't cater to the reader's self-interest.


How I became a star salesman

This is a good title because, becoming a "star salesman" seems like a rewarding thing. It doesn't hurt if I can sell very well, right? Maybe I'll get some free info on great salesmanship if I read more. That's the kind of thought which pushes a person to transact.

Once the self-interest part is set, there must be improvement in some other aspects of the title.


Humans have an inherent curiosity within themselves. In particular, we are curious about things that serve our self-interest! Therefore, adding an element of curiosity to a self-interest title makes it quite powerful.

Usually, successful titles include some sort of lesser-known fact, or an interesting story-line or such, along with a strong self-interest factor.

Titles with mere curiosity factor are known to be ineffective overall. 


Here’s one question you shouldn’t ask your wife

The above one is a sort of enigmatic title. There is a mild curiosity about what the question may be, but it doesn't generate any strong self-interest. Even if the title generates some interest, it is unlikely that you are attracting the kind of attention which will translate to sales.

Another example:

How a fool stunt made me a star salesman

Now, this is a strong title. First - it has a curiosity element — "What's this fool stunt about?". Also it has a self-interest element — "become star salesman". In combination, we get an interested reader, who wants the benefits, is willing to pay attention to the story, and at the end may end up paying.


Similarly, we humans are wired to look for new information, and changes in the environment or the world. This is because — news could have critical information that may threaten our survival. Perhaps there is a storm, or an upcoming earthquake — good to be on alert.

Also, another aspect is our affinity towards gossip. We are interested in what other people think, want, the way they live, and so on. The social drive is strong, and news consumption partly represents that drive.

So if you "announce", "introduce" and show "new" things to the world, people are interested in paying you some attention.

But given the volume of increase in news, people are training themselves to ignore pure news. So you still need a strong self-interest part to exist, if the title is to have the maximum impact.


A new Course and Service for men
who want to be independent in the
next five years

This is a good one, starting with a news element with the word "ANNOUNCING" in capitals. When there is any sort of announcement, people are bound to give at least a bit of attention to it, just to make sure they aren't missing anything important. Secondly, there is a strong self-interest component with the promise of independence in the "next five years". Independence is desirable, and the fixed time line has an air of authority. This title is known to have sold well.

The Five Formulas

If you remember the following 5 formulas and apply them consistently, you're already at the top 5% of titles in terms of efficacy:

  1. Self-Interest = Good Title
  2. Self-Interest + Curiosity = Great Title
  3. Self-Interest + News = Great Title
  4. Curiosity = Bad Title
  5. News = Bad Title

5: Money in The Bank is the Only Metric That Matters (Almost!)

Many advertising awards and comments on social media tend to glorify overly clever or nonsensical titles.

The problem with these sorts of isolated opinions and so-called "expert" judgments is that — they are just that — they are opinions.

Advertisements and marketing efforts must be put under scrutiny by listing out what are the inputs (time, effort, money) and what are the outputs (sales, recognition).

Platforms such as Google Ads are moving towards fully optimized ads of this sort via machine learning. In such a platform, every input configuration is tested against its performance. 

But there are many more channels other than Google Ads. 

Whatever the form of effort — it is best to set up proper tracking and to pay attention to the inputs and outputs.

Invariably — you want more sales to happen for a given unit of investment. 

And for that to happen, one must use:

  1. Learning from the experiences of master advertisers
  2. Observations in market
  3. Learnings from one's experiences (trial and error)

Two Books to Learn Title Writing That Sells

These books may take a few days of your time, but possess the potential to pay back many times that, in terms of results.

  1. Tested Advertising Methods
  2. Scientific Advertising

Now, it's your turn. 

What are your experiences with advertising as a maker or builder or engineer? 

Do share your lessons below in the comments.