Sniper vs Shotgun Advertising

In Claude Hopkins book, Scientific Advertising, he speaks about being specific.

Which, by the way, compare Hopkins to modern advertising as you would Freud to modern psychology. 

99% of information products simply rehash the information contained in this book in a different voice.

Continuing on:

Generalities are never the way to go.

For example, I see major brands using selling points like “lowest prices” or “refund guarantees”.

These are all to be expected.

It doesn’t cut through any noise.

It’s not unique by any means.

This is also why when copy is done right, they anchor prices and make the price seem painless without ever promising the “lowest prices”.

Also, it’s why people either use reverse refund guarantees specifically telling people not to buy it if they’re the type of person who requests refunds (telling people not to do something often makes them want to do the opposite), or… they make their refund guarantee stronger so it sticks out, such as we’ll refund all of your money and give you $100 for wasting your time.


Being specific is the best way to catch the attention of your target audience.

Let’s compare two headlines:

1) “This Isn’t Just Any Health Supplement, It Can Quite Literally Burn Your Fat Off Quicker Than Your Local Plastic Surgeon.” 

2) “Learn How This Busy Mom Used This Health Supplement To Finally Get Back Her Pre-Baby Body Without Ever Having To Waste Precious Time Going To The Gym.”

Number 1 is catchy, and could probably work, sure.

Number 2 is also catchy, eye catching, and speaks to a specific audience.

If we were to target 25-45 year old women who like several baby brands, I’m sure that headline would beat the first.

Quoted directly from Hopkins:

“A man who makes a specific claim is either telling the truth or a lie.”

This is also why you’ve seen webinars, titled:

“How to do X with this exact 3-step system, in 30 days or less.”

Specificity attracts.

If you were to say “How to do X.” alone, it’s not going to convert nearly as well.

The same can be applied to client-based businesses.

For example:

“We design websites.”

In comparison to:

“We design websites for restaurants.” 

This is the difference between shotgun advertising, and sniper advertising.

Shotgun advertising is where you throw a generic ad out and hope for the best.

Sniper advertising is when you strategically find your target audience, and make your messaging match perfectly.

Sniper advertising is the very principal of direct response copywriting.

It’s also how tiny companies can acquire a market share when the market is already dominated by huge mammoth sized brands.


If you’re looking for sniper based copy for your brand…

Wanting to finally cut your market share out in your market, then well…This link might interest you.

Talk soon,


This blog post was originally part of an email newsletter I used to send out.

That list has since then been inactive due to me being busy with client work, but I plan on starting back up a newsletter here soon.

Similar Posts