A Hypnotic Roommate Ad

Over a year ago, I posted an ad to Craigslist for a roommate.

I think we got a couple of inquiries and only one person came over to look at it. We ended up renting to a brother of one of the current residents.

Since then, I’ve learned what I know about hypnotic writing. I only went to Harlan’s NLP Copywriting seminar last September.

Several weeks ago I posted another ad for a roommate. This time I got 17 email responses in about 24 hours before I took the ad down because I didn’t want any more responses. I invited 8 of those to come look at our place… and they all showed up. Most of those would have been fine but our first choice seemed the most excited (and oddly beyond coincidence) so that’s who we went with.

I post the two ads below to show the differences in “creative” type ad writing and hypnotic writing that uses pacing and leading and quite a bit of Milton modeling. Rereading that first ad, I think I was trying to be humorous to sound more like a real person… keep Austin weird [a local motto] style. It feels like I was trying too hard when I see it again now.

The hypnotic ad is more about creating an internal experience for the reader. Of course the numbers also reflect things like the month, the current real estate market, etc.

Another difference on the second ad is that I got email inquiries with subject lines, “room for rent sounds perfect” and “my imagination is excited.”

Non-hypnotic 1st ad:

$$$$ All Bills Included- 3 Roommates Seek a 4th For A Brentwood 4-2

We are three 20 something males. We’re mostly quiet professional types. We all keep the place pretty clean. We’re smoke and drug free but drink in moderation.

We’re located in the Brentwood neighborhood and a short walk to the #1 bus route on Lamar, a coffee shop, fast food, and McCallum High School. We’re right between 35/183/Mopac. We have all the dishes we need. We have a basketball hoop in the driveway and a set of kettlebells. There’s one year old carpet throughout. You’d share a bathroom with an almost compulsively clean guy.

We share wireless internet and we split the cost of cleaning supplies/TP/paper towels. The walls are fairly thin so if you like to crank up the stereo all the time or have screaming nightmares, this probably isn’t a good fit. The living room will accommodate up to around 25 people for social gatherings. We don’t have or plan to get a TV. The room is in the back, unfurnished and has 2 large windows.

There’s no deposit and it’s available June 1. The landlord wants a one year lease. He’s pretty quick about fixing things.

The recent hypnotic ad:

$$$$ bills included – a home and private room (NW side of Lamar/2222)

Imagine a quiet neighborhood… you rocking on the porch, enjoying the large shade tree in front or the basketball hoop out back. Or perhaps you’d enjoy seasonal roses or pomegranates.

The Lamar bus stop, a coffee shop, a neighborhood park and fast food are all a short walk away. Our neighborhood, Brentwood, ranks as one of the best neighborhoods in Austin. We’re close to it all… 183, 35, Mopac, UT or downtown.

Inside… a large living room, antique coffee table, wi-fi, modern appliances, gas burners, two refrigerators, pool table, guitar hero, kettlebell set, Kirby vacuum and ample cooking space. There are 4 rooms and 2 shared bathrooms.

The roommates… easy going guys aged 27-30, clean and considerate. We often savor a good brew. Both guy or girl are fine for us.

The landlord… pays all bills except internet. He works out leases on a personal basis.

The room is around 10′ x 12′ including 2 large windows facing east and south. Small, confined pets are fine.

The room is available August 1st.

Email to arrange a tour.

What else do you notice between these two ads?

12 Responses

  1. Its good to see the comparison between the two.
    The intial line of the second version building the mental image definatly helps sell the property / space.
    Overall interesting and good post.

  2. When I first ready your line “you rocking on the porch”, I thought you meant listening to rock music, partying, having a few beers! But then I read it a second time and got the intended meaning. Anyway, I found it very interesting to compare the two ads. One of the reason the second ad worked so much better was because it answered the age-old question of “What’s in it for me?” The first ad was all about the current roommates and sounded very impersonal. Not only that, but the mention of the thin walls and the compulsively clean guy probably scared away at least half of the prospective roommates! The second ad was all about the benefits the new roommate would enjoy, it made you sound much more easy-going, and the picture you painted was infinitely more inviting.

  3. Well I have to say that I had a great roommate in college and this is a really important thing in your life. For me it was great to have such a roommate and even now over 25 years we are still best friends and we will remain like this forever hopefully.

  4. Writing a hypnotic ad can take some practice. There are always many ways to transfer messages to people and get their attention. Writing a hypnotic ad is like an art we have to learn, no one is born to be a perfect copywriter. It’s something we all have to learn. You may hire someone to write ads for you, or for a new starter, you might want to learn this over time in order to be effective.

  5. Very cool. I did something similar on a site of mine that sold a product. The first set of copy was very “sterile”, like your first ad. Very factual. Then I took a copy-writing course and changed the copy to something more emotional, like your hypnotic ad version. Literally, I doubled sales. Words are powerful, and words that hit emotional nerves are even moreso.

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