Many businesses still use traditional print advertising to promote their companies goods and services. Most are not doing it correctly and it bugs the heck out of me. If they are not going to do it right then save the money.
It happens all of the time. You see an ad either on-line or in a publication and you just can’t figure out what they are selling. They use company centric copy that extols how great the company is and they do nothing to describe the product or service they are promoting. It is such a waste of time and money. I can clearly tell the ads that were approved by an amateur and not created by a marketing professional. They might, in most cases they don’t, look aesthetically appealing but the content, WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, lacks benefit based copy. Nothing that answers the main question, what’s in it for me? Or why should I buy this? After you have answered those questions then it’s up to me to decide if I care who is selling it. This applies to all size businesses, from the start up to the billion-dollar company.
It could be that many business owners leave the message up to the salesperson who sold them the placement of their advertisement and this is a BIG problem. It’s not that they are trying to fail, it’s just salespeople, unless they have done an extensive competitive analysis, do not know your best customer and without that intimate knowledge they cannot know what your best customer looks like or what they want or need. In addition, without that knowledge the entire campaign comes falling down because they are guessing and guessing is gambling, not marketing.
In all advertisements, including direct mail, you should be appealing to BOTH the readers and the skimmers.
So here are some important basics.
Make sure you use as much copy (text) as possible.
Ads with more copy usually outperform ads with less. Give them what they need to make a decision to take the next step. If your product or service is over 25.00 never try to close a sale with one ad. It will seldom happen unless you are giving it away free. And even if you are, you still need to make sure you do it right or nobody will take it. Remember an ad in many cases is the first touch you have with a customer. Imagine if you had a retail store and a customer walked in and asked a question. The salesperson answered with yes or no and that is it. The customer wants more but can’t get it. So they walk out. This is what an ad short on substance does as well. Unfunny and unfortunately all too true. This is important to remember. If you have more copy then they need that is better than not having enough. Let the reader choose to stop reading.
Use copy, imagery and color that evoke a feeling of want or extreme need.
This is done by using copy that extols the benefits of the features NOT the features alone. You have heard it before “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. The imagery should show the product in use or images of people who would buy your product or service. (Your demographic.) Remember people relate to people who look like them. If you show the product in use, make sure you use a caption describing the product. Don’t forget to make sure the colors you use are based on color theory. Colors are very important. If you are a restaurant, you want colors that make people hungry.
After you write your copy, create your headline. Use long headlines that tell the entire offer.
You want to appeal to readers and skimmers so make sure the headline describes the offer and hits the want or need. If they read just the headline, image caption and call to action this could be enough for them to take the next step.
Write a strong call to actions.
If you are having a space issue then Call Today! Or Call Now! Is better than nothing but a stronger call to action is like so. Call today to find out how you can increase sales through affordable and professional advertising and get a free gift!
Track the ad.
I get this question all the time. How do I track my print ads? There are many ways. Use a special offer that you only use in the ad. It could also be a unique price. For example, 15.98 is the ad you run in newspaper “A” 15.96 could be the ad you ran in Newspaper “B” (yes people still respond to newspaper ads. 🙂 You could also have a special phone number or extension to track the calls. Alternatively, use a different domain name to track website visits. Get creative but don’t make it hard for people to respond.
Test the ad for message completeness.
Have someone read your ad and then tell you what he or she thinks you are promoting. If they don’t get it, go back to the drawing board. Don’t place a bad ad!
Test and tweak and test and tweak, etc…
Let say you did everything correctly. Bravo! Now you place the ad and wait. If you get no responses, change ONE and only ONE thing and see if that gets more responses. If not you tweak again. JUST ONE THING AT A TIME OR YOU WILL NOT KNOW WHAT WORKED. Ads are not a one and done thing. To be effective now and in the future you must continuously be tweaking or again you are wasting your money and even worse losing out on the income that would be produced by a properly tested and tweaked ad.
So in recap:
- Always satisfy a strong want or need. Answer the question: What’s in it for me?
- Don’t rely on amateurs to create your ad. It’s a waste of money.
- Use enough copy to get readers to your next step.
- Use customer centric copy, imagery and color.
- Use long headlines that include the entire message.
- Use strong call to actions.
- Test the ad for message completeness.
- Test the ads effectiveness by testing.
If you need help increasing the effectiveness and profits from your marketing just give me a call at 732-818-0080 x 102. I will give you an ad evaluation and stimulating conversation all free. <– Call to action. 🙂
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