Many people consider advertising to be a waste of money, because they do not get any business from it. They spend a lot on the design to make it look good, and even negotiate where it is placed in the publication for maximum effect, and yet the punters don’t come flocking in.
This can be very demoralising, especially when your advert is placed alongside others that are trying to promote the same product or service. (This is particularly poignant in those local magazines that plop on your doormat once a month.)
If you took a step back and looked carefully, you would probably notice that all the ads are saying the same thing: “This is the company’s logo and name, this is how wonderful we are, this is what we do, this is where we are located, this is our contact details”.
Sometimes doing what everybody else is doing is not a good thing. To grab a customer’s attention you need to be different. You need to analyse what is their problem or what do they need/want, and you need to show empathy with the customer’s predicament. You then need to provide the solution or answer.
If your company provides answers to lots of problems, don’t list them all (that’s incredibly boring, and there probably won’t be enough room in the advert), do some research to find out what’s the most important thing people are looking for in relation to your industry. If your marketing message hits home what the customers are most likely to be thinking about – maybe it’s seasonal, fashionable, most popular, a gap in the market, your expertise – it will relate to them more and you are more likely to be noticed above the others.
Also, the first area of the advert that is noticed is the top left. This should not be where your company logo and name should be, it’s where your main marketing message should take pride of place. Get the customers on your side, make them feel comfortable, and let them appreciate your empathy with their need before they read on.
Then you should list the reasons why customers should do business with you. These are the benefits they will experience from your company’s service and the products you provide or instal, and how much their lives will be improved. It does not mean listing how wonderful you are and all the special features your product or service has; they may be important to you, but the customer only thinks about themselves and how it will affect them. List feelings rather than facts, or lifestyle rather than performance.
And then you must tell the customer what to ‘do’ after you’ve given them all this information. Never assume they will automatically pick up the phone or look you up online. Why should they, if they have no compelling reason? What incentive do they have to make contact? What will they get for nothing if they leave their details with you? What special, timebound deal with entice them to immediately fumble for their mobiles or go straight to your special landing page on your website?
And when you have put together this totally unmissable incentive (which should be part of your marketing planning activities done way in advance of setting the advert), make sure your contact details are LARGE and clear, not stuffed somewhere at the bottom as if they were an afterthought. Outline the special offer equally clearly, and add in a post-script at the bottom – a very powerful tool to entice the customer to take the bait.
And to be able to measure the performance of this advert, or within its position within a series (which does have more impact because one issue may not be enough to capture your customers’ attention; drip-feed marketing on a long-term basis will finally wear them down!), create a method of collecting data from reactions: Google Analytics for your special landing page, database programmes for collecting the names and emails of those participating in your special offer or downloading your relevant report or e-book, even having a special patter ready for those customers who ring up (maybe to a special telephone line) to find out how they heard about your company and what they are interested in.
Isn’t this better than blindly putting an advert in with the same copy as everybody else, with the vain hope someone might possibly see it and respond?