People don’t want to read advertising. Especially yours!
An hour goes by, a day, a week, and the phone lines are silent. Your anticipation fades, and morphs into disappointment.
The sad truth is, we (the advertisers) are the only people who get excited about seeing our ad in print. You wait in anticipation for the day when your words show up on page 53 of a magazine, or inside the classified section of your local newspaper. We stare, and marvel at our creation. The phone lines will be blowing up with customers begging us for our latest product, or signing up for our revolutionary service offering!
Without even setting eyes on your advertisement, I can guarantee that you missed one of the five essential steps when attempting to design an ad that converts. That’s why I am going to teach you how to draw customers in like moths to a flame.
Here are the 5 essential steps you must take in order to create advertising that provides you with a crazy high return on your investment!
1. Get their attention
Your ad is in competition with every other string of text in a publication. That includes every word, image and headline.
Yours has to stand out, and provide the reader with content that is newsworthy, entertaining or informative. The reader is not just looking to read. They bought that magazine or paper to learn something new, or soak up some gee-whiz information.
Your ad must fill one of those roles. If it doesn’t, it becomes solely an annoyance, and is quickly skipped over in search of content that is worthy of their attention.
2. Answer the most critical questions
What advantage will a customer gain after buying your product?
I typed out the word customer in bold text for a reason. As business owners, we develop a close relationship with our products. They’re our ideas, our genius and our source of income. Our passion is what got us this far, but it will also be the demise of our advertising success.
You have to learn how to put that passion on pause during the advertising phase of business. Design your ads with the customer’s needs in mind. The reader may have no idea what your product is, does, or the purpose it serves. A selling point that as the author may make perfect sense to you, but how is it perceived by an uneducated audience? Enlist the guidance of your peers that have zero affiliation with your business. Listen to their feedback, and build your advertising around their likes and needs.
3. Prove to them that what you are saying is true
The proof is not always in the pudding! In a bad economy, buyers are no longer willing to roll the dice on a product that may or may not solve their problems.
Before they make that purchase decision, they will require proof that what you are offering works. Be sure to include customer testimonials, links to videos of your product in action, or how-to guides that instruct the end-user on how to operate your products for optimal results. Don’t leave anything to question.
4. Persuade the reader to think as you do
By providing examples, or short stories that the reader can relate with, you can mold their mindset, and direct them toward making a purchase. You believe in your product, and they should too.
I’ve used this example in the past, but late night infomercials are the absolute all-stars when it comes to persuading a viewer to adopt their point-of-view. They use the popularity of celebrities, and success stories told by every day users just like us. We’ve all sat in front of the TV and thought to ourselves, “It’s like they are speaking to me!” Their ad was created for us only, and somehow they knew that I would be lounging on the couch watching the boob-tube at 1 a.m.
The cool thing is, that ad was designed for you, along with the millions of others that watched it. They appealed to the customer, they answered the critical questions and they made a ton of money in the process!
5. Call to action
What is the next step? Do they call a number, email someone, or come into the store?
You can author a stellar piece of advertising, but unless the reader is told what it is they should do next, it will result in a failed attempt to sell. Your directions need to be crystal clear, and contain a ton of detail. Disregard the intelligence of your focused demographic. When it comes to following directions in a piece of advertising, all of our brains turn to mush, and we require a hand-held approach toward the next step.
Tell the reader the woman’s name that will answer the phone, include a picture of the sales team and, if able, avoid automating the initial contact process. Nothing turns a prospective customer off faster than a digital answering service. I know it’s difficult to find actual humans to man the phone lines, but if it becomes hard to handle, then your ad was a success! And that’s a problem any business owner would be happy to deal with.
Follow these five steps, and experience a huge return on your advertising investments. As with all of the guidance I give you, DO NOT delete any steps from the equation. That would be like making chocolate chip cookies without sugar.
Avoid the bitter taste of sugarless cookies, and enjoy the extra sweet flavor of entrepreneurial success!
Andy Sokolovich is the owner of small business marketing firm Bent Business Marketing. He can be reached at andy@BentBusinessMarketing.com.