By: Gordon Conner
I’ve been in the advertising business for over 40 years and I’ve seen some pretty successful ads over the years. The VW ad above is certainly one of the most compelling and remembered. But I’ve also seen millions of dollars thrown away on poor, ineffective and outright lousy ads. All of that pain could have been avoided by simply following some basic principals when preparing advertising. If you do that, sales will improve, your business will expand and everyone will be happy. Ignore the basics, and, well, you may not be in business long enough to get another chance. The good news is that these basic principles of how to produce good ads apply to many other promotional tools you may want to use, as well. So, here we go, by the numbers:
- Why Are You Better Than The Other Guys?What would make your advertising stand out from the competition? People are exposed to ads from all types of businesses all the time. So, what will cause your potential customers to buy from your company versus one of your competitors? That’s what you have to figure out and focus on. Show your prospects why your business is their best option and why they shouldn’t even consider a competitor. Then, the odds are, they won’t.
What I’m talking about is your “Unique Selling Proposition”, or “Value Proposition” or “Dominant Value Point”. Call it what you wish, but it’s what makes you better than the other guys. Here are some examples of products with a good USP:
- Head & Shoulders: “You get rid of dandruff”
- Nike: “Shoes that are made for professional athletes”
- Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less-or it’s free.”
- FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
- M&Ms: “Melts in your mouth, not your hand.”
- Metropolitan Life: “Get Met. It Pays.”
- Avis: “We’re number two. We try harder.”
- Starbucks: “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right.”
- Southwest Airlines: “We’re the low-fare airline.”
The goal is to develop your own USP. Why you’re different and unique. Do you have something that no one else has? This is what you’re looking for. So find it, or create it.
2. Hit ‘em Between The Eyes With Your Message!
People are exposed to so many ads daily that they can’t possibly read them all. This is why you have to be certain that your ad actually grabs their attention and keeps it. So how do you do that? With a strong headline, of course.
The best advertising man of all time, David Ogilvy, proclaimed, “Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. After you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents of your dollar.”
The question to be asked is “Who is your audience? What would grab their attention?”
3. Make An Offer That They Can’t Refuse!
People really love bargains. So offer them a great one so that they’ll come back over and over. Whether you’re offering an unbelievable price, a free trial or a bundled offer, doing your best to provide your customers with a great deal will help you seal the deal.
Once you come up with this awesome offer, be sure that you promote it proudly and tell the world about it. When the public sees that you have something special to offer them, they just might come running.
4. Talk Benefits–Not features. What’s In It For Them!
Ah, the desirable benefit! Itemizing the features of your products is important, but explaining the benefits is really the key for the customer. After all, people are more concerned with what they’ll get from you than what you do. Don’t you agree?
5. Create An Advertorial!
An “advertorial” is an ad that looks like a news article! People are 7 times more likely to read news articles than an ad.
Creating a great ad that gets attention and offers lots of information isn’t always easy. An advertorial can do this, however, and because of that, it’s more likely to be clicked and read.
6. Make A Risk-Free Offer!
People are skittish about spending money. So a risk-free guarantee is a great idea. When they know there is no risk and that they can’t lose by purchasing your product, that’s is a powerful purchasing incentive. This “reverses” the risk and places more of it on the seller.
7. Ask Them To Do Something Through Your “Call To Action”!
Don’t simply tell your prospects what your company has available. Ask them to take action. Tell them specifically to order your product, click your ad or pay for your service, etc.
As an example, your “call to action” can ask people to fill out a form to get more information about your services, email you for more information, join your email newsletter or to buy your product or service. It could even encourage users to click your ad to go to your website in addition to just reading the ad.
8. Tell Them Why They Should Buy NOW!
You don’t want to just generate interest in your ads; you want people to do something NOW.
When people see an ad and consider giving the advertiser a try later, they might actually have good intentions. But, people usually get on with life and forget about the ad that they were interested in. Therefore, you have to ask people to act now. Just do it!
Regardless of how you do it, it’s important to let your potential clients know that they need to do something now.
9. Use Testimonials
Remember that folks have a lot of questions these days, especially when they’re online. It’s important to establish trust in your business and its products so they know that your company is the best choice. You can achieve this by showing that others have been happy with their decision to buy from you.
10. Use “WOW” Graphics
People think visually. Plain copy on a simple background is boring. People often don’t read all the copy that’s been written in an ad. You can appeal to your client’s visual interest by adding interesting graphics to your ads. Knock their socks off!
11. Full Contact Info.
Now that you’ve explained what you’re selling, don’t forget to tell them how and where to get it. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money. And, remember to link people from your ad to your website for more information.
Deliver What You Promise!
Remember, always over-deliver. Producing an effective ad is great, but your ads won’t get you far if you don’t have happy customers. In addition, you should be sure to provide your customers with the best experience possible. Prove that you are the best option available.
Making Yourself Stand Out
These 11 tips can help your ads stand out and put you head and shoulders above your competition. You’ll be able to make attention-grabbing ads that will get people pumped up about your offer. That will help to greatly improve your rate of turning prospects into real customers.
Advertising is important, but really good advertising is the key to helping your company be a success. Let’s not create any lemons in your ad campaign.
Gordon Conner is a copywriter, content writer and blogger who writes “Snappy Copy That Sells Stuff”. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at http://www.GordonConner.com.