I caught myself wracking my brain over what kind of article I should write for newspapers that would be useful to business people. It struck me that I was making a solid effort to get into the mind of my target market. It also struck me that this is the biggest mistake most business owners make when designing their own ads. They start listing off their services and are ready to stick their logo front and center before even putting a thought to what their customers really care about.
The first step in creating any advertising, be it a direct mail piece or an email, always has to be to think about what your customer wants. What do they desire? What do they need? Can you solve a problem for them? People all want to know, “what's in it for me?"
This isn't a new concept and I'm sure you've heard it before, but when I look at newspaper ads and listen to the radio, it's evident that few heed this priceless advice. My guess is, it's because it's difficult to do. Difficult, but not impossible. So before you go ahead and spend another grand on your next pamphlet or print ad, use these tips on how to write great advertising.
Eye Catching Headlines Headlines are found in an opening sentence of a sales letter, the subject line in an email, the title of your web pages and in your ads. Since the headline gets one or two seconds, now is your only chance to grab some attention. Grab ‘em, and grab ‘em good. Headlines have the following characteristics.
- arouse curiosity.
- promise answers to a questions or solutions to a problem.
- show benefits to your potential customer.
- promise to reveal a secret or information that’s hard to find.
- create emotional appeal.
- they have to force you to stop what you’re doing and read on.
Common headline tricks:
How To, as in - How to Beat your Competitor Every time. Ask a question - Are You Looking for a Computer At Half the Cost?
Wlsh lt was flrmer? Make a Promise - We can help you make your creditors go away. Make a Bold Statement - Attention Worn out Moms!
The easiest headline tricks are the How To's and the Questions. No matter what will work best for you, you have to know who your customer is in order for it to work.
The Rest of your Ad
Make Promise - Most of the time your promise is in your headline. The next portion of your ad has to be to explain what you mean. If you asked them if they're looking for a computer at half the price, you have to tell them how you can do it.
Prove it - You've made the promise, now prove to them why you're the one to fulfill it. Tell them why they should trust you. If you told the you can make their creditors go away, tell them how. Provide testimonials or case studies. Maybe you've got before and after shots. Give them a money back guarantee. Prove to them that they can trust you.
Ask for Action - Spell it out for them. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. Remember, your advertising doesn't do the selling for you. You and your staff do the selling. If you want them to call and make an appointment, tell them that's what you want them to do. If you want them to buy your widgets online, tell them to visit your site. Ads that don't request action don't bring you more customers.
You now have two choices. Continue to advertise as you do, retaining little to no response, or, you can employ these proven advertising methods and begin to see your advertising as an investment, rather than an expense. No matter what you do, you have to think about who your ideal customer is first. If you put them first, they'll appreciate it.
Linda Laforge-Koebel is an advertising professional dedicated to the business success of her clients. To find more resources or to sign up for the Business Booster newsletter visit her at: http://www.CreativeEngineer.com or contact her by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org