Many of these tips apply to most forms of advertising, but they are intended primarily for print advertising that includes newspaper or magazine ads and direct mail advertising.
While there are professional copywriters that command thousands of dollars to write a single newspaper ad or direct mail letter, a significant number of small business men and women are attempting to design, create and implement their own marketing campaigns.
Whether you design your own advertising or have a professional design it for you, it is still judged by the same criteria. Was it successful? Did sales go up? Were your profits higher?
Following are a list of tips and "Do's and Don'ts" that should be considered when creating an ad.
- Plan your advertising with a three-step approach. First and most important, identify and target the best possible prospects for your products or services. Second, make sure the offer in your ad has appeal to your prospect. Third, when writing the copy for your ad or creating graphics, ask the question from your prospect's point of view, "So What, Who Cares". Remove any parts of your ad where you can't answer that question.
- Address the importance of WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) from the viewpoint of your prospect. The more the better.
- Don't confuse features with benefits. Your prospects buy the benefits provided by the features, not the features themselves.
- Use the AIDA guideline when preparing your ad or direct mail letter. AIDA stands for Attention - Interest - Desire - Action. This is the progression that must take place to generate a response to your advertising. You need a strong headline or opening sentence to immediately capture the ATTENTION of your prospect. The goal then is to generate INTEREST from your prospect in the first few sentences of your ad. As your prospect continues to read, it's necessary to create a DESIRE in them to have your product or service. And finally, your ad or letter must have a strong call to ACTION encouraging the prospect to respond to your offer NOW!
- Consider putting a Time Limit on your offer. And if you do, use a specific cut off date. These ads almost always out perform ads having no time limit.
- Edit your ad or letter by replacing the word "I" with the word "You" wherever possible. As an example, don't say, "I have drug free employees." Instead consider something like, "You will enjoy dealing with our well trained, customer focused drug free professionals.
While this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of successful advertising, it does give you examples of some of the steps needed to insure your ads are customer focused.