How You Can Create Advertising That Sell!

By: Thom Reece

Businesses spend too many dollars, however, on ads that simplywill not result in increased sales and profits. These ads arepoorly conceived, poorly written, poorly designed, poorlytargeted, and poorly placed.

Sounds like a poor way to do business, doesn't it?

I often ask clients (as tactfully as possible), why they haverun a particular ad. I get a lot of blank stares. A few tensemoments will pass while the client tries to think of a cleveranswer. "To get the company name out in front of the public so Ican get more business." they reply, with some relief.

This poor soul has just described a lack of a well defined goal,which leads almost inevitably to what I call an institutionalad. An institutional ad can best be described as one whichidentifies the advertiser and lists address, telephone number,hours of operation, and (maybe) the company logo. That's it.What a terrible waste of money!

Unless your company grosses a billion dollars a year, you can'tafford to do institutional ads. If your company does gross overa billion dollars a year...you're probably too smart to runinstitutional ads.

Every ad you run must result in increased sales and profits andan enhanced image for your company. Every ad should make thecustomer a solid offer and give the customer sound reasons tobuy from you now. Remember, the customer is sitting back andasking, "What can you do for me?" If you're careful to answerthat question with a powerful offer and reasons to buy now,you're on your way to advertising success...which results inincreased sales and profits.

How can you improve your chances of increasing sales?

Let's look at some profit-producing ideas...

SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

Very few businesses are prepared or qualified to produce qualityadvertising. If you spend more than $2,000 per month inadvertising, you should seriously consider hiring a qualifiedadvertising professional. There are any number of skilledfreelancers who can develop strategy, and create your marketingmaterials with a keen eye to using proven methods and techniques.

Good advertising talent always pays it's own way throughincreased sales and profits, improved cost-effectiveness,reduced selling costs, and shortened selling cycles.

If your resources are limited, don't feel lost. There's noreason why you can't learn to write an effective ad. That's whatthe rest of this article is all about...how you can createadvertising that sells.

FOLLOW A PROVEN FORMULA

One of the oldest and most useful formulas for ad design takesits name from the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verde. In this case theletters A-I-D-A stand for ATTENTION, INTEREST, DESIRE, ANDACTION.

In it's simplest form this formula serves as a structuralblueprint. It guides us to: (1) Get the prospect's Attention,(2) Foster his or her Interest in your offer, (3) build Desirefor your product or service and (4) Generate some type of Actionon the part of the buyer.

As we expand on each of these elements individually, you'lldiscover for yourself how to apply the formula to your specificsituation.

ATTENTION (The Headline)

Hit your prospect right between the eyes with a magic wand. How?With a powerful benefit headline. The headline is the mostimportant single element of your ad. You have two to threeseconds to stop the reader as he or she passes by. You must stopthe reader, and interest them in your benefit, if you expectthem to read further.

A powerful headline will (1) stop the reader (2) isolate andqualify your best prospects, and (3) pull your reader into thesub-heads and body copy.

How do you write the attention-getting headline? First,carefully review all the benefits of-use of your product orservice. Second, take your most important benefit and weave thatbenefit into your headline. Use action words to describe thebenefit to one individual reader.

Here are some examples...

"Save 50% On Office Supplies...Send For Your Free Catalog Today!"

"How YOU Can Create Advertising That SELLS!"

"New! Amazing Techniques That You Can Use To Land A High-PayingJob...Today!"

"How To Design Profit-Producing Web Sites That SELL!"

APPEALING TO BUSINESS EXECUTIVES

When writing your ad to a business-to-business audience youshould keep in mind the six key benefits most likely to getattention:

1.Save Money 2.Save Time 3.Increase Sales 4.Increase Profits5.Enhance Image 6.Boost cash flow

Most other benefits are subordinate to these key six. I callthem the"Business Benefit Six-Pack." Show your customer how yourproduct or service provides these benefits, and you willdramatically improve your results.

INTEREST AND DESIRE> (The Offer, Body Copy, Benefits-Benefits-Benefits)

You build interest in your product or service (and the desire tobuy) by making the customer a compelling offer and by describingas many benefits as possible in simple and interesting terms.

Tip # 1: Top ad pros always write the ad first, then buywhatever space necessary to display the ad message with clarityand power.

Tip # 2: Words sell...graphic design displays the words in avisually appealing way. Don't confuse the two. No amount oftrendy design will make a poorly written ad sell for you. Gooddesign reinforces good copy...it cannot take the place of it!The implication for internet marketers is that content is king.Avoid glitsy, moving graphics that only distract from yourmessage and increase load times. Good design and good copyshould work synergistically.

Tip #3: Long copy sells...as long as it's good copy. I call it"greased slide" copy. You get the reader on the top of the slidewhen he reads a powerful headline, and he can't get off until hehas taken the action asked for (i.e., ordered the product, madethe trip to the store, dialed the phone, clicked theorder/inquiry button, filled out the on-line order, etc.).

ACTION(Ask For The Order)

Now comes the moment of truth. You must ask for the order. Givereasons for the customer to buy now...and make it easy for himto do so. In direct response marketing, this will involve acoupon for mail orders, a toll-free order line, an e-mailaddress, an on-line order form, a fax order line..any means tomake it easy and simple to order!

Take the fear out of the purchase. Give solid guarantees. Offersecure ordering for on-line customers. Show testimonials fromsatisfied customers.

Show what the customer is going to lose if he doesn't order now.

If you are a retailer, include a map to your store(s) (newcomerslove them). Show the credit cards you accept, list the hours ofoperation, tell them about your friendly staff, include aspecial coupon or other incentive. In other words, "Roll out thered carpet."

INVEST IN FUTURE PROFITS

So there you have it. A primer on good advertising. If I'vepiqued your interest to learn more, then check out the otherarticles available at this resource.

Remember, bad advertising...no matter what the media...is anunproductive expense.

Good advertising is an investment in future profits!

Good advertising and good management go together. You can't havea successful business on-line or off-line---without both.

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