As a small business owner in the past I have found myself frustrated with the effectiveness of advertising. With a limited budget I knew that I had to make every marketing dollar count. I will share a technique in this article that has worked consistently for me.
The marketplace today for small businesses has become more competitive than ever. Businesses of every size are scrambling to gain more market share to sell more products and services. Advertising dollars are becoming scarcer due to budget cutbacks and the declining profitability experienced by some organizations.
Many ads that you and I see on a daily basis seem to “miss the boat” in terms of generating a sale. Granted some ads are not intended to develop a sale but to generate awareness for the company. As a business professor in a small Colorado college I taught my students effective advertising using the AIDA principle. Part of their class project was to develop effective ad campaigns for small businesses and the exercise proved successful. The AIDA concept has been around for some time and is simple to use. I’m surprised it’s not used more. Here are the components.
Get the Readers Attention
Especially with newspaper and printed ads that are competing with other ads on the same page it is imperative that you get the readers attention. You can accomplish this not only by color and size but also by having an eye-catching headline. Possible ways to develop this headline would be to determine your product’s or services unique selling proposition. Why would the reader want to purchase what you are selling over a competing product? Another possibility could be to list a unique benefit or solution in the headline that your product/service offers. Use action words when appropriate. Bottom line is that it should be compelling enough to cause the reader to want to read further for more information.
Get the Readers Interest
You got their attention to your ad so now it’s time to build their interest in your product or service. Don’t lose your reader in this section. Build upon the headline to show how your product or service can solve a need or problem. How can your product or service make their life better? Tie the features of your offering to the benefits. In developing the ad copy put yourself in the potential customer’s shoes. What would keep you interested in learning more about the product or service?
Get the Readers Desire
They are interested in what you are offering but “they need to really want it”. Create a strong desire for your product or service. Build upon the “compelling benefits” you mentioned earlier. Help them want your product or service so bad that they can taste it. Obviously some products or services are easier to create desire than others. For example if you offer a unique weight loss program an overweight reader might already have a strong desire to lose weight.
Get the Reader to Take Action
The call to action is one of the weakest components of many ads that we all see today. You must lead the reader to what the next step should be. Show them how easy it is to contact you or purchase your offering. Post your toll-free number. Show your address. If you have a web site have an order now page with easy credit card billing. Mention your satisfaction guarantee if you have one that will help minimize your customer’s perceived risk of purchasing your product or service. Use action phrases like “Don’t delay order now” or “don’t miss another day of (product benefit), order now”.
In closing also place yourself in the customers frame of mind. Talk to current customers and ask them why they purchased your product or service. In fact ask them if you could use their statements in a testimonial ad. Testimonial ads are “believable” to many prospective customers.
Recommended Books on How to Create a Winning Ad Campaign:
- How to Advertise
- How to Use the Internet to Advertise, Promote, and Market Your Business or Web Site: With Little or No Money Revised Second Edition
- Effective Advertising: Understanding When, How, and Why Advertising Works (Marketing for a New Century)
- Guerrilla Advertising: Cost-Effective Techniques for Small-Business Success
- Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich: Create Winning Ads, Web Pages, Sales Letters and More
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