All of last year’s advertisements should be gathered together. Go for it. Toss them (or the proof sheets, if you’re lucky) out of your magazines and newspapers. Remove as many of your competitor’s ads as you can.
In order to hide the company names, addresses, and logos, fold them out of the picture. Paper and tape can be used to block out the company names from headlines. Glue yours to the top and the competition’s to the bottom, then tape them to the wall. Once you’ve retreated at least five feet, you can proceed. We’ll gradually narrow our focus to the most effective ad in the group (hopefully one of yours).
The first thing you should do is not to read any of them. Instead, perform what I call the “Eye Test,” or a quick visual check. Do your advertisements stand out from the crowd? Do they merge into a sludge of the sameness, or are they distinct from one another? Keep in mind that your ad won’t be seen by your audience alone, but alongside dozens of other ads in the same or similar publications. If your ads are memorable, you’re ahead of the pack by a mile.
Now, get closer to your advertisements. Close enough to feel and see what they’re trying to convey People’s first impression of a new employee is based on the overall impression he or she makes. Advertising is the same.
The colors, design, and typeface all need to match your company’s branding. A medical sales representative isn’t allowed to wear a referee shirt or a whistle around his or her neck like a tennis shoe salesman is. Ads that match your company’s image are a step closer to attracting customers and closing the deal.
Consistency is also an important factor to consider. It is important that all of your ads portray the same message. In other words, they aren’t required to use the same image or headline. All of them need to appear to be made by the same company.
All things considered, you’ll recognize this face in the crowd. You put a lot of time and effort into it, too. Nothing else can claim it as their own. This is similar to the first sale made by a good salesperson. The thought of working with another salesperson after that experience would be unthinkable.
If your ads appear to be the work of a number of different firms, your target market may assume the same about your product. Effective advertising is within your reach if your ads pass this simple test. In order to proceed to the next step, you must be in this position.
Keep an eye on your favorite ad campaign from a safe distance. You are being evaluated on how well you have set up your position. Yes, you can now read your ads, but only in broad strokes at this point. By the end of the first paragraph, you should have a good idea of where you stand. Essentially, positioning refers to how your target market sees your company’s products, services, and brand in relation to their own.
Businessmen, engineers, and college students, for example, all require computers, but each has a unique vision of what these devices can accomplish. Consider using the term “management or accounting tool” instead of “computer” when marketing a computer to business owners.
If an advertisement showed computers as a writing and study tool, students might be more receptive to it. Engineers are more likely to purchase a computer if it is marketed as a tool for design or research. The products are the same in each case, but the positioning is what gives each market its own special appeal. Sales increase in direct proportion to the level of public interest in a product. If you’ve done your homework, your positioning should put the reader in a more intimate relationship with your ad and the product it’s advertising.
We’re going to focus on just one ad for the time being. So, choose your favorite and get as close as possible so you can read it comfortably. In order to entice readers, the headline and accompanying image should tell them “what’s in it for me?” In the event that it doesn’t accomplish this quickly and effectively, your audience may not bother to read it at all.
A direct customer benefit is a great way to start a sales pitch, even before introducing the product. Customers want to know right away what the product can do for them—the big benefit. It’s not going to work if your product’s benefit is hidden in the body and your main visual is an uninteresting product shot or a photo of Earth floating in space. As a result, your competitor will get the sale.
The body copy is now ready for close-up. As a follow-up to your headline’s claim, it should clearly and forcefully convey your product’s key advantages. For all practical purposes, you still need to answer the question “what’s in it for me,” but the available space makes it easier to do so.
It’s up to you how you want to express yourself. However, you must persuade the reader that your product is superior to the competition. A good ad will go the distance if it’s done well. Everything else is just what every good salesman does before he leaves the office.
You’ll need to get close to the bottom of your ad in order to accomplish this goal. Close enough to read your call to action, which should be brief and direct, leaving no doubt in the reader’s mind what to do after reading the ad—call, clip a coupon, circle a bingo card.
What the reader can expect in return should also be made clear, such as a demo or call from a salesperson, or a free sample. There is no need to put this information in small print (e.g., don’t put this or your phone number in tiny print).
It’s important to keep in mind that a salesperson should never ask for an order or provide his or her phone number in a whisper.
It is clear that we have not taken into account a wide range of market, demographic, and personal variables in our analysis. Ads that achieve the goals we’ve outlined will compel people to pay attention to them—and your product, of course. And this is the essence of good advertising.