Without a doubt; every business owner and sales or marketing director wants to write successful and profitable ads. The question is “how do you write a fruitful and prosperous ad?” In this article, you will learn the “secrets” for creating powerful ads and marketing pieces.
The working definition of effective advertising and marketing is to grab the consumer’s attention immediately. Further, you want that curiosity to develop into dependable, steady streams of new business, and maximize your return on investment.
Learning “the secrets” of how to create better promotional pieces means you would never again have to play advertising roulette with your promotion budget! The key to an effective ad begins with a captivating headline! Headlines play monumental roles in the strength of your ads.
Your goal needs to be to have predictable results every time you run an ad. Your ad must be a salesperson in print, online, on the radio, in the television ad, etc. A weak or non-existent headline works as a highly skilled and master saboteur against your advertising effort!
Unless your display ad convinces a client to pick up the phone and call you or come into your office, your ads are useless.
Unfortunately, many business professionals’ display ads all look alike and say the same things, such as: “Free consultation,” “We’re the best,” “Expert representation,” and so on. All essential points on their merits; unfortunately, those statements alone don’t provide consumers enough evidence to make an informed decision. To make matters worse, for many of these ads the only elements that change are the name of their practices.
To have your next client pick up their phone and call you, your ad must stand out and be different! Worst still, some practice owners only state their name in their ad. What benefit does a consumer derive from this information? Absolutely nothing!
There is an absolute law that applies to all successful advertising that should always be applied by advertisers. Write every promotional piece from the consumer’s point of view: The client (all clients) are driven and motivated by self-interest. Therefore, as you compose your promotional piece (s), appeal to the clients’ “What’s in it for me?” (WIFM) factor. Allow me to illustrate that point in this manner:
“Your clients have a problem they don’t want. However, they [clients] know that somewhere out there, there is a solution to their problem that they want but don’t have.”
Your ad needs to quantitatively enumerate reasons why a consumer “MUST” choose you over everyone else providing the same service.
There’s a secret your advertising sales representative (a.k.a. the person representing the particular vehicle in which you advertise) won’t tell you. Wherever your ad appears or is heard, your competitor’s ad will often also be featured in that very same medium.
When you advertise, you are competing in an arena where there are multiple competitors for the same available clients. I have had many conversations with clients regarding this point; and very often, they are astonished. Frankly, most never think about what happens when an advertising piece goes out. At the risk of being hyperbolic and over-dramatizing, allow me to explain.
Think of a heat-seeking missile; an ad works the same way. The ad gets launched, and can’t be stopped. Once it hits the public, the objective is to reach as many targeted consumers as possible. Its only mission is to locate, allure, and persuade prospects to contact the sender — which includes your client base.
Highly successful and profitable display ads have very specific things in common; they include:
- A Great Headline
- A Compelling Sub-Head
- What Makes You Unique?
- Offer Specific Benefit
- Make a Decisive Offer
- Include a Call to Action
Though many media forums provide the basic elements of these key ingredients, too often, they [the media outlets] simply provide some variation of a cookie-cutter formula for “advertising success.”
* It is important to stress that there is nothing wrong with a generic advertising format; so long as it yields the intended results (i.e., to attract as many prospects as possible)! If, however, if you aren’t getting the responses you expect and need, then you must re-evaluate your message!
THE IMPORTANCE OF HEADLINES
Fact, up to 95% of all ads have no headlines. Why is that important? The reason is that multiple marketing studies (covering several decades), reflecting consumer’s buying habits demonstrate that fully 80% of all consumers only read headlines when deciding which company to use. Further, these studies go on to point out that the utilization of a headline makes your ad more substantially powerful!
To illustrate the point, we will use this culinary metaphor; your headline is the main ingredient in a great meal!
- Many of these studies also show that: your headline can increase your display advertising pulling power by as much as 2,000%!
- Moreover, world-renowned marketing experts confirm that marketing study numbers are accurate when stating that the headline credit for up to 80% of an ad’s effectiveness.
The father of modern advertising, David Ogilvy, wrote volumes on this topic. He wrote things like:
“The headline is the most important element in most advertisements. It is the proverbial telegram which decides the reader whether to read the copy.
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
“If you haven’t done some selling in your headline, you have wasted 80% of your client’s money.”
A great headline will compel consumers to read, watch, or listen to your ad.
However, though strong headlines can “magically” draw consumers to your ad, you must provide compelling value and better solutions. Remember what we discussed earlier. Your clients have a problem they don’t want. They are looking for a solution they want but don’t have. It is your responsibility to provide that “solution” in your headline.
In fact, Copyengineer.com addresses this point beautifully in their article titled, “Always use a benefit headline.” Most importantly, it’s vital that you understand your clients (their wants, needs, concerns, etc.). As you develop and create your headlines, assist your prospects “identify themselves;” offer them something they’re looking for.
Further, a well-crafted headline provides direction and hope. For example, if you are in business– to–business industry, and your clients are other businesses, the article states the following: “Hey, read this and you can improve productivity, make your job easier, save money, get things done faster, get an edge on the competition, comply with regulations, etc.”
Author, Jeff Goins, further illustrates the importance of a solid headline with his article called the “5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines.”
According to Mr. Goins, the creation of strong headlines also applies every other public forum you possess (i.e., your blog posts, book chapters, newsletters, and so on). “The title is where your focus should be. You should begin and end every article with the question: ‘Would this make me want to read on?”
He cautions that your advertising should always be factual; never used teaser headlines. A teaser headline tries to do what the name implies: tease you into reading the ad, email, sales letter, or whatever. However, they don’t deliver what the headline promises.
“People don’t want to be tricked into reading something boring; they want to be drawn into something exciting. Make it worth their [consumers’] while.”
CREATE HIGHER LEVELS OF INTERESTS
As mentioned earlier, you are competing against every other professional provide the services you do. Consequently, you must stand out in a crowded marketplace! Therefore, after nailing down your headline, add/offer strong incentives to your promotional piece, so clients call you, like:
- Offer specific benefits — Tell them what’s in it for them. The only thing potential clients want to know is how they will benefit from using your services.
- Have an offer — It’s amazing how few practices’ display ads include any offer or incentive to use their services immediately.
These same marketing studies point out making a compelling offer can increase your response by as much as 400%. It will set you far above your competition in the display ads.
- Testimonials – This is one of the most effective advertising strategies, yet hardly ever utilized. What satisfied clients say about your business practice is more important than what you say about yourself. In your ad, invite consumers to visit your site and see what others say about you.
Additionally, testimonials are a well-kept secret resulting in enormous profits for advertisers. Hence, take advantage of the immense power and credibility that comes with these endorsements. Use technology; it is easier than ever to set up and post these vital endorsements on the front page of your website!
As you gather your testimonials for display, use your top 20% client base that represents 80% of your profits. Your clients should focus on how your services have worked and the individual results they achieved. This will be a vehicle to develop the emotional side of what you did for them and how you impacted their professional and personal lives.
We realize that display ads (whether online or in print) sometimes offer limited space.
However, properly structured, you should be able to include the aforementioned vital items.
This brings us to an important topic. I am often asked about industry guidelines and restrictions (and their limitations on advertising). For years I worked in a heavily regulated industry; and, I found that most industries have guideline concerning advertising. However, within these regulations, with a bit of ingenuity, you should be able to excel. I never had any problems with my promotional campaigns; even though we were subject to constant scrutiny.
To conclude, make every promotional decision an intentional one. Be deliberate; be strategic in the delivery of your marketing message. Take extra-long time to consider which headline(s) will grab the consumer’s attention best. Make sure that your headline describes your content in an honest, but attractive, way. If done correctly, you won’t regret it; in fact, you will separate yourself from your biggest competitors.
The whole purpose of investing your budget on an ad is to get consumers to read your ad and call your number. However, if your ad doesn’t attract attention, then the rest of your content won’t be read either. Therefore, you will have not only wasted your money, but you’ve missed out on untold amounts of money from future clients who really needed and wanted your services.
Again, a compelling headline attracts attention, communicates a strong benefit, and answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” A headline acts like a marquis for a movie theater and selects the right audience. Identify all the benefits of your service from the consumers’ point of view.
I understand; learning and applying these vital techniques for the growth of your practice takes time. Without exception, the business professionals I speak with do not have that time to spare. If you are a similar situation, and you cannot get away from the frenzy of your practice for just a few minutes, I have a solution for you.
I will help you write your headline. Let me explain how I work. Everything begins with a conversation (a casual dialogue). I find that if the client hasn’t been able to do much in the form of promotional strategizing, it’s like trying to eat an elephant in one bite. I evaluate their most pressing need(s), then I share my knowledge, and I make suggestions to turn their massive undertaking into small, bite-sized, manageable bits. That’s it; no pressure —we just exchange.
We invite you to learn how Claudio can help you immediately increase the success of your practice, give them a call at 951.294.2274.
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz, with Summit Marketing Strategies, Info@Summitmarketingstrategies.com, Direct: 951.294.2274;