Creating advertising that cultivates sales is quite a challenge - you never have enough time or space to present all the convincing reasons to inquire or buy. To succeed in print, on the air, on the telephone or on the web, your advertising has to fight all the other advertising that's out there -- plus your customers' entrenched habits and all of the other, more important, demands on their time and attention.
How can you break through these barriers? Follow these steps to profit-producing advertising:
1. FIND THE DRAMA.
You know your product or service inside out and upside down, so it's probably difficult for you to see the forest for the trees. Yet there is something about your product or service that is distinguishing, amazing, fascinating, interesting, dramatic, exciting, perhaps even extraordinary. There is something that is going to push hot-buttons in your customers and prospects ... it's your competitive edge ... and it's up to you to find it.
This is true whether or not your competitors sell similar products or services. Maybe you'll find the inherent Drama within the product itself. Maybe you'll find it in your service or selection. Maybe it's the price or the offer. How can you find this inherent Drama?
Start with the real facts. Look at these from a different perspective, from the outside in, as your customers see them. Example: There are several motels facing the ocean along a California beach-front road - one advertises the fabulous view, another the antiques-filled charm of the rooms, still another the convenience of the location ("What's 1 hour from home and light-years from the daily grind?") They are all in the same place, offering similar accommodations at competitive prices, yet each has found a different and unique "drama."
2. CATCH THEIR EYE.
You can only persuade people to buy who are paying attention to your advertising. And people only pay attention to what catches their eye - and their interest. Remember, people are not already thinking about you, and you have a lot of competitors out there who are also trying to attract your customers' eyes and dollars. So you'd better make your attention-grabber a good one. Use a compelling headline and, if possible, a dramatic photo or illustration.
3. CAPTURE THEIR MINDS.
Now that you have their attention, make them sit up and take notice. Slam home the benefits they will enjoy - the money or time they will save, the peace of mind or good health they will enjoy, the security or comfort your product brings, etc. Then break through their inherent disbelief of advertising by delivering solid facts to back up those benefits. Choose your words carefully for brevity, clarity, and sincerity. Make every sentence short, believable, to the point, and heartfelt
4. ASK FOR ACTION.
Lead readers by the hand (and mind) right to the sale. Tell them exactly what you want them to do next - call, visit your store, send in a reply card, go to a web page, ask for a quote or estimate, visit your trade show booth, look for the product in the store, etc. And make it as easy as possible for them to do that - provide a map to your location, a toll-free phone number, online ordering, etc.
Lastly, it doesn't hurt to "bait and sell" by offering a bribe! This can be in the form of a free gift, a 2-for-1, an extra item, bonus points they redeem for a reward, 1/2 off the second item they purchase, etc. Read the next issue of the BIG IDEAS BULLETIN for some more other "bait and sell" promotional tools.
*** To find more tips, tricks and techniques to make your advertising work harder for you, read next month's BIG IDEAS BULLETIN right here.
*** Visit the Writing By Design Web site -- http://www.big-idea.com -- for back issues. There you will also find the Big Ideas, Ink SMARTBOOKS store where you can gather intelligence and ideas to super-charge your advertising, marketing, copywriting and design.
BIG IDEAS BULLETIN is a monthly publication of Writing By Design.
Author: Binnie Perper
Copywriter & Creative Director, Writing By Design, Ferndale, WA.
Binnie works by phone, fax and e-mail with clients throughout the country, as well as through graphics designers and marketing consultants. And yes, she is available to come write to the rescue for you or your clients. For more information (including rates), visit the Writing By Design Web site.
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