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This week I thought I would write to you about advertising and the design of your advertisements. Everyone wants their business cards, flyers, door-hangers and other promotion to be the most beautiful and eye-catching pieces on the planet.

marketing failBut, there is one thing that you must, must, must do if you are designing your own brochures, flyers, business cards, etc. (or make sure your ad designer is doing this step and you are proofing his/her work for approval to the printer.) You must assume the viewpoint of the consumer. When you are designing your ads, yes you must make them beautiful. But, more importantly, you must put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What will they think when they read your ad? Will you blend in with all the other advertisements or will you stand out and get noticed? Clearly the Mattress company that designed the ad to the left didn’t realize what they were advertising!

 The key is to get noticed in a good way. How do you do this? You need to know ahead of time what your customer likes and doesn’t like. The way to do this is by asking 40-50 potential customers of yours open ended questions that gets them to open up and share their opinions on different topics (like rising energy costs).

energy-cost-problemIf you asked the question, “How do you feel about rising energy costs?” most likely you are going to get someone who is frustrated with paying super high power bills and they would go on and  on about this. This is good, the more data they give you, the more information you have on what type of ad headline you can use. If you can’t solve their problem, or if you advertise for a problem that they don’t feel they have, you are dead in the water. Never ask yes or no answer questions. This doesn’t give you the information you need to advertise properly.

If you ask this question to your customers, “How do you feel about going green?” If they don’t respond and go on and on about their problems or aren’t willing to share how they think or feel on this topic or give you a short disinterested response–this is not something to write about in your ad headline. You probably won’t get most people’s attention if you use a headline to solve a problem that they don’t care about.

People are looking for solutions to THEIR problems. If you find out what their problems are and offer a solution to them in your advertising, you will stand out from the rest. They will call you because you are willing to solve their problems. If you saw these two headlines in advertising, which would interest you more:

lets-go-greenAre you Frustrated with Rising Energy Costs? or How to Go Green!

The first hits right at home with most homeowners today. You are talking about a problem everyone is experiencing right now and they are interested because you are offering a way to solve their problem.

The second title would be more for customers that are focused on the environment. But, it doesn’t really solve the majority of homeowners problems. So, unless your ad is going to a very specific group like an Organic Gardening Club or something of the sort, make sure your title reaches out to the majority of your customers and speaks to them about solving their problems, worries, anxieties, fears, etc.

Always make your headline communicate to as many customers as possible. This may seem like a no-brainer. But, if you go with what you think best communicates to your customers instead of what your customer’s problems, fears, anxieties are, they may be two totally different things. This is why you must ask them.

meeting-customersEvery region is different, find out what the majority of your customers problems, worries, anxieties, fears, etc. are. What are they experiencing right now? Then make sure your advertising communicates to them with a solution to their problem.

Once you know how your customers feel about paying power bills, rising energy costs, cost of living going up, etc., you can design an ad with your customer in mind. The trick once the ad is designed and ready for printing is to forget about all the knowledge you have of your product and look at your ad piece in a fresh unit of time and see it as your customer would see it. Then if something looks off, you can fix the ad. This will give you an edge over the competition. Another way is to put the ad down for a day or so. Come back to it and review it. Or have a coworker who has no information about what you are doing review it and critique it.

Even if you are hiring a professional advertising company to design and print all your ads, it is VITAL that you always review their work from your customer’s eyes to ensure your message comes across the right way. The title, the colors, the layout, the font size, EVERYTHING matters. In the end, it is your name that is on the ad piece and paying for the advertisement.

Make sure you are getting what you want…. people calling and buying your services. Not a cute PR piece that puts your name out there but doesn’t result in sales for you. That is all cute and nice. But, at the end of the day, if the purpose of running an ad was to make more sales, make sure it is doing just that and you are not dumping your money down the drain.

To Your Success!

Glenn Hough
Electric Saver 1200

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