Advertising  –  Effective Marketing  –  Marketing Consultant  –  Small Business Marketing Consultant

//  AN AD isn’t an ad when it doesn’t create action.

Lots of those around, aren’t there.

There are lots of reasons why an ad isn’t an ad and talking about them can help you avoid them.  So let’s go:

It’s not in front of enough of the right people.  You’re selling a high-end product to high-end people so you go into a high-end magazine.  Makes sense.  Until you ask yourself what percentage of those readers are in the market for what you’re selling at any one time.  Buy interest, not income.  If you sell high-end boats advertise where boat buyers go, not where high-end people go.  This is a mistake we see all the time.

Me-too.  Hey, we offer quality printing, personal service and a great price!!  Really?  You and every other printer on the planet.  A huge mistake advertisers make is building their ad in a vacuum only to have it fall flat because it says the same thing every other ad says.  What is truly different about you?  Ask your customers.  Highlight that.

No compelling offer.  You want people to take some type of action from your ad (or it’s not an ad!).  Typically, that means you need to give them an incentive.  Free shipping, a discount, come to our website and register for a free whatever.  Offer them something.

Too tough a call to action.  Ads need to ask the reader to take action.  Too often, ads ask too much (Call for a free, no-obligation demo!).  That’s what you want them to do, right?  But that’s a bit like expecting a kiss on the first date.  Baby steps.  Go to our website and download a brochure, free report, white paper.  Call for a catalog.  You’ll get their email or their address.  You can follow up later for your kiss and probably get kissed more often than asking for a demo right off the bat.

Not enough information.  Oh god, you need lots of white space and don’t ask people to read too much or you’ll lose them!  Thus is born the beautiful ad that your graphic designer is in love with and that generates zero response.  Because you don’t give people enough information to take the action you’re asking them to take.  And take it from someone who has asked millions and millions of people to take some type of action many, many times, it takes a lot more information than you think to generate even the smallest action (call for more information).

Make sure your ad is an ad before you pay to have it placed.  Start early.  Give yourself two extra weeks before it’s due.  Print it out and paste it into a current issue of the magazine and compare it to the other ads.  Do you notice it?  Does is look the same as the others?  Does it make a compelling offer you can find quickly?  Does it motivate you to take action?  If so, then maybe you have an ad!