If you’re not getting the leads you want from your print ads and you can’t figure out what’s going wrong, you can likely trace your problem to one of the three common mistakes mentioned below.
Let’s begin by thinking about the way you read a newspaper or magazine. How do you determine what articles get read?
Since there’s so much text and you can’t read it all at once, you probably scan until a headline grabs your attention.
Then, once you’re hooked by the headline, you read deeper into the article.
Well, your print ad is no different – it needs a headline to attract attention. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Pick up today’s newspaper or scan your Yellow Pages and I guarantee you’ll see very few headlines in the ads. And, keep in mind, a company name or your logo is NOT a headline.
(Your company name and logo offer zero benefits to your prospects, so they have no effect on a purchasing decision. As such, neither one should be a focal point in your print ads.)
Your headline’s sole purpose is to provide a reason for prospects to continue reading your ad. When you don’t have one, you leave little reason to move deeper into your copy. So use your headline to deliver a strong benefit that appeals to your prospects’ desires.
Next, you must have an offer. This is where you want to deliver value and reward readers for their time. If your product or service is priced greater than about $ 20, you’re better off not trying to sell it in your ad because you don’t have enough space for a persuasive message.
Instead, provide a way to introduce your prospects to your product or service. You can do this by offering free reports, articles, checklists, self-tests, trials, etc. This allows you to build the credibility and trust you need to create a sale.
As part of your offer, make taking action easy and, if possible, allow prospects to get immediate information without human interaction.
For best results, direct your offer to one type of prospect. For example, if you’re a lawyer who provides criminal, divorce and bankruptcy legal services, use separate offers and ads for each area of law. The prospects for these three services are different and, as a result, so are the reasons they would act on your offer.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
And, finally, tell prospects exactly what you want them to do after reading your ad. This critical step is often referred to as your “call to action.” If you don’t explain what to do next, you risk leaving the decision up to your prospects. And, in most cases, they won’t do anything.
Or course, there are several other elements of a successful advertisement. But these are the three most common mistakes I see when doing ad critiques.
By the way, unless you have an unlimited marketing budget, using your ads to build brand awareness will only lead to frustration. Leave this tactic up to the heavy-hitters you often see in Super Bowl spots, such as Coke, Pepsi, Budweiser and GoDaddy. They have budgets to burn and can wait for buyers. You don’t have that luxury.
Tom Trush is a direct-response copywriter and marketing strategist for Write Way Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. You can view more free copywriting and marketing articles on his blog at http://www.writewaysolutions.com/blog, or get his free special report, “Marketing Materials Made Easy: 8 Secrets for Attracting Attention, Creating Customers and Building Your Business,” at http://www.marketingmaterialsmadeeasy.com.