Monday, July 19, 2010

Five questions for effective ads.

If you honestly evaluate your advertising using these five questions, if your adverting doesn't provide compelling answers, start to think about how you could change it so that it does.

Why are you bothering me?

Advertsing in an interruption. Your ideal prospects don't wake up in the morning, get out of bed, and say, "Wow, I sure hope someone advertises to me today." Your ideal prospects, however, get out of bed with business problems, goals, and things that are important to them. If your advertising doesn't grab their attention with a compelling reason that's important to them (not you), it will be ignored.

What does it have to do with me?

After you capture the prospects' attention, you must get their interest. You can do this by telling them waht the advertisement's information has to do with the things they consider to be important. Again, this is about what they think is important, not what you consider to be important. A tried-and-true way to capture interest is to state the biggest benefit or promise you're able to make to your target market.

Why should I believe you?

Decision-makers default to skepticism, not belief, about your claims. If you don't give your prospects powerful and compelling reasons to believe your claim in your advertising, they won't. If your advertising doesn't provide proof, get to work to add it in. My three favorites are testimonials, case studies and photographs.

What should I do about it?

Just having a phone number or website URL isn't enough. Have you given prospects a specific step to take to begin the process to becoming your customer? The key word here is "specific." Tell the prospects exactly what to do, how to do it, and what they'll get as a result.

Why should I do it right now?

A cute theory by many is that decision-makers will remember your company when it comes time to take action, even if they don't take action right away. But reality shows that notion to be utterly false. If your prospects don't take the action you want when your message is in front of them, it's highly unlikely they'll come back to it at a later date. Sure, they might file the ad in a pile of things to do, but the end result is usually that your message is put aside and forgotten. Your advertising must give prospects a compelling reason to act immediately. What will they gain if they do? What will they lose if they don't?

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.