No matter where you are advertising (press, radio or TV), who you are advertising to, or what it is that you are selling; there are three vital elements that your advertisements absolutely must include.
- Vital Element #1 – A compelling headline. The very first thing that people will read when they see your ad, or the very first words they hear on the radio must be so strong and interesting that they are literally unable to turn away. You must set up such curiosity in them and such immediate interest that they simply have to read or listen more.
Try these two examples and see which one you think is more interesting.
“Local Garden Maintenance Services.” Yes, believe me, that is a headline that I have seen in an advertisement. Check your local paper and you’ll see examples like this every day.
As an alternative, how about, “My neighbours are jealous, because I have the best looking garden on the street. Even in winter.” Now are you a little more interested?
Suddenly the focus has moved from garden maintenance services, which is just a feature, to having jealous neighbours and the best garden on the street, even in the wintertime; all of which are benefits.
Suddenly this ad is no longer about what the company does; it is about what the company does for its customers and maybe what it can do for the person reading the advertisement, which is far more interesting.
- Vital Element #2 – Benefits. As you’ve seen above, the reason why the headline was so strong is because it relates directly to the prospect’s imagination and tells him exactly what benefit he will get from dealing with this company.
The best advertisements are always the ones that answer the unspoken question, “What’s in it for me?” So the rest of your advert needs to be about benefits, too. Don’t talk about your huge stock; that’s a feature. Explain that your customers never have to go anywhere else because you have everything they need; benefit.
Don’t boast about the skill of your mechanics; feature. Explain that your customers can be assured that their car will be properly and completely fixed; benefit.
Don’t talk about your opening hours; feature. Point out that your customers can buy shoes on their way home from work, instead of using their lunch break; benefit.
- Vital Element #3 – A strong call to action. Once you have captured their interest with a strong headline, persuaded them that you are the only one for them with your comprehensive and personally-related benefits, now make sure you tell them how they can get all of this greatness.
A good call to action has three ingredients; multiple methods of contact – phone, web, store and any other way you can offer; a compelling reason to act now – for example, free offer for orders today, special price for sales this month, or last chance to buy this particular combination. And finally, your call to action should be phrased as an instruction, almost a command: “Do this or else.”
Take a look at your current advertisements and be honest with yourself. Would you buy from this person? If not, try including these three elements next time and see what a difference it makes to your sales.