People do not pay attention to advertising. They only pay attention to whatever interests them. If someone perceives a benefit in your advertisement, you might connect with them . . . get them to act. No benefit, no action. Seems simple. The facts say otherwise.
The reality most often missed in advertising is the fact that people buy benefits (what is in it for them), rarely features (what it is or does). Grab any publication in reach and take a quick look at the advertisements: chock full of features and almost devoid of benefits. Some examples:
*People do not buy patio heaters. They buy the opportunity to bring the comforts of the indoors to their outdoor patios.
*People do not buy wine racks. People buy the conversion of their storage space into an onsite wine cellar.
*Generation Y does not buy mobile telephones. They buy 1,000 tunes in their pocket.
Why is this concept seemingly so difficult? Advertising benefits must be complicated because virtually every ad you see has so few, if any. Most small businesses have proved that they can identify features (who you are, what you do, what it is, what it does, etc.) Fair enough! You can start there.
List every feature you can think of about your product or service in the first of two columns on a single sheet. Now answer SO WHAT? for every feature you list. The SO WHAT? is a benefit!
Narrow your list to two or three. Promote those two or three. Advertise the same two or three again. Then again. Tell your target audience what is in it for them to do business with you.
Remember to motivate your audience to DO SOMETHING: come in for a demonstration, call for an appointment, fill in a coupon, write for additional information, ask for you or your product by name, take a test drive . . . something specific. Tell people exactly what you want them to do. Never assume they will do what you think is obvious. Tell them! Do not just suggest. Tell! Order! Command!
Knock yourself out to make sure your message is aimed at the people you want to do business with. Take careful aim and then remember that no one consciously will pay any attention to your ad. You live, breathe and eat your business. The people you deal with do not. No doubt you know what you are talking about. Be sure your desired audience gets the message.
If you manage to stimulate interest with a benefit headline, do not blow it by listing only features and prices in the copy that follows. Headlines attract attention, copy closes the sale . . . or least initiates the action. Always sell the sizzle . . . never the steak!
An effective ad is one that gets results. Steer clear of creating ads that come off more interesting than the content IN the ads. We have all seen or heard advertisements that we remember but for the life of us, we cannot recall what the featured product or service was.
If you want to entertain people, that is your call, but never forget that the sole purpose of small business ads is to persuade people to take some kind of action . . . preferably with or from you . . . hopefully today . . . certainly soon.
Once you have a rough or a finished version of your advertisement, show it to ten people and ask them to tell you what they think the main point is. If one person misunderstands, that means 10 percent of your target audience will misunderstand.
If your media rep says that you should expect your ad to be seen or heard by 500 people, 50 of them will miss the main point. That is unacceptable. Scrap it and start again.
Bob Schumacher pens books and articles that guide entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.RedMeatMarketing.com and order your complimentary advertising book.