Let’s start with an example of a poorly written ad, and then see what we can do to improve upon it. A typical ad for an antiques dealer will use the business name as the headline and the business tag line or motto for the sub-heading. The body copy will consist of a list of services or inventory types. The ad will close with contact information, store address, and hours. Slightly better ads will contain an offer of some sort. I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of ads that fit this description. Here’s a fictional example:
Always Accepting Quality Consignments
See Us For:
123 Main St. Anytown
The above ad will, over time, build an awareness of Joe’s business. What it won’t do is bring customers into his store right now. Joe’s ad makes the classic advertising mistake: he says what he wants to say, not what his customers want to hear. You see, no one gives a fig about Joe’s business. The phone book is full of antiques dealers who provide exactly what Joe is advertising. How can Joe attract a reader’s attention, develop interest in his store, build trust, and motivate his readers to act? Moreover, how can he do so in the space of a few sentences?
To develop an effective ad, Joe must first answer a few questions:
Who is his audience?
What product will Joe offer?
What are his target customer’s emotional triggers?
Does Joe have a testimonial that indicates that he has previously filled a customer’s emotional need for his product? A July 2009 report from eConsultancy states that 90% of online consumers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% of consumers trust the opinions of unknown users. Testimonials build credibility; use them.
What offer can Joe make to motivate a customer to come into his store or visit his website?
An ad that does not contain an offer is a waste of money. Effective offers will be time-sensitive and offer some value to the targeted group. Offers don’t always have to be based on lower prices; anything of value can be offered. The offer doesn’t have to be one of Joe’s products, either; it can be tickets to a ball game or entry into a drawing. One effective offer is to cross-promote with another related business, like a furniture store or such. The point is for Joe to give his customers a reason to come into his store now.
In the next edition of Behind the Gavel, we’ll apply the above guidelines to our sample ad, and see what we come up with. Bookmark this article so you can reference this week’s column.
In the meantime, take a few minutes out of your day and have a look at the junk mail and ads that come your way. You never know when you’ll find something that you can use.
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Wayne Jordan is a Virginia licensed auctioneer, certified personal property appraiser, and accredited business broker. He specializes in the valuation and liquidation of estate and business assets. Learn more at his website http://www.waynejordanauctions.com, at 276-730-5197 or email@example.com.
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