I found an ad in my snail-mail today (pictured above). There’s nothing like bad ad copy to make you think!
This ad is professionally intriguing, because it is so beautiful and yet so ineffective.
I asked several people to tell me what the ad was promoting and I got a different answer from each person.
I’ve spent my career writing ads to attract buyers for my startups and these are a few things I’ve learned:
Have a Clear Objective
Focus on your target. Write your ad copy and then imagine the person who reads your copy has mentioned your product to a friend. What will he/she say to the friend? Is the message clear enough that it will be passed on effectively?
Your graphics and words must directly support your goal. Anything extra actually sucks energy away from your goal and creates confusion.
Have a Call to Action
A clear “call to action” asking for the buyer’s business is essential. You should never leave the sales prospect in any doubt about the next step.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ask yourself, “What does this ad tell me to do?”
Always test your message by producing 2 versions.
Since your ad is at the top of your sales funnel, everything you do in your entire business will be impacted by your message.
Find a way to measure response. If you can’t measure your response, you will never know what works.
It’s not unusual for one message to produce twice as many sales as another.Twice as many customers will directly translate into twice as much profit.
Repetition within the Ad
Attention spans are short and people don’t always read your whole message.
Finds ways to repeat your message, so the buyer gets your point wherever they look.
Resist the temptation to elaborate too much about your product. Your customers encounter your message in many different sequences – they read web pages out of sequence and they encounter content marketing and social media messages in random order. When you have a message that works keep pounding on the one(s) that work.
Don’t Be Cute
Funny or witty ads work on a subset of the population. Why subdivide your market into a smaller market (the people who get your jokes)?
Ads that win awards are not usually the ones that made the most sales. Many leave you scratching your head wondering what the ad was selling.
The purpose of the ad is to sell, not to convince people you’re witty or smart.
A busy graphic or a lot of words will reduce the impact of your message.
Less is more.
Don’t Use Metaphors
A lot of technology products are difficult to explain. Metaphors are attractive because they quickly convey a concept to those who “get” the metaphor.
Sadly, many people won’t get the metaphor and you’ll lose customers as a result.
Don’t Use Examples
If you’re selling cheese that could be used on pizza, resist the temptation to demo the cheese on pizza or you’ll lose anyone who was thinking of serving cheese in another format.
Many customers won’t think beyond the example you provide and you will lose business.
Ad copy is more than just a way of promoting your business.
Ad copy defines your sales funnel and your bottom line.
A business that is unclear about its message communicates confusion to the marketplace. A business that transmits a clear well tested message comforts the prospective customer by assuring him that he need not look any further.
So the next time you are writing ad copy (or anything about your business) put yourself in the position of a customer who has just picked up the mail and is standing near a trash can.