Advertising Making You Money?
Advertising is an investment.
Like your financial investments, there is risk. It can be a way for you to
make more money or just to BURN it. Think of your company’s last ad, or
campaign, and ask yourself honestly what happened to your investment -- your
cash? Sadly, many don’t even ask the question and most don’t have a clue.
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR AD INVESTMENTS
Advertising is risky for several reasons. Some companies:
- Invest a relatively large amount of money in a single marketing
- Focus on the product instead of the problem it solves for the
- Put out a “branding” campaign when they’re unknown, really too small
and don’t have a Fortune 50 budget to sustain it;
- Target too small a segment of their intended market with a specific
- Reach too broad a population with a general or weak message;
- Trust the audience size to the pull of the media where it’s placed,
i.e. magazine, Web site, radio (and the media company’s claims);
- Don’t run the ad campaign long enough or in enough places to make it
- Give up too much responsibility to the ad creators; and
- Get caught up in the “process” rather than focusing on major
Advertising is an integral part of the marketing process. However, it is
seemingly separated from the whole point of marketing in the first place. It
is often forgotten that the ultimate objective of marketing is to SELL.
How can you reduce your risk and invest more wisely in ads that are winners
and avoid the losers? The first step is really just to be aware.
BOOM OR BUST
For your advertising to work, a few simple strategic concepts are required.
They are appropriate for any campaign in order to reduce your risk and
maximize your return. After all, it’s one thing to put out a loser that just
doesn’t seem to work versus an absolute “dog” that borders on embarrassment.
These universal concepts apply for display ads right down to the simplest,
1. Have a powerful visual
You want to win the attention of your prospect so they stop for those
precious few seconds to get your message. This is the most critical point.
If you can’t even get their attention, then the rest of your effort is
This is especially relevant for a display ad and possibly easier with this
ad type because you can use beautiful four-color ads and have the advantage
of visual images. For a classified ad you might utilize bold fonts or all
In technology marketing, it is a crime to see photos in a magazine ad that
belong on a black and white, OEM spec sheet. They’re lucky to get any
attention and maybe only by their contrast to the color or creativity that
2. Use an attention-getting headline
“The headline is 80 percent of the ad,” is possibly a marketing
cliché but never more true. It stimulates your desire to read on. The best
headlines offer a benefit, either in a bold manner or with creativity.
Attention-getting headlines also help you stand out from all the other
A powerful headline adds to the visual efforts to hook a suspect but the
words chosen are key in having them identify themselves as a prospect. Big
difference. I’ve written in the past about using your marketing to
of 2001) and save yourself time and money by avoiding non-buyers.
3. Offer a clear selling proposition
Creativity may attract more interest but might also dull or hide your sales
message or offer. Your offer, or intention to sell, and the benefit for the
prospect must be clear, evident and recognized. This happens when the ad is
too vague, relies on shock value or gets too artsy or too cute. Any of the
former cause the message to be missed or lost by your audience. This is when
you may as well set the match to your money.
4. Include your “call to action”
Having made your selling intention and message clear, you want to get the
reader to take action. Get beyond having them just call or go to a Web site.
You have to motivate or entice them with something that saves them time or
gives them immediate value. Encourage anything that makes them identify
themselves to you and gets them into your sales funnel, e.g. going to a
landing page on your Web site and entering their e-mail for your Special
Report on industry trends.
5. Start small and test
When creating advertising, you have a personal bias towards what you like
and not what your intended audience might like. Just because an ad appeals
to you, or your company team, doesn’t mean it clicks with your target
audience. This is why large corporations spend a lot of money on focus
Before you spend big bucks, test your ad ideas affordably by getting
reactions to your draft concepts. Ask your current clients, your suppliers,
and business associates at other companies, or better, outside of your
industry. Heck, a favorable response from your accountant means you’re on
the right track -- but he’ll still have an issue with you incurring an
expense. There are numerous ways to test your ad concepts using the
Internet, from free tools and market research to your Web site and
innovative e-mail survey strategies. (Too many for this article, but you’re
welcome to contact me.)
TAKE THIS TO THE BANK
There are no guarantees in the stock market or the ad game. You can increase
your chances of success dramatically by not taking foolish risks and
avoiding typical errors in judgment or ad development. A little homework can
save you lots of money and grief.
Compare your current efforts to these suggestions and revisit your creative
process. Then, take a more methodical and educated approach to the risk
associated with your ad budget. Make sales with your ads. Take your money to
the bank and not to a bonfire.
Martin Wales is a business development and lead generation specialist. For
a FREE preview of his new audio program, How to Get The Mindset of A Customer Catcher
for Maximum Leverage & Profit, send an e-mail to Mindset@CustomerCatcher.com.