The Advertising Graveyard: 4 Ways to Kill Your Ad Response

It’s easy to snuff-out… murder… deep-six your response. Just use one or more of the following four, “straight-to-the-grave” ad-response killers.

Hey, it’s one thing to not know and commit these errors, and quite another to do so despite reading this article.

So here are 4 techniques of copywriting and promotional suicide that you’ll never employ again. (Er, right?)

tomb-21. Write Horrid Headlines—People skim ads until something stops them. Over 83% of people read ONLY the headlines. If your headline features only your business name or a cutesy slogan, you’ll likely miss grabbing the attention of someone who actually wants what you sell!  Solution?  Always put your biggest benefit/offer in your headlines.

Tomb12. Generate GenericsDon’t just sell pizza… sell YOUR pizza.  Don’t sell auto repair… sell YOUR auto repair.  Don’t sell everyone’s web design service… sell YOURS!  Your ads should sell YOU… how YOU are better…why they should buy from YOU.  Want more response? Then stop wasting money advertising products and services in general! If your competitor can use your ad without changing anything except the company name and contact information, you’ve written a money-wasting, generic ad that needs to be revised… fast!

tomb33. Toss the Testimonials—People don’t believe testimonials, right?  WRONG!  They’re one of the most influential parts of any advertising.  Get feedback from customers and feature it in ads, flyers, brochures, sales letters, and your web site.  Psychologists call it “Social Proof”—people want to know that others have successfully gone first. So? Give it to them!

tombstone54. Go Picture-less—According to a study of 2,000 consumers, ads consisting of 50% visuals (photos, illustrations, graphics) were seen and recalled 30% more often than ads with no visuals. So feature some kind of picture in every ad. Photos are best… and action shots are the most effective when they demonstrate the product in use.

Pretty darned simple, right? Now crack open your local newspaper or magazine. Scan a few promotional emails and websites. You’ll see these promotional tombstones everywhere you look. But why? This is basic, foundational stuff, isn’t it?

TombHeaderThe winged skull in this photo isn’t a fun Halloween decoration. It’s the exact death’s head symbol common to many colonial gravestones. It’s often accompanied with an image of a clock and the words, “Fugit Hora“–the hour flies.

It not only flies for each of us… but for our businesses as well. It’s time to get serious about your advertising. Not just regard it as a necessary evil or something that “just needs to be done.” It’s time to consider it the lifeblood of your business. It’s as important as the food on your table and the roof over your head. Your children’s education and medical care.

No doubt you know your product or service inside and out. Now’s the time–if you haven’t yet done so–to learn what makes advertising effective. To learn the many common mistakes to avoid. To at least learn enough to effectively direct others to create effective advertising for you.

Kick over these 4 common “stones” and next time we’ll knock a few more down.

Fugit hora, my friend.

Success!

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Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™
www.DrewEricWhitman.com

• Author of the advertising best-seller:
“CA$HVERTISING”… now in its 3rd printing from Career Press.
Translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Thai. http://amzn.to/1ogZdcI

• Author of: “BrainScripts for Sales Success:
 21 Hidden Principles of Consumer Psychology  for Winning Customers”
Worldwide release in October 2014 by global-publishing
leader McGraw-Hill http://amzn.to/1fEZmxf

 

Are “Zombie Ads” Eating Your Business Alive?

FACT: One change to your mindset can instantly transform your business from a money-wasting “zombie factory” into a high-profit operation that your competitors will both fear and envy.

It’s “The Rule of ABMO: Always Be Making Offers.

This means that every marketing effort you undertake should include an outright promotional offer… a special, savings, deal, bonus, coupon… any kind of specific offer that asks people to respond. That’s what you want, right? You don’t simply want to inform them, do you?

zombie

The opposite? Ads that simply say that you’re in business. I call these “Zombie Ads” because they’re the promotional walking dead. Like a business card, these–YAWN!–ads give consumers no reason to take action. No reason to buy. They spend your money, but return no sales… and–like a rotten-fleshed, fly-infested zombie– effectively eat your business alive.

It’s the difference between saying, “We’re Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary!” (No offer… no reason to respond… no reason to give a damn.), and: “FREE CAR WASH… PLUS SAVE $15 On Every Oil Change Now Through August 21” (Ahhh… two nice big benefits, PLUS the all-important deadline to drive action.)

See the difference? Feel the difference?

FACT: People don’t care that you own a business. And they couldn’t care less that you want customers. (Gasp!) The only thing they care about is what your business can DO for them. Give them no offer… zero reason to respond… and you’re saying, “Relax! No need to give us your business now. When—and if—you want what we’re selling, maybe, hopefully, if we’re lucky, one day… you’ll think about us… er, ok?”

cogThis was the cautious “Oh, I don’t want to be too pushy, Drew” copywriting mindset of many former independent business owners and entrepreneurs who are now sitting behind desks… miserable… begrudgingly working like cogs in a giant wheel that’s churning for someone else’s success.

The bottom line? ABMO. Always Be Making Offers.

If your business is like most, then your success is directly tied to the number of offers you make.

Make one offer per year, and you’ll reap the rewards of one offer. (That is, if it closes.)

Make one hundred offers per year, and your chances for success are vastly improved.

Hey, what if you made one thousand offers per year? Would that have a positive impact on your business and bank account? Would your competition be particularly pleased?

Point made.

Article done.

 

WARNING! Does Your Advertising Make YOU Look Like a Foolish Business Amateur?

QUESTION: What’s worse than advertising that doesn’t work?

ANSWER:  Advertising that doesn’t work… AND also makes you look bad.

For example… I like to run. It burns calories and keeps me fit. And when it’s not too hot outside (Its 98º right now), I’ll run through my neighborhood. Looking at the mountains and flowers and trees helps take my mind off the fact that I’d rather be home… er… not running.

If I run on Wednesdays, I’ll invariably see a handful of different landscapers’ trucks parked outside of their customers’ homes. Fact is, they all provide the exact same services (grass cutting… tree trimming, etc.)… and all do it for about the same price. And there’s not much difference in the quality of their services. (How many different ways can you cut a lawn? Sure, some might be sloppy… not as reliable… but for the most part, their services are identical.)

HOWEVER… few of these guys know anything about how to effectively advertise their services and sell against their competition. (Do you?) If they did, there wouldn’t be so many competitors within the same development. Why should there be 10 different landscapers within a community of fewer than 200 homes? It’s plain nuts!

They either: 1) Don’t care to get more business (which is unlikely), or 2) They don’t know how. So, let’s put aside all that’s required to create ads, brochures, emails, websites, sales letters and the like. Let’s focus on just one simple thing: the messaging on their TRUCKS. It’s a constant and free source of advertising for these guys. Nearly 200 potential new clients see their trucks rolling by their windows at least once a week. The trucks are–literally–rolling billboards.

The problem? They don’t think of them that way!  In fact, they apparently don’t even think of their trucks as advertising of ANY kind, but just something “you’re supposed to do” if you own such a business. “Heck… that’s what everyone else is doing!”

Now here’s the problem… The guy who just now drove past my house–let’s call him Joe–has the most amateur-looking lettering and crappiest logo you’ve ever seen in your life. It looks like he painted it himself with his foot… which he might have. His truck is dirty… sloppy looking… and if you walk past it and peer inside (which I’ve done while running past it many times), you’d think a bomb exploded inside. Look at all that trash! Fast-food soda cups strewn all over… McDonald’s hamburger wrappers… petrified french fries… empty crushed cigarette packs… and absolutely filthy windows, like he grabbed a blob of Vaseline and flung on the glass, then rolled the window up and down. (Don’t ask me what it is… I have no idea.)

“But, Drew… come on! Maybe poor Joe doesn’t have lots of money for a fancy truck!”

Please. The trash is reflective of the same mindset that applied the crappy foot-painted lettering and logo.

How much does it cost to keep your things–your ad, in this case–clean?

How much would it set you back to throw away your trash? To shoot some Windex on the windows once a week? To check to see if your rolling billboard is creating a positive impression that could bring you more business?

You can buy a big bottle of glass cleaner at your local dollar store for a buck and have clean windows all year long. Joe’s rolling ad says this:

Joe’s Lawn Service 760-000-0000

Yes, that’s it. His name. His number. It’s about as persuasive as, well, Joe himself.

And it’s too bad. Because Joe’s a nice guy and seems to do a nice job. The “mow lines” on the lawns he cuts are meticulous. Super-straight diagonal cuts and a perfectly clean driveway which he blows and sweeps after every service.

He even hoses down the ground around the lawn just to make sure he leaves the homeowner’s property as neat and tidy (or more so) than when he first arrived.

I’ve seen him check and adjust the irrigation sprayers, too… just to make sure that the entire lawn is getting sufficient water.

And look! There he is hosing down the street in front of the house, too!

You see, many landscapers put a giant burlap sheet in front of the house which they dump the grass clippings onto. They gather the corners together and load it into their trucks. This naturally makes a bit of a mess in the street. No worries. Joe takes care of that, too. But from the looks of Joe’s truck–his sales materials–you’d never believe it, unless you were already his customer. (And that’s the problem.)

Enter TruScaping–the landscaping pros with the gorgeous, shiny-clean  truck… beautiful lettering and logo on the doors.. and sparkling-bright windows. Here’s what the message on their truck advertises:

TruScaping–The Art of Lawn & Garden Care Mowing, Pruning, Planting, Complete Landscaping & Design Services Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Monthly Service Plans Call for free estimate: 760-000-0000

Can you feel the difference? Yes, it’s a feeling! The visuals of the clean trucks and professional messaging, logo, sales copy… everything… give you an impression of a business that is: __________. Successful, right? Of course. You subconsciously think, “They must be good because their image is good.” This is a hard-wired response in our brains that we just can’t shake.

For example, let’s say you wanted to sell your house. You call two agents and say, “Please come to my house and tell me about your listing services.” Both agents arrive at separate times.

Agent #1–Mike–pulls up in a dull-gold 1972 Plymouth Duster, smoking a bit from the tail pipe and from under the hood. The headliner hangs down inside the cabin of the car, and the nose of the car has a rust hole the size of a 10-egg omelette.duster

QUESTION: What do you AUTOMATICALLY think about this agent? Do you think, “Wow, this guy must be a very effective agent. Oh, sure… his car is horrendous, but maybe he’s just not into cars. Maybe he’s not the material type.” Or, is it more likely you’d think, OMG… you’ve GOT to be kidding! This guy is a real estate agent? Look at that jalopy! What!? He can’t afford a decent car? I don’t think this guy could influence a pit bull to eat a New York strip!”

Next,  Agent #2–Joe–rolls up in his… $217,000 2014 Bentley Continental GT. bentley Match point. Game over. Fact is, unless the wiring in your brain was somehow knocked loose by “an old football injury,” you’d instantly believe that agent #2 is dramatically more effective in most everything he does. After all, “he has that freakin’ Bentley.”

But this is simply your perception. Agent #1 could be far more effective at listing and selling homes… and his sales record could prove it. It’s just that ever since his wife got killed by a hit-and-run driver and he learned that her life insurance policy lapsed without being renewed, he was faced with raising 4 children on his own and–through the experience of her passing–came to realize that there’s more important things in life than shiny cars.

Agent #2, Joe, on the other hand, never did well in any sort of sales, let alone real estate. He first tried his hand at network marketing, but could never convince enough people to come to his meetings… even when he gave away ridiculous amounts of food, drink, and chocolate.

Next, that ad in the paper persuaded Joe to spend $5,000 in a “sell-gold-by-the-inch” dealership, but his natural “ability” to make people uncomfortable before spending money sent that attempt down the toilet. “What the heck… I’ll try real estate,” he thought. “After all, look at all these help-wanted ads advertising for agents with ‘no experience needed’.” And ever since passing the licensing exams and putting in hundreds of hours of “floor time,” Joe had little more than 1 lousy listing to show for it. And it expired, unsold.

Joe’s new strategy? Drive up in a big shiny, expensive car, loaned to him by his wealthy brother-in-law who has more cars than garages to store them. “That, for sure, will help me rack-up more listings! After all… ‘perception is reality’!”

Get the point? Joe’s appearance did the talking–the advertising–for him. His newly adopted outward image spoke volumes about “his performance” without saying a word… despite the fact that pulling up to a prospective client’s house in a Bentley Continental says nothing more, technically, than the fact that you’re pulling up in a Bentley Continental… but to the consumer brain, it says most everything. And if Joe’s personal demeanor matches the power of his new 616 horsepower sales prop–even if he fakes it–he won’t need nearly as hardcore a sales pitch as agent #1, Mike, because, after all, “He must be successful… look at that car!” Whether or not he performs is another story.

The point is that it persuades homeowners to give him more listings because he’s playing the role of a successful agent… and that’s what home sellers want. It’s his trappings that help get him the business. Unfair? That doesn’t matter. What is, is.

Now, the idea isn’t to deceive people, of course… but to not “get” that people form instant impressions based on your appearance is setting yourself up for potential business suicide. Fact is, it’s impossible not to advertise. Your car or truck advertises–whether there’s a word or image on it or not. The design of your website or landing page advertises. Forget the words for a moment. Just the way it LOOKS says whether you’re successful or struggling.

Does anything you show to the public say that you’re struggling? You might want to take a second look. Your business card… your stationery… your logo (or worse still, lack of one)… even your spelling and formatting of your emails and sales letters. Everything communicates something. And just as you cannot not communicate. You cannot not advertise.

So, the big question remains: Does YOUR advertising make YOU look like an amateur? Isn’t it worth a look? Or–if you’re not too thin skinned–I’ll do it for you.. and reveal things you’re completely overlooking.

Click to learn more.

Until next time, I wish you… Success!

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Drew Eric Whitman, D.R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

P.S. Have you read CA$HVERTISING? Click to learn more.

P.P.S. Please check out my new book, BrainScripts for Sales Success. Click here

CA$HVERTISING: Teaching Persuasion in 9 Languages Worldwide

LISTEN: I don’t care WHO your prospect is or WHERE they’re located… when you know how to use the time-tested principles of consumer and advertising psychology–and you properly apply them–you will make more money. It’s just as simple as that.

You see, I’ve recently been informed by my publisher, Career Press, that rights have been secured for the following foreign-language editions: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic.

This goes to show that the same basic tenants of human psychology affect us all. The Life-Force 8, as I describe in detail in CA$HVERTISING, apply to every man and woman, no matter where in the world they’re located.

Meaning?

You can be assured that if you employ the principles that I share in CA$HVERTISING–no matter what type of product or service you sell–you’ll communicate to your prospects far more effectively and persuasively and, as a result, be far more likely to encourage them to whip out their credit cards or make their PayPal accounts go CA-CHING in your favor.

Result? You make more money.

So THANKS A MILLION, to you… and to the other readers worldwide… for making CA$HVERTISING one of the most popular books on the topic of advertising persuasion currently in print

FACT: Humans are humans. What affected them hundreds of years ago still affects you and me today. Much has changed… except human psychology.

Your brain is wired just like your great, great, great, great, great grandparents’ brains. They could never have dreamed about the internet that you’re using this very minute. Or any of the modern conveniences that we currently take for granted.

phone-vic-calc

Heck… you could hand them the very first working telephone, Victrola, and an old mechanical calculator… and they’d think you’re from outer space! But if you needed to sell them something, you could use the same techniques that are causing millions of people to buy in “space-age” 2013… this very minute.

CA$HVERTISING is just $8.54 on Amazon right now. The Kindle edition is just $8.11. I personally guarantee it will be the among most valuable reading on the topic you’ve ever done. But if you read it… USE it. The information does you no good just sitting in your skull.

So thanks again, guys. I appreciate your support for my work more than you’ll ever know. And the generous emails that I get from readers worldwide make all the effort worthwhile.

Merci… gracias… danke… grazie… 谢谢… ありがとう… 감사합니다… شكرا!

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Drew Eric Whitman, D R.S.
Direct Response Surgeon™

P.S. Want to learn more? Click to visit the dedicated CA$HVERTISING book website. Thank you!