"...but advertising doesn't work!"
If you put 100 business owners in a room and asked them what they think of advertising I guarantee you a large percentage will say "advertising doesn't work." When I started out doing ad sales for newspaper and radio I would hear that comment from prospects frequently. My response was usually "Have you ever heard of Coke, Pepsi, Ford or Kelloggs?". They would always say "yes". I would say "You see advertising does work." "Bad advertising doesn't work." If your advertising is not working, you may be running bad ads.
"What makes an ad bad?" Well, a lot of things, putting an ad in the wrong place is just as unproductive as putting a really poor ad in the right place. You see there's a lot that goes into an ad. I think the biggest problem with most advertisers is they do ads for themselves, not for their customers. Allow me to explain. If you own a clothing store named "Dorothy Marie's", and you're "Dorothy" the average ad rep (for a print ad) is going to bring you a sample ad with your name really big at the top of the ad. The problem with that is if I've never heard of your store, seeing the name, frankly means nothing to me. So putting "Dorothy Marie's" in huge letters at the top of the ad is most likely going to make you feel really good but it won't do anything to attract customers. It's a vanity ad.
So how do you reach customers? Well, what are you selling? Using Dorothy as an example again, let's imagine that she sells women's shoes. Ok, but what makes her shoes any better than the discount place at the mall? Well, she sells really comfortable, stylish shoes for working women who commute into the city.
So with that information how do we make a good ad. Well, I had a customer like that in 2002 or 2003 and we designed this ad campaign. We took a women, put her in a bubble bath and had her laying back in her tub with her feet out and these really nice dress shoes on her feet. The headline of the ad was "Shoes so comfortable, you'll never want to take them off", combined with this sort of shocking photo of a woman in her bath with shoes on. Then we simply added additional text under the photo and it worked. It got attention and it sold shoes.
See our focus was her customers. How they want to feel in their shoes. They want to look good but they also want comfort.
So what do your customers want? What do they need from you? Why should they come to you (or your store) instead of going to a competitor?
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I'm George Louvis