If I hear one more small business owner tell me they can’t be bothered by customers I think I’ll scream!
Believe it or not I hear this all the time from coaches, retailers, sales people, doctors, business owners — you name the profession. They tell me they don’t have time to be bothered by customers calling them on the phone. They don’t seem to realize they stand a better chance of selling more if they can talk directly with their prospects.
They hope that by spending a few bucks on a small ad that it will do all the work for them. Not so.
When you create a small space ad remember this: nobody cares what you look like, how many degrees you have, or how great you think your service is. If it doesn’t offer some compelling benefit, they won’t call and they won’t buy!
Here are a few things to consider when writing your next ad that will increase your chances of having a winner:
1. Choose your location with care. Seek out trade publications, ezines, websites and other venues where your prospects gather their information and place your ad there.
2. Have clear objectives. Know what you want the prospect to do when they read your ad: Make every element meet that objective. For example, instead of just saying “Call our toll-free number” you might say instead “Calling our toll-free number can change your life.”
3. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Like those late-night infomercials when the announcer says “but wait, there’s more!” make sure you’re giving your prospects an offer they can’t refuse by including “more” — a free gift, a free report or great payment terms. Be careful that your offer doesn’t sound too good to be true. Give the reason why you can make such an incredible offer. You’ll sound more credible.
4. Include your Unique Selling Proposition. This is the reason your prospect should do business with you instead of your competitors. It should be your biggest selling benefit. Use it in your ad either as the headline, sub-head, bulleted points or in your guarantee.
5. Write compelling headlines. A really powerful headline makes it clear to the prospect why they should do business with you.
Examples of powerful headlines:
“You Can Have a Flat Tummy without Any Exercise in Two Weeks”
“Amazing Herbal Formula Cures Your Migraine Headaches”
“Are You Making These Dangerous Driving Mistakes?”
“How to Make an Extra $1000 without Selling Anything”
Write several variations of your headline. Pick the one that will do the best job of stopping the reader so they’ll want to read the rest of your ad. Run a few headlines past your colleagues, family and friends and get their opinion of which ones clicked with them.
6. List your benefits. You’ve heard by now that your prospects don’t care about you, your awards, how long you’ve been in business, the high quality of your products, delivery speed, or the clever name of your business. They care only about themselves. Your job is to convince them that what you’re offering benefits them in some specific, concrete way.
Don’t confuse the features of your product or service with the benefits. Keep asking yourself “so what?” or “why should I care?” after each benefit you write to make sure you get to the real benefit.
You may be offering massage therapy services but you’re actually selling stress-relief or relaxation. That’s the benefit.
7. Make your offer risk-free. Everyone is skeptical. Your ad must have credibility and it must include an offer so that your prospect can use your product or services without risk. Include testimonials. A sincere testimonial from a real person can be very powerful and very persuasive. Offer a strong guarantee.
8. Ask them to take some action. Using phrases in your ad like “Call now”, “Sign up right now”, “Visit our website today” trigger an emotional response so your prospects take action. Make it explicit and clear what action you want them to take.
9. Create urgency. Place a deadline on your offer or limit the quantity available so they’ll buy quickly. Use phrases like “quantities are limited” or “only enough for the first 50 callers” or “first come, first served.” But, be honest about this.
10. Make it easy to respond. Rarely do we use logic when buying. So make it easy to buy from you or to contact you. Give lots of options: phone numbers, website address, fax numbers and e-mail address. Make yourself available.
And remember, rarely do people buy from an ad only. Most of the time they’re going to be seeking out more information to make an informed and comfortable decision. Make yourself available to answer questions and calm fears.© Copyright 2007 Marty Marsh