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10 keys to more effective advertising


...More inquiries

…Greater awareness

…Increased sales

…Enhanced reputation

Typical results we expect from our advertising investment. It's a big investment and we expect big results. How can we be sure of getting a return on our investment? Here are ten fundamentals for producing better, more effective ads whether in trade journals, on TV, or on the World Wide Web.

1. Understand your product or service—thoroughly

Its features, its benefits, its weaknesses. How it stacks up against the competition. List the key items. Review them frequently. Survey customers and prospects to learn their understanding of your product and service.

2. Understand your audience, address its needs

Identify their needs and interests that can be met with your product or service. Identify the decision makers. What motivates them to buy or not buy your product or service? Are the needs, interests and motivations of purchasing agents who buy the product different from the production managers who use it? Be sure that your advertising addresses the specific needs of your audience. You may need separate ads to reach all the important decision makers.

3. Set objectives

Define what you want your advertising to accomplish: generate inquiries, introduce new product benefits, enhance position against the competition. Keep the advertising focused on a limited number of objectives for maximum impact.

4. Communicate with creative

Share information with the persons responsible for creating the advertising. They need the same thorough understanding of product, audience, and objectives that you have.

5. Keep it simple

Simple design, simple message, simple response mechanism. Stick to what's needed to elicit the response you are trying to achieve. If you want the audience to call for more
information, your ad doesn't need to cover the product's entire spec sheet. If the objective is to solicit an actual order, be sure that the necessary information is there—remember you don't have a salesman sitting across from the prospect.

6. Grab the audience's attention

Use strong, simple graphics, dramatic headlines. You have only a few brief seconds to stop your audience and convince the reader or viewer to move on to the rest of the message.

7. Provoke an emotional response from the audience

Use words, headlines, graphics, and ideas that get your audience to say "wow." Or, "I really like that idea." Or "They're really one up on the competition."

8. Substance, not puffery

Your product may be the greatest, but simply saying so doesn't make it so. Everybody's product saves the customer time or money. Tell the audience "how much" and have the data to back it up.

9. Be truthful

Exaggerated or untruthful claims may get you the inquiry or an initial trial, but they seldom earn you a customer. Your audience is smarter than you think. They'll recognize the questionable in your advertising and catch you later as well.

10. Identify yourself

Company name, address, phone number, e-mail, Web site or other contact information. They add credibility, substance, and make it easier for the audience to contact you and do business with you.

There they are: ten fundamentals to help make your investment in better advertising pay off.

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