All advertising has the same goal:
“To sell by informing, influencing and getting others to take action!”
Before you create an advertising or promotional campaign, think about your objective.
1. Determine your advertising objective
Advertising is not marketing. Advertising is a sub-section of an overarching marketing strategy. Advertising is one way to attract new customers to your business. Before you create your campaign, determine what is your single overriding objective is?
- Are you looking to inform?
- Are you looking to promote?
- Are you looking to build your brand?
- Is the purpose meant to be a positioning statement?
- Are you advertising a job role?
- Are you trying to sell something?
- Are you looking to promote a special offer?
Not only can advertising be expensive, it’s also very competitive so your advertisement needs to have impact. Your advertisement must attract the prospects attention and convince them to take some kind of action – call you, go to your website or visit your premises for example. For that to happen, a prospect will look at your advertisement and ask the question;
What’s in it for me! (WIIFM)
Only when a prospective customer can see a personal benefit in it for them will they take the action you want. But next, you need to know who your target market is.
2. Identify your target market
Consider who your target market is? One of the best ways to do this is to create buyer personas. You can download the free buyer persona toolkit here.
Once you have identified your target market, you then can develop a marketing or promotional message tailored to your target audience as per your buyer personas. It’s not enough to just identify your target market when planning an advertising or promotional campaign, get very specific.
- What age group do they fit into?
- What is their spending power?
- Where do they live?
- What are their needs and wants?
- What marketing channels will resonate best with them?
3. Understand their needs
Look at your audience from their perspective. They will always ask the question “What’s in it for me! (WIIFM). In other words, how will your products and services satisfy their needs from their perspective?
Once you understand their needs and wants, this gives you a clue as to what their pain or pleasure zones are. This allows you to create a compelling headline that will make them want to read your advertisement more closely.
4. Create your value proposition
To create an attractive advertisement, it needs to seize the reader’s attention as they will invariably be passive. To discover what your value proposition is, think about what makes you unique and attractive? Is it diversity, quality, price, variety, reputation, location or even reliability.
Download the value proposition toolkit here.
Sell the benefits you offer your target audience as opposed to the features of your product or service.
Find the point of difference and have that mental picture of the ideal person you are trying to connect with. It’s the point of difference that will create desire in your target audience to keep reading your advertisement.
5. Create an eye catching headline
You only have a very short period of time to capture a reader’s attention before you lose them. The purpose of an eye-catching headline is to get their immediate attention. The reader considers what they are gaining here and why they should keep reading.
The headline is the most important part of your copy and it needs to stand out from the crowd. Five times more people will read a headline over the body text. Think about when you read a newspaper or magazine – you go to the article where the headline grabs your attention the most.
Spend as much time writing your headline as you do writing the rest of the advertisement. It needs to be short, easy to read and compelling enough to make the prospect want read the rest of your copy.
- Word play: “Work at the top of the leader board”
- Tease them: “Training – the next step in your future”
- Command them to do something: “Invest in yourself”
- Ask questions: “Where else will you get satisfaction and unbelievable rewards?”
- Make a statement: “ABC works for me”
- Make it newsworthy: “Introducing the first…” “Discover the latest…”
- Give them info they can use: “Five easy ways to get started with ….”; “Ten reasons why you should use our services”
- Use powerful words no one can resist: Save… You… How to… Why… Easy… Exclusive… Now… Best yet… Confidence… Love…
6. Create powerful copy
Include only the essential aspects of the message you are trying to convey. You’re aiming to get people hooked with the ‘feel’ of the message. You want them to take the next step; example; call us, go to the website, visit our showroom, buy now.
- Keep sentences short saving the academics for technical writing
- Write the way you speak it’s so much more engaging
- Use ‘you’ as it speaks directly to your reader
- Write in the present or future tense rather than the past as it creates a sense of action
- Begin sentences with ‘because’, ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘or’ (you are not an English teacher!)
- Use meaningful descriptions to maintain interest example; superb, rare, world class
- Use transitional words to create flow example; since, remember, by comparison, perhaps, imagine, in short, of course, chances are…
- Use a dictionary and spell check to avoid ‘typos’
- Don’t use capitals and apostrophes randomly
Try to empathize with your audience by putting yourself in their shoes by writing copy that addresses their needs and desires. Don’t use jargon they may not understand; write more about the benefits of your product or service and how it will make your target audience’s lives better.
Avoid clichés. A cliché in advertising can act like a disease, crippling the impact of the advertisement. They aren’t appreciated by the savvy consumer who views them as a cheap trick. This will only detract from the effectiveness of your advertising message.
On a final note
When you spend time planning your advertising campaign, you are far more likely to achieve your advertising and promotional objectives
In a Nutshell
- Determine your advertising or promotional objectives
- Identify your target market by creating buyer personas
- Understand the needs of your target market
- Create your value proposition
- Create an eye catching headline
- Create powerful copy using the AIDA principle