Why your ads don’t work and how to make them work

Do you advertise? Do you spend a lot of your hard earned dollars on trying to get your name out there only to feel that you are just throwing your money down the proverbial rabbit hole? Are you constantly asking yourself, “What are my ads doing for me?” or saying, I cannot think of a single order I’ve got from advertising.” I’m sure you are because this is something I hear all the time. People are continually frustrated by the lack of results from their advertising.

So at their requests I will take a look at their ads and most of the time I can quickly identify exactly why their ads don’t seem to be working, or I should say are not working and its very simple.

Their ads don’t say anything!

They don’t promote anything that will get their customers to do something. Their ads do nothing to provoke their customers. Their ads are just there. Just lying there like a beached whale saying nothing more than “We are in business”.

Sure their ads have the company name and address, the link to their web site and sometimes some lame claim like, “We’re the best!” or “High quality stuff and great prices!” or something like, “Incomparable service!” Now doesn’t that make you want to run out and buy whatever it is they are selling. Man, they don’t even have a branding slogan, they just say that they are there standing behind the proverbial counter arms folded just waiting for those customers to come barging through their door.

Well guess what folks…that’s not the way it works. Ads like these are comparable to the sales guy who visits a customer, meets with the customer, and just leaves his business card and maybe a brochure and does nothing else. Guess what? Nothing is going to happen. There is no call to action. How do we expect the customer to take action when we have not even told him what action to take?

Sounds silly doesn’t it? Well the next time you look at a trade magazine (because I’m talking about business to business sales here) the next time you look at a trade magazine or web-zine look at the ads and you’ll see what I mean. Most of them say nothing. They are just there. Many times even if a person wanted to buy from the company advertising he would not even know how to go about it, never mind chose one particular company over another.

Here is some very simple advice. Do not spend advertising dollars unless you have something to say. Do not spend any more money on advertising dollars until you seriously study the market and know what kind of customer you want to attract, who your target audience is. And for heaven’s sake do not spend another advertising penny until you have studied the market and crafted a message that is going to make your company stand out. And please, please do not spend any more money on advertising until you know exactly what you want to offer to provoke your target audience to do something, until you have developed that call to action.

Yes, a call to action. Something that is going to move those target customers to do something. Whether it is to check out your web site to learn more about your company, or take advantage of a great promotion you’re offering. Make sure your ad has a call to action that is going to make your potential customers take action.

Offer a two for one deal; offer an extra service; make an introductory offer; offer something of value for free with every order (something that you know your target customers want) In other words in make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Look it’s not that difficult you are already in business. You already have customers. You know already the kinds of things that your customers want…so designed you advertising call to action based on that information…information you have already.

And if you’re worried about some kind of financial promotion hurting you? If you think that offering a discount is not something you can afford to do think about this:

  • According to common sales data out there a normal out of the car sales call costs over $500 when you consider all aspects of that call from the sales person’s salary and expenses to your literature and other marketing materials. Yes over $500 and climbing.
  • The same sales data is telling us that the cost of gaining a new customer these days is getting as high as $10,000 that’s right ten grand to pick up a new account. Thousands of dollars just to get a company to try you out…at least once.

So with that in mind you have to ask yourself…how much would you pay for a new customer? When you decide what kind of provocative financial promotion you are going to insert in your advertising, I think in the end you’ll find that, it could be the best and most economical marketing decision you make.

And yes if you bring you advertising to life with the right offer, with the right promotion with the right call to action. Your advertising will work and your business will grow. It’s only common sense.

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