Much Ado About Advertisements

When you first start out in a business, some people might tell you that you should start advertising in a local daily or a national newspaper. The advertisement need not be a full-page advertisement. The point is to advertise…to get the word out – be it small or big. When I first started out in my business, I advertised small too and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Thinking back, it didn’t even qualify as an advertising campaign because throughout the nine months that I advertised in a national daily, not a single response from the advertisements was seen! Yes, none…as in nil…yes.

Sad but true. You see, the whole thing about ‘just advertise irregardless of whether the advertisement is going to be big or small’ is a whole bunch of hogwash probably spun by the media to encourage people to advertise in their papers or magazines.

Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying that everyone have to advertise a full-page advertisement in order to effectively get the word out – this is not true either. The truth is that one must never waste financial resources to ‘just advertise’. Small advertisements rarely work because the location is ill-fitted, the size of the advertisement is too small to be read and there’s not enough information in the advertisements to encourage others to ‘act.

The whole point of advertising is to get people to respond. You want ‘WOW’, you want ‘YES’. You don’t want ‘Mmmmmm….”. Many of the important factors of successful marketing and advertising tactics are lost when the advertisement is insignificant.

THE SHOCK, SURPRISE FACTOR

Successful advertisements are usually those that either make you laugh, cry, sad, shocked or surprised. There must be an emotion attached to the advertisement. Don’t be surprised but even small advertisements with enough emotion attached to it can elicit a reaction. I repeat, it doesn’t have to be a full-page color ad. Just something big enough or strategically placed is good enough.

THE INFORMATION FACTOR

Imagine you’re looking at an advertisement of your competitor. It’s a small advertisement beside the ‘classifieds’ section with small print, black and white and literally devoid of information except for a telephone number and website. Would you be curious enough to call the number or log into the website? Would you even remember the phone number or website address from the advertisement? Probably not. You need to arouse curiosity in your target audience and this need is very evident in an advertisement. There are hundreds of advertisements in a newspaper or magazine and you’re all competing for the same attention. To elicit response or reaction, you need to give them just enough information to make them curious and not enough for them to dismiss you. That’s one of the biggest advertising secrets the world over – and this formula works for every industry.

If your advertisement is too small or too plain, it’s not going to be enough to entice your audience.

THE ‘ACT NOW’ FACTOR

You don’t have enough space to even write your web address, explain your business and also print your telephone number in the advertisement space, what more expertly written copy to encourage your audience to ACT NOW! Another industry secret if you want to call it that. an advertisement is successful when it is able to get someone to WANT to act NOW – not later, not tomorrow and definitely not next week. You want to make the target audience act as soon as they get the chance to.

Admittedly, this is one of the hardest things to do because consumers are not stupid – in fact, they are getting smarter and smarter by the day. And that is why we, business owners, have to be just as smart, if not smarter. Find a way to get to their heart and get them to acknowledge that they WANT (note: NOT NEED) to find out more about your products or services.