Have you ever spent a small fortune on advertising that
generated disappointment rather than sales?
Many small business owners have been down the road of flat
advertising results and are at a loss when it comes to
developing new ideas to improve the response to their ads.
Whether you run ads in your local newspaper, your industry's
top periodical or on-line, you need your investment in
advertising to pay for itself, and then some, in order to
justify its cost.
If your ads aren't generating the interest you want in your
products and services they may be suffering from one of the
five common mistakes small business owners and professional
service providers make when developing and delivering their
Here is a list of five qualities common to successful small
business advertising campaigns.
Zero in on Your Best Prospects
Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking
bigger is better when they choose a medium in which to run
their ads and opt to spend their advertising dollars to
reach a larger but less focused market.
For example, if your company specializes in helping law
firms reduce the cost of long, ongoing cases and you choose
to run a series of full page ads in the New York Times
instead of the New York Law Journal you will likely be
disappointed by the response to your campaign. Despite
reaching the considerably larger audience of the New York
Times your would be missing the focused attention of the
legal minded readership of the New York Law Journal.
Be sure to zero in on your market. You will increase the
likelihood that the readers who see your ad will actually
have a need for your service.
Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd
Unless your business sells a product or service that is
completely unique and faces no competition your ads need to
set your products or services apart from the crowd of your
If you are the owner of a pet supply company and your ads
simply say, "We Sell Pet Supplies" they will be passed over
along with every other bland advertisement for Fido's food.
On the other hand, your ads will stand out and attract much
more attention to your shop if you state that you sell,
"King Sized Bones and Bowls for the Royalty in Your Family."
By focusing your ads on the owners of large breed dogs you
distinguish yourself from the crowd of pet shops that simply
sell pet supplies and make it clear to the owners of large
dogs that you sell what they need.
Be sure the copy of your ads has the effect of making what
you offer unique. Your highly targeted prospects will reward
you by noticing the difference in your ads and buying from
Another property of a highly effective advertisement is that
it demonstrates the value your products and services
provide. By demonstrating value in your advertisements you
give your prospects a clear idea of the benefits you provide
and a clear reason to buy from you. Demonstrating value can
also help you set yourself apart from you competitors.
How can you change your ads to demonstrate the value you
provide? What special offers can you make to set yourself
apart from the pack?
Focus on client problems
Consumers buy products and services because they fill a need
or solve a problem. If your ad copy does not address your
prospects' problems they will never know that you provide
the solution they need.
If you are recovering from knee surgery and need to work
with a physical therapist to regain your full range of
motion, would you be more likely to choose a therapist who
advertises his new and modern equipment or the one who
advertises that she will have your knee working and feeling
like new again in just three weeks?
Be sure to focus your ads on your clients' problems. You
will win more business as more and more prospects come to
see you as the solution to their problem.
The final aspect of a highly effective ad is a call to
action. If you've done your job up until this point, your
prospect has read your ad. If your ad does not finish the
job and inspire your prospect to contact you for more
information or visit your store or your web site, it is not
worth the money you spent to have it published.
Don't assume that your prospects know what they should do
next. You need to tell them to be sure they know.
If you've gotten their attention, demonstrated your value
and shown them that you are the solution to their problem,
don't waste your good work by neglecting to instruct them to
take the next step and contact you.
If all this seems like a lot to accomplish in one
advertisement, you need not worry. A well-written marketing
message will take care of most of the details of writing a
highly effective ad.
Do you have a marketing message you can use to consistently
deliver effective ads and position your business as the
solution to your client's problems? You should.
The author, Jeremy Cohen, helps small business owners and
professional service providers attract more clients, grow
their business and be more successful with his marketing
and web site enhancement coaching service and his
marketing guides. Get his free guide: Jumpstart Marketing: More
Profits, Clients and Success at: