Larry the Ad Man's Blog

I hope you learn from my small business marketing and advertising tips.

"Advertising is to trade what Steam is to machinery" Thomas Cook.
It was an honor to be nominated for 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Getting your message across.

When designing an advertisement, press release, website or social media piece, it is important to make sure you take the time to plan all of them to work together and have a consistent message that is front and center throughout. Keeping in mind, you need to know your customers and potential customers and what they respond to is the first step. If that was not the case, most ads would read, Stop by and spend all of your money with us. Obviously an obtuse example, but illustrates the point yet again, customers will respond to what's important to them, not what's important your business.

Jacci Howard Bear of Guide staes in her Blog ( on desktop publishing " When readers look at your ad what do they see first? Research indicates that readers typically look at:
  1. Visual
  2. Caption 
  3. Headline
  4. Copy
  5. Signature (Advertisers name, contact information)
in that order." The caption and headline in many cases are the same. I work with an advertiser who had a caricature of a bald man and the headline "going bald ?" which was both a caption and headline while gaining attention in a humorous way for tires.

A cursory google search of "magic words in advertising" will find you several different opinions. Some say 3 magic words, others 5, 7 and 11 magic words.  Many of the words are the same, a few are different on all the lists. I won't try and reinvent the wheel or compile my own list as these words can be an attention getter in some cases, but the message they are conveying or the substance is the most important factor. Free is one such magic word on most lists. If I offered free 5 cent candy, but you had to drive across the city to obtain it, it might not motivate action. Substance is the key. What attracts customers to you? Why do they come back? and would these answers attract other customers? It's not to say Imagine, Easy, Guarantee, Health, Love, Results, Safe, Save, New, Proven, You, Free, Because, Instant, Now and others are not great attention getting words. But what if you have efficient friendly service and tasty food or fresh baking? Don't tasty and fresh work? I salivated just typing those words. I'm sure you had feelings reading them. I couldn't find these 2 words on anyone's list. Again making the point, you HAVE TO know your customers and know your business to advertise effectively. No cookie cutter ad tutorial will help if you are unsure of your market and what makes you special.

In a nut shell ask your customers what makes you special. In most cases they will probably reinforce what you already know, but you may get a surprising compliment that may help improve your advertising.

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