Seriously Effective Print Advertising
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You want action at the cash register. You want customers to read your ads, be impressed by your advertising image, and march straight into your business.
Professional print advertising works because each
critical component that generates that desired customer reaction is in
place. The advertisement, and your advertising image, is designed to create that
customer reaction; it
is not just thrown together.
Your advertising image must build credibility and
engender trust. Your message must be clear and focused. Your offer must
be highly desirable. Your advertising image must be carefully crafted to meet your
customer’s desires and expectations. Your ad must be better than your
competition's. And of course your timing needs to be right on. Building
this ad is what Professional Advertising
is all about.
Advertising Image, Credibility & Trust Part 1
Why should your customers believe you? Are you
an expert in your field, like a scientist or a medical doctor? Are you a
friendly neighbor or confidant? Are you the respected president of the
company? Are you a concerned parent? Are you Michael Jordan or Crazy
Eddie? All of these spokespeople have created a believable advertising
image for different
People tend to believe an overheard
conversation, an expert, a celebrity, and friends and family. People
tend not to believe interested parties, politicians, or people who do
not fit the expected profile of an information provider. And often
enough, people do not believe people who do not look like them. This is
the hard truth about your advertising image.
You want to target your prospects with the most
credible message that you can from the most credible source that
you can. If your source [spokesperson] is not believable, or if your
advertising image doesn't match what you are selling, then it doesn’t matter how good
your offer is, or how often you run your ads.
Why should your customers believe you? What
industry related advertising images do your customers expect to see in your ads? Can
you (or should you) break the rules? Does your product or service have
aspects, features, or disadvantages that must be addressed to be
What is your unique selling position? What is the one thing that makes you special and separates your business from the competition? Unique positioning makes your special, and it can give you a believable advertising image.
The media you select and the size of your ad also have a great influence on your advertising image and believability. What is the difference between an ad in the newspaper and a flyer on your car? Advertising image and believability.
What is the difference between a column listing and a display ad in the
yellow pages? Advertising image and believability. What is the difference between a small
display ad and a large display ad in the yellow pages? Large commercial
clients call the big ad. (And advertising image and believability.) See Using
Media More Effectively for more.
And how important is the design and production
quality of your advertising and promotional materials? They are the
first, and possibly the last, impression you make with your potential
clients. Your marketing materials are your advertising image. You are judged by the professionalism of your advertisements
long before you ever get the chance to communicate face to face.
Professional advertising makes you look professional.
Advertising Image, Credibility & Trust Part Two
Consistent Advertising = Familiarity = Trust =
Customers. Nothing will give you more credibility with prospects than
consistent, long-term advertising. Your ads and your company name will
become familiar. After a while you will be a reliable, trusted friend,
even though the client has never done business with you. When their need
arises, you will get the business. Consistent Advertising = Familiarity
= Trust = Customers.
Companies fail to follow this rule far more often than you might think.
Consistent advertising has two aspects. First, you need to run your ads on a regular basis. An inconsistent advertising schedule equals wasted money. And let's not talk about what it does to your advertising image.
advertising also means that your ads should have a consistent look or
theme. You need to pick a character and a tone, and absolutely
stick to it. If you change in mid-sentence, no one will believe you. If
you are formal, stay formal. If you are casual, stay casual. Always stay
If you want to build an advertising image, you must always stick to that
If you want to build an advertising image, you must always stick to that image.
Clarity of message also leads to credibility. This may be the most common mistake made in advertising. You must be clear and easy to understand. Use small words and short sentences. Really.
And your graphics must match your message. If people look at your pictures and say “Huh?” then you have the wrong pictures. Remember, if one out of four people don’t get it, then you just lost 25% of your customers. And their confusion will destroy your advertising image.
The offer you make must also be believable, and
it must match your advertising image. As
the old saying goes, if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
Your best strategy is to give a solid reason for your offer. Saying
“sale” is fine, but people will believe you if you say
“over-stocked sale” or “going out of business sale” or “end of
season sale.” If you give a reason for your offer, and if it matches
your advertising image, it will be
The perceived value in your offer also needs to make sense. People must believe that they are making a fair trade, and that you are getting something out of the deal, or they won’t trust you. See Pricing Strategy in Advertising for more.
there is more. Testimonials will make your ads believable. And 57% of people believe ads that carry an official third
party endorsement. 46% of consumers believe claims based on survey
results. And 60% of consumers believe ads that offer a money-back guarantee.
People believe independent tests and outside reviews. Limited time offers are believable, and so are non-paid endorsements.
And people will believe you when you stand up and say
that you are the best. If you can make an absolute statement of standing
behind your work 100%, or beating the lowest price, or providing the
absolute best quality, consumers will believe what you say. Your
advertising image will be golden. And that is
what Professional Advertising is all
Your Advertising Image - Ask for Help
As always, we
strongly recommend that you contact a marketing professional for
assistance. In an hour, a professional can give you some real insight
into the quality of your marketing materials, and how to increase the
response to your advertisements.
Hire a high
quality designer, and ask a marketing professional to help plan and review the work.
It’s a very small investment for something you are going to reprint
endlessly. And it’s the best investment you can make if you can modify
what your prospective clients see and think about your advertising image versus
your competitor's. Please contact
for these services and additional assistance.