One of the things that separates successful businesses from less successful ones is their level of sales compared to their competitors (as they become more successful they gain a greater market share over their competitors). The level of sales within any business will be determined by how well that business communicates with their desired target market. This will be very dependent on how strong the sales and marketing systems are within that business.
A typical scenario could be: A business owner will tell me that their problem is that they’d like more clients for their business to improve profits and here’s the first question I’ll normally ask a business owner in return: “So how many marketing strategies are you currently using?”. The first reply is typically ‘oh, you mean adverts’ with my reply being “not necessarily – placing adverts is probably only about 1% of your marketing”. To which I then get a rather blank or puzzled look as to what I’m actually asking!
And here lies another key to business success: Successful business owners realise that the more effectively you can communicate what you do and how you do it to your defined target market, the more effective your business will be. So you either learn to be a great marketer of your ‘product’ or you employ a specialist who can do this for you.
For this time around – if you do advertise in local magazines or send out direct mailers here’s a focus on some simple ‘do’s and don’ts’ on advertisement layout. Yes it’s simple – however it’s where most businesses fall foul and wonder why their advertising response rate is so low. So – back to basics!!
Firstly, don’t use so many different typefaces (it makes it very difficult to read and you lose your message). If you want to make any part of your copy stand out, use bold, italics or underline.
The key to most advertisements is the use of an eye catching headline. With the headline at the top of the page (taking up ideally about 20% of the ad space so it stands out) and then having sub-headlines that break up the copy and enable the reader to more clearly follow your message throughout the body copy, the last thing to remember is to include your contact details at the bottom right hand corner (such as logo and telephone number). This is because our natural reading style is top left to bottom right and the main thing we want the reader to do is to take action by calling our number.
If you include photographs then aim to keep them square to the page and align everything in blocks. This will give your ad balance (similar to newspaper articles with pictures). So, if you have two columns of text and you wish to place a photograph in the ad, make sure that the columns line up with each other. If you are in the photo (i.e. portrait shot), then ensure that you are facing into the ad and not out of the ad as it helps keeps the eye focused on the advert content. Also add your name to the photo
The Anchor Point is the name given to the advertisement’s bottom right hand corner. As mentioned earlier, it’s the last thing you want to tell someone reading your advert so that they take action and pick up the phone to call you. Therefore you need to have your number – nice and bold – bottom right!
As the human eye runs from top left to bottom right I would suggest that the headline should always be above the body copy. If a headline is placed in the middle of the copy it will be natural for the eye to read it then move back to read the rest of the ad. This may break the adverts main impact and message – and could cause the reader to just move on without taking action.
Just remember that structure and design is not about being artistic. There has been a huge amount of research and testing and measuring on advert response and layout over the years. Adverts are about conveying a sales message to the reader and getting them to take action. Period. Therefore a plain advert that conveys the message can often out pull one that looks artistic and creative.
So how do you know that your marketing is working? Answer: Test and Measure where your leads are coming from. If your marketing is working then you will get a response (I know…it’s not rocket science). If you’re not getting a reasonable response to your adverts then it’s time to work further on the structure and message (and also monitor the medium in which you’ve placed the ad),
So take a look at adverts you may have already done and consider the structure – what are you saying to your prospects?
If you do decide to advertise, or do direct mailers the most important thing to focus on is to monitor the response rate and your return on investment on each strategy used.
Next time we’ll take a look further at your marketing system and the other simple marketing ideas you can use to win more business
To Your Success,