Seven Ways to Improve Your Advertising

I’ve distilled the following Key Points from over 35 years in advertising, learning how clients tend to think and seeing what really works.

Don't Think Like An Advertiser.

1. Start thinking like your prospects. Too many people trying to construct an ad want to boast about their product, service or business. Instead, put yourself in the place of the people you want to reach. What are their concerns? What are they looking for? What things are important to them? Try to create a mental image of a person looking at your ad.

Give Them A "Reason to Buy."

2. Almost everyone selling a product or service has competitors. Sometimes what your competitors are selling is very similar, sometimes very different, but there are always reasons you can use to distinguish yourself. Why would someone choose yours instead of theirs? Is it price? Quality? Customer service? Where your product is made or where the service is performed? Imagine you were at a party and you met a person interested what you sell. What would you tell him or her?

Get To The Point.

3. People are busy. Chances are the person seeing your ad isn’t at that moment actively looking for what you’re selling. You actually have a matter of seconds to communicate to him or her. You can think of it like this: let’s say the person seeing your ad has one “unit” of attention to give to you. You can communicate one idea for 100% of his unit of attention; two ideas for 50% each of his attention; three for 33% and so on. The less attention he or she has for one of your ideas, the less likely he or she will remember and act on it.

Wear The Right "Clothes."

4. You wouldn’t wear sweat clothes to a wedding or formal wear to the gym. You might grab attention but people would be unlikely to treat you as if you knew what you were doing. Make sure the image you’re projecting—in text and images—matches your message. If you don’t feel competent to know which words, fonts, colors, etc. are right for your ad, consult with a professional.

Understand the Power Of Frequency.

5. All of us, from birth, are used to trusting someone or something we’re familiar with. Advertising psychology talks about the “Power of Seven,” which has proven that the maximum impact for an ad is when it’s seen for the seventh time. Too often, advertisers get tired of their ads prematurely. Consistency is an often-overlooked key to successful advertising.

Don't Try To Sell Your Product or Service.

6. That's right. Advertising is rarely capable of selling anything. The power of advertising lies in its ability to motivate someone to:

The product or service being advertised is sold in the follow-up, by a salesman, a catalog, an online or brick and mortar store, even a brochure. Advertising is generally the first step in a multi-step process to complete a sale.

Contact Us.

7. It’s free. I’ll be glad to sit down with you for a few minutes and discuss your advertising needs and what we can do for you. Email me for an appointment.

How To Improve An Ad

(*With thanks to Mr. Fred Manley of BBDO, San Francisco who came up with the idea, and to Communication Arts magazine who published Mr. Manley's "9 Ways to Improve An Ad" in 1963 and again in 1980). I adapted his ideas, which were based on a Volkswagen ad, to the National Dairy Association's "Got Milk " campaign.

Click here to view this spot-on, tongue-in-cheek instruction on How To Improve An Ad.