Advertising Campaigns That Get Results
By: Charlie Cook


"Advertising doesn't work." I hear it from my clients all the time. One client was about to file for bankruptcy because she wasn't getting a good response to her radio ads, and the cost was killing her. But she knew her target market was listening; she knew she needed to get her name out there to generate more business. What should she do?

Owners of small businesses and professionals like yourself realize that to take your business to the next level, you need to get your products and services in front of a larger audience. You want to generate more leads, get more prospects to contact you and buy from you. Advertising is essential but how do you get more out of your advertising dollars?

Have you been disappointed by your advertising campaigns?

I felt the same way about my family's VCR. I paid good money for it (though probably not nearly as much as most people pay for advertising) and as far as I was concerned I could never get it to work the way I wanted it to. I spent way too much time fiddling with it and I still couldn't get it to record a TV show or a movie reliably when I was away. After a while I stopped trying to use its record function.

Sound familiar?

Compared to programming a VCR, creating a successful advertising campaign is simple. Note the operative word here is "successful". It's easy to put together an advertising campaign, but creating one that helps you make more than you spend should be the objective. The following seven elements are what separate a successful advertising campaign from one that just costs you money.

Elements of A Successful Advertising Campaign

1. Choose the media that will reach your target market. It sounds obvious, but make sure your target audience will see and/or hear your ad. Select a publication or radio or cable station that your target audience reads or tunes to. If you're advertising on the web, your keyword selection is critical here.

2. Write ad copy that your prospects will want to read. Your prospects' primary interest is in what your product or service will do for them, not what it actually is. Which would you be more likely to read, a headline that reads, "Accounting Services" or one that reads, "How to Avoid Overpaying Your Taxes"?

3, Have others establish your credibility. If space allows, include testimonials in your ad verifying the outstanding results your products and services generate.

4. Motivate prospects to contact you Include a limited-time offer or something for free - a report, appraisal or bonus product - to prompt your prospects to take action.

5. Tell prospects what you want them to do and how to do it. This is your "call to action". Tell them to call you, visit your web site, send you an email, fill in the reply card, etc.

6. Follow up your offer with the information prospects need to make a purchase. Too many people make the mistake at this point in the sales process of launching into a s.ales pitch. Whether your prospect is on the phone with you or is visiting your web site, help them clarify the problem or concern they have and detail the solution you provide. Then remind them what action you want them to take.

7. Continue to educate your prospects and clients. Stay in touch with likely prospects by contacting them at least every month. Get the conversation going by discussing a common problem. Give your prospects a quick tip they can use and, of course, mention the solutions you provide.

A successful advertising campaign will include all seven of the above elements, not just one or two. When you put all these elements in place, your advertising will generate more leads and sales and you'll see a good return on your advertising dollars.

By the way, the client who came to me on the verge of bankruptcy is now back on solid financial ground. Once she understood how to write her advertising copy and manage her advertising campaigns, her radio advertising started to bring in a steady stream of new business.

2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

- The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the FrŽe Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com