Basics of Effective Advertising (Part 2)
Effective Advertising Principle #3:
Write It The Way You'd Say It
Knowing who to target, what medium will best reach those
people, and what to use as your most compelling offer are
the foremost factors involved in effective advertising.
But, unless your advertisement gets read (or seen, or
listened to), you've still done your money.
Apply the AIDA test to all your advertisements before
Attention - Does it grab
Interest - Does it stimulate
Desire - Does it create desire
for your product?
Action - Does it demand that
the reader takes action?
When you're writing
headlines and copy, keep these principles in mind:
pretentious, or use big words, complicated messages, or flowery
phrasing. Keep it simple.
patronising and don't boast. Who cares if you're the "biggest"?
"What can you do for me? How can you fulfil my needs and
desires?" This is what people want to know from you.
Write the way you
speak - and speak clearly.
enthusiastic when you're writing. You love your product, so let
it show through. So long as you're genuine, people will respond
to positive, enthusiastic writing.
Be honest and
Don't be afraid
of using too many words. If you've got a good story to tell,
tell it. If people are interested in buying something, they
can't get enough information about it. But, make sure you have
your compelling reasons in the headline and the first sentence
or two to give people a reason for reading on. Think about it:
If you've set your mind on buying such-and-such a new car next
month, you'll read everything you can about that car - even
stuff you might not ordinarily be interested in, like the
intricate mechanical details - to fulfil the need to convince
yourself you're making the right decision. Compliance
professionals, like advertising agency people, call this our
need for "social proof" - proving to ourselves that we're not
going to make a mistake, or be conned, or be made to look
writing your copy, imagine you're a salesperson sitting
face-to-face with a prospect. Write as if you're just addressing
one person, honestly and enthusiastically.
Try not to be too
Now, let's go back to
the AIDA principles to see how to create an effective advertisement.
(We're using a newspaper or magazine advertisement as our example,
but you can apply the same principles to script writing, too):
ATTENTION - This is what the headline's for... to grab the reader's
Think of how you go
about reading a newspaper or magazine. You scan the headlines (and
advertisements) for subjects that interest you, right? And they're
the articles (or advertisements) you'll start reading, and keep
reading until you've finished, or they begin to bore you.
So, either make your headline so different, newsworthy, outlandish,
scandalous, curious, or unusual that it "forces" people to read on.
Or, aim it to appeal directly to your market - the people who are
interested in what you have to sell. Remember, your headline
represents at least 75% of the pulling power of your advertisement.
And here's the main point: The headline needs to express a promise
of something - a benefit - for the scanners... the biggest benefit
you can hit them with. Done properly, in one go it will answer
what's in it for the reader and earn you the time to explain,
justify, and excite enough interest for who has now become a
prospect to keep reading. Here are a few more things to consider
when you're writing headlines:
You can increase
recall by more than 25% by putting your headlines in quotes.
out-pull shorter ones.
Here's a short
list of "winning" words: Free... Proven... Now... You...
Discovery... Amazing... Suddenly.... Introducing... Health.
throughout the copy, if it's long enough, to lead your readers,
and to make it easier for them to follow your logic.
INTEREST - Now that you have their attention, how do you keep them
By "talking" to them,
that's how. And by using tried and proven, face-to-face sales
features of your product.
advantages of those features.
benefits they'll receive if they buy your product.
DESIRE - OK, they're interested.
So, now you have to
make them desire your product. Simple! Tell them how it will make
them happier, more attractive, healthier, popular, richer, envied,
loved, better educated, and on and on.
ACTION - You've got them. They're desperate to buy from you.
you told them exactly how to do that, and made it
imperative that they do it right away?
you made it super-easy for them to do it? It doesn't
matter if it's "Grab your credit card, pick up the
telephone and dial 1800 0000 now!" or "Call in for a
free sample" or "Mail the reply-paid card today and
we'll send you our brochure."
you given them a reason to respond immediately?
"This is a limited edition piece, so order now to
avoid disappointment," or offer them a free gift if
they buy before March 15.
you arranged to get their names and addresses, if
possible? This will make it easier for you to sell
them something else later.
Effective Advertising Principle #4: Ask for the order
sense, we've just covered this issue in the foregoing.
Yes, "ask for the order" is the one thing which 63% of
salespeople don't do. Don't you make this mistake in
The very purpose of your advertising is to get a
sale...so you MUST ASK!
The Six Powerful Principles Of
No discussion of effective
advertising would be complete without considering the main principles of
what causes people to do what they do. In other words, what buttons you
have to push to get people to do what you want them to do - like buying
what you're offering in your advertisements.
We all respond without thinking to certain triggers - these sorts of
things: "If it's expensive, it must be better quality."... "If they do
something for us, we should do something for them."
So, let's take a brief look at these six triggers:
Most cultures agree - if
someone does something for you, you're expected to repay in kind. We
don't like being indebted to anyone, and usually feel uncomfortable
until we've returned the favour. Giving something before asking for
something in return - no matter how small the "gift" - dramatically
increases the chances of compliance.
2) Commitment And
When someone has taken a
definite decision, or position, on an issue, it's hard for them to back
down. People don't like to lose face, and they don't like to be seen as
Even a small commitment by the target - like agreeing to being
interviewed, or purchasing an inexpensive bauble - can lead to major
The smart salesperson (or advertiser) knows the profit on a small sale
is not necessarily the issue. The important thing is getting the target
3) Social Proof
We all search for proof
that we're doing the right thing before we take action. We look around
to see what other people are doing: "If everyone else is buying it, it
must be good"; "If other people are taking action, maybe I should, too."
Social proof is most effective under two conditions. The first is
uncertainty. If people are unsure how to behave, they'll use the actions
of others as "proof" that what they're doing is the right thing. The
second is similarity. We are more likely to emulate people who are
similar to us.
People are much more
likely to comply with a request from people they know, like, and trust.
That's why it's easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to a
prospective customer. Repeated contact with people (even through
advertising) will increase familiarity, and make it easier for them to
comply with your requests.
Related to this is the tactic of using association with successful,
well-known people - like sporting personalities or movie stars - to get
people to like you. You bask in their reflected glory and familiarity
with the public if you don't possess these things yourself.
Most people have an
ingrained respect for authority: "Doctor knows best."; "Do what the
teacher says."; "The policeman will protect you." Your conditioned
patterns of behaviour prompt you to treat these people with respect.
It's hard to say no to them. Smart advertisers know that people will
react in a similar fashion to the symbols of authority - notably cars,
titles, and clothes.
If we think there's
limited availability of a product, or that we can't have it after a
certain deadline, it immediately grows in its attractiveness. We worry
that, if we don't take action straight away, we're going to miss out. If
it's in scarce supply, it must be of better quality. As well, as
something becomes scarce, we lose the freedom to buy it. And loss of
freedom is a powerful motivator.
Review the six principles of influence every time you consider one of
your advertisements, and apply as many of them as you can to what you
say in that advertisement.