Every business investing in promotion wants the ultimate – an advert which will inform, educate and engage, but most of all one which will cause a reaction and hopefully create a sale. But is it enough to cause a stir?
What are the key points to bear in mind when we consider advertising for our business? Great adverts don’t necessarily have to feature the product. Sometimes references to a product are either very subtle or non-existent. In their place a feeling or lifestyle may be evoked or developed through an advertising campaign, or series of adverts. This however does not negate the need for taking time to create the perfect advert, and like anything, a little time and effort will reap rewards for your business.
Advertising is simply a way to let people know about your products and services, so what you’re looking for is impact. You have very limited time to make that first impression on your audience, so it is important to think about the initial exposure and remember that less is often more.
In our step-by-step process, we take a look at where to start and talk you through the essential elements to consider.
How Do You Make a Good Advert?
What is Your Business?
How many adverts have you seen that don’t actually tell you what the company does or what product they are trying to convince you to buy or use? Now this is fine if you are Nike or Microsoft, but for a smaller company, your advert should clearly demonstrate what your product or service is. Who would know ‘ADM Services’ was a financial advisor or a vehicle parts supplier without the description or key services included in the advert? Even if you only include a hint at what you do through bullet points or images, your customers need to have some idea of what you are offering from your advert.
Set Yourself Apart
Take a good look around at what your competitors are doing, and see what types of headlines and adverts they are using. How can you set yourself apart from them? What specific skills or benefits do you offer to encourage your customers to choose you above the competition? While you are taking a good look at yourself, you may also wish to consider your weaknesses, and how you can turn these around to use them to your advantage.
Know Your Target
A large part of developing an effective advert is knowing exactly who your target audience is. Your product or service may not appeal to everyone, so it is important to identify the group of prospects which is most likely to need what you have to offer. You may consider different adverts for various sectors.
Prioritise and Organise the Information
Try to look at the information you have about your business and begin to organise and prioritise it. For example, is it more important to your customers that you offer free delivery, or for them to know where you are based? Are your key selling points actually going to turn you a profit, or are you concentrating on smaller issues which are less important? Why should someone buy your product above the competition? It is really key to understand your business, before you try to begin to promote it through an advert. By going through this process of reflection you will begin to clarify some of the key information and build the basis of great advert.
There is no harm in putting a few ideas down. Begin to think like your customer, what are they looking for and what needs do they have? Think about some key phrases, which relate directly to your product or service, and begin to experiment a little. Would your customers find these appealing and do they create interest? Think about combining images and text and how they work best together. Does your logo stand alone in describing your business or does it require text to explain what you do and why you are the best? Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear structure at this point, if you can really identify what it is that sets you apart from your competitors, show what it is you offer and have a clear identity, then the rest will follow. You might be pleasantly surprised to reach a concise, and punchy summary of what makes your business exceptional! On the other-hand, it might be time to take a break, and go away to mull things over for a while. You may find your creative thoughts continue while you are doing something else entirely and that slowly and surely your ideas will come together.
You need to reach the point where you:
– Have a clear message of what your company does and who you are
– Know what makes you stand out from your competitors and makes you unique
– Know why a customer should choose you above your competitors
Now you have all the elements to create the perfect advert. You should realise that these building blocks can be used to promote your business, and you don’t necessarily need hundreds of words to get your message across.
Keep it Simple
Stay clear, concise and to the point, don’t let the detail overpower the message. Adverts should provide information quickly, succinctly and include a clear and prominent brand or logo whilst not appearing cramped.
Stand out from the crowd
Make your advert different. Can you state an ordinary message in an unusual way? Be the supplier or service provider your customers remember by creating a memorable advert.
Get the customer involved, encourage a reaction, and certainly don’t bore them. A good advert connects with its audience, their needs and desires.
The main purpose is to gain attention and make the customer want more information. Adverts are like unanswered questions which need an answer or a response. They should be easily understood.
Be honest, direct and correct
Never lie, over exaggerate, confuse or overwhelm. Ambiguous and false claims will not work in your favour. “Family business established over 55 years” or “only UK manufacturer of XX” work far better than “Yorkshire’s finest plumber”. Correct spelling and good style also go a long way in creating great adverts.
Sell your business not the advert
In an advert what you say is just as important as how you say it. Ultimately it has to sell your business.
The advert should feature the company contact information including website together with a clear call to action.
So why should I advertise?
How often do you actually see your customers face to face? Is your product something which doesn’t necessarily need a personal meeting to sell every time, and are you simply relying on loyalty from your customers to retain sales? A great advert can help you maintain your relationship with your current customers and encourage new contacts from prospects. It also keeps your name in front of your customers who don’t see you very often, and creates a sense of familiarity and brand recognition.
Competitors will be trying their hardest to poach your customers and jump in as soon as you take your eye off the ball, so make sure that your advert is there and they are not presented with this opportunity. By advertising to your existing customers, loyalty will be built and business retained, often in competitive situations.
A good advert will target the right customers effectively, marketing the benefits your business has to offer. A great advert will make them act on it.