Marketing consultant Robert Bly has isolated 8 factors that can help keep you from making costly mistakes that could destroy the selling power of potentially lucrative advertising.
Make sure your product is interesting to your audience
Many clients think a great ad can sell anything to anyone. They are wrong, says Bob Bly. For example, he notes, no advertisement, no matter how powerfully written, will convince vegetarians to order steak dinners at your restaurant. But your ad might entice them to try your salad bar.
Put muscle into your headline
The headline is the most important single element in any advertising. It grabs the reader’s attention and stops him long enough to start reading your ad.
Make your visual reinforce your headline
Your headline and visual should get the gist of your sales pitch across to the reader. “Every good ad should be able to stand as a poster,” writes Alastair Crompton in “The Craft of Copywriting.” The reader should never have to dip into the small print.
Your first copy paragraph must instantly expand on your headline idea
If your headline asks a burning question, the lead should immediately answer it. Otherwise, the disappointed reader simply will turn the page.
Do not waste your reader’s time with “warmup” copy. Instead, get straight to the point.
Good advertising is specific. It gives prospects believable information they need when making buying decisions.
Use a clear, simple, natural style
Good copy sounds like one friend talking to another. It should never sound pompous, remote, aloof, or written in “corporatese.” Bly thinks Madison Avenue agencies today all use copy that seems deliberately to remind you that you are reading an ad. Avoid such slick, self-conscious lingo, he advises.
Tell your reader exactly what to do
Do you want your prospect to phone or write you, or clip a coupon and mail it back to you? Do you want the reader to visit your store, request a copy of your catalog or sales brochure, set up an appointment to see a salesperson, test drive your product, or order your product directly from the ad? Decide, then tell the reader to do it. And make it easy.
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