Tips on Small Business Advertising–Part 2

Last week, I wrote a post on small business advertising.  In the post, I discussed how to create a 2 –Step Direct Response ad piece.  The idea here is to run advertising that offers a free or low-cost report or service only.  When you offer a free how-to report, or tip sheet, you build trust, and the idea behind any kind of marketing is to build trust to take the relationship with that prospect to the next level.  And the next level means having that individual raise their hand, and provide you with their contact information so they can receive your free report.

Beer Cans
Effective advertising requires a compelling headline.

But how do you create an effective advertisement that elicits a response?  Like every effective advertisement, there are 5 key elements that need to be included to make it work.

1. The Headline—Create a catchy headline that makes people want to read on.  You’ll want to spend the most time here because this is what will encourage people to read on.  Questions make great headlines because they’re typically more compelling than a statement.

2.  The Benefits—Tell them the benefits of reading the report.  What will they get in exchange for taking time to read the information?

3. Proof—What proof can you offer that the information is valuable.  You may have a testimonial or quote from a happy client.  For example, “When I was researching new flooring for my home, I read through the lifestyles document Direct Carpet provided, and I was able to quickly identify the types of flooring that were best for my family, including our pets.”

4.  Offer—The offer is the report or tip sheet that you are suggesting they get from you.  The ad itself must give the reader a reason to act.

5. Call to Action—Your Call to Action is what they need to do in order to get your report.  Make it very easy for them to take the next step. 

Every effective advertisement includes the five key elements above and regardless of whether or not you’re doing a 2-Step Direct Response ad, you need to have those key elements in your ad.  The key with the 2-Step Direct Response ad is to make sure that what you’re offering has value.  The content must be desirable by your prospects.

While this 2-step approach might sound a little tacky initially, it’s all in the way you design it and your headline.  Both myself and a number of my clients and Duct Tape Marketing colleagues have found this to be very effective.  Give it a try—the great thing is that you’ll be able to measure your response rate and calculate your ROI.  Stay tuned for next week’s post on ROI and Advertising.

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