How To Avoid Burning Money On Advertising

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Advertising. Curse? Money hole? Or powerful venue?

It seems so obvious: where else, for a few hundred dollars, could you get in front of thousands of people? And it's true that many of them are really wanting what you're offering.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of advertising ends up being good to wrap fish in, and not much else. People cry up "But it's getting me exposure," and that's true, to a point. However, is it really increasing sales? Is it really getting people the help they need?

Every time I look through a newspaper, especially the alternative papers, I see so many ads, and my heart feels a little sad. Because I know behind most of those ads there is a jewel of a human being, really wanting to help. But the ad isn't making the connection at all.

Let's think about it for a minute before you rush to get your hard-earned money in before the publication deadline. What's going on for the person reading the newspaper?

First: they've seen it all before. Second: your offer is probably between the 100th and 1000th (literally) that they've seen today. Third: even if they are an ideal prospect for you, they are probably thinking about something other than your business.

Because of this overwhelm, most advertisers try to keep turning the volume up higher and higher. I just opened up an alternative magazine randomly to a two page spread of ads. Out of 16 ads, 12 of them have some "special offer" of one sort or another. And 14 of them are making a direct pitch to have you "schedule an appointment" or otherwise buy something now. Of the other two, one is a restaurant, and the other doesn't make any kind of offer at all.

Does it work? No, it doesn't work. I've called people to find out how their ads were working for them, and they told me: "I get a couple of calls from it, maybe."

Remember that people only buy when they feel safe enough- when the relationship has built to the point where they can trust their initial attraction.

Here's the foundation you need to make your ad effective:

Know the Three Journeys.
The First Journey is when a stranger becomes interested in your business, and chooses to become a prospect. A prospect who is looking for gold in your business.

The Second Journey is when that prospect spends time in direct relationship with your business, and when they see enough gold, they become a customer.

The Third Journey is when they've had an ecstatic experience as a customer, and want to help other people find the gold, so they become a raving fan.

Advertising is First Journey marketing. Your only goal in advertising should be to show enough gold to get them to want to be a prospect. Forget about selling them anything.

How do you show them the gold??

Keys to Effective Advertising

Talk to one person, and call their name.

On a crowded Manhattan street, elbow-to-elbow with a sea of people, I still heard someone speak in a conversational voice- "Mark." I turned my head around. Of course they were talking to someone else, but it still caught my attention.

Your ad needs to speak to one person, and call their name. In marketing, the next best thing to a personal name is your Who and What. "Golfers"=who "is knee pain affecting your swing?"= what.

Educate them in a helpful way.

If you have room, take the time to maybe explain one point that will be helpful for them in the problem they are facing. For smaller ads you can just point them towards a web page where you want to educate them about something helpful.

For instance: "Most pain is actually caused by stress. Stopping the stress means decreasing or stopping the pain. Right now, just notice your knee pain. See if you can notice where your legs and hips feel tense, and breathe into the tension. As it relaxes, see how the pain feels." If you have more space, you can go into more detail.

Offer a trade: their contact information for something valuable.

Of course, your knee pain isn't gone completely. This is just a clue. If you'd like a free article, with illustrations, on how to decrease knee pain and help your swing, just go to (place link to golf knee pain web site here). And, we'll give you an additional golf swing tip every week."

Finally, don't ignore design.

Keep it simple. In a loud, overcrowded world, simplicity and straightforwardness have the best chance of being noticed. Use plenty of white space. Easy-to-read fonts, avoid cursive or fancy fonts, and avoid complicated patterns.
Try Robin Williams (not THAT Robin Williams) book, The Non-Designer's Design Book.

Have fun with your advertising.
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