Thursday, May 5, 2011

Advertising 101 For Entrepreneurs

Advertising 101 For Entrepreneurs

Now that we’ve covered the approach you’re going to take in your ads let’s take a look at “Aspects of the Approach”. These are actually subsections that needed a place to live, but don’t tell anyone.

• Tone & Personality:
You have to make a decision about your ad relating to its tone and personality. What disposition/character/behavior/or attitude is going to be the most effective?

Now tone is the undercurrent of your ad or the mood. Personality is the make-up of the ad’s character. It’s important to think about this because some advertisers ignore it and when they pull the pieces together (picture, copy, etc) the ad doesn’t project anything.

For instance think of the grabber line being, “Big budget delivers big results.” Hmm? Just as money can’t solve all social ills, big budgets don’t automatically create inventive advertising. Many times we’ve seen an enormous budget plus a rotten idea = a huge failure. Yet, there are times when we see a small budget plus a first-rate idea = marvelous success. Be prepared to make do and still make it fantastic.

• Break the Limits.
If you have a small ad, demonstrate that you’re better than the space you’re in. Remember the prospect doesn’t care about the size of the ad, he only cares about what you’re doing for him.

• Turn Adversity Into Advantage.
If your client insists on showing woodchucks in his jewelry ad, turn out the best woodchuck jewelry ad ever. You’ll get points for originality, and because it’s a “zag” you’ll probably get results.

• Use What’s Already Available.
Before you spend a lot on photos and illustrations, look at what you have lying around. It’s free.

• Can the Approach Work?
Not to discourage free form thinking, but you should reject approaches that demand too much BLT (budget, labor, and time). Instead, prepare ads that require your talent and not months and bucks.

• Frugality Makes You Timely.
The smaller the production budget, the sooner your ad can get in the market. This is the “Rule of Thumb.” The reason is because you’re not relying on other resources. So, unchain your ads from expenses and move fast.

This is worthwhile because if economic conditions suddenly change (and they will), you can quickly respond with a new ad message that addresses the new economy. You might decide to say, “Now more than ever, it pays to use our product.” You’ll again leave your competitors in the dust because they’re tied to expensive ads and long production timetables.

• Watch Your Language.
Most people don’t realize the power that’s packed in language. One misused phrase can upset thousands of people, so keep you antennas up and use your judgment.

For instance, use nothing at the expense of a certain group. This will offend people. Instead, show that an ad can get results from scores of readers and a smile from every one of them.

Don’t make fun of the prospect in a “we’re just kidding” way. He’s not paying much attention to your ad, so he won’t get the subtle nuances of your wit – only enough to be insulted.

If you can follow these hints you should be able to work out a “cracker-jack” ad for either yourself or a client. Next week we’ll take a look at handling the media.

by Maureen Stephenson

Advertising 101 By/For Entrepreneurs

When you’re doing your ad, remember that you must use psychology. You must, and I mean MUST, make your prospect want your product more than anything they can think of – and right NOW!

By the time they get through reading your ad, they should be panting to run out to your store or shove their check in an envelope and run to the mailbox.

Today I’m going to give you some tips that will help you. First always remember that enticing, siren of advertising AIDA. Who is AIDA you ask? Well AIDA stands for,
• A=Attention – Grab your targets attention.
• I=Interest – Create curiosity
• D=Detail – Provide details
• A=Action – Call for action

If you have AIDA before you every time you start to do an ad, you’ll never fail. The most important point is the “call to action”. You’d be surprised at the number of sales that are lost because the client is never asked to “order now, try it for 30 days, fill out the coupon” - or whatever you use to make your client take action.

Here are some advertising pearls that will keep you on the beam:

• Force yourself to operate under deadlines. When you start buying advertising space you’ll have to meet deadlines so get used to them.
• A good headline answers the question WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?
• A customer who buys from you two times is twice as likely to buy as a customer that only buys from you once.
• If you’ve got a good product, a good, liberal, strong guarantee should go with it and will increase your sales. The amount of returns/refunds you get will be insignificant compared to the increase in sales.
• The more your sales letter looks like a “personal” letter, the better it will work.
• Remember the 40-40-20 rule for using direct mail. It breaks your success in three ways: 40% of you success is using the right list, another 40% is having the right offer, and 20% is everything else (copy, format, graphics, paper, etc.).
• In advertising it is better to offer a Free Bonus than to offer a discount.
• Direct mail advertising statistics show that mail delivered on Saturdays and Mondays get the poorest response. Best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday-and in that order.
• Use testimonials in your ad and put them before the call to action and after the details about your widget.
• “Buy 1 get 1 FREE” always out-pulls “2 for the price of 1”.
• Nothing is more powerful than “goodwill” except ill will. If a client is dissatisfied, make good and make it fast.
• Always make your customer feel like they’re the most important customer you have, and they’ll keep buying from you and not your competitor.
• If you want to mail an ad for your business to prospects, research mailing lists on the Internet at: You’ll have access to virtually every direct response mailing lists in the U.S.
• Sales copy can never be too long, it can only be boring.
• You can increase your response rate from a mailing if you add a “post-it” note on your sales letter. You can say something like, “Only for the month of June”, or “Reply before 6/30 to get the discount.”
• The best way to keep tabs on your competition is to become their customer and see how you’re treated.
• In Direct Marketing (which ads by mail are called) there are only two rules: Rule #1: Test everything. Rule #2: See Rule #1
• Ad copy type-set in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS is harder to read than all lowercase of Mixed Case.
• Repeat your offer and guarantee on your order form.
• Whenever possible, give your customers an extra added and unexpected bonus or gift along with the order to show your appreciation.
• There are only three ways to grow your business: (1) increase the number of customers; (2) increase your average dollars per sale; (3) increase the frequency you do business with your customer. Always remember, “turn-over may feed your ego, but it won’t feed your family.”
• The more you treat your clients as friends, the more likely they’ll talk about you and do more business with you.
• Don’t ever let a Holiday come and go without offering your current customers a special deal in an ad. Use the event as the “hook” for the ad, and if you research the subject you’ll find there’s a holiday of some sort almost every month. Not just the big ones like Valentine’s Day or Easter, but use one’s like Groundhog’s Day, National Dairy Month, Boy Scout’s Week, or whatever you can work into your product line.

Now that I’ve introduced you to AIDA, and given you all these marketing pearls you should be able to compose an ad that will not only increase your presence in the marketplace, but also bring you more clients, business, and profits.


by Maureen Stephenson

Image, Timesaving and Cash Saving Tips

Since entrepreneurs are wearing all the hats in their business, every little shortcut or tip that makes life easier is always welcome. Let me share some “been there-done that” information with you to make your business life a little easier.

Office furnishings and decorations say a great deal about you, so to convey the image you want to convey pay attention to these:

• Furniture Arrangement: Setting your desk in the middle of the floor with chairs facing it conveys a “formal” atmosphere. It conveys to your clients that you want to maintain a distance from visitors. Instead, place your desk against a wall (not facing it) to convey confidence.
• Messy Desks: A small amount of messiness implies comfort and friendliness, but too much clutter makes visitors think you don’t care about making a good impression on anyone. The opposite extreme, an immaculate desk conveys coldness and could be perceived as you not having enough work to do.
• Decorations: Plants, drapes, and artwork will convey a comfortable, relaxed attitude. Books and artwork express your sincerity.
• Awards & Certificates: If job-related, they reassure visitors that you are experienced and competent.

Planning is essential for the entrepreneur, and all you need is 30 minutes to plan your entire week if you use the OATS formula.
1. Objectives: What results do you want to have by week end? Write them down and rank them.
2. Activities: List the necessary activities you must do to achieve your goals, and rank them.
3. Time: How much time will each activity require? Plan realistically allowing more time than you think you’ll need to compensate for unexpected problems.
4. Schedule: Look at your calendar and decide when you can do each activity. Most people underestimate the power of a schedule, but you won’t accomplish anything if you don’t schedule the time.

Underlining reading material is another great timesaver. With the mountains of material entrepreneurs must read to keep abreast of their niche, being able to find it again when you need it is essential. After you’ve read the article/book/paper/report, then go back and underline the important information so you can find it again easily. The reason for underlining after you has read it. is because most of us underline too many words before we’ve finished the passage and understand the key points. Wait until you’ve finished an entire section or chapter, then go back and highlight key points.

Returning phone calls is another time-stealer for entrepreneurs. Time-management experts recommend setting aside an hour a day to make and return your phone calls. But which hour do you choose? The best times of day are the first two hours of the morning or the last two hours of the afternoon. Those are the times when most people are in the office and accessible.

Do you think business is doing better because of your optimistic attitude? I would think so. However many management experts are now saying that pessimists make better managers. Why? Because they’re always thinking of what could go wrong and are coming up with solutions to problems in case the worst happens. My suggestion is not to toss your optimism away, I’ve found it very helpful some days, instead force yourself to write down everything that could go wrong with a new project, ideas, or employees. (Remember “Murphy’s Law – Whatever can go wrong, will.”) Personally, I think Murphy was an optimist! My advice is to be optimistic but be prepared. Once you do this you’ll naturally be prepared with solutions if disaster does strike.

In this present age of computers and time-saving gadgets, we are at times prone to purchasing the latest thing that promises to save us some work. When it comes to purchasing software, a good question to ask yourself is: Is it better than a pencil? The answer will help you decide if the expense is really justified. Keep in mind that computers are supposed to make your work easier and faster.

For the entrepreneur that travels overseas often, consider registering your handprint with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and obtaining an INSPASS card. It’s not exactly Star Trek technology, but it’s close. With the card, all you have to do is slide it through a machine, press your hand against a screen, and slip on through bypassing the lines. For information wit to: INSPASS, P.O. Box 2010, Newark, NJ 07114-2010

Want to impress your clients with Broadway shows? Call the Actor’s Fund of America and ask for “Fund Tix”, 212-221-7300. The tickets are double the price, but half goes to charity (tax write off) and the seats are great.

Are there days when you want to give up? Is your family telling you you’re too old to try something new? Well age isn’t always a factor in your success or failure. Consider these famous examples:

• Actor George Burns won his first Oscar at age 80.
• Golda Meir was 71 when she became prime minister of Israel.
• At 96, playwright George Bernard Shaw broke his leg falling out of a tree he was trimming in his backyard.
• Painter Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 80 years old. She completed more than 1,500 paintings after that; 25% of those were produced when she was past 100.
• Michelangelo was 71 when he painted the Sistine Chapel.
• Albert Schweitzer was still performing operations in his African hospital at 89.
• Doc Counsilman, at 58, became the oldest person ever to swim the English Channel.
• S. I. Hayakawa retired as president of San Francisco State University at 70, and then was elected to the U.S. Senate.
• Casey Stengel didn’t retire from managing the New York Mets until he was 75.

Entrepreneurs often have crazy ideas for making money and giving good customer service. The next one you have, remember the story of Phil Romano the founder of Fuddruckers the national hamburger chain. He once owned a small, out-of-the-way Italian restaurant called Macaroni’s. He packed the place every Monday and Tuesday nights, a time when most restaurants struggle to keep their doors open. How? Apart from the obvious fact that Macaroni’s served good food, Romano had a “gimmick” based on the old Psych 101 principle, “Random rewards beget regular behavior.”

If you happened to be dining there on a randomly chosen Monday or Tuesday night, you and the other 200 customers received a letter instead of a bill at the end of the meal. The letter stated that because the Macaroni mission was to make you feel like guests, it seemed awkward to charge guests for having a good time. So, once each month on a Monday or Tuesday, and always unannounced, everyone would eat free.

What did it cost Romano? One night “comped” out of 30 reduces his revenues by 3.3%, but he has a full house on 8 nights a month when the place would normally be empty. Word-of-mouth testimonials are one of the most effective forms of advertising, and in one fell swoop Romano got a couple hundred tongues wagging.

Remember what Goethe said; “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

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