What do you think of when you think of advertising? Well, it probably depends on the perspective you choose. If you are considering advertising as a consumer you’ll probably think of how entertaining or annoying an ad is. You may think about how many times you are forced to endure it or how you can’t stop singing the jingle. In some cases, you may just change the channel.
If you are considering advertising from a business owner’s perspective you’ll probably think about how an ad describes your business. You may think of how many times your name is mentioned or your logo is shown. In any case, you’ll think about whether it will appeal to your “target customers” and drive traffic in your door or make your phone ring. Regardless of your perspective, some things almost always hold true. Business owners love ads that talk all about their business and customers love ads that talk all about the customer.
Message Over Method
Whether you are reading this article as a customer or as a business owner, I can, with relative certainty, assure you of two things:
- Ad Messages Must Appeal To The Intended Audience.
- Ads With Poor Messages Don’t Work.
Think about this. How many bands or artists do you know that got famous performing music with silly content? Names like Victor Borga, Weird Al Yankovic, and The Barenaked Ladies come to mind. All of these artists performed material with comedic content, but they performed it masterfully. You can have silly lyrics and great music, but the formula doesn’t work in reverse. How many artists do you know who had serious high quality content and performed it poorly?
Ads work the same way. An ad with a superior message and modest reach will invariably outperform ads with no substance regardless of how hard you push them. Your ad campaign doesn’t start with your message – it is your message. You must be clear on this before even considering the rest of this article or you risk serious failure.
Introducing Attraction Ads
Attraction ads are what people think of most when considering advertisement. These are ads crafted to attract your target customer to your door, phone, or website. They tout the benefits of your company, your products, and your services as they endeavor to stick themselves in the minds of those who hear, watch and read them. Attraction Ads can be a powerful part of a uniquely balanced ad campaign.
I say “part” of a campaign, because they must be used in conjunction with other effective ad types in a strategy that is uniquely crafted to your business and your market. Ad campaigns that are solely comprised of Attraction Ads (that is to say most of them) are rarely as effective as a balanced campaign designed specifically for your company to reach your customers in your market while rivaling your competition.
The 10 Commandments of Attraction Ad Writing
Thou Shalt Not “We, We” All Over Your Ad.
This is one of the worst tendencies of business owners and inexperienced ad writers. A well-meaning Attraction Ad becomes covered in “We, We”. “We do this,” and “We do that.” “We have this,” and “We have that.” “We’ve been in business since Moses crossed the Delaware and, as a matter of fact, we helped him do it.”
See what I mean? Effective Attraction Ads speak to the customer on his or her terms. They describe how his or her life would be so much better with the addition of your product or service. Customers don’t care how long you’ve been in business. But they do care about how you can make their lives better, easier, happier, and more efficient.
Thou Shalt Obey The Honest Man Law.
This is a bit of wisdom I picked up from an old guy I used to work for. He would say, “You know Son, a man can either spend his time telling you how honest he is or he could just do what honest people do.” In other words, don’t tell me that your company has integrity. Tell a true story that illustrates your integrity. Better yet, have someone else tell the story.
Thou Shalt Focus On Crafting The Right Ad, Not Reaching The Right People.
“I never knew until we ran that ad that middle-aged men making less than $50,000 a year were even interested in our products. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a business owner talk about a surprising portion of his or her client base that emerged as a result of advertising, I wouldn’t need to write this article.
The truth is that people don’t make decisions in a vacuum. They have real dynamic lives and circumstances. They are influenced by friends and family. They live in the same constantly spinning world that you do and change their minds about stuff all the time. This is why the message is so much more important than the method. After all, demographics don’t inspire people to buy, but messages do.
Thou Shalt Engage The Senses Of The Audience.
The body will only follow where the heart and mind have already been. Attraction Ads must capture the mind and heart of your audience. This means engaging their senses. Help them see how they will look holding, using, or wearing your products. Explain how they will feel after benefitting from your services.
The best way to explain is to engage the senses. How clean does the kitchen smell? How good does the car look? How reassuring is the sound of a healthy, happy baby? How does is feel to be prepared for retirement? How good does the steak taste? These are the elements of a successfully engaging Attraction Ad.
Thou Shalt Not Make Unfounded Claims.
This elaborates on Commandment 2. When writing Attraction Ads, resist the temptation to make claims of being the best, the only, or the world famous anything. Unless you are and then prove it. Hard facts convince the mind and humility grabs the heart. And remember that the body will only follow where the heart and mind have already been.
For the last 50 years, things in this country have been over-stated, over-blown, and over-emphasized so much that people simply ignore it anymore. Words like super, ultra, and mega have lost their punch. There is no such thing as a small coke or small fries. The world has been biggie-sized to death. If you want to stand out, tone it down.
Thou Shalt Use Quality Verbs Instead Of Empty Adjectives.
The goal of Attraction Ads (or any ads for that matter) is to get people to take action. You want them to visit your store, browse your website, or send an email. Doesn’t it make sense that your ads should be filled with action as well. This means verbs and lots of them. Start your sentences with them. End your paragraphs with them. Short, powerful sentences brimming with action will energize your ads.
Thou Shalt Not Include Even One Needless Word.
Time is the most precious commodity any of us possess. Therefore, don’t waste it in your Attraction Ads. Needless cliches, modifiers, adages, and opinions weigh your ads down and fritter away your audience’s time. Get to the point. Say it powerfully and succinctly.
I always encourage people to write their ads and then put them away for a day or so. Then get them back out and try to cut out everything you don’t absolutely need to say. If you have time put it away for another day or two and go at it again. Editing the fluff concentrates your message and delivers with style and impact.
Thou Shalt Explain Why It’s Better.
This follows a basic life philosophy of mine that people don’t often respond well to “No.” “Why?” “Because I said so.” We like to think of ourselves as intelligent beings who are smart enough to make up our own minds. We don’t mind when someone makes a case for why something is better than something else and then allows us to choose between them. As long as it is our decision in the end. You must remember when crafting ads that the customer always retains the option not to buy.
So instead of shaming, shoving, or demanding try actually explaining with real data why your company is the better choice. Don’t tell them doctors prefer you, tell them which doctors prefer you and why. Don’t tell them that your product is just better than the competition. Tell them how it’s better and why you believe that. People are smart and, if your business is really better, they’ll see that and choose you for themselves.
Thou Shalt End With An Effective Final Image.
The last image you leave in the minds of your audience is the one they’ll remember. When I was a kid, there was a local attorney named Joel Hyatt who advertised on television. I don’t remember anything about him or his practice. I couldn’t pick him out in a crowd or even recognize him face to face, but I will always remember the final image of his ads. At the conclusion of every commercial he would say, “I’m Joel Hyatt, and you have my word on it.” He could have been a saint or a scoundrel, but in my mind he was a guy in a sharp suit giving me his word and that was memorable.
You’ve head ads like this. You know that Tom Bodett “Leaves the light on for you.” at Motel 6, George Zimmer (until recently) guarantees that “You’ll like the way you look,” after a visit to The Men’s Warehouse, and Campbell’s soup is just “Mmm, Mmm, Good.” Make sure you leave your audience with a fitting final image, so that they remember you the way you want to be remembered.
Thou Shalt Advertise Who You Are, Not Who You Want to Be.
At the end of the day the story has to match the headline and you ad had to match your company. You’re not doing yourself any favors by advertising your company as something it isn’t. If you wish your business were different, change it. Then, after you’ve made the improvement, advertise it.
My grandmother had a saying about being something you’re not. She would say, “That’s like dressing a hog for Sunday.” You can dress it up all you want, but it’s still a hog. Your company will reflect who you really are, so make sure that your ads do the same.
Learn The Secrets of Effective Ad Writing.
There’s a lot more to Attraction Ads than this article can cover. So, if you want to know more about the different kinds of ads and how to create a well-balanced campaign, contact Two Creative Design Group today. We’ll help you discover your own unique blend of advertising to find and attract your target customers for years to come. What lessons have you learned from your own experience of writing ads?