The 6 ½ Secrets Of Successful Advertising
Secret # 1:
Will the Most Important Word in Advertising Please Stand Up?
Almost any advertisement that has struggled for results in the past can earn a second chance with a little dusting off and a simple swivel of the camera.
Video camera, movie camera, digital camera, 35mm camera, one of those old 110 cameras with the flash cubes, or even the camera in your mind…it doesn't matter.
If your camera is pointed at you it's backwards and you're wasting film and ad dollars (not to mention those hard to find flash cubes).
Your potential customers don’t really care about you. (Pause for effect and repeat). Your potential customers don't really care about you. They care about what you can do for them and indeed, about themselves.
No news there, right? Most people are already on the same page as you and I – but most people still ignore that fact when it comes time to write ad copy.
30 years in business, bonded and insured, weekly service, competitive rates, family owned and operated, yada, yada, yada, you've heard them all – probably even used a few yourself.
The truth is most ads – in print, on the web, on TV, and in the mail – spend tons of space, time, and moolah talking about the company and the products. Most ads leave the most important word out. Most ads just don't seem to work.
But if it's so simple, why doesn't everybody who spends money advertising just put that word in? Who knows? People just love doing the same old things. Besides, doesn't it seem natural that your ads should talk about your company or your product? You're the one shelling out the money for the ad, so shouldn't you be able to tell your story? In this case, the truth just isn't fair.
The good news is that so few people properly leverage the power of this word in their advertisements, that when you finally let it creep into yours it has the potential to make a major impact.
So what's the word? Pull out the last advertisement that you ran. How many times does the word "you" appear in it? If it's not all over the thing, you can pretty sure that's why it didn't work.
OK you, you can sit down now.
In the next secret, find out the major advertising secret you can learn on a fishing trip.
Secret # 2:
Fishing Without A Hook
When’s the last time you went fishing? Think back to that day. What did you use to fish? A pole, fishing line, bait, maybe a sinker and a bobber.
Oh yeah…and a hook. You wouldn’t go fishing without the hook, would you? The hook is probably the most important part of the fishing process.
The same is true in your advertising. If you want to be successful in advertising you have to resign your position as general manager of the universe and realize that your ad is not a personal soap box to speak your mind, hype accolades, regurgitate philosophies, spout jargon and blab about anything else.
The people who see your ad really don’t care about you, your personal agenda or that you’ve spent good money to talk to them.
As you know they only care about one thing…themselves. Likewise your advertising should focus on only one thing…them!
You have already identified that “YOU” is the most powerful word in any advertisement. That is why a hook works so well.
A hook is something of value you offer your target, which they can’t live without. It’s something that provides them with a solution, a cure, an answer to a daunting problem. A hook incites them to take the desired action your advertisement was designed to evoke.
An advertisement without a hook is like a fishing pole without a hook. Fish may look at the bait, they may nibble the bait, they may even eat the bait – but you will never catch a fish without a hook.
Customers may hear your message, they may think about your message, but they are very unlikely to take a desired action unless you give them a STRONG INCENTIVE to do so, something they see as valuable. If your ad doesn’t ask your target to take action you are totally wasting your money.
Your ads need to provide an undeniable reason focused on relieving your target’s pain that incites them to take a desired action.
Next time you go fishing, be sure to bring a few hooks. Next time you advertise, try throwing a few hooks in there too.
Have you spent money on advertising and afterwards you wonder if it was effective. It’s tough to know right? You should have learned how to avoid this in science class. In the next secret we’ll tell you how.
Secret # 3:
What You Should Have Learned In Science Class
Remember way back in science class, every year you had to come up with a new science project. You had to create a hypothesis. Then you had to conduct a series of tests to prove or disprove your hypothesis statement.
Remember how fun that was? Glad it’s over with aren’t you? Well if you advertise it’s never over.
In reality, all advertising is an ongoing science project. No advertising professional can be certain any advertising is going to work.
They can only make an educated guess, they can only hypothesize.
By definition a hypothesis is a tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation.
This is exactly what an advertisement is.
It is only proven effective and true after it has been tested to be so. Before the testing, it is only a tentative explanation and nobody knows if it will prove to be truly effective. So what can you do about it? I’m glad you asked.
You must test and measure your science project…in this case, your advertising campaign.
A good advertising agency will have past experience and expertise that will allow them to form more cogent hypotheses that require less testing.
Testing costs money but is absolutely imperative because without it you can have no ad or campaign that is effective…unless you stumble upon it. And if that’s the case you probably aren’t even sure exactly what you did right.
If you’re that great at guessing, you should buy a lottery ticket and pick one up for us too.
Each ad placed must be created with metrics so it can be evaluated. Good metrics will allow you to tweak or dump the advertisements and media vehicles real time.
This saves you tons of precious advertising dollars because you are positive that the copy, layout and media are dead on target and move people to take your desired action.
If you aren’t testing and measuring every advertisement you roll out, you are most likely wasting your money.
Advertising that can’t be directly attributed to a return on investment is a bad investment. I know, I know, but you got your name out there, right? WRONG.
The next secret reveals the truth about getting your name out there.
Secret # 4:
Congratulations on Becoming Brand Manager For Coke®
Woo Hoo…bring out the champagne and let’s toast to your new position. Brand manager for the big cola giant comes with tons of responsibility.
One of them is that you are required to spends tons of dollars on advertising that you aren’t sure is working. Advertising dollars you can’t measure and advertising dollars that you aren’t sure bring you a return on your investment.
This is called “brand advertising”. You may have heard it called “branding”, “brand building” or most common referred to as “getting your name out there advertising”.
The reason why you’ve been given this position is because you have experience doing this type of advertising in your business, just not with the big cola budget.
I’m sure you already know that you can’t afford to spend the dollars the cola giants spend, so guess what? You can’t advertise like them either.
So stop it.
Don’t believe anyone that says advertising that just gets your name out there is valuable.
Don’t get me wrong, it does have some value…but it’s not profitable.
Can you make investments on your budget that aren’t profitable?
If you are like most of the people, you can’t.
We’re about to let you in on this little secret.
The most powerful, amazing two words you will ever hear in regard to your advertising. The two words you must never forget.
These two words will become your advertising mantra, chanted during late night creative sessions and deep mediation.
Are you ready for the two words? Are you sure? Here they are! Nod your head and read these aloud three times. DIRECT RESPONSE.
Direct response is the only kind of advertising that you can do. If you do direct response advertising you WILL end up with some residual branding effects.
These residual effects stem from what we call your “Natural Gravitational Pull.”
But you don’t pay for that.
It is a side effect of powerful direct response advertising that is tested measured and proven effective.
Effective direct response advertising requires three main components:
1. YOU focused copy
2. Effective metrics for testing and measuring
3. Hooks – an offer and a call to action
Remember these? Sound familiar?
They should be your best friends by now.
If you can befriend them, seduce them and love them, they will revolutionize your advertising.
In the next secret we’re going to reveal an easy way to drum up a 20% in your business.
Secret # 5:
How a Fruit Tree Can Show You a 20% Increase in Your Business Immediately
You're probably ready to hear this one. Your business is doing well, but it sure could use a 20% bonus this month.
You're not alone.
Most businesses could benefit from an additional 20% in revenue.
If you don't need it, just pass this book on to someone who does, and then scroll down to the next secret.
To all those who are still reading, congratulations. We're about to reveal a secret that can revolutionize the results your advertising delivers.
We've tested many strategies to come up with this one – pink Gorilla on the road side, free massages with purchase, hotdogs on Saturdays, buy one get 10 free, enter to win a trip to Mars, etc. – but no method has been proven to be so surefire while at the same time so inexpensive.
It's the low-hanging fruit, of course…the people who have already shopped or bought from you, the people whom you've worked for before.
Our experience shows that marketing to your existing customer base can pay big dividends.
Think about it – when you advertise to strangers, you have to go through a lot of steps before they buy.
Through massive frequency, a well-defined message will eventually start to cause your prospect to see/hear your ad, then read/listen to your ad, then remember reading/hearing it before, then to actually have some basic level of understanding of what you said, then after about a dozen times they'll start finally getting your point. You have to pay for all of that frequency.
People who have done business with you before have already gone through all of those steps.
You don't have to start at the beginning with most of them. But the existing customer base is the most neglected target audience out there.
We wouldn't be surprised to see a special interest group representing this maltreated segment pop up in Washington some time soon.
Stop neglecting the low-hanging fruit. Start talking to your existing customers and you too can enjoy the fabulous results enjoyed by the few and fearless smart marketers in the world.
SPECIAL BONUS: Would you like to know how to market to your existing customers for FREE?!?!? Think email. Start collecting email addresses today.
If you’re not collecting email addresses from every person who walks through your doors, you’re washing valuable future advertising opportunities down the drain.
Even if you don’t have a system in place to deal with those email addresses right now, collect them and save them. You will one day regret not doing it.
A word of caution: email is a powerful sales tool, but there are strict laws that govern how you can use it, and an even stricter code of ethics required if you intend to benefit from it.
If you would like information regarding these laws and ethics we will be glad to guide you to them.
The next secret will discuss a few ways to control and harness the most powerful form of advertising – FOR FREE.
Secret # 6:
A Bucket of Hot Dogs and a Squirt of Word-of-Mouth Advertising
What's your best form of advertising? If you're like the vast majority of the people we meet, it's word-of-mouth. Of course – it automatically offers a virtually infinite return on investment because it's free!
Since you're like most people we meet in that regard, you're probably similar in another – you can't control word-of-mouth advertising.
Don't feel like you're alone. The very trait that makes this form of advertising so desired (it's free) also makes it very elusive (you can't buy it).
Imagine for a second a 50 gallon metal bucket loaded up with sand or dirt or hotdogs or something.
Can you lift it?
We just tested it, and we can't even lift it together.
Now, picture that same large bucket, but this time put a wheel on one end and two handles on the other. Like a wheelbarrow.
Can you lift it?
You certainly have a better chance now.
The weight hasn't changed and the material hasn't changed – but now you are putting physics to work in your favor.
That wheel acts as a fulcrum and the handles give you leverage. Before you know it, you're wheeling that 400 pound bucket of hotdogs right down the sidewalk.
The same analogy holds true in word-of-mouth advertising.
When you look at the problem from the obvious perspective it seems about as hard to control as the bucket of wieners.
But, if you apply nontraditional marketing "physics" to the problem, you can soon begin controlling the previously uncontrollable.
Here are a few levers and fulcrums that you can try in your business:
Viral Marketing: the perfect example can be found at http://www.subservientchicken.com.
Create something that is very interesting – it might be information, it might be entertainment, or as in the case of the chicken, it might just be weird.
Then, share that something with people who are well connected. You know who they are…the folks who seem to know everybody. Put your "virus" in their hands and they'll bounce it around like a hot potato – as long as it's very interesting.
Your brochure doesn't count.
Pass It On Program: Give a gift certificate (not a coupon) to every one of your customers. Put their best friend's name on it.
What are they going to do?
Gift certificates are like cash – so they're not going to throw it away. What about the best friend?
Well, it sure would be rude to throw away a gift from your best friend.
Chances are those friends will soon be knocking at your door.
Bring A Friend Program: Bring a friend who has never been to our restaurant and we'll buy you both a glass of wine.
The Most Important Part: Be worth talking about. The messages that spread the quickest are the ones that are somehow valuable or beneficial.
"Big sale this weekend" is a very slow mover on the viral email circuit.
Some people say they control word-of-mouth advertising by "doing a good job."
Not anymore they don't.
"Good jobs" don't spread any faster than "big sales." There's got to be a better way!
The good news is there is and tomorrow, you'll learn what it is in Secret # 6.5. It's sort of like the glue that holds this whole thing together.
Keep reading for the series finale!
Secret # 6.5
Everybody loves a bonus, a free prize.
When we finished writing the 6 Secrets of Successful Advertising, we felt it needed just that – a little extra, like the temporary tattoo found in a box of kid’s cereal.
Maybe even a whacky wall walker.
You know, those little free prizes sell more cereal than anything else.
Our free prize is secret # 6.5. Arguably, this little half-a-secret is more valuable than the other 6 secrets combined, and it’s certainly more enticing.
Haven’t you been curious about what in the world the half secret would be?
This half secret is the glue that makes the others work together.
Your hooks will be sharper and catch more customers. Your message will spread more quickly and to more people.
Your existing customers will be much more likely to buy from you again.
If you don’t believe us, try a little test and measuring.
Test your ads without using this secret, then once again after you’ve put this extra horsepower into your business.
Traditionally, advertising only exists at the surface of an organization.
The creativity and the attractiveness found in a company’s advertisements don’t permeate into the organization itself.
Sometimes, sadly, the advertisement is outright false.
We’ve all had an experience with false advertising.
Today, for advertising to truly make a difference in your company, you must truly exude the spirit of the advertisement from the inside out. Indeed, a good ad is remarkable; a successful ad advertises a remarkable company.
The distinction is one of communication vs. consumption. The single most important thing you can do to increase your business, whether or not you advertise, is to be remarkable.
Be remarkable at the core of your business: mission, vision, values, goals. employee training, customer service policy, quality policy. Mediocrity is policy at many businesses today.
Reject that and rise above. Submit to it and be average.
Offer a remarkable user experience: be the biggest, the fastest, the hottest, the ugliest. Be more expensive, easier to find, or funnier than your competition.
Give your customers something worth laughing about or something worth crying about or something worth talking about.
Communicate remarkably: say things they won’t expect, put your ad in unexpected places, make your ad the most outrageous one in the book, make your audience mad, excited, or motivated.
Remarkable advertising gets remarkable attention.
When it’s done for a remarkable company, it gets remarkable results.
We appreciate you taking time to read our ideas. We have a genuine desire for you or your business to somehow benefit from the information we’ve presented.
We love to hear your stories or suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to talk to us.
Do you have an advertising secret you’d like to see included here? Tell us about it. We want to learn from you.
Be orange. Be remarkable. Be known.