When you spend money on marketing efforts, you do so with the intent of getting some ROI (return on investment). You should! Anytime you advertise to your audience, you should expect some of them to identify with your message and want to purchase some of your goods or services. There is an inherent problem here, which could be the source of your problem. Many business owners don’t really know who their audience is, so they create ads that include messages that are not appropriate to the people they think they are trying to reach. Let me explain why this is important.
There are four components to a good marketing piece. I will explain each and how they should interrelate to one another.
The first is the audience. The WHO of the marketing equation. Who are they really? Are they a specific niche or more broad like the average consumer? The more specific here, the easier it will be to create a really impactful advertisement.
The second is the message, or content. This is the WHAT of the marketing equation. This is where knowing your audience becomes really important. The better I know them, the more precise my message can be. An important distinction here needs to be mentioned. Always communicate what the audience wants to hear, not what you want to say. When you do this, you identify to a greater percentage of the recipients of the message and obtain a higher share of readership among them.
The third is the image or visual. Remember when you were told “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Why is that? Done right, a single image can communicate a complex idea, making it possible to digest large amounts of data quickly. It was attributed to Napoleon that he said “a good sketch is better than a long speech. With this thought in mind, what happens when your picture/image has nothing to do with the message you share? Do you think this may confuse the readers? Is it possible you lose them when these are not in sync? I will tell you I believe many really miss the mark here. Make it relevant to make it real!
The last and possibly most critical element is the Call to Action (CTA). This is another what of the equation. What do you want them to do as a result of reading the advertisement? Specifically what do you want them to do? Is it call? Visit the website? Email? Apply? Fill out a form? Each one of these could mean the difference between making a sale or losing an opportunity. My clients are told to make this BIG and BOLD, noticeable, and clearly understood. Why? Because this is the way you can best serve them. Not what is convenient to you, but what works for them. Don’t you want to be known for “being easy to do business with”? Would you benefit if you clients thought you provided great customer service? Of course you would.
Let me share a recent story about someone who created a good ad, but missed the mark totally when it came to the CTA. Overall it was a disaster and a terrible waste of money. Here are the details. The company is a specialty consulting firm that helps angel investors find great business ideas to invest in. In a world where many companies have two sets of books, finding a good company is almost harder than it seems. This being the case, they ran a full page ad in the Business Journal in their local community. The image was a Trojan Horse, which we all know communicates trickery and deceit. This gift would actually hide things that would bring you harm. Good visual for this audience. The message was dead on as well. So how the complete failure? Well, the CTA said, and I quote, “if you are an investor, call xxx-xxxx. Well, what is wrong with that?
Let me dissect the breakdown for you. First of all, why use the general term “investor” when you wrote the advertisement for “angel investors”? Do you really want the reader interpreting the definition of investor? Well, they did not, but that’s what they did. Second, the number they listed in the ad rings at the front desk. Well, that would have been fine, if someone actually worked at the front desk. I asked them if they were planning to man this phone, and the awkward silence told me this was overlooked. Why is that an issue? Considering the average angel investor invests between $250,000 and $500,000 they choose, you would assume these are not the guys next door. What do you think happens when they call a number and get an answering machine? Let me tell you…they hang up.
The results from this very expensive ad: 19 phone calls total. 17 considered themselves investors, even though they were more often than not collectors, who spent money on things they considered investments, like coins, stamps, etc. None were looking to invest in businesses and not one had more than $5,000 to invest. Oh, a few hangups were recorded, but there was no way to return the call.
So, consider the four elements of marketing next time you prepare to spend your marketing budget on collateral of any type. Get these right and reap the benefits now and in the future. Learn to market naturally!