I know of no other activity required of business operators that can be so frustrating, expensive, and fickle as the advertising game.
Sure, it would be nice to have the viral engine stoked up enough that you never had to do another ad spend. But for most small businesses, advertising, in one form or another, is the “necessary evil.”
I don’t know too many business operators that get the kind of traffic to their web site they want – without playing the ad game.
It is a game, you know. You prepare and publish your ad and wait to see the outcome. Sometimes you win; often you lose.
One thing is for sure: advertising can be a huge black hole for a small business if you’re not disciplined and selective. You can dump all the cash down the hole that you like – yet there is no guarantee that one product will be sold as a result.
Ad testing and tracking need to be done, but if you guess wrong about your market, the product, your ad copy, the places where your run ads, the ad’s timing, or the price you charge, no amount of T&T is going to salvage your sunk costs.
So what do you do? How do you force your ads to be successful? Are there basic rules to follow that will guarantee your ad returns?
If you have the answers, please share them.
Can you imagine the success you’d have in business if you were guaranteed that every ad you ran made money? We will discuss a lot of advertising principles applicable to small business and through these discussions you will hopefully begin to learn how to create and produce profitable advertising.
There is no magic bullet that I am aware of. You do the best you can given the budget and knowledge you have. You experiment and follow results, modify, and try again. Therein lies the key to successful ads. Gather the knowledge and experience that you need before spending large amounts of your cash on paid ads.
Start out on a small scale . . . always! Test and track results on your variables. Optimize your ads and offers before pulling the trigger on your larger ad spends. Get it right first then apply the money on a larger scale.
Probably the best advice I could give you is not a single ad strategy, but rather that you adopt a particular mindset, one that places you in the shoes of your perfect customer.
Think of every characteristic and trait you’d hope for in one passionate, converted, loyal, follower of your business. He is the epitome of everything you want to see in someone ready, willing, and able to buy your product.
Now, step into the shoes of this perfect customer and sit down at the table and begin listing on paper every benefit and feature you’d like to see in a product that you’ve been hoping to find. Describe how you’ll feel using it and the benefits you’ll get once it works.
This product is going to be the solution to some on-going problem you’ve had. Just sit there and dream of the perfect solution – you don’t have to know how or why the product works, you just have to imagine what you want the product to do and how it will make you feel when you are using it successfully.
When you’ve completed this little writing exercise, step back for a moment and review what’s on your paper.
Now put on your businessman’s hat and transfer this list of wants, benefits, and feeling to become the basis of your advertising copy.
In essence, what you are now doing in your advertising is telling your perfect prospect (1) how he’s going to feel when he uses your product to successfully solve his problem, (2) all the features that your product has that are important to someone with his problem, and (3) the exact list of benefits that he will derive from buying your product.
Caution: Save all the specifications and minute details of what the product is and how it works for another time (like when someone specifically asks for that information.) You’ll confuse the issue if you place too much technical information in your ad. Most of these small details will be found in the features of your product. Features are often best handled using simple bullet points. It is almost always better to focus on the benefits of the product to the user rather than the features of the product. Said another way … it is best to focus on what the product will do for the user rather than how the product works.
If you develop this mindset, of thinking like your customer, all of a sudden your ads will appeal much more to your prospects and the response rates to your offer should jump significantly!
To your online business success!