As the name implies, an advertorial is a cross between an advertisement and an editorial.
So why should you use this strategy in your sales process?
Some marketers claim that advertorials pull up to 5 times better than regular sales ads.
They say that the public is fed up with most regular advertisements penned by over-zealous copywriters that exaggerate claims and specialize in making products and services seem to be something way more than they really are.
It’s no secret that advertising for many years has followed a similar tactic: interrupting whatever the consumer is doing in order to shout out a sales message that no one really wants to hear at that time.
The advertorial is different.
It is displayed to those that have an interest in the particular niche market. So it is much more targeted than the typical broadcast ad.
It is presented, not in grandiose puffery, but something more akin to an endorsement from the editor of a niche magazine or trade journal.
The editor is seen as an expert in the niche and one that can be trusted to give an objective judgement of the product or service.
The advertorial is typically an educational marketing piece. It is often quite difficult, in fact, to recognize it as an advertisement.
The ad is often disguised as a news article that gives the reader the impression she is reading an authoritative “white paper” or other objective article that is not out to sell a product so much as it is meant to educate the consumer on a particular niche topic.
Advertorials are easy to create, but just as in regular advertising, the success of your advertorial will likely depend upon your skill at creating great headlines and writing compelling copy. In this respect, it is no different than any other sales copy content.
Here is what’s involved if you want to try your hand at creating an advertorial:
1. Choose a targeted niche newsletter, industry magazine, a rented niche list of email addresses, or maybe a “review” or directory type web site. Be sure that the audience this content is designed for is as targeted as possible – the more targeted, the better the ad will draw.
2. Create your headline and make it sound newsworthy. The success of this method will depend upon your copy sounding like a fresh news story or event that is being reported for the first time.
You want the copy to be compelling reading, yet you don’t want the ad to look like a standard display ad.
In order to make the headline effective, look at other headlines in the newsletter and make yours “fit in” with a similar style.
3. Begin the advertorial with a “newspaper looking” first line (include the city as the first element). Again, the basis of what you’re doing is acting as an editor that is presenting some news or insight on a very recent story.
Here is an expample: “Chicago – A recent university study documents that 84% of all small business owners have no formal education in business management.”
4. Point out the problem or the need that exists in the niche and why this problem can be satisfied with an easy and simple solution that has just been found. The copy must be believable and straightforward so that the reader is not associating this story with the typical hype and exaggeration that is usually found in a lot of online ads.
5. State what the solution is and how it solves the problem. This is not a difficult task if the solution to the problem is real and it works as promised. Don’t hype the product or paint the solution as a “miracle” fix … this needs to be believable and the reader needs to feel like he has discovered a solution that might actually work!
Explain that the solution is unique, one-of-a-kind, and available immediately. It is a solution that others in the same situation have used to overcome their similar challenge.
6. Provide supporting evidence like satisfied customer testimonials, clinical results, opinions and endorsements from experts and professionals, etc. Social proof is important in this type of marketing because it will validate your claims and make seem less likely to be hyped or fake. The customer will think to himself … “if others have had their problem solved with this product, then it might work for me too!”
If you can quote industry sources or professional research trials, that will add to the appearance of a bona fide news release.
7. Include your call to action, or the specific steps you want the reader to take (like registering for a site, clicking the “Buy Now” button, requesting additional information, filling out a form, etc.)
8. End your narrative content with: “For additional information, or to answer your questions, contact ______________________ at _________________________________________.
The key ingredient in an advertorial is giving great content that is very niche targeted and appears to be a scholarly or objective news item (like a press release.)
Because it educates and informs, and does so in a newspaper reporting kind of style, the ad really doesn’t seem to be intrusive or offensive in any way. It can be made to appear to be a product recommendation from a trusted authority figure in the niche.
Customers are much more apt to make a purchase based on such a recommendation.
To your online business success!