There are so many advertising tips for small business owners. You could fill a library with all the books, articles, blog posts, and ad campaigns written on business marketing or advertising techniques. As a busy small business owner, you don't have time to read through all that material. Thankfully, I've done the work for you and compiled a list of the 10 most useful top business tips for advertisers.
Advertising is an Effective Way to Communicate with Your Customers
Should we communicate with others in the most effective way, or should we take their preferred method of communication into account?The four pillars in the Palace of Temperaments are:
- Courage (Lion)
- Heart (Tin Man)
- Home (Dorothy)
- Intellect (Scarecrow)
Points of connection between strong communication and each of these four pillars exist. The person in need of understanding your logic values intellect. The person in need of perceiving your motives values feelings. The person who needs to know it has been tested values stability. The person who needs to hear you speak of action values courage. Wise people speak to these four people each time they attempt to persuade them. Make a point of including something for each of them in your presentation. That is known as "inclusive communication by design."Most of us attempt to persuade others as though everyone makes decisions according to the same criteria we use. (They don't.) A Scarecrow, a Tin Man, a Dorothy and a Lion exist in every crowd. You must tailor your communication to each individual, speaking in their preferred language. All four preference types hold importance, so make sure your voice reflects that.
"We see the quartet from Oz everywhere we look.
Jefferson is the intellectual Scarecrow of Rushmore.
Lincoln is its big-hearted Tin Man.
Washington is America's great stone Dorothy.
Roosevelt is our reckless rock Lion."
— Roy H. Williams, Wizard of Ads™
Do you speak the language your customers speak? If not, we can help untangle your tongue to ensure the message you want is received. If you're in the home services industry and need help with your marketing strategy, book a call with Wizard of Ads™.
The Dos and Don'ts in Advertising
There are Dos and Don'ts in advertising tips, and it pays to know them. For example:DO use strong verbs that create mental pictures. Don't use jargon or technical terms.DO focus on the customer's needs, not your company's features. Don't make false claims or promises. Here are a few other advertising tips and tricks on things to do and things you should avoid.
Things To Do
- Familiarize yourself with the government's marketing and advertising rules and regulations.
- If you advertise a promotion, product, or service, fully disclose all pertinent details.
- Use illustrations that are the same as the products you sell.
- Charge the lowest of two or more prices that appear on a product.
- Ensure you have reasonable quantities of products you advertise at a bargain price.
- Disclose all details required by the Competition Act before potential participants are entered when holding a contest.
- Only use the words "sale" or "special" when significantly reducing the product's price.
- Ensure your sales staff are familiar with these "Do's and Don'ts." Your business can be held responsible for representations made by employees.
Things You Should Avoid
- Don't confuse "regular price" or "ordinary price" with "manufacturer's suggested list price." They are not the same.
- Avoid using "regular price" or "ordinary price" in an advertisement. Only use it if the product has been sold at that price for a substantial period or at a considerable product volume.
- Don't run a "sale" for an extended period or repeat it weekly.
- Avoid making any claims about a product or service unless you can prove them, even if you think they are accurate.
- Don't increase the price of a product or service to cover the cost of a free product or service.
- Avoid fine print disclaimers. If you use them, make sure the message of the ad and the disclaimer are not misleading.
- Don't sell a product above the price you advertise it.
- Avoid using terms or phrases in an advertisement that are not meaningful and clear to the ordinary person.
- Remember not to delay the distribution of prizes when running a contest.
10 Useful Advertising Tips
Advertising is a critical part of any marketing or type of business strategy, but it can be challenging to get right. Here are 10 advertising tips that will help you create compelling, successful ads:
1. Keep Your Ad Copy Clear and Concise
The most important thing to remember when writing ad copy is to keep it clear and concise. People have short attention spans, so you must ensure your message gets across quickly and effectively.
2. Use Strong Calls to Action
Your ad should always have a solid call to action that tells the reader what they need to do next. Without a call to action, your ad will be ineffective.
3. Use Persuasive Language
When writing your ad copy, use persuasive language to convince the reader to take action. Use words like "free," "now," and "limited time only" to create a sense of urgency sparingly. Don’t use them if they’re fake.
4. Highlight Your Unique Selling Proposition
What makes your product or service unique? Ensure this is clear in your ad copy so potential customers know why they should choose you over the competition.
5. Target Your Audience
Knowing your target audience before you write your ad copy is essential. Once you know who you're trying to reach, you can tailor your language and message to appeal to them.
6. Use Images and Videos
Including images and videos in your ads can effectively get people's attention. People are more likely to notice and remember an ad that includes visuals.
7. Use Strong Headlines
Your headline is one of the most vital parts of an ad, so make sure it's catchy and to the point. A strong headline will make people want to read more.
8. Say Something New, Interesting, and Different
People have a spot in the brain that doesn’t allow the predictable in. Ads must be entertaining, edutaining, or endearing to gain access to the brain.
9. Test Different Versions Online
Don't be afraid to experiment with different ad versions before settling on one. Try out other headlines, images, and copy to see what works best.
10. Answer the Damn Phone
The number one thing you can do to increase revenue is to get better at answering the phone. Research from dataturk.ai shows that most residential home service companies fail to answer up to 30% of their incoming calls. Remember, your CSR cannot pick up a call when they are already handling a call.
Bad Ads Waddle Like a Porcupine and Make Lots of Little Points
A couple of days ago, while reviewing some new ads, I realized many of them had much in common with porcupines. No, they weren't prickly (at least not to the touch), but they were covered with so many little points that it was hard to know where to begin. Porcupines make terrible ads for two reasons:
- They're full of sharp points that can hurt you.
- There are so many of them that it's hard to know which one to pay attention to.
As for advertising tips: Don't write advertisements like porcupines.
Good Ads Charge Like a Rhinoceros and Make a Single Point Powerfully
Rhinoceroses are big, strong, and to the point. They're also not afraid to charge, which is what you want your ad to do. You want your ad to make a single, powerful point that will grab attention and not let go. You want to do it memorably and make people want to take action. Trying to make a bunch of little points in your ad is like trying to pet a porcupine: it will end in pain. So make your ads like rhinos: imposing, powerful, and focused on one big point.
Ad Budgets are Like That, Too
Continuing the conversation on advertising tips… Your advertising budget is like your waistline: you want to keep it trim. When it comes to advertising, many small business owners think they have to say many different things to a lot of different people. But that is expensive, and it doesn't usually work very well. What works for those big guys, those Fortune 500 companies, isn't what will work for you. Advertising in a trade magazine is much more effective than advertising in a general interest magazine. What you want to do instead is focus your ad budget on a few key places where you know you can reach your target market. For example, if you sell HVAC products. The same is true for online advertising. You want to focus your efforts on the websites and online directories that are most likely to be visited by people interested in what you offer.
The Most Dangerous of These Fortune 500 Concepts is the Idea of an, "Omnichannel Media Mix."
Fortune 500 companies aren't run the same way as small businesses, and they're certainly not marketed the same way. One of the most significant differences is that these large companies have huge advertising budgets. These budgets allow them to place ads in a wide variety of media outlets. That is known as an, "omnichannel media mix," which small businesses can't afford to do. The problem with this approach is that it fails to optimize repetition. You might get lucky, but you'll be wasting your money more often than not. A better approach is to focus your ad budget on a few key places. These few key places are where you know you can reach your target market at the correct frequency. For example, let's say you sell landscaping services. Some good places to advertise would be:
- On the radio.
- On aggregator websites like Angi and Home Advisor.
- On Google.
Don't beat yourself up if you think you're missing the places your audience is. Just remember that repetition is essential. Ask yourself this question:Would you rather reach 100 percent of your audience and persuade them 10 percent of the way? Or would you sooner convince 10 percent of them 100% of the way?
"Advertiser, you can't afford to reach everyone. You've got to choose who to lose. Don't be a porcupine. Be a rhino." — Roy H. Williams
If You Sell a Product or a Service That Most People Will Need Sooner-or-Later and You Suspect You've Been Sprinkling Your Ad Budget "a Little Bit Here and a Little Bit There."
Do you sell a product or service that most people will eventually need? If your ad budget has been going towards "here and there," this is for you. If you're a home services business like plumbing, people will need your service eventually. That's great news for you because it means potential customers. The problem is that when people only need your product every few years, they will not remember who you are when they finally need it. So how do you stay top of mind?Spend 60 to 70 percent of your ad budget on mass media. The remaining 30 to 40 percent should go online to lead generation. Choose which mass media you want your ad budget broadcasted to. Television, radio, and outdoor (billboards) are the three main types. It's hard to go wrong with television newscasts or local radio ads.
"Wait a Minute," You Say, "You Told Me to be a Rhino and Not to Sprinkle My Budget?"
"Out of my budget, you suggest I allocate 30 to 40 percent online? What's up with that?" You say. Here's the thing: You need to spend most of your advertising dollars on mass media and an online presence. It's where people go to research your product or service before they purchase. It's also where they will go to find your contact information and directions to your business. If you don't have a website, you need to get one. If you have a website, make sure it is mobile-friendly, and your contact information is easy to find. You should also be active on social media and consider running ads on Google and Bing. These are all relatively expensive ways to connect with potential customers. Tell them the right story and be where your customers are when they go looking for you.
There are Instances – Particularly in the Home Services Categories – When it Makes Sense to Use Geotargeting.
We often underappreciate the value of time and energy as part of a buyer's decision making criteria. That makes some old-school techniques work like a charm – like door hangers, lawn signs, and slipping flyers under windshield wipers. Roy calls this "shoe leather on the sidewalk."Today, you can also geotarget neighborhoods online. Geofencing allows you to target people who enter and exit a particular area down to 1 mile.
"But What if I Sell a Product or a Service That Only a Tiny Percent of the Population Will Ever Want or Need?"
If you sell a product or service that only a tiny percentage of the population will ever want or need, it can still be adequate to use geographic targeting. You can target a tiny geographic area, like a single city or even a neighborhood. Or you can target a particular type of customer, like businesses in a specific industry or households. The key is ensuring that your product or service is the best possible solution for the people you're targeting. Local advertisers investing in mass media are spending around 6 to 12 percent of their total revenue on advertising.
Surprise is the Foundation of Delight
In your ads, there are several things you need to do for your customers. In your ads,
- You must avoid predictability. Don’t say what your customers expect.
- Your customers won't believe unsubstantiated claims.
- Your customers will ignore you if you speak about anything other than their underlying felt needs.
- You can gain your customer's attention when you say something new, interesting, and different.
- Your customers will like and trust you when you talk about what you believe in.
When You Win the Heart, the Mind Will Follow
"The intellectual mind will always create logic to justify what the emotional heart has already decided." — Roy H. Williams
The advertiser's task is to first focus on creating an emotional connection with the audience and only then worry about logical arguments and supporting data. That is not to say that ads should be devoid of logic or facts. Instead, the focus should be on building an emotional connection first and backing it up with logic and facts.
Repetition is The Key
The last of these advertising tips focuses on repetition. Repetition helps embed the message in people's minds, making them more likely to remember your brand. Ads need to be repeated for people to remember them. That is why advertising campaigns typically consist of multiple ads that are aired or published over time. Remember these advertising tips the next time you consider crafting ads. Speaking of repetition, I'm only going to ask you this one more time, I promise. (At least in this article.) Are you a home services business that needs help creating a low-cost marketing strategy? Book a call with Ryan Chute of Wizard of Ads™ today.