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Keep It SImple
Straightforward messaging is the best way to reach clients
We have all encountered advertising that, for one reason or another, was not effective in its mission. It may have been boring, too long, confusing, or simply not to the point. As consumers, would we be interested in buying a product or service that relied on an ineffective advertising campaign? Probably not.
According to “The 6 Laws of Small Business Advertising Success” by Darrell Zahorsky, “Having a poor response is not the medium’s fault. Often the problem is the message. Small business advertising is not a quick fix solution to marketing your company. It takes planning, testing and constant exposure to have an impact on your small business. Done correctly, small business advertising can be a winning strategy.”1
Zahorsky goes on to explain, “Small business advertising is a science and an art. Companies often miss the fundamentals of advertising. Regardless of the size of your business an understanding of the laws of advertising can reap huge rewards.”1
The web and social media have now joined traditional marketing channels, such as print advertising direct mail, flyers, and brochures. As a result, potential customers are drowning in the flood of messaging. Companies are fighting for customers’ attention and this high level of competition requires that messaging be sharp and to the point, especially keying in on what potential customers really want.
Here are a few key tips to help small business owners experience better messaging results.
Know Your Audience
While all of your customers may be dentists, some may have different reasons than others for purchasing their restorations from your laboratory. Maybe they want to grow their businesses, or maybe they want to save money. You may have to create different messages to get the attention of different customers. Having a solid understanding of both prospective and current customers are will help to create more effective messaging.
Keep it Simple
You don’t have much time to keep someone’s interest. Choose to highlight the key benefits of partnering with your laboratory and be sure to answer the one question that most people have in mind: “What’s in it for me?” Often, marketers and companies think they need to tell a prospective customer everything about their product. The fact is, most people purchase a product or service based on the benefits it provides their business, other factors do not carry as much weight.
Keep it Brief
Just because you have a full page for your ad or message doesn’t mean you have to fill it up with words that probably won’t be read. White space is your friend. It makes brief messages stand out, which makes them more likely to be remembered. Use tag lines, headlines, and images to grab readers’ attention, then get right to the point with your message. Only highlight two or three key messages. Less is more.
Keep it Credible
Don’t oversell your product or service. Your claims must be credible and, most importantly, believable. Make sure you present a true advantage of using your product or service that it will provide value to your audience. If your product or service is overstated and under-delivers, you will undoubtedly fail over time and will lose credibility with your customers.
Leave a Lasting Impression
We have all heard various jingles that leave lasting impressions in our mind. Short three-to-five-word phrases that describe a product or service will go a long way to help you in your messaging and branding effort. Slogans like “Where’s the Beef,” “Got Milk,” Mercedes’ “The Best or Nothing,” and Porsche’s “There is No Substitute” have all been cornerstones of successful marketing programs.
Create a Consistent Look and Feel
The look and feel of your messaging tools should be consistent with your brand and convey what you want your customers to think about your company. Repeat your messages across all of your marketing channels with a frequency that will enable your prospects to see them as many as six to ten times. Prospective buyers need to see frequent messaging in order to make a confident purchasing decision.
Include a Call to Action
This is the most important piece of your messaging. What do you want the prospect to do? Should they call, send in a response card, go online and register, or make a purchase? Is there a sense of urgency in your message? Will they receive a discount if they respond immediately or will the offer expire? All of these and more are questions that need to be addressed. Give the prospect a clear and concise message about how to respond and act.
Putting the Pieces Together
Keep in mind that you have an arsenal of tools available to aid in marketing efforts. Some tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, differ in their advertising approach and have a language all their own. Research your products and target market to find out how to best approach your messaging within the marketing channels you want to utilize. Most importantly, make sure you create interest.
1. Zahorsky D. The 6 Laws of Small Business Advertising Success. About.com. Accessed December 29, 2013. http://sbinformation.about.com/cs/advertising/a/aa022303a.htm.
About the author
Bill Neal is the founder of AMG Creative, Inc. in Fort Collins, CO.