Let's look at ways you can make your advertising work harder. These tips work for any type of advertising message in any medium. The best part is they cost nothing to implement.
1. Focus on Benefits
Stress not what a product is but what a product can do . Don't say "I have dresses to sell"; say "I have your tickets to looking smashing this evening." Don't say "and they're available in red, blue, and yellow"; say "and they're available in colors that flatter your look and complexion." Go for emotions first, function second, description third.
2. Write Conversationally
Advertising has changed. Real people are in. Write as if you're talking to someone you know. If you've done your market research, you have a profile of your customer so that you already know whom you're talking to. Don't say "Attention, New Mothers"; say "Congratulations on your new baby; we're here to help."
3. Use Present Tense
You've been using present tense since our first words. Using present tense keeps your words alive, fresh, and immediate. And just because something happens in the future doesn't mean you have to use the future tense. Simply use a modifier: You can say "The concert is this Saturday"; not "The concert will be this Saturday."
4. Keep It Simple
Simple sentences and subject-verb constructions are what we use in everyday speech. Use them in your advertising too. Short sentences and short paragraphs are easy for people to grasp. Don't make your customers work hard at sorting out long compound and complex sentences.
5. The AIDA Formula
Maybe this tip should go first. If you know only one thing about making advertising succeed, this is it. Structure your ad according to these four steps:
Attention: You have six seconds to get your customer's attention and keep it. "Welcome to Our Website" doesn't cut it. "Cleaning Product X Saves You Time" does. Promise a benefit in your headline. Period!
Interest: Talk about the consumer's problem that you're about to solve. Support the promise of your headline. "With its proven new formula, Product X cuts cleaning time in half!"
Desire: Make the consumer really want what you have. "With Product X, cleaning chores go faster, leaving you more time to spend with your family."
Action: Tell the consumer how to get what you have and put a limit on it. "Look for Product X in your grocery store. Our special spring cleaning discount runs this month only."
6 . Offer a Guarantee
In a fearful world where people want safety, guarantees are powerful. But make it specific: "If you're not happy with our service, we'll refund your money." Just saying "Satisfaction Guaranteed" isn't enough.
7. Make an Offer
Generic doesn't sell. To make your advertising valuable to the consumer, make an offer: an amount-off the price, a coupon for a bonus, a free premium. Be specific and get excited. Remember, every strong ad promises a benefit.
8. Use Power Words
Today's shoppers are sophisticated. "New and improved" just doesn't have the impact it used to have. Yet many valuable words are still worth using: secret, magic, discover, safety, save, free. But there's one power word that won't go out of style: the word "you".
In every study ever undertaken on the use of words in advertising, "you" comes out as the number one most powerful word. Use it in your headline. Use it throughout your copy. It works!