11 Message Killers You Must Avoid

When learning from others, one of the best things to learn from them is their mistakes. The following is a list I‘ve compiled of the 11 most common mistakes made by marketers everywhere.

Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t
want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies
to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.
– David Ogilvy

The #1 Killer – Stressing Image Over Substance

Image advertising is all about you and your business. How great you are, your qualifications, years in business, full-service product line, etc. But your prospects don‘t care about you, they care about themselves. Anyone reading or listening to your ad has one question in mind: “What’s in it for me?”

Simply put, an image ad has no way to track results. Its goal is to keep the company name in front of the public and often tries very hard to be clever. Watch any beer and soft drink commercials and you‘ll know what I mean. By contrast, a direct response ad is trackable using “coded” responses like:  ask for John Miller. Your business knows exactly which ads their prospects are responding to. This helps you measure the effectiveness of each ad.

Killer #2 –  Not Taking Time To Educate

Your main objective should be to educate your prospect using several steps. Your first ad could be to get their attention and spark their interest enough to contact you. Your next may be purely educational. If your prospect still doesn‘t bite, your next step should be to provide more information using follow-up marketing techniques.

High-ticket items require an extensive one-on-one educational and sales process. Your prospect needs to be educated about the benefits of your products or services, their options, why yours is better than your competition, why you are charging the price you charge, and a host of other things. Lower-priced items can be sold in a one-step model and in many cases they have to be because the dollars just aren‘t there to support an extended multiple step marketing campaign.

The trick is to give your prospect a reason to continue investigating your offer in the first advertisement.

Killer #3 – Not Explaining the Price

If you price is very low ─ why? If your price is very high ─ why? These questions need to be answered in the minds of your prospects in order for them to be comfortable with how much they will pay. If you’re going to advertise a low price, give your prospect a reason why.

Price is one of the primary factors that motivate a prospect to call or visit your store. Throwing your price out there with no explanation (justification), especially if it‘s a high price, is suicide.

Your prospect must be given a reason WHY your price is what it is at the same time as they discover, learn that price.

Killer #4 – Bowing to “Public” Opinion

I‘m going to be very brief and to the point about this mistake. You shouldn‘t care what your friends and family think about your ads. Don’t listen to Uncle Clem. Don‘t be swayed by Aunt Rita. Close your ears to what your college drinking buddies have to say.

What’s important is what your customers think about your ads and the only way to find that out is by letting them vote with their wallet. Period!

Killer #5 – Forgetting to Track and Test

There’s no worse, no costlier mistake than not tracking and evaluating the results of your ads. Not tracking your ads is like stumbling around in the dark. Turn on the lights! (Or at least light a candle.)

You pay the same amount of money for an ad whether it brings in $5 or $500,000 in sales. If you don’t test your ads, you’ll never know how much money you may be leaving on the table! Your business simply can’t afford this kind of guesswork.

TOOL: 4 Simple Methods to Test and Track Your Ads

  1. Ask your caller or visitor how they heard about you and what motivated them to call you. (Remember this information may not be reliable. Not everyone is comfortable saying, “I was looking for the cheapest price” or “You were the first listing on the page.”)
  2. Use different phone numbers ─ Have a separate  phone number that you use  exclusively for your advertising efforts that you include in your advertisements.
  3. Coupons and mailers ─ Offer coupons or ticket stubs and ask your customers to bring them in to redeem them.
  4. Requests for information products ─ When you offer a free information product in your ad you should track results in order to build your mailing list. This list could become your most profitable target for subsequent offers.

Many businesses just put their ads out to the public and don‘t take the time and effort necessary to track their profitability. Don’t let one of them be you.

Killer #6 – Giving In to the Ad Fatigue

You see the ad every time it‘s run, and after a while, it becomes a “yawn” to you. The point here is that you’re not the target of your ad. In many instances, prospects may only see your ad once. It may be the 50th time you‘ve run your ad, but it might be their first time a consumer has noticed the ad. A good ad is just as powerful to that person as it was to you on the first day it was originally run.

So how do you know when to change an advertisement? Testing. How else can you tell you if have a winner or loser?  You should try secondary ads in different publications. If the ‘test’ consistently out-pulls your main ad (sometimes referred to as your ―control), don’t delay ─ make the change! But don‘t do it until you have some conclusive evidence.

Killer #7 – Playing Hard to Get

How many times have you called a company and had to go through a maze of recorded messages? Or, more to the point: how many times did you hang up while being led through that maze?  And how many times did you NOT call because you knew that you were going to get a sales pitch.

You should give your prospect many different ways to contact you. For example, provide a means of contacting you through email, regular mail, fax, local phone, toll-free phone, letter, etc.

Lloyd‘s Simple Marketing Tips To Put
Money In the Bank Account Right Now

Don’t give your prospect any excuse not to contact you. Make your communication
as risk-free as possible. That‘s the beauty of using a recorded message or giving
away free informational articles on your Internet site. Consumers know
they’re under no threat of attack from an incoming sales pitch.

What people really want is information, so give it to them.
Give it to them in a non-threatening way.

Killer #8 – Thinking “It’s All About ME”

Don’t take it personally, but your customers don‘t care about you. They don’t care about your business, nor do they care about the technical specs of a product. They care about what benefits they‘ll receive from purchasing it.

Demonstrate the benefits of buying from you, using specific facts and figures. Take the time to list all the features and then beside each feature list the benefits that your prospect will receive when they own it. Only after you have done this exercise are you ready to write your ad.

Killer #9 – Missing the Big Picture

Often businesses will rely solely on newspaper advertising as their source of marketing. Although newspapers can be a very effective source of advertising, don’t consider them the “be all and end all…especially in today‘s technology-driven world. In order to reach the widest audience in your target market, you should consider a balanced mix of media.

Within that mix, you have the flexibility to emphasize one or two methods of marketing. Once you test the different media and track your response rate, you‘ll be in a better position to know what area is worthy of your advertising dollars:  radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, direct mail, billboards or special promotions.

Killer #10 – Failure at the Top

If 80% of the success of your advertisement can be attributed to the headline that you use, it stands to reason that you should spend 80% of your time on developing it. Your headline must be so magnetic that it can attract your readers powerfully and pull them to further investigate what you have to say.

Killer #11 – Design Overload

Studies have shown that imagery is a more powerful ―stopper than copy. If done correctly, a single image can get across more information than a page of copy. Consider using graphics that support the message you are trying to convey and that include people using your products.

Normally your image shouldn‘t take up more than ¼ of the entire advertisement and it should be striking enough to pull your eyes into read the headline.

Lloyd‘s Simple Marketing Tips To Put
Money In the Bank Account Right Now

Many advertisers believe that the graphic can deliver the entire message.
But if your ad is next to another ad and both have good graphics,
it‘s your headline that will catch the reader’s eyes.

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