The 2 Biggest Killer Ad Mistakes by Small Businesses
The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.
– Leo Burnett
It has been said that advertising is the price to be paid for being unremarkable. That may be true, but I have noticed that even remarkable businesses advertise. It is a key component of your marketing campaign, for awareness or consumer education of your value. So small businesses need to design ads and avoid killer ad mistakes.
Related: 12 Best Examples of Successful Advertisement Design Elements
Marketing or advertising, you need to create information that your customers find interesting and worth talking about and remembering. And that means not making these two killer mistakes.
Overly complex, busy messages
You must definitely avoid marketing messages that are overly complex. Keep to simple thoughts that the reader will quickly understand. In this regard, keep in mind that pictures are far more valuable than words.
And people usually only remember can 2-3 thoughts. So carefully select what is most important to be remembered and eliminate everything else.
No call to action
It is always amazing to us how many small business ads forget to have a call to action. That is usually the most important part of any ad. It is what you want consumers to do after reading the ad.
For example, you may want to send consumers to your website where they can see more of your portfolio visual designs. So ask them to do just that.
In addition, here are 10 important enablers small businesses should rely on to create effective advertisement messages:
Grab and hold viewers’ attention
Attention is usually grabbed and held with interesting information. Keep in mind that people don’t read ads, they read what interests them. Your ad messages must be interesting to your target communities.
Emotional influence and persuasion
Budweiser puppy love that was, by most accounts, the biggest winner from the 2014 Super Bowl. There is no better means of influence or the power of persuasion than emotion. Hands down the best, in our opinion. Experiences that trigger our emotions are saved and consolidated in lasting memory because the emotions generated by the experiences signal our brains that the experiences are important to remember. Check out this ad here.
There are eight basic, universal emotions – joy, surprise, anticipation, acceptance, fear, anger, sadness, and disgust. Successful appeals to these basic emotions consolidate stories and the desired calls to action in the lasting memories of audiences.
A great example of a successful advertisement design.
This puppy love commercial focuses on emotional appeal in grand fashion. It is the secret of this commercial’s success. The focus of the advocacy helps create emotional support, doesn’t it?
Define a value proposition
Define a value proposition that truly discriminates you from your competition. It is essential that you give your customers reasons to select you.
For more information on value propositions, see our article on building the best Unique Selling Propositions.
Art work and overall design
The visual means of conveying ideas, which simply means that the entire advertisement, including blank space, should have a priority in its design. A meaning and logic. We recommend that you use short paragraphs, lists, and catchy illustrations and graphics to break up and supplement the text and make the document both visually inviting and easy to understand.
Remember, an advertisement has to capture the reader’s attention quickly or it won’t happen at all.
A good example of this is Dell’s fast delivery of a custom computer. Remember most customers want what they want, when and where they want it. This is what made the Dell business model so successful, isn’t it?
Killer ad mistakes … tell a story
A good story has a beginning where a sympathetic character encounters a complicating situation, a middle where the character confronts and attempts to resolve the situation, and an end where the outcome is revealed. It does not interpret or explain the action in the story for the audience.
Instead, a good story allows each member of the audience to interpret the story as he or she understands the action. This is why people find good stories so appealing and why they find advertising that simply conveys facts and information boring.
Guinness marketing strategy
Here is a link to the Guinness ad video to refresh you or for you to review in case you haven’t seen it.
Guinness’s marketing strategy has flipped traditional beer advertising on its head by getting rid of the template and telling a story – a real story – that connects with people. The responses were overwhelmingly positive … customers and particularly the target customers are looking for meaningful stories. The marketing strategy certainly is addressing this end state in our opinion.
Killer ad mistakes … be relevant to your target market
Keep in mind that one message does not fit all. It starts with knowing your target market. And what they want and need … their priorities. Without this information you are just shooting in the dark.
Define your positioning
Your positioning is your frame of reference. When defining your positioning make comparisons to competitors if you can.
Clearly link your messages
Link your messages to your brand. For example, remember the AFLAC duck or E-Trade’s talking baby … these are great linkages to the brands.
Make your ad a component
Any ad needs to be part of an integrated marketing campaign. Integrated campaign plan theme is the part to build first.
The bottom line
Remember, it is not what advertising does with the consumer; it is what the consumer does after reading the advertisement. After looking over these enablers and Allstate’s mayhem ads … how do you think they did?
Need some help in capturing more customers from your advertising? Creative ideas to help the differentiation with your customers?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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