How to Use Ads To Sell More

by Charlie Cook

Are you spending money on advertising that doesn’t get results?

Your marketing and advertising should be helping you build your business, not cutting into your profits. Many small business owners barely make a dime for each dollar spent.

The majority of small business owners spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on advertising that doesn’t work.

Mike in Baltimore was spending so much on his radio advertising that he was going broke. With one month of operating funds between him and bankruptcy, he called me to see what could be done to create a positive cash flow instead of a negative one.

When I reviewed Mike ’s radio ads, I discovered he’d made the same mistake that most people make. He was using his ads to try and sell his firms’ services.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “aren’t ads supposed to sell?”

The answer is no!

If you’re trying to use a 15, 30, or 60 second message to sell, whether it’s on the radio, on a postcard or in a sales letter, you’re making a big money-wasting mistake. You’d be better off putting that money in the bank and saving it for a rainy day.

The average person is exposed to between 3,000 to 15,000 advertising messages a day. Do they want to read or hear yet another? Of course not.

Your prospects are just like you; they’re suffering from information overload. The result is they automatically filter out the ads they hear and see. Unless you can afford to spend millions of dollars on a TV spot that viewers can’t ignore, your ad won’t even enter the consciousness of your target market, much less motivate them to buy.

What’s the alternative? How can you generate more leads and sales?

When you pick up the newspaper or a magazine you flip through the pages and if you’re like most people you rarely even notice the ads. Instead you scan the headlines of the articles to find ones that interest you. You look for content that gives you information you want.

Years ago I worked for Fortune and Forbes magazines marketing their advertorial sections. You’ve seen these advertising sections, possibly without realizing it. These special sections in the magazines lead with an editorial article or case study.

Combining meaningful content with ads improves the response to ads dramatically. Put two ads in a magazine, one in the body and one in an editorial-style advertorial, and you’ll generate more sales with the latter.

You may not be able to spend $40,000 to $80,000 on an advertorial in Forbes or Fortune, but you can take this simple idea and make it the foundation of your advertising efforts.

When I showed Mike how to write his ads to grab his target market’s attention and give them the information they wanted, his sales turned around immediately. Instead of draining revenue, his radio ads helped him generate more new clients and profits than ever.

You can do the same with these three steps:

Step 1 – Stop trying to sell with your ads. This is a hard habit to break but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll stop losing money on advertising that doesn’t work.

Step 2 – Identify the top concerns of your target market and use these as the basis for each ad or article you write, whether its 30 or 3,000 words. Take a look at the title of this article. It got your attention, didn’t it? Get your prospects’ attention with your ads when you stop trying to sell.

Step 3 – Don’t expect your ads to do all the work by themselves. They won’t. You need a marketing and advertising system, where your ads, other marketing materials and follow-up strategies all work together to give your prospects the information they need to become your clients.

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