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Small Business Advertising 101

May 7th, 2010 by Charlie Cook

Bob from Ottawa wrote to ask, “What is the most effective way to advertise locally at a friendly price. Thinking of postcards…”

Bob has an unusual small business. He paints murals on the walls of children’s bedrooms. While his occupation is unique, his question about the best way to spend advertising dollars is not. I regularly get the same query from realtors, executive recruiters, and other service professionals and small business owners. Whether you’ve got $500 or $15,000 dollars allocated for advertising, how should you spend it to attract new clients and customers?

The fact is this is not the right question – or, at least, not the first one to ask. Most people spend more time deliberating on where to spend their small business marketing dollars than they do on the key elements of a successful advertising campaign. The result is that many people tell me, “I’ve tried advertising and it doesn’t work.”

Use the following steps to make your marketing and advertising work for you and to build a campaign that generates more money than you spend.

1. Identify Your Advertising Goals
What role does advertising play in your plans to grow your small business?

– Is your advertising part of a short-term marketing effort or one part of your long-term marketing strategy?

– Do you want to generate leads?

– Do you want to use your advertising as a catalyst to building long-term client relationships?

– Do you want to generate one-time sales, for example, to move excess inventory?

2. Clarify Your Small Business Marketing Message
Whether you are considering print, media (cable, TV or radio) or Internet advertising, the key to success is getting the attention of the people who want your products and services. If your marketing message doesn’t grab your prospects’ attention, you’ve wasted a whole lot of money.

3. Prompt Action

Once you’ve got your prospects’ attention you want them to take action. Depending on your small business marketing goals, you may be looking for a quick sale or to build your prospect list. What is the action you want your ad to prompt?

– Do you want people to visit your web site?

– Do you want them to call you for an estimate or an appointment?

– Do you want them to come to your store?

– Do you want to get them to give you their contact information so you can market to them again and again?

So what advice did I give to Bob, the muralist? I told him to combine marketing and advertising and to clarify his marketing message to parents before spending money on his next ad. A one-line explanation of the problem he solves will ensure that his ads are noticed. Then I showed Bob how to prompt prospects to take action by showing samples of his work and offering a free guide to decorating children’s bedrooms on his web site. All this described in one or two concise sentences in his ad.

Given Bob’s business goals, small business marketing plan, and budget, postcards were an excellent way to deliver his marketing message. With an effective small business marketing message and strategy they would help him grow his business.

Make your advertising an integral part of your small business marketing strategy. Use a brilliant marketing message in your advertising. Give your prospects an incentive to take action and you’ll attract many more clients and find yourself earning more.

Test Your Marketing Materials In 20 Seconds

December 10th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

What Response Will You Get With Your Small Business Marketing Materials?

What do prospect’s see when they read your marketing materials, your ads, your sales letters, your web site, etc?
Do your prospects instantly understand why they should work with you and buy from you?
What do you need to do to fix your marketing materials, your brochures and your web site?

Take the Test To Find Out

You’re counting on your marketing materials, your brochures, your letters, and your ads and your web site to bring in business. Are your marketing materials up to the job?

Here’s a quick test you can perform on your own to evaluate your firm’s marketing materials.

1. Bring the home page of your web site up on screen and roll your chair back about 7 feet until only the larger items are legible.

What catches your eye?

What do you read, first, second and third?

Do the same with your print ads; pin them up on a wall and step back ten to fifteen feet.

Where does your eye go first?

What messages come across first, second and third?

2. Ask yourself:

Does the first line give your prospects a reason to read the second line?

When they read the second line does it make them want to keep reading?

Does the marketing copy give your prospects the uncontrollable urge to call you or whip out their credit card and buy from you?

What do you think? Could your marketing materials do a better job of grabbing your prospect’s attention and prompting them to contact you or buy from you so you can grow your business?

This concludes this test. The question is what are you going to do now?

You could go on using marketing materials that don’t get your prospects’ attention or generate leads, or you could fix them and start attracting all the business you been missing.

Why bother testing your marketing materials?

You could be bringing in twice as many new clients or in the case of some of the businesses I’ve worked with, add anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to your revenue within just a few months, just by changing your marketing copy and the layout of your ads and website.

Action Steps

A. Discover the secret to creating copy that sells >>

B. Use this proven website formula to increase sales >>

Make Advertising Work Like Magic

December 4th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

Every entrepreneur and business owner knows that one of the quickest ways to get attention is to buy it with advertising. But almost everyone who has tried it has come away disappointed — and lost money in the process.

[Content protected for Insiders Club Premium members only]

The simple truth is that most advertising doesn’t work the way it should. Do you know why?

Do you own a business that could benefit from advertising that works? Want to actually generate more leads and sales with your advertising?

Charlie interviews Roy Williams, a wizard of advertising who understands the magic of words. He’s known for writing miracle-producing radio ads that have reached in excess of a million people.

A writer on advertising for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Roy also authored the best-selling books The Wizard of Ads, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads and Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads: Tools and Techniques for Profitable Persuasion.

In the first few minutes of the interview, Roy will take advertising and turn it upside down and inside out. You’ll discover what works, what doesn’t, and why. Hear how you can maximize the return on your advertising dollars.

How To Create A Top Marketing Slogan

November 19th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

Imagine you owned a small piece of your buyers’ brains. And every time they thought about making a purchase, your product or service came to mind.

For example if they were thirsty, they thought, “This Buds for you, “ or if they wanted a burger they thought, “Have it your way!” or if they when were tired and looking for a lodging for the night they remembered “We’ll leave the light on for ya!”

That’s what the marketing slogans from Budweiser, Burger King and Motel 6 do, they help people remember a product and increase their propensity to buy.  And that’s what a good marketing slogan can do for you.

Want your own winning marketing or advertising slogan?

Read the following carefully and make sure to check your inbox to get the next two parts of this guide to creating a top marketing slogan.

Marketing Nirvana

Every marketer and business owner wants a catchy marketing or advertising slogan, one that will stick in their prospects’ minds, help them build their brand and increase sales. And a good slogan sticks like glue in peoples’ minds, reminding them consciously and unconsciously of your product, over and over.

I still remember slogans from over thirty years ago, ones like, Brylreem’s, “A little dab will do you.” Or the safety campaign that ran when seat belts were first introduced, “Buckle up for safety.” Or Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaign, “Just say no!”

Can you really control what people think about?

Pick the right marketing or advertising slogan and it will help you get and keep your prospects’ attention. In some cases, as indicated above, long after your marketing campaign has ended and you’ve stopped selling the product.

Some Top Marketing Slogans

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” – Alka-Seltzer

“You’re in good hands with Allstate.” – Allstate

“Reach out and touch someone.” – AT&T

What a slogan is and isn’t?

The word slogan comes from the Scottish word meaning, “battle cry.” It’s not a tagline or your mission statement. It’s the few words you use as the battle cry to promote a particular product, service or marketing campaign.

Unlike your company tagline or marketing message, your marketing slogan may change regularly or you may have more than one. For example American Express has:

“Membership has its privileges.” And “ Don’t leave home without it.”

The Formula For Creating Winning Slogans

1. Create Your Word List

Brainstorm a list of words associated with your product, who it helps, what it does and the end benefit. The more ideas the better here, you can always edit them down. Keep adding until you suck your brain dry.

Ask yourself:

–       What it does?

–       Who it helps?

–       What are all your unique differentiators?

–       What are the characteristics of the product or service?

–       What are the qualities of your clients?

While some people like to include words like best, or 100 years in business, I don’t recommend this using your marketing message to give yourself compliments. This immediately sends up a flag in your prospects’ minds and kills the effectiveness of your marketing message.

When you’re done, you should have at least 50-70 words to work with, ones that describe a tangible and unique benefit.

2. Expand Your List

Pull out the copy of Roget’s thesaurus you got when you went to college. Or if you don’t have one, pick one up at the bookstore. The online ones don’t give you enough alternatives.

Then take your list of words, and look up their synonyms and add them to your list. Next, write each on a file card and tape them all to your wall.

3. Use Your List to Start Writing

Step back and take a look at all the words you’ve got tapped to your wall. Which ones jump out at you as being the most important to clients? Which go together?

4. Keep It Short

Most slogans are only 5 words long. That’s because the shorter your slogan is the easier it will be for people to remember. You don’t need to include your brand name in your slogan either. It’s purpose is to make people think of your brand.

5. Avoid Jargon Or Fancy Pants Language

Don’t use industry specific jargon words or concept words that make people think or have to calculate something in their heads. The words should prompt an instant image of your product, your clients or the benefits.

Action Step:

Use the above 5 steps to create your master list of words that describe your company, your product, your service, the benefits and your clients.

Here are the top 23 memorable marketing slogans for food and drink to whet your appetite.

“Snap! Crackle! Pop!” Kellogg’s Rice Krispies

“Finger lickin’ good.” KFC

“Betcha can’t eat just one.” Lay’s

“Got milk?” Milk Board

“It’s Miller time!” Miller

“M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand” M&M candies

“I Am Canadian” Molson Canadian beer

“Guinness is good for you.” Guinness

“Don’t be vague. Ask for Haig.” Haig Scotch Whisky

“You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s.” Levy’s Rye Bread

“Barq’s has bite” Barq’s root beer
“For all you do, this Bud’s for you” Budweiser

“Have it your way.” Burger King

“We answer to a higher authority.” Hebrew National

“Good to the last drop” Maxwell House
“Do the Dew” Mountain Dew

“Milk: It Does a Body Good” National Dairy Council

“It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” Perdue “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven” Pillsbury Foods

“The Uncola.” 7 Up “Obey Your Thirst” Sprite

“Subway. Eat fresh” Subway

“Think Outside the Bun” Taco Bell

“Where’s the beef?” Wendy’s

“Breakfast of Champions” Wheaties Cereal

Of course after all these, you may need one more advertising slogan:

“R-O-L-A-I-D-S spells Relief” Rolaids

Will These Top Slogans Work For You

What’s the easiest way to come up with a marketing or advertising slogan?

Below you’ll find 15 top marketing slogans, ones that some of the great minds in marketing and advertising spent months and millions of dollars developing. Ones that might work for you with a few words modified to avoid confusion and copyright conflicts.

Yes you can steal the slogan ideas from others and use them as inspiration. Here’s how.

I had one struggling client who produced videos for websites, who was trying to come up with a winning slogan for his company. Looking through the master list, I noticed General Electric’s “Bringing good things to life.”

Putting GE’s slogan together with my client’s services I came up with:

“Bringing websites to life with video.”

The slogan was unique and different enough to avoid confusion or legal issues and powerful enough that it helped him turn his business around in just a couple of months.

Ready to do the same? Use your marketing or advertising slogan to ramp up your sales?

Here are 15 top slogans you can use for inspiration to get your creative juices flowing and help you create your own winning marketing slogan just the way Crime Stoppers did. They used AT&T’s “Reach out and touch someone, to come up with, “Reach out and bust someone.”

Review each of the following and come up with your own variations.

The Top 15 Marketing Slogans To Inspire You

“You’re in good hands with Allstate.” Allstate

“Reach out and touch someone.” AT&T

“The ultimate driving machine.” BMW

“Tomorrow’s climate Today’s challenge.” Climate Challenge “The antidote for civilization.” Club Med

“Common sense. Uncommon results.” David Ingram and Associates

“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

Federal Express

“We bring good things to life.” General Electric

“Don’t get mad! Get Glad!” Glad

“Take action for the climate.” Greenpeace

“Make yourself a home.” Ikea
“All the news that’s fit to print.” The New York Times

“Because so much is riding on your tires.” Michelin

“The Safer, Easier Way to Pay.” PayPal

“Give us 20 minutes and we’ll give you the world.” WINS Radio, New York

Action Step: Pick 5 or more of the above slogans and make them your own. For example if you’re a marketer you could use BMW’s “The ultimate driving machine.” And come up with, “The ultimate profit machine.”

Or if you’re an investment manager you could borrow Michelin’s “Because so much is riding on your tires.” And come up with, “Because so much is riding on your financial choices.”

Need more inspiration? Who doesn’t?

Want to push your sales sky high with your marketing slogan? Need more ideas for the perfect, profit-generating one that will work like a sales magnet?

You’ll find them below, but don’t just scan them, use them to help you generate ideas for the perfect marketing slogan for your product or service. Then, when you’ve narrowed it down to your top 4-5 ideas, run it through the SloganTester you’ll find below.

56 Marketing Slogans That Made Millions

“When you care enough to send the very best” Hallmark “Surprisingly mouth watering.” Halls Refresh

“Nothing runs like a Deere” John Deere

“Because I’m worth it.” L’Oréal

“Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline” Maybelline “Tastes so good cats ask for it by name” Meow Mix Cat food

“When It Rains It Pours” Morton Salt

“Soothes. Cleanses. Refreshes. Murine

“I love New York.” New York

“Just do it.” Nike

“We take the world’s greatest pictures.” Nikon

“Now you’re playing with power!” Nintendo

“Tough on grease. Soft on hands.” Palmolive

“Kills Bugs Dead” Raid

“Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman” Secret deodorant

“For women whose eyes are older than they are.” Robert Powers skin cream

“Save the Children. Everyone.” Save The Children

“Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking.” Timex

“Pleasure you want. Protection you trust.” Trojan Condoms “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” United Negro College Fund

“Fly the friendly skies.” United Airlines

“Be all you can be.” US Army

“Can you hear me now?” Verizon Wireless

“It’s everywhere you want to be.” Visa

“Drivers wanted.” Volkswagen

“Think small.” Volkswagen

“The document company.” Xerox

“Let your fingers do the walking.” Yellow Pages

“You’re not fully clean until you’re Zestfully clean” Zest Soap”Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” Alka-Seltzer

“Membership has its privileges” American Express

“Don’t leave home without it” American Express “Think different” Apple Computers “

“We try harder.” Avis “The Greatest Show on Earth” Barnum & Bailey

“The quicker picker upper.” Bounty

“I’d walk a mile for a Camel.” Camel “M’m! M’m! Good!” Campbell’s Soup “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.” Charmin “The Citi never sleeps.” Citibank “Does she … or doesn’t she?” Clairol

“It’s the real thing.” Coca-Cola “Look,

Ma, no cavities!” Crest

“Diamonds are forever” DeBeers

“Put a tiger in your tank.” Esso

“Nothing runs like a Deere” John Deere

“Just what the doctor ordered” Dr Pepper

“Trusted Everywhere” Duracell Batteries

“Never forgets.” Elephant Memory Systems

“The world on time.” Federal Express

“Capitalist tool.” Forbes

“Quality is Job One.” Ford

“Say it with flowers” FTD (Interflora)

“Look sharp, feel sharp” Gillette


I’ve given you over 90 top marketing slogans. By now you should have at least half a dozen ideas for ones that could help your sales grow.

Which marketing slogan is the right one for your products or services? Find out with the SloganTester.


Just ask yourself the following seven questions about your slogan.

  • Is it original?
  • Is it believable?
  • Does it differentiate your product or service from the competition?
  • Does it highlight a key benefit?
  • Does it reflect the brand personality?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it unique, original and not in use by others.

If you answered yes to all seven, you’ve got a clear winner. If you only answered yes to four, you’re close.

Either way, the next step is to test it. See how people respond to it. See if when you use it in your ads, you get a better response.

Top Video Ads and Commercials

November 2nd, 2009 by Charlie Cook

Many small businesses have in the past avoided using video commercials as part of their small business marketing strategy due to the high cost and limited return on investment. With online video, the equation has changed.

Now you can, for less than many small business spend on their monthly pay-per-click campaigns, create and use video ads to promote your business. To give you some ideas and inspiration we’ve put together a collection of the best video commercials and ads.

How’d we pick the best video commercials? We used the same 3 point criteria we’d use for any ad. Successful ads and commercials:

a. Grab your attention and keep it,
b. Get the message across (ideally how the product or service helps),
c. Are memorable – if once the ad is over you can’t instantly recall what product it was promoting it doesn’t matter how entertaining it was.

To Play Videos – Click on image

The Rowboat
A good example of what the small business owner can do with online video without spending a fortune to create an online advertisement.

Will It Blend Ad
Want to increase your sales by 500%? That’s what these insanely funny ads by Blend Tec have done by generating a tsunami of attention for their blenders. This one alone has over 5 million views.

Dove Evolution Ad
This video commercial reportedly cost Dove $50,000 to make and has been viewed well over three and a half million times or less than a penny and half per view. Wouldn’t you like that kind of exposure?

Slob Evolution Spoof
(one of the dozens)Spoof Ad cost probably less than $2,000 to produce. Views – over 200,000 thousand. Sales? In most cases a spoof like this won’t help you increase sales but if a video like this can attract thousands of viewers shouldn’t you think about using video commercials too?

PC vs Mac – At work
The PC vs MAC war – from the PC’s point of view. Written and directed by Laurie McGuinness.

South Park Mac vs. PC – Spoof
Don’t watch it if South Park offends you but do note that this spoof has been viewed over 750,000 times, or four and half times as often as the single Apple commercial above.

Tea Partay
This commercial spoofs itself, making it entertaining to watch, again and again resulting in well over 3 million views on YouTube alone.

Suicide – Hoover Ad for Electrolux, China
This commercial transcends the language barrier, using suspense to keep you watching and the ending has a surprise twist.

Snickers – Get Some Nuts
This ad is funny but may not appeal to everyone.

Heinz – It’s Slow Good
I wouldn’t do what the central character does in this but I’d agree with this advertisement.

Use Condoms
Another commercial that transcends language barriers and makes use of something all parents have experienced at least once.

Travelers Insurance Rabbit Foot Commercial
A good ad keeps you watching, gets the message across and helps you remember the company that ran the ad. This does all three.

Ford Mustang with Steve McQueen
Almost great. This gets off to a slow start but works in the end.

Rolling Rock Beer Ape
I can’t say as I love this really dumb commercial but viewers love it.

American Express Commercial – Wes Anderson
One of the best of this great series of celebrity commercials.

Lotto Instant Kiwi – Exam
This ad has a great ending.

Volkswagen: Un-pimp Your Ride
This VW commercial has been viewed over 3 million times.

Stem Cell Research – Michael J. Fox
If this ad doesn’t make you think twice, nothing will.

Doritos – Checkout Girl
This commercial pulls out all the stops and made me hungry too.

Bartles & Jaymes – Perfect Ice Topping
Something to go with the chips?

iPhone Ad
Simply but effective this ad works by detailing the unique qualities of the product.

Swedish Self Cleaning
This commercial is hard to forget and needs almost no words to get the message across.

Graphic commercial about the consequences of speeding.

IBM Servers
This is a great commercial take off on the heist idea.

Whether you like it or not – sex sells. GoDaddy has built their marketing around it and built a hugely profitable business because of their marketing. Their product is inherently boring but their ads are anything but. This is one example of their successful ads.

Get a Mac with Gisele Bundchen
Another PC vs. Mac ad this time with a mix of celebrity.

We’re Sinking!
A funny commercial that uses comedy to make a point.

Mercedes Commercial
A commercial that unleashes the beast inside a Mercedes.

Super Absorbent
Comedy is in this commercial used to exaggerate the truth about product features.

Lenovo X300
Can you do this with you laptop?

Plantronics Calisto Pro
An effective commercial that demonstrates how much more you can do with a hands free home office phone.

Nando Fix Gum
Watch this commercial and see if you don’t get confused about what the product does.

The Simple Way To Write Advertising Copy

October 27th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

Stuck trying to write copy for your next advertising campaign? In this interview with copywriting expert Ted Nicholas, Charlie gets Ted to reveal what it takes to make money hand over fist with your ads.

[Content protected for Insiders Club Premium members only]

Small Business Marketing and Advertising on the Radio – The Best Radio Commercials We Found

October 27th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

Marketing and Advertising Your Business On The Radio

Should You Advertise On Radio?

Why would you consider using radio advertising to promote your business? Because radio commercials work! Radio not only reaches drivers but a lot of people listen to radio at work.

Over 12,000 stations in the U.S. reach 95% of consumers; 8% of all advertising dollars are spent on radio. And unlike high-priced TV ads, radio marketin and advertising is affordable and cost effective for most small business owners. Use these 8 advertising tips to get the most out of your ads.

Listen to The Best Radio Commercials Below.

Products & Services Radio Ads

“Andy Jones”
2004 Nickel Festival Target Marketing and Communications

Strategic use of static makes the radio ad seem old and keeps you listening to Andy Jones.

“Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner”
Cattlemen’s Beef Board Agency
Repetition is used in this radio commercial to make the point.

Playboy Magazine Flying Brick Radio
Find out what “guys” really
should be doing with their day in this commercial – at least- according to Playboy.

Dunwoody Institute Colle + McVoy
Repetitive use of bleeped out words
gets the point across clearly in this radio commercial.

“Daddy, Where Did I Come From?” RadioActive Ads
Clever and funny, this radio advertisement keeps your attention.

“Dead FM”
Glaxo Smith Kline-Lucozade Ogilvy
Phone in radio program style ad for a product that will energize any zombie.

“For All The Bad You’ve Done – All You Can Eat Buffet”
Sobe Life Water Agency Unknown
Silly radio ad – but effective.

National Camera Exchange Scott Jorgensen
We’ve all felt like the lady in this radio commercial – with a twist

FedEx Champion Car Racing Martin/Williams
Funny radio ad that incorporates racing in a unique way.

“Moon Landing”
Papa John’s Pizza Radiofilms, Inc.
Witty commercial that makes use of history to promote pizza!

“New Baby “
Mercedes-Benz Radiofilms, Inc.
Funny radio ad that delivers a clear message on when to choose a Mercedes.

“Really Loud Cell Phone Talker Guy”
Bud Light The Fun Times Guide
Dumb Bud Light commercial- but keeps you listening.

“So Many Weddings”
Delilahs David Witz
This ad gets you listening and wondering and then surprises you.

“The Wire”
Jaguar Radiofilms, Inc.
Cute radio commercial that catches and keeps your attention.

“Vintage Miller Beer”
Miller Beer Agency Unknown
This is a classic commercial and sound so dated it almost works again.

Volkswagen Bora Owens DDB
Fast paced talking makes you concentrate on the commercial and lets the message sink in.

“What Would You Do?”
The Oregonian RadioActive Ads
Fun and effective use of radio advertising.

Public Service Radio Ads

“EZee Smoke System”
Courtesy Agency Unknown
Find out how to make your own cigarettes and get all the benefits in this double entendre public service advertisement.

“Fastest Growing Crime”
Courtesy Agency Unknown
Find out how to protect your computer from identity theft in the is information packed ad.

“Fire Starter”
Partnership for a Drug-Free America Office of National Drug Control Policy
Babysitters and responsibility and drugs – not the ideal mix – as portrayed in this public service advertisement.

Minnesota Corn Growers Kruskopf

Cute ad where a bored gas station attendant uses intercom to pass information on to those at the pump.

“I Smoke While I’m Coloring.”
Michigan Department of Community Health
Brogan & Partners and Radish Creative Group
The hazards of second hand smoke are emphasized when told by children.

“Kid Therapy”
California Earthquake Authority Radiofilms, Inc.
From the mouths of babes – parents learn about earthquake safety and being prepared from their child.

“Life Easier”
Nova Scotia Office of Health Extreme Group
Funny twist on the same old same old quit smoking ad.

Nova Scotia Office of Health Extreme Group
Humor is again used to twist this stop smoking ad.

“Target Market”
Minnesota Dept. of Health Clarity Coverdale Fury
Innovative ad that shows the true face of the tobacco companies.

Only In Agency Unknown
This ad is ambiguous. Take a listen and see whether you think it’s a public service ad or not.

Political Viewpoint/Commentary Radio Ads

“Buzz Flash”
Courtesy of: Buzz Flash
Whether you agree with the war or posing questions works to get listeners attention.

Making Money With Your Google Ads

October 27th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

Google Ads and other pay-per-click advertising are a fast way to increase the number of visitors to your web site and ramp up sales…

if they work. Unfortunately, most web site owners and web site marketers end up pouring money into online advertising without seeing it translate into increased sales. Are you one of them?

During a recent phone conversation with my client Ray, I asked him what was and wasn’t working with his web site marketing. His immediate response was, “My ads aren’t working. I’m paying $500 every month for Google ads, and last month I only generated $100 in sales from them!”

Ray was paying five times more for advertising than he was making in sales from those ads. He was rightfully upset about the poor response he was getting. He went on to say that it probably wasn’t worth spending money on pay-per-click advertising; it just didn’t work.

Have you spent $500 or more on advertising and gotten as limited a response? Have you ever felt discouraged about the lack of results from your advertising campaign?

If so, you’re not alone. Everyone who has advertised online has failed at least once. Doing it once is educational; running an ad that isn’t working a second time is throwing good money after bad.

If your ads aren’t working, rethink them and rewrite them and you’ll start attracting more clients.

Are you guessing at what to put in your Google ads, or do you know for certain what works to get the best response?

Wishing, hoping and guessing have no place in your web site marketing.

To make your Google Ads successful, you need to pay careful attention to keyword selection, the wording of your ad, the layout, and the wording of the landing page that your ad directs your prospects to.

Here are 8 ways to make money with your Google Ads.

1.Identify the keywords your prospects use to look for your product or services. Online keyword suggestion tools such as WordTracker’s are a big help.

Free Tool From Wordtracker

Keyword Tool

2. Write individual ads targeted to each keyword phrase.

3. Include the keywords that attract your prospects in the ad headline. If your prospects are looking for “mutual funds” include “mutual funds” in the headline.

For example –

– Cook’s Mutual Funds

– Invest In Mutual Funds

– Guide to Mutual Funds

– Mutual Fund Mistakes

– Which Mutual Funds to Buy

4. When you write the ads don’t just list your services. Explain the problem you solve.  Use the two description lines (35 characters each) to tell your prospects what they’ll get.

If you’re conducting a seminar, tell them when and where it will be held.

If you’re offering a service, tell them the benefits of your service. Include the keywords you’re targeting in the two description lines of your ad.

For example;

“Discover which funds provide

top performance in every market.”


“Find out which mutual funds are

are right for your investment goals.”


What better investment results?

Find out which mutual funds to use.

5. Write 3 or 4 ads for each keyword, using the same title and different copy in the description lines. Run all of these at the same time to see which ones get the best response.

Want a better response to your online ads? Want to convert more visitors to first time buyers and loyal customers? You could keep looking for one more idea, or one more article that has the answer, but is that the way to get a comprehensive solution?

6. Track your ads’ performances for at least a week. Compare ads to see which one your prospects respond to most frequently. Go to the reporting page to check the clickthrough rate of each ad.

Delete the ads with the lowest clickthrough rates and create new ones to see if you can improve on your top performing ads. With a little experimentation, you should be able to achieve a clickthrough rate of 1.5% to 3% with your best ads.

7. Track the return on investment of each of your ads. How much are you spending on each ad compared to the amount you’re making from each? If you’re not making more than you’re spending, you’ve got a problem.

If your conversion rates are low, you could be attracting the wrong type of prospects, people who aren’t interested in your product or services. You may have an ad that gets a great response but attracts people who don’t buy.

For example, I run Google ads targeted to keyword phrases that include phrases such as marketing ideas, marketing plans, marketing strategies, etc. All are related to the products and services I provide, but in fact, the one that gets the most clickthroughs isn’t the one that generates the most sales.

8. Make sure the design and content of the web page that visitors land on converts visitors into leads and sales. Your Google Ad campaign may be getting hundreds of clickthroughs to your site, but are you struggling to convert those site visitors to qualified leads and sales?

How to Use Ads To Sell More

October 27th, 2009 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.

The Recipe for Writing Winning Ads

October 26th, 2009 by Charlie Cook

“Ads don’t work.”
“Advertising is a waste of money.”
“You might as well throw your money out the window as waste it on advertising.”

I’ve heard these complaints a hundred times, and the frustrated business owners doing the complaining are usually right – about their own ads. It’s not that ads can’t work to bring in new business. It’s that they don’t work when you use the wrong words.

Use the right words and you’ll make more money than you ever imagined. The wrong ones will bleed your marketing budget dry.

If I made a stew for dinner by tossing all the food I found in the refrigerator into a pot, no one would want to eat it. And if I blamed the stove for the horrible taste, instead of blaming the random combination of ingredients, my family wouldn’t by my excuse. I can just hear the sarcastic response:

“Ever hear of using a recipe, Dad?”

In the following paragraphs, I’m going to give you a recipe for writing successful ads.

I’m going to walk you through one simple form of advertising, the 35 to 40-word classified ad. I’ll show you what to do and what not to do to create advertising that really works to get new clients.

I’ll show you the 3 steps to writing an effective ad and tell you which elements are essential to include. I’ll give you a handful of examples you can steal, tweak and reuse.

You can apply my formula for writing these small, succinct ads to ads of any size or length: from your pay-per-click ads, to advertising on Craig’s List, to landing pages on your website  and even to your sales letters.


I mention the 35-word ad below in my book, Writing Copy That Sells. I wrote this ad for a client several years ago. It attracted almost $200,000 in new business in just the first few weeks he used it. That new business pulled him back form the brink of bankruptcy. Need I say more?

Here’s the ad that Jose had been using to solicit new clients for his property management business. He got zero response from this ad, absolutely nothing. The cost of running the ad and the lack of new business was putting him in the red.

What’s wrong with it?

Write a Winning Ad 1

Is describes what his company does, right? Yes but that is not his prospects’ first concern.

Here’s how his prospects – and you and I – think:

I’ve got a business problem.

I own 3 apartment building and I can’t keep up with all the maintenance, the rentals, the paperwork, etc. The property management is a big expense, a lot of trouble, and takes a lot of my time.

I want somebody to tell me how I can solve this problem, or how they can solve this problem for me. I need help with these management problems; maybe I need to turn it over to someone else.

What should I do next to get the solution? Who do I call or email or Tweet or whatever?

The Number One Rule

Write your ad based on the way your prospects think. If you’re going to ignore this rule, you might as well take your advertising budget and donate it to your favorite charity. At least then it will do some good.

Here’s what Jose’s ad looked like after I rewrote it:

Writing A Winning Ad 2

Within a few weeks of placing this ad in the same three local papers where he’d run his previous ad, Jose more than doubled his business. Can you afford not to try this approach?

My Six Step, No-Fail Recipe

Let’s look more closely at the approach and the ingredients I used and see why this classified ad worked so well.

This small ad made a big difference by following six simple but critical steps.

1. Identify Your Target Market
Get your prospects’ attention. Talk directly to them – the “Landlords” in the headline.

Remember that your prospects are scanning ads, whether it’s a classified ad in the newspaper or on Craig’s List or a full-page ad in a trade magazine. Get their attention by letting them know you’re talking about or to them.

2. Identify Your Prospects’ Primary Concerns
Knowing nothing about property management, I asked Jose to list his clients’ biggest concerns. He knew right off the bat his prospects want to make money and they want to do it without all the work and time involved in dealing with tenants.

Knowing this, I wrote a headline that talked directly to Jose’s prospects and directly to their interests; “Helping Landlords Prosper”

The subhead addresses the second prospect concern and repeats the financial concern; “What to reduce your property management headaches and increase your profits?”

3. Use a Problem Solving Approach
Every prospect wants to know how your product or service is going to help them. Jose had included the basics in the ad he wrote, but he had phrased things in terms of what his company does, not in terms of the problems he solves for his clients.

Taking a problem-solving approach, “Tenant Placement” became “Filling empty apartments.” The other bullet points are equally specific, and the ad gets right to the heart of the matter from his prospects’ perspective.

4. Make a Unique Promise
Jose had listed “Home Improvement” as one of his services. In out phone conversations, I searched for something unique that his company does that would make his services invaluable to any landlord.

Turns out that because he does most of the standard apartment repairs all the time, his crew can do most repairs for less than it would cost landlords if they did the repairs themselves. This is a huge plus for his clients and he should be letting his prospects know about it!

So “Home Improvement” became “Maintaining and Improving Your Property for 30% Less.”

See the difference?

5. Pack It With Benefits
In just a few words, the ad promises:

– Profits and Prosperity
– Reduced work load
– Full apartments, so increased revenue
– Less paperwork and hassle
– 30% less money spent on maintenance

6. Tell People What To Do
You’ve gotten your prospects’ attention; you’ve stated their problem and your solution; you’ve summarized the benefits you offer. Now get them to take the next step.

In a simple statement using an action verb or verbs, tell them what to do. Call, email, go to your website, send in the reply card – state clearly and succinctly the action you want them to take.

You can use the Six Step, No-Fail Recipe to write your own profit-producing ad. Got some ideas already? Skip the next section and go right to Action A below.

Still stumped about what to say? Then you’re in the same boat most of us are in when we have to do marketing copywriting of any kind. Don’t worry, I’ve got a solution for you.

Steal it!

The Swipe Solution

That’s right. Do what the pros do and steal someone else’s ad. I’m not suggesting you use it word for word, obviously, but re-using good ideas is the name of the game. Keep your eyes open for winning ads and repurpose them to speak to your prospects.

For example, let’s look again at the ad I wrote for Jose. Imagine that instead of property manager, you are a printer specializing in digital printing for retail chains.

Helping Retail Merchants Prosper
Want to:

  • Boost orders
  • Move more merchandise faster
  • Increase your profits?

We can help you by:

  • Pulling more customers in
  • Generating more sales
  • Maximizing profits from high-ticket items



See how easy it is? Look for ads that have the 6 elements in the recipe and rephrase the ad to target it to your prospects’ problems. Promise them the benefits you specifically provide, put in your call to action and your ad is ready to go.

Okay, maybe you don’t help people make money. Could the same ad structure work for someone offering services?

Helping You Reach Your Fitness Goals
Want to increase your strength, speed and agility and be a winner at your sport?

We can help you by:

  • Giving you an easy-to-follow plan
  • Maximizing the benefit of each hour of exercise
  • Putting you at the top of your game
  • Showing you how to avoid injury



Ad Headlines

The ad above leads with an action verb, “helping.” Including an action verb makes a strong headline. In this case, there’s a certain amount of empathy in the word “helping” and it suggests an ongoing process, which is perfect for this service. There are other types of headlines; here are some common approaches:

1. Begin your headline with an action word
2. Create curiosity. “Let’s Talk About Price”
3. Ask a question. “Are Your Budgets Tight? Here’s Some Help.”
4. A combination of the above.

Don’t worry about being creating or funny unless humor comes to your naturally. Focus on talking to your prospects about their needs. (It’s done so rarely that you are going to end up looking very creative, anyway.)

Want to benefit from a winning ad? Take action!

Action A: Write Your Profit-Producing Classified Ad

A. Problem
Write down the key problem or curiosity hook that will get your prospects’ attention.

B. Solution
List 3-5 specific benefits of your product or service.

C. Call To Action
Write your call to action. If possible, include a motivator to get prospects to call or visit your web site. Free reports, or time – limited offers, special discounts, etc. are reliable motivators.

Tested Advertising Examples to Repurpose

Partner Wanted
I have just obtained the exciting MS. AMERICA FRANCHISE for N.J. Already showing extraordinary potential income. My partner could not raise his $10,000. Can YOU? Mr. Richard Stockton at Ms. America Headquarters will handle interviews. Phone NYC 212 MU 2-XXXX.

(from Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples)
This ad rad in the New York Times for 2 days, and turned up a partner willing to commit $10,000.

Below are two templates for direct marketing ads that my friend Rick De Lima has used successfully many times. Steal them and repurpose them to suit your prospects and your marketing strategy.

(Write your own headline)
(You’ll find hundreds to “borrow” in Writing Copy That Sells)

FREE Report is yours for the asking
If you seriously want to _______________, is/may be one of the most important things you ever read.

My name is ________ and I admit it (story continues). I want to share with you my ___________ formula that guarantees you ____________ for FREE.

All you need to do is use what I give you and your ____________ will improve. Why free? Because _________________, and I have a little something to give back.

Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx, leave your info and I will send you the Special Report (Name) and a best selling book called The Success Formula.

Call xxx-xxx-xxxx right now and I will mail them to you.


How to Save (Make/Earn/Find) a Ton of __________ With More Ease and Make Sure the ____________ Stay Away From Your (Home/Business/Bank Account)!

This FREE special report is yours for the asking, courtesy of _______________ who is a specialist in ________________. Call toll free xxx-xxx-xxxx today, and make sure you ask for the ____________ report. There are very limited copies available of this special report, so please call soon.
Plus, if you are one of the first 25 to call and leave your details on the recorded message, you’ll also receive a special bonus gift!

Action B: Track & Test
One of the biggest problems with most marketing is you don’t know what’s working and where the business is coming from. One simple solution is to include a special discount coupon code in your call to action.

“Mention this special offer code EN-4B and:
– save $50 on your next purchase
– to get your free confidential report”

And while not everyone will remember to mention the promotional code, you’ll at least have some idea of which ads are sending customers your way.

No matter who great the template you are using or how much you like your ad, there is only one way to tell if it will bring in the business you’re looking for. Run it for a limited time and see what results you get.

Action C: Fine Tune/Change It/Try Again
If you don’t get the results you need, go back to your recipe and check your steps. Fine tune the ad or write a different one. Don’t keep running the same ad, hoping that something different will happen.

If an ad works to pull in prospects, you can use it again and again. Some winning ads have been used for decades and still produce profitable results.

Whether it’s a couple of hundred words or just 35 words, make sure to take the time to do your research and get the wording or your ad right. When you do your ad will work like an automatic cash generating machine, bringing in a steady stream of new business every time you use it.

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