How To Create Killer Ads
How To Create Killer Ads
by Millard W. Grubb
An Easy way to create ads that pull in business fast!
Let's face it. You want to get more customers, make more sales,
convert more leads. The typical business puts money into
advertising and expects the phone to ring off the hook. Sadly,
it doesn't happen that way.
I had a client one time up in Racine, Wisconsin who was opening
a computer store who had a headline that said, "Grand Opening
Sale." Another client had a sales letter that had a title, "The
Think for a minute about any ads you've seen on television or in
print that really grabbed you. If there was a particularly
funny message or slogan, try to remember it.
It gets hard, doesn't it?
The problem is that we are bombarded daily by thousands of
messages, thousands of offers, thousands of "sound bites"
begging to be heard. We finally get to the place where we don't
hear or see much of anything for very long. We effectively
filter out excess "noise."
For example: Let's say that you just bought a new Ford Taurus.
As you're tooling around running errands, you notice that there
are a few more Fords out on the road. Surprisingly, there are a
lot of Fords the same make and model as your car.
Was the dealer having a special sale so that most everyone
bought a Ford Taurus?
Did a Ford plant open down the street?
Everyone wanted a Ford, right?
Actually, what was happening was that since you just bought a
Ford, in your mind, Fords became important and therefore
noticed. Before you bought your car there were just as many
Fords running about.
You just didn't notice them.
Fords became important to you. Until you bought a Ford, they
weren't important to you. Consequently, you didn't notice them.
The same thing happens with advertising.
If you're like most businesses, you have to advertise. And if
you are like most businesses, your advertising states the
features of the business, items for sale, discounts, etc. And
if you're like most businesses, your ad was placed in the local
paper by a rep or ad agency or you made the ad yourself and
Can you tell me whether or not your ad pulled in any business?
Over ninety-five percent of the businesses in America cannot
tell whether or not the ad worked because they are doing what is
called institutional or "image" advertising.
We all know Coca-cola, Marlboro, GM, Campbell Soups, IBM, etc.,
because over the years these mega-giants have told us over and
over again about their products. These companies have the money
and the market share to advertise and throw money into a big
hole without thinking much about it.
As a small businessman or woman, we don't have the luxury of
throwing money around to see if something works or not. We must
leverage every marketing dollar so that it does the work of
four, five, six, or even ten dollars.
The only way to do that is to target your market and to have
some sort of response device to determine whether or not the
market is interested in what you have to sell.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is that they think
that everyone who reads the paper or listens to the radio or
watches TV is a prospect. That is one of the reasons it is
sometimes very expensive to run a decent size ad in a local
paper or other mass market, because the ad agencies would have
you believe that because you are reaching a large number of
people, you should pay for it.
The truth has always been that when you use mass media, only a
small percentage are really interested in what you have to
offer. And if you're not careful, you'll miss them.
One thing that has always helped me to get my ads going is a
simple formula called AIDA.
The best way to get attention for your ad is to have a headline
geared to the target market you're shooting for. You want any
possible prospects to "stop in their tracks" to read your offer.
Remember the headlines earlier I mentioned? They didn't grab
the reader's interest or cause them to read further. What those
headlines did was to feed the ego of the owner or corporate
president. I know that I am killing some sacred cows here, but
the fact of the matter is that any advertisement is geared to do
one of two things: 1) Get leads that can be converted to sales,
and 2) Sell directly from the ad.
Listen. All other ads are just fluff. They do nothing to
improve the bottom line. Case in point: When the new Infiniti
ads came out, they won all kinds of creative awards, but there
was no increase in sales due to them. If you want to make ads
that win awards, more power to you. But you won't improve
When I was in the entertainment industry, I created a brochure
for myself that was four-color, had a spinner inside, and was
the most beautiful thing I ever saw. It cost $10,000 for 1,000
copies. When the mailing went out, I sat back expecting the
phone to ring off the hook.
I didn't get one phone call.
To say that I was disappointed would be a gross understatement.
I was devestated.
But I learned a valuable lesson.
You see, I had followed only one of the points of the AIDA
formula. The brochure was very much of an attention-getter.
All show and no go. In other words, according to some of the
recipients, "It was beautiful, I'm going to keep it."
Everyone liked the brochure, yet, it gave no compelling reasons
to buy or call to action.
Make sure that any ads you produce are like a salesperson
making a case for your product.
Getting back to our formula, AIDA, the first point is attention.
You get that attention with a benefit-laden headline. The
headline is an ad for the ad. Don't make the mistake of using
the name of the company or name of a product.
The second point is interest. When talking about the benefits
of your product, it is vital to talk in terms of the benefits to
the consumer, not the interests of the president of the company.
As you are creating an ad, make a list of the important features
of the product. Once you have done this, then transform the
features into benefits. For example, if you're selling
stainless steel cookware that is made with 18-8 stainless steel,
emphasize the fact that this construction means more even heat
distribution for easier cooking in less time with power savings
Next, you must create desire by targeting emotional hot buttons
through the description of more benefits. Face it. Most people
buy based on emotional reasons then justify what they have
bought through logical means. So make sure to create interest
and desire on an basis coupled with a few factual tie-downs to
close the sale.
Remember, advertising is just salesmanship in print.
Finally, you must call your prospect to action. It may be a
phone call. It might be bringing in a coupon. Whatever the
action is to be, it must be simple for the customer to do and be
measureable. In other words, you want the consumer to do
something to let you know they are interested, yet, it must be
simple enough so that they don't have to go out of their way to
These simple steps will help you to increase your responses in
the advertising you do.
About Millard Grubb
As owner of a Chicago-based consulting firm and author author of
The Ripple Effect and numerous articles on marketing that works,
Millard Grubb knows how to create documents that pull in dollars
for business. Grubb is now giving seminars across the country
to help business market on a shoestring.
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