I was having coffee with a small business owner the other day and he told me he was considering doing some direct mail marketing. He was thinking about a post card campaign.
He said, “Whaddayathink?”
And so I asked him this important question: “Why should anyone want to do business with you instead of your competition?”
Well, to be honest, he just sat there looking like a deer in the headlights. That question left him rather dumbfounded. I actually think he was slightly insulted that I would ask such a question.
He began glancing upward and to the left (which means he was searching) and stammering for the right words and phrases to answer me. Which means he really had NO ANSWER.
I said, “Never mind. You really don’t know!”
To which he replied, “Well yes, I do know….I just don’t know quite how to tell you.”
Until you have clearly defined how YOU are DIFFERENT from your competition…..and exactly what great benefit someone would receive by doing business with YOU instead of your competition…..you are going to be wasting a lot of money on advertising.
Sorry, but it’s true.
I’m speaking directly from experience here, as well as from years of observation. There were many times in the past, when I owned my pest control company, that I allowed over zealous advertising agents and sales reps from newspapers, radio and magazines to talk me into advertising with them. They said they would design a really pretty ad for me. And they did.
But those ads didn’t result in very many people calling me up and doing business with me.
And, knowing what I know now, it’s crystal clear why my ads were not very effective. I had no clear, powerful, seductive, irresistible USP (Unique Sales Proposition). There was nothing in my ads that clearly set me apart from my competition…..but they certainly did set me apart from a lot of my hard earned money!
My ads were just like everyone else’s. They consisted of the name of my company, my telephone number and contact information, and a list of features I offered, the organizations I was a member of, and some generic graphics of people and homes, etc. that were totally unknown to me or anyone else. They were classic examples of steriotypical, commercial “business card” type ads.
So what? Big deal. Who cares? Apparently not many people.
The fact is, people don’t care much about that stuff. They only care about what you can do for them. How can you make their life better? What major problem can you solve for them? What pain can you alleviate?
You must be able to identify these and explain them in your add. Otherwise you’re no different than all of your competition. You’re simply a commodity, which means you’ll be beaten by a lower price almost every time.
So…..before you go spending a bunch of money on advertising, you’d better makes sure you have a great message. If not, you be wasting $$ on something that isn’t going to work very well.
You’d better make sure you understand how to use psychological buying response triggers in your ad that will generate a buying response in the reader and cause them to pull the trigger and do business with you. If you just allow the advertising agents and sales weasels to design your ad, you are going to leave a lot of money on the table for someone else to claim.
Your advertising is an extension of YOU. It speaks. And…..if you pay money for it to speak….you’d better make sure it says something powerful worth saying!
Just food for thought.