How to Fix a Busted Ad

By Beacon Staff

Ever try to keep the deer out of your yard, garden or especially, your raspberry patch?

Ever notice that they seem to munch on the most expensive plants in your yard or garden? They never seem to eat the dandelions.

My forestry friends tell me spraying pig blood on the plants will keep the deer from eating them, but that isn’t an option if you want your garden to smell like the flowers you planted in it. Trust me.

Like prescriptions on TV these days, pig blood has side effects: It’s nasty smelling stuff – and that’s the good part. The bad part: it sends a dinner invitation to every bear in the area. The upside is that it doesn’t cause diarrhea and “personal malfunctions” (at least I don’t think so, I haven’t asked the deer).

Today, I came home from running errands to find a herd out by the trampoline. I took this photo from the car window – if you look closely at the picture, you’ll see 5 deer. 1 more little guy is out of the frame to the right.

Apparently a guy in a Suburban with a big dog in the back is of little concern to them, they’ve seen it all before.

Once a deer gets used to you, the car and the dog – it’s like you aren’t even there. They just go about their business until you make a move toward them. Unless you do something to really get their attention, you may as well be talking to a teenager about cleaning their room.

Marketing is that way too.

Not long ago, I heard from a Beacon reader who had some trouble with a couple of ads: neither were performing. They asked for some help, noting that they were a new business and felt they were wasting money on advertising that was not proving to be effective.

The problem was fairly simple, but like that forest and trees problem, simple doesn’t necessarily mean obvious.

The problem: Their ads were like everyone else’s ads in that market. That might seem ok, but the truth is, most businesses don’t measure the response to their ads, so they have no idea what is working and what isn’t. Because the ads look like everyone else’s, it’s difficult to rise above the daily clutter and stand out from everyone else long enough to get them to read your ad, much less make a call.

To figure out how to do that takes some thought. Think really hard about who the IDEAL prospect is and come up with a profile of them. Armed with that, you can focus on writing an ad that directly addresses their wants & needs. You want them to read it and when they do, think “That’s for me”.

Common problems in this ad: Headline space is being wasted with the company name. No one really cares about your name – they care about their want/need. Even if it’s a household word, that info is just as effective at the bottom of the ad with your contact info. As they scan the page of the shopper or the local paper, “Acme Widget Service” isn’t all that likely to attract attention from prospects, much less distract them from all the other widget ads.

The ad targeting your prospects needs to talk about what drives them crazy about people who do what you do – and how you don’t do those things. IE: What they want, and what they aren’t getting.

Hit the hot buttons that every prospect has on their minds. You should know exactly what the 5 or 6 most important things are in making a purchase decision from your marketplace.

An ad needs to stand out and speak to your ideal prospect with a finely tuned message so they will take action, thinking “That’s for me”. Otherwise, they’re blinded by all the other noise out there.

Got a business or marketing question you’d like Mark to write about or just want more info about him? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].