Here are some tips for improving your advertising, taken from Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Levinson–
For Television: Watch it with the sound turned off. Can you still figure out who it is for and how to respond?
Watch the commercial twenty times in a row. Is it so abrasive you become angry?
Watch just the first half or the second half of the commercial. Do you still understand what’s being sold?
For Radio: If you don’t have the attention of the listener within the first five seconds, you’ve failed.
Mention your name at least five times in a 30-second spot. People won’t remember it as well otherwise.
Develop a radio persona so people recognize you no matter what the message. Listeners should be able to identify your ad even if they miss part of the beginning or the end.
Commit to only one or two stations. You need to repeat yourself to the same people, and you can only do that by focusing on a few stations.
For Newspaper: Make sure you have a strong headline. If it doesn’t grab them, the body copy won’t either. It must convey a benefit or intrigue the reader into wanting to read more.
Emphasize “free”, testimonials or a picture of your product being used.
Place a border that helps your small ad work like a big ad.
Create a sense of urgency with your ad, from “Act now” to “Almost Gone”.
Feature the price if you’re proud of it. Retailers have regularly proven it need not be a low price for the ad to succeed.
For Yellow Pages: Don’t just reuse your ad from last year because you are nearing the deadline.
More copy creates more readers. Include as much copy as you can.
Remove doubt for the reader. Show your years in service, experience, certificates, licenses, and awards.
Mention any insurance, bonding, guarantees, association memberships, and specially trained employees.
Let people know the services you provide such as emergency repairs, open 24 hours, free estimates, which credit cards you take.
For Brochures: Use a photo on the cover to draw in the reader.
Long copy works well in a brochure. Tell a little about yourself or you company. “Our family serving yours since 1904” says a lot about who you are and what you approach to business is.
List referrals and / or testimonials. “Don’t take my word for it, listen to my customers.”
When possible, make a brochure that can be customized with inserts to each client.
Make sure the quality of the paper and the style of the printing matches the image of your company.
And finally, get someone else to pay for it. Make sure you use co-op advertising. If it isn’t available from all your vendors, ask them why? It isn’t just for retail. Builders can use both product and service providers.
Jim Kress works at COCC where he helps companies develop plans for gathering market information and improving sales. He can be reached at (541) 383-7712.