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Tell your readers what to do next

31 Aug

There are times when I look at an ad and it seems to wave goodbye to me right after that. There simply aren’t any calls to action nudging me to buy the product somewhere or to order it online. It’s almost criminal to leave your readers clueless on what to do next.

I’ve seen a fair share of advertisements for small businesses where they try to emulate what the giants are doing — just a logo and a smarty-pants tagline. What these advertisers fail to understand is that the big boys get away with doing something like that because they have built a name for themselves. Very often, these ads without a call to action are usually generic brand ads that aim to remind consumers of their existence. It’s like them saying “Hey, we’re still here, business as usual.” Unfortunately, some small business owners copy the formula and they end up with zero recall value, not to mention an absence of enquiry calls because there wasn’t a number in the first place.

And this seems to be the favourite way of advertising for many new and unknown brands in the market. Sporting a logo and a tagline is cool. But it’s not when you’re a virtual unknown in a sea of competitors.

When you advertise something, that space is yours. Apart from telling readers what your product can do for them, you have to tell them where and how to get it. Should they be the first 100 to respond in order to receive an special-edition gift? Or should they visit your facebook page for exclusive information? Create an interaction between the readers and your brand. The ball is in your court. Guide your readers by the hand and tell them what to do next.

Don’t squander the opportunity in an ad by just showing your logo. You can do that when your brand is big enough.

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Define your target audience

8 Aug

One of my biggest bugbears at work is when I receive a brief with the word ‘Everyone’ proudly scribbled in the ‘Target Audience’ section. Reality check: not every bloke, missus or kiddo needs your product.

If you fail to sharpen your brand message, you could confuse potential buyers. And when these people are confused, they simply waltz over to the next brand that knows how to treat every individual like, well, an individual.

Why is it so important to define your target audience? Remember that you’re not advertising to a horde of zombies who all have more or less the same needs: tattered clothing. That would be too easy, wouldn’t it? You have to identify which group of people can best relate to what you’re selling. Find out what makes them tick, where they prefer to socialise and how often they trim their toenails. Ignore that last bit. But you get the point.

Once you get the lowdown on their preferences, you’ll no longer fumble in the dark when crafting your brand messages.

Look at it this way, finding a present for your best friend’s birthday is way easier than finding one for a complete stranger. And don’t you just hate it when you need to buy a generic Christmas present for the hi-bye colleague down the corridor?

So, imagine how ‘everyone’ would feel when they are greeted by one of your many, many leaflets that are stuffed into their face by equally disenchanted part-timers.

Defining your target audience gives your brand an industrial-strength searchlight that seeks out compatible matches.

Don’t be afraid to discard the rest who aren’t chummy with the profile of your brand. It’s ok to give up that one firefighter who really doesn’t need your accounting services. It’s ok to abandon grandma Smith down the road who sees no practical use in your construction gear. The bottom line is, you aren’t losing out much (and neither are they).

You can’t please everybody. Resources are better spent on those who are more likely to listen to what you have to say. They are already more receptive to what you’re selling. Make use of this knowledge. Woo them, charm them, convert them.

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