Most business owners are aware of the fact that their potential customers are already bombarded with countless advertising messages. From the moment an average person wakes up he/she is exposed to a continuous stream of marketing spiel – from the packaging of the cereal box in the morning, through the radio programs on the way to work, the shop fronts at lunch, the emails throughout the day, direct mail in the mailbox, to the evening TV, the advertising plugs just keep on coming. So, how do you stand out from this jungle of ads, promos and offers, most of which seem to have a budget hundred fold larger than yours? Is it even worth trying?
The answer is most definitely yes. You can stand out from the crowd, and you can do it for considerably less than the big players do.
We (humans) are a very adaptable species. We readily adapt to our environment and learn to filter out what we don’t need. Our brains get used to sifting through all the advertising messages and discarding immediately what we don’t deem as “necessary” or “interesting”.
For example if I don’t like fishing, my brain instantly renders any information on the subject as “unnecessary” and sends it to my mental trash can. Conversly, if I’m interested in mountain biking, even if I’m not currently looking to buy, my brain will tag all the incoming mountain bike messages as “possibly useful” and store them in my long term memory.
So how do you get your advertising message into your potential customers’ memory? It’s not as difficult as you may think.
1. Point of difference. Make sure you clearly explain to your audience what it is that makes your brand or product “special”. If you’re a furniture maker, “hand-made” should be your main selling point. If you have a computer shop that offers free installation then make sure your customers know about it. Often your “point of difference” is the one thing that people will remember about your business.
2. Call to Action. Too often companies advertise their goods or services without telling their potential customers what to do next. The simplest call to action is the well known “call us now!” phrase. Unfortunately many advertisers are limiting themselves to just that. A much smarter way of using a call to action is giving the reader a reason to call and a time limit. “Call now and save $100” or “This offer ends May 31st. Don’t miss out, call now!” not only tell the reader what to do, but also why he/she should do it.
3. What, where, when, how. You can have the perfect advertising pitch, and an offer to good to refuse but if your contact details are not clearly displayed you will lose your potential customers. If you want your customers to call, then the phone number should be large enough to see without looking for it. If you want your customers to come to your shop, then the address must be clearly visibly and well explained (directions or parking instructions are a great addition). If you’re offering a time-limited offer then make sure the ending date jumps out from the page.
Think of it as priorities – when someone looks at your banner, sign or a mail drop you only have a few seconds to tell them WHAT you sell, WHERE to get it from, WHEN the offer ends and HOW to get it.
Prioritise your messages, state your objectives clearly and you will stand out from the crowd. Most importantly – you will reach the people who are your potential customers.