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Ten Golden Rules
- Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever (David Ogilvy: Ogilvy on Advertising). Or putting it another way: “What’s in it for me?”
- Write for the target audience. Use jargon and technical language if the readership will understand, or expect it.
- The most important part of your ad is the headline. If you can’t catch the eye of the reader, then you’ve wasted most of your money.
- Think in segments: don’t try and sell to everyone. The more precisely you can isolate the target punter the better, so put the offer (promise) in the headline.
- What do they need? People, generally, buy what they need. Tell them why they need it, explain what they’re missing if they don’t. Write factually, honestly and simply. Use short words rather than long.
- Position the product correctly. You wouldn’t expect to see Jaguar ads in Exchange & Mart – more likely to be Country Life.
- Differentiate. As a small firm try to make your product (offering) different and your ads distinctive, without going to the extreme. Try and tweak a little, whether you use a touch of humour, or black & white where all the rest use colour, or men doing jobs that women would normally do.
- Show the product in action. Use “before & after”. Use good photos (professionally taken).
- Use specifics rather than generalities. “This join is 92% stronger” rather than “100%”.
- Don’t make your ad all image and no information. Big firms can afford the luxury (stupidity?) of not showing the car in an ad: you are not in that league.