It’s easy to steal customers in Zimbabwe. One way is with killer newspaper advertising.
To be clear, i’m not talking about killer LOOKING ads, i’m talking about money MAKING ads. For the next few days I’ll cover the strategies, tactics, mindset and insights needed to steal your markets attention with your advertising. (Customer Thief: Have you read the book?)
Effective advertising goes far beyond just placing a big ad in the Herald newspaper with lots of colour and a nice logo…I’m talking about the principles that get results. Once you learn the science of advertising – in Zimbabwe you can practically rule, I know, I’ve done it.
Firstly understand that the following is a list of principles – not short term techniques. That means it
- Doesn’t matter where – Herald, Sunday Mail, Fingaz, Zimbabwean, Independent or a magazine etc
- Doesn’t matter whether you’re doing display or classifieds ad
- Doesn’t matter what product or service – selling property, car sales, computer, cell phones, furniture, events management, consultancy, etc…once you know how – you know how.
So here we go, in no particular order 15 tips on creating winning newspaper ads in Zimbabwe…
1. Focus your time on developing a strong headline for your ad. The headline is the ad for your ad and has by far the greatest impact on your results. I typically write between 10 or 20 headlines before I settle on one. Don’t settle for the first thing that enters your head…it’s probably not nearly as smart as you think.
2. Capture attention and speak directly to the reader about something that’s important to him immediately in your headline. Forget what’s important to you, forget your logo and your company name…your focus now is completely on your prospect.
3. Once you headline has done it’s job (which is to attract the interest on the right reader), then focus your ‘body copy’ on presenting a compelling offer with as many benefits as you can afford to include (You’re being charged per-word).
7. To catch a prospect, think like him. It’s about what he want to know, not what you want to say. Benefits are what your prospect is most interested in…give him what he wants.
8. NEVER ever try to close the sale in a (short/small) classified ad. You’ll waste your money and get less response than you could’ve. Use the two-step formula for maximum results. Use your classified ad to find hot leads. When those leads contact you (via phone, email, whatever) that’s the time to go for the close. There are multiple reasons for this…trust me – it works.
9. Make it easy for people to contact you. This is especially important in Zimbabwe with cell phone networks as bad as they are. If they can call/email or visit…that’s the way to do it.
10. Write your ad as though you’re talking to one person. Have that person in your mind when you write. This makes your communication more personal, effective and it’s easier to build rapport.
11. Use simple design options to make your ad stand out. A double thick border, a different colour, a block on the headline…be creative without wasting money.
12 Use the F word. Offer something Free if possible. People respond to that like nothing else. A free report, info pack or even a free quotation – whatever.
13. Evaluate your competition. I’m amazed by how so many are content to pay and publish ads that look exactly like their competitors ads. Just go through the herald classifieds and look at the real estate/ computer or vehicles for sale section. It’s dumb – don’t duplicate your competitors…stand out. A better offer, a different design layout, a unique approach.
14. Forget grammar – delete words in classified ads. Edit your ads for unnecessary words that take up space and cost money without contributing to the marketing effort. ‘the’, ‘and’ etc. This isn’t an English exam, it’s a business exam.
15. Choose your category or section carefully. This is worth very careful thinking and can often make a huge difference – especially in classifieds ads. If you’re wise, you’ll test different sections with the same ads and key the results.
There you have it, that’s it for today. Advertising works, if you work it. It’s probably the most used marketing tactic…yet one of the least understood. An ad that has been tested over time and maximized based on solid strategy and market feedback is worth gold to you. I’ve done my part…now do yours.
Tomorrow – 10 questions to ask before you write a single word of your advert. These questions are what make the difference between an amateur and a master customer thief.