Hands You Scalpel; Reveals 12 Ways To Perform Your Own
Advertising Face Lift
By Drew Eric
Direct Response Surgeon
© Copyright Drew
Eric Whitman All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part
is prohibited without prior written permission from the author.
If you're like
me, you love tips. Tips on how to do things better x quicker x
easier. Tips are fun to read. Fast. Lively. And they keep you
entertained by giving you lots of variety.
Well, that's what I'll be
featuring in this and the next article here in the super
Marketing Resources InfoCentre, brought to you by Rick Hanson.
Get ready for a whole slew of tips to improve your advertising.
Tips that you can put to use today. Tips that can save you
beaucoup bucks. Here's a dozen of 'em. Try them and see what
1. USE COUPON BORDERS!
Even if your ad is not a coupon, this technique tends to
increase response because people have been conditioned to read
coupons because of the financial reward they provide. I've tried
this with my own ads and found that it works very well,
especially when offering discounts. I like the bold, broken
block-type border. It can be used for any size ad, even an
2. USE A PERSON'S HEAD IN
YOUR AD! Master advertising guru John Caples once said,
"Of all the types of pictures that you can use to attract
attention, a head or face is best." It's true! And you
don't have to use a particularly fancy photograph, either. Just
a plain black and white shot is fine. Even if it's very small,
chances are you will notice the results. I personally use this
technique whenever I can. Why do you think my face appears on
all my sales materials? Because it adds warmth and personality
to what I say. It adds trust and builds "relatedness."
3. USE A TELEPHONE NUMBER!
No doubt about it x using a telephone number makes people feel
more comfortable ordering from you. You don't have to offer
telephone ordering, but the mere presence of your phone number
is very, very reassuring to people. Especially if you're using a
4. TRY A CIRCLE AD!
That's right, instead of having your ad set as a typical
rectangle or square like everybody else, have it set in a
circular border. (Your copy will still be set the same way.)
Studies show that circular shaped ads get greater noting. Very
few advertisers know about this technique, and still fewer have
ever used it. Interesting, isn't it?
5. DON'T REVERSE IT!
Unless your ad is surrounded x literally crammed by other ads -
don't reverse your type, i.e.: white lettering on a black
background. Studies show that reversing ad copy may decrease
your readership up to 22%. This is because the eye is not accustomed to reading in this reverse fashion. Especially if
your type is very small. Avoid using this technique, if you can.
It IS effective, however, in headlines when the type is large
and there are just a few words.
6. AVOID USING OVERLY
FANCY BORDERS. Borders that are too frilly or decorative can
distract from your sales message! I suggest a one-half to
one-point thick rule around your ad. Simple, but it does the
7. USE A STREET ADDRESS.
Whenever possible, use a street address. It has been shown time
and time again, that people feel more comfortable ordering from
companies that have street addresses rather than P.O. boxes. The
street address connotes permanence. Makes the buyer feel as
though you will still be around tomorrow. Chances are you feel
the same way.
8. SELL ONE THING AT A
TIME. Don't try to sell more than one product or service in
one small ad if each product needs explanation. If all you sell
is candy, it's easy to just list things like: Gumballs,
jaw-breakers, licorice whips, wax lips (with teeth!) and Scooter
Pies, etc. Everyone's familiar with these. Otherwise, sell just
one product or service in each ad so you don't confuse your
9. STOP PLAYING NAME
GAMES! Many dealers use several different company names when
promoting different products or services. Unless it's absolutely
necessary (because of the drastically unrelated nature of the
items you are promoting), STOP! Stop working against yourself by
not allowing one name to build equity. The more familiar your
business name, the more likely it is that people will order from
you. People will be more comfortable with you - believe that
your product or service is of better quality - and that you're
less likely to be a fly-by-night, even if they've never seen
your name before. For example: Would you rather buy fresh
chicken for your next barbecue from Perdue or Imperial? Names
can make or break your business. So make yours work for you!
10. USE A SERIF TYPEFACE!
Do you know the difference between a serif and a sans serif typeface? Your eye certainly does. A serif typeface is one that
has little feet and embellishments on the tips and base of each
letter; sans serif faces do not. The serifs help connect the
letters together and assist the eye in following sentences more
easily. That's why most newspapers always use a serif face, such
as Times Roman. In brochures, ads and sales letters that contain
a lot of copy (especially if the type size is small) a sans
serif face could be difficult to read. On the other hand, big
bold headlines look great in sans serif faces. One smart way to
select the typeface you want is to notice what the big
corporations use for their packaging - annual reports - magazine
ads, etc. These companies spend thousands of dollars to have a
professional designers do their work. Simply show your printer
or typesetter a sample of what you like and have him or her
match that look. Just be sure that it's appropriate for what
you're selling. There's nothing worse than a headline for
"HOT NEW MLM SYSTEM!" that's set in Old English type!
11. DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENT! Are you still offering the same old stuff
envelope - clip newspaper articles - collect names programs?
STOP! These are tired, old, lifeless plans that people are sick
of hearing about. Certainly you can find something more valuable
to offer than these dinosaurs. Offering stuff envelope-type
plans is like trying to sell carbon paper to a salesperson from
Find a good product to sell.
Become the World's Best Web Page Designer. Write your own report
about something you do incredibly well. Or interview an expert -
type up what you learned - and sell the report! (A great idea!)
Become the World's Greatest (and most honest) Circular Mailer.
Buy books wholesale - write a wicked sales letter - mail it to a
list of mail order book buyers and see what happens! Find a
product that you're passionate about and market the heck out of
Do you know how to bake Swiss
Fudge Chocolate Chunk Brownies? Shredded Cheese & Garden
Herb Pizza Crust? Write a zany ad or circular that goes on and
on about why your recipe is the most incredible thing since the
invention of the fork. Give it an irresistible name like those
above. Write L-O-N-G copy about it! Load it with lots and lots
of colorful adjectives. See if you can tempt some taste buds and
open some wallets online. Also try classified ads in local
shoppers - even national tabloids (Weekly World News - National
Forget the trashy, worthless
schemes (This includes chain letters. Sorry, Mr. Rhodes.) All they'll do is waste the time and money you could be spending to
build a legitimate profitable enterprise.
12. USE PROFESSIONAL
DESIGNERS! Unless you're a graphic artist, please x please x
please don't design your own circulars, ads and brochures. Your
image is the most important thing you have when selling to folks
who've never bought from you. Unless you find a publication that
has a flair for creating eye-catching display ads, get a
professional designer to do the job for you.
You simply supply the copy
and your designer will create the layout, select the typefaces,
choose the borders - everything! Ugh! I've seen circulars that
looked like someone designed it with their left foot dipped in
Hollandaise sauce: Broken, inappropriate type styles -
ridiculous, overused clip-art of delirious guys holding money
bags above their heads - confusing layouts and much more.
Ask your local printer if
s/he has a designer on staff or can recommend one to you. Or better yet, call some local ad agencies -- ask to speak to the
Art or Creative Director - say, "Hello, my name is [your
name here] and I was wondering if you could help me. I run a small business and I'm putting together an [ad, brochure, flyer,
etc.]. Could you recommend a freelance designer that can help
me?" Believe me, they know a slew of them, ask for a few.
Contact them and describe
what you need (ad, brochure, etc.). Ask how s/he charges (per project or hourly). Some are expensive, some not. Many charge
depending upon how big a company they think you are. (Hint:
Don't sound big.) Tell him/her that you'd like a rough
"comp" of the new piece first before s/he gives you
finished, camera-ready work. This lets you make changes if
you're not happy with the first submission. Another idea! Call
local graphic arts schools. They can usually recommended
students who would be happy to do the job x cheap!
Well, that's it for this
article gang! Next time we'll continue with more great tips to
help you boost your business and crush the competition.
So until then, remember:
"Your life is nothing more than the sum total of all the
choices you've made up until this day." Hmmm
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Whitman, D.R.S. -- is an outspoken, humorous and
philosophical advertising trainer, speaker and columnist with
15+ solid years of hands-on experience. His newspaper and
magazine articles teach thousands of business people how to
use simple, but powerful techniques of Madison Avenue
psychology to help them boost their advertising results.
He was a Senior Direct Response Writer for the direct response
division of the largest ad agency in Philadelphia. He was also
Senior Direct Response Copywriter of one of the largest
direct-to-the-consumer insurance companies in the world. He
created powerfully effective advertising for small retail shops,
to giant, multi-million dollar organizations, including Faber-Castell
Corporation, Texaco, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American
Automobile Association, Amoco, American Legion and many others.
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