by Cathy Taylor
How do you know when your advertising dollars are being well spent? First, let's expose two of the most common fallacies about advertising. Number one is that good advertising magically generates so many leads you have trouble keeping up with them. Number two is that advertising is some big executive's hyped idea that never worked in the first place. The truth, I propose, lies somewhere in the middle.
If no one knows about your company and it's product(s) and service(s), then you can bet you won't be in business a long time. Advertising is just one method of getting your prospect's attention, and because we live in a society where we have to fight for any even small piece of "mind share," advertising has become even more of an art form.
When you learn a fine art such as painting, you discover how to put on the exact colors, utilize the right amount of raw material, as well as apply the proper strokes to shape your visual communication. So too in advertising. There are rules that take into consideration the psychological aspects of motivating your potential customer to intuitively respond to your message.
The first key in any marketing/sales process is building rapport - making a connection - and advertising can help create a "warm" environment where people become interested in listening to you. If you pique their interest with a good ad, as well as reach them at an emotional point where they need, or even better want, your product and services, you have a much better chance of getting the job or closing the sale. Advertising gives your company an edge by helping you to get your share of whatever business is around and by surpassing your competition.
What then comprises effective advertising? What are these aforementioned rules (not tricks) of the trade? Marketing experts have discovered three important elements in direct response advertising including direct mail and email campaigns that are "must knows." These elements are: the Target List, the Copy, and the Graphics.
The Target List
The key to knowing what mail or email list to buy lies within your company's strategic positioning and differentiation. Ask yourself, what type of companies would benefit from my products(s) and service(s), what interests them, and why would they want to buy from our company versus anyone else? Keep your focus narrow, and don't make the mistake of trying to provide everything to everyone.
Identify those firms within your geographical area (provided you have one) that you are willing to service. If the populous is large enough, you may want to buy from a reputable list broker. If you can create the list yourself from regional resources, make sure to put the information into an open database and obtain accurate information. Most important, be sure you have the correct contact name and phone number of the person who would make the buying decision.
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