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Advertising Case Study - Have You Fallen For This Common Advertising Trap?

By Elaine Wymant

In this case study we discover how one Results Corporation client dramatically changed his advertising results by following a simple advertising success formula.

Gavin Ucko's company, The Happy Puzzle Company, sells educational toys and workshops to schools, providing children with puzzles, which help them learn through finding solutions whilst they play.

Gavin is a very motivated man. He is very passionate about what his company does and joined the Resultsupport programme to make an already successful company even more successful.

Subsequently, Gavin has grown his business 400% in the last 5 years … here we discuss one strategy he employed to achieve this success and how he got it to work.

Modest response to offers

Having regularly advertised in The Times educational supplement, Gavin found he always received a modest response to his offers. Never poor enough to lose money so he could take a decision to pull the Ad, but never getting enough response to make a real difference to his business.

When he talked over the issue with the team at Results Corporation, it soon became clear to him why and what he should do about it.

The team explained that Gavin had fallen into the common advertising trap that most businesses fall into. Like many advertisers Gavin was putting his company name right at the top of the Ad in large letters, followed by bullet points of what he was offering and then by the telephone number.

A common approach, but one which is virtually guaranteed to minimise results.

Understanding what you need to do to change your Advertising results

After working with his Marketing Support Advisor, Gavin started to understand what he needed to do to change his advertising.

By following this simple formula, he began to see how he could create and test new Ads which would improve reponse rates.

Gavin was advised to develop and test new Ads which follow this 8 Step "Advertising Success" formula...

  1. Headline - always develop a strong headline, which offers a benefit to the reader, answers their fears, frustrations, needs and wants. Your company name is not a benefit to your reader and makes for a very poor headline. Top copywriters understand that when they have written the headline they have spent 75-80% of the cost of the Ad (as this is what attracts the reader) and that a great headline can improve response by up to twenty times.

  2. Rapport Building Paragraph - develop a rapport building paragraph, which gets the reader to agree with you. One of the most effective ways to do this is to describe the problems, issues and risks which they may be experiencing. This develops trust and "rapport" with the reader. Another way to look at this is to describe their headache so that you can then...

  3. Reasons to Buy - create compelling copy which offers the "pill" to relieve their headache, tells them how your offer can take away their frustrations, solve their problems, removes or minimises risk and provides them with a solution.

  4. A Strong Offer - offers can increase the response rate by up to 300% … and it doesn’t have to be a discount. High perceived value offers (that are low cost to you) work very well.

  5. A Call to Action - people like to be lead so tell them what to do next and say it with meaning.

  6. Targeting - understand who your target market are and advertise where they will see you. Targeting can increase your response rate by up to 1000%.

  7. Ad Style - think about the style of your adverts, pictures are great but do they really get your message across … editorial "long copy" style ads can increase readership by up to 500%.

  8. Credibility - Does your ad have testimonials? Does it build credibility? Endorsements can increase your response rate by up to 500%!

Some other points to take into consideration…

Every time you mention a feature, you need to relate it back to your reader with an advantage and a benefit … people buy benefits so tell them what your product and service can do for them.

Always write in "The Point Of You". If you are saying "we", "ours" or "your company name" more than saying "you", "yours" and "you'll" then you are talking about yourself and not your reader. This kills sales.

Pictures, always try to have a people picture, using your product or experiencing your service, team pictures are great at building rapport … remember a simple rule of selling ‘people buy from people’.

Whilst we have all heard the saying "a picture is better than a 1,000 words", the reality is that when you measure Ad response you discover that "a 1,000 words outsells a picture every time". The most effective Ads use both pictures and words to their full potential.

Gavin understood the formula and changed his Ads…

He changed the headline from his company name to a headline that was compelling to teachers and which offered a benefit.

He took away the bullet points and replaced them with benefit-orientated long copy that told a story, with a strong offer and strong call to action.

Placing the advert again in the next education supplement of The Times … Gavin could hardly believe it. Here is what happened in his own words…

"From the adverts we've placed in The Times Educational Supplement we've so far had our money back 16 times over. When we first decided on the strategy I would have been happy to have had between 20 and 40 schools contact us ... to date we've had 400 ... the greatest number of schools we've dealt with in any one term was previously 10 ... it's now 42."

"We've just taken the ideas, concepts and strategies that you've taught us and applied them to our own situation and the results are now speaking for themselves."

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