In “Stay Within Yourself When Advertising” (IDEA Personal Trainer, January 2003, p. 16), four legal advertising guidelines were provided to help ensure that your advertisements are legitimate. Small-business expert Darrell Zahorsky offers six more tips that help ensure they’re good. Once your ads play by the rules, following these guidelines may help you win the advertising game.
Stick With One Message. According to Zahorsky, potential clients should absorb your ad in 3 seconds or less. Its message should be as simple and compelling as the brilliant “Dummies” phenomenon, which profitably clarified the reading choices for people seeking information on anything.
Enhance Your Credibility. Roy H. Williams, author of The Wizard of Ads, says, “Any claim made in your advertising which your customer does not perceive as the truth is a horrible waste of ad dollars.” Any academic or scientific research that supports your message, such as a study demonstrating the health benefits of strength training, tends to make potential clients trust what you have to offer.
Test, Test, Test. You must make every advertising dollar pay off, so use coupons, codes and specials to evaluate your ad’s headline, timing and placement. Test only one item and one medium at a time. The testing itself isn’t hard; for a few weeks, just ask all of your new clients how they heard of your business.
Be Accessible. Piquing potential clients’ curiosity does no good if they can’t learn more. Include your Web and e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers, and business address on all of your ads.
Tailor Your Ads to Their Targets. Never attempt to reach more than one type of person in any ad. For instance, if meant for a men’s publication, your ad shouldn’t talk about how one can get back into prepregnancy shape.
Leave Them Wanting More. In your ad, don’t tell potential clients how you can help improve their fitness; that sort of information may go right over their heads. Just tell them that you can help improve their fitness. Once interested, they’ll contact you for more information. You can then explain your business better.