Fishing 101

Fishing 101

Q: I keep reading that narrower focused ads are more effective, but I don’t have a very big advertising budget. I can’t afford to pass up anyone who might be interested in what I sell. Shouldn’t my ads include everyone?

A: Short answer, “no.”

Here’s why: Unless you’re a recording engineer, or perhaps a recording musician, you’re probably not interested in advertising for a new Pro-Tools plug-in. If you’re exposed to such an ad, you probably won’t even notice it. You definitely won’t remember it.

You do the same thing with all of those other products and services in which you have no interest: sumo wrestling, cheeses of the world, the position of the guy running for school board in some other district, crosspoint stitching, 18th century English poetry, building a wind-powered electrical generator, tourism guides to Toronto, and the genealogical history of your brother-in-law’s family.

What happened when you were “exposed?”

Did you consciously consider, then choose to ignore these offerings as they competed for your attention? Nope. You didn’t recognize any value to you, and stopped further consideration. Gone. Poof. No longer exists in your universe. Maybe never did.

All of those people you’ve been attempting to “woo” to your business react in much the same way. Either they are interested in your advertisement, and will allow more information to enter their “What’s In It For Me” filter, or they aren’t, and relegate your ad to “ignore” status.

Now, when it comes time to compose an ad for your business, people will not see “office supply store” and immediately think, “Hey, they probably have flash drives, too. I could go there and compare prices with the computer store.” Instead, they’ll see “office supply store” and immediately think, “I don’t need office supplies.”

You’ve already been dismissed.

Its not that people are too lazy to figure out what you’ve got for them. They made the decision to ignore what you’re saying long before such a puzzle might even occur to them.

This is why you must create your advertising from the perspective of a potential buyer. Potential buyers, by the way, don’t think of what they want in terms of “all their (blank) needs.” And as long as your ads say that, or “fast, friendly, courteous service,” you can count on being ignored.

But, what if instead, you’d created an ad that said, “We’re a modern office supply store. We recognize that in addition to paper, toner, and desk calendars, today’s office may need blank DVDs, hub adapters, and hard drive upgrades. Come visit our computer supply department, and while you’re there, pick up a 16-gig USB flash drive for only $17.95?”

Would someone who needed a flash drive react to that ad? Highly likely.

But you have more things for sale than flash drives, don’t you?  A whole store full of other things.   Hummm.  I guess you’ll need to create other ads for those items.

There is no universal bait. You must choose the fish you wish to catch when you’re fishing for customers.

Your Guide,
Chuck McKay

Marketing consultant Chuck McKay

Chuck McKay

Your Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.

If you have more questions about copy strategies to sell more of what you offer, Chuck welcomes your email, or call him at 304-523-0163.