What are you saying?

I’ve written before on the 3 essential elements of a successful ad campaign.  Of the three “pillars” of advertising (message, reach, and frequency), the message is the hardest for a small business to craft on their own.  Your best bet is to hire a professional to do it for you.  But if you want to do it on your own, or maybe you want to make sure the pro you hired is doing his job, here are two most important points to keep in mind:

Say one thing, and say it well.

Say one thing

Most small businesses cram too much information into their ads.  The result is that there is too much for the viewer to remember, so they don’t remember a thing.  Not even your company name.  By saying one thing, you make your message simple to understand and increase the likelihood that it will be remembered.  You want people to remember what you’re telling them, right?

Want some examples?  Bud Light: tastes great, less filling.  Verizon Wireless: can you hear me now?  Avis: We try harder.  Every one of these companies ads are just different ways of saying that one message.

Please note that I am not suggesting a clever tag line, although your “one message” might take that form. You have an incredibly small window of time to deliver your message in an understandable way. Don’t confuse things by trying to cram in too much information.

Say it well

A picture says a thousand words.  Spend the time and the money to make your ad look good and sound good. Notice that I didn’t say spend lots of money — that may not be necessary.  But you are going to get what you pay for.  Resist the urge to use your nephew to do your graphic design unless you’re real motive is to invest in his education. The same goes for using a wedding videographer to make your marketing or web video.

It takes a lot of skill and understanding to know how to match the feel and tone of the ad to its message, which is a large part of “saying it well.”  Every part of the ad, right down to the fonts that are used, needs to support your message.  A seasoned professional will know how to do that.  They will not only save you a lot of money in the long haul, they will make you more money because your ads will be more effective.

Say one thing, and say it well.  That is how you make an effective advertisement.

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