How To Make Ad $$ Go Further
Use this technique that almost all advertisers completely ignore…
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
This is my 24th newsletter this year, written exclusively for pool builders. I’ve shared with you my advice about advertising, websites, referral programs, follow-up systems, and lots of other good marketing stuff. But I just noticed that I’ve never once told you about one of our “MYM fundamentals” – Our “secret formula” for creating superior ads.
It’s not my style to keep secrets from you.
I’m referring to a fundamental marketing concept known as “The Marketing Equation.” This is a simple four-stage formula which should give you some distinct advantages over your competition, most of whom are still using the more common “image” ads and “menu-board” style ads. (I know, because more than 90% of all advertisers still use those old, under-leveraged methods of advertising.)
Proven and deceptively simple, the marketing equation is still exceedingly rare in most media. And that’s good news for you, because that instantly puts you in the top 10% of all advertisers.
Here’s how it works — every advertisement should be designed to lead the prospect through these four distinct phases of engagement:
The INTERRUPT stage is arguably the most important step, because without this, none of the other stages will happen. “Interrupt” refers to the process of grabbing the attention of the prospect. More specifically, it refers to the process of “knocking on the door of the reticular activator” (also known as “Broca’s area”), and gaining access to the “thinking brain” (the prefrontal cortex). When the brainwaves transition from “alpha mode” (resting mode) into “beta mode” (attention mode), you have successfully interrupted the brain.
Interrupt is also the shortest step; It takes less than 0.5 seconds. It’s accomplished with pictures, colors, sounds, motion and/or words (specifically the words in a headline). To achieve interrupt, you need to do or say something that will cause your prospect to look up and pay attention, at least for a moment.
After interrupt, you must ENGAGE. Almost as short as the interrupt stage, this is where the thinking brain takes about 0.7 seconds to decide whether or not this “interrupting event” is worth paying attention to. For example, if someone is thinking about getting a swimming pool, and they see a photograph of someone relaxing in a pool, there are likely to be interrupted. If they then see the promise of additional information that will help them in their quest for a new swimming pool, they are likely to become “engaged.” They have mentally decided to continue reading (or listening to) your ad.
By comparison, if the person interrupted by the photo was merely interested in the fact that a person in the photo was “scantily clad,” then they will quickly realize that this ad contains no additional information on this subject that is important to them (scantily clad people). They will disengage, and move on.
If you’ve been successful with the first 1.2 seconds of your ad, with your prospects interrupted and engaged, then you now have full permission to “EDUCATE” that person with more information about you, your product, and/or how that person can achieve their wants and goals through you and your company.
Now the nagging question — “How long should you educate?” Answer: As long as (1) space allows and (2) you remain interesting and engaging. For radio and TV, you are limited by time. Of course, if you’ve got a great story to tell, you can always buy a 30 minute infomercial. In print media, you can almost always use a font that’s smaller than a typical ad. Because remember, if the person is interrupted and engaged, they will be happy to read all the information you provide.
Which leads me to the best example of “how long should you educate” — One of the most time-tested examples of great marketing is the super-long direct mail “sales letter.” I’m talking about the five to 10 to 15 page long info-letters that go into great detail of explaining how you can play better golf, or lose weight, or live a longer healthier life, or whatever. 97% of us will throw those letters in the trash without getting halfway through the first page. But there’s still a significant 3% of the recipients who are actually interested in solving that problem and will become interrupted and engaged. Those people will read that letter cover to cover, word for word. And a large percentage of those people will buy. This is not my opinion, by the way. This is the proven and time-tested reality of direct response marketing.
Now let’s get to the fourth and final stage of the marketing equation — The OFFER. After you successfully interrupt, engage, and educate your prospects, you need a “call to action.” In most ads, the call to action is a phone number. The problem with that is the only people who will call you are the ones who are ready to buy right now.
In major purchases such as a swimming pool or a hot tub, there tend to be a lot more people thinking about your product than those who are ready to buy right now. So for those people to respond, we need a “low risk offer.” In the swimming pool industry, I think the most powerful low risk offer by far is a free “Pool Ideas” DVD. This will get the “not ready to buy right now” people to reach out and give you their contact information. Now you can put them in your automatic follow up system, and continue to market to them while the guy down the street keeps running his pretty “image” ad.
I could go into more detail on all of the above steps, but I hope this gives you at least enough advice and ideas to begin implementing this powerful formula in your own advertising.
By the way — I don’t mean to imply that image ads and menu board ads won’t work; they can and often do. However, they cost the same amount of money as an ad with the marketing equation, and invariably give inferior results. So if you’re going to spend the money, why not leverage it to your best advantage?
Till next time,
PS – If you need marketing or advertising help, be sure to check out our list of itemized services on our website.
2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc. May not be used without permission.