As with the links of a chain, your whole campaign is only as strong as its weakest point. That is why I can not stress enough that you need to cover all of your bases when selling online. One of links in this ad campaign is your ad copy. If you bring in the best traffic to your website, have a great looking website and your Payment Processing all setup, yet your ad copy is weak, you will not see much in sales.
Think Like Your Customer
Consider stepping into your customers shoes for an hour. What is it that your customer wants exactly? What will it take to convince your customer that you have the best product or that they should buy your product? Also, breakdown in your mind what it is about the product that attracts the customer. You want to point out every benefit of the product to the customer and you want to do it in a way you imagine would work best. Its putting yourself in their position and asking yourself, "What would it take to make me buy this, if I was really interested in it?"
If you are not fully sure what your customer might be thinking, do some investigating. Go to various competitor websites and see what their ad copy says. It may shed some light on what your customer is thinking and looking for. Another way to get a better understanding of your customer is to ask people you know, particularly those who might be interested in this product you are selling. What could be better than asking a person who is interested in your product what it is that really interests them and what would it take to get them to buy.
This technique of thinking like your customer can also be applied to your marketing approach of getting customers to your website. Consider in your mind how a person looking for your product would get on the internet to find it. Generally, you can rely on just using the main search engines by default, but there could be a few other good ways to get them to your website, which might be very effective.
Once you have done some brainstorming on the benefits of your product, divide them up into four to eight sections highlighting each benefit. The idea is to put each benefit as a catchy Subtitle and then have a supporing paragraph underneath it connecting your product to that benefit. This is the best way to harness the power of each section, which build upon one another until the customer is fully convinced your product is the right one to buy. The great thing is that most advertisers online do not do this, so you are way ahead of the game applying this simple principle.
Take for example a product called "100,000 Recipes on CD-ROM". Some of the Subtitles for a product like this could be, "All the Recipes You Will Ever Need!", "A Recipe For Every Occasion", "Friendly User Interface" and "Quickly Find the Right Recipe". From there, you just create supporting paragraphs and details for each of these subtitles proving your product is the best to buy. A pretty simple principle, yet many fall for the simple mistake of making "Features" the Subtitles.
Benefits Vs Features
The biggest error advertisers make is confusing features with benefits. A feature is a specification or attribute of the product you are selling. On the other hand, a benefit is something a customer wants out of your product. Essentially, a benefit is one of the reasons they are buying your software. So, going back to our Recipe Software example, one benefit(desire of customer) would be that the customer would like to cook something very nice for the family. A feature would be that it has "Fast Search Engine". Notice that the benefit is the end desire of your customer and the feature is simply a feature of the item. The feature points to the search engines speed, while the benefit points to cooking a nice meal for the family. Which do you think is more important to your customer?
Some very common benefits/desires are: more freedom, make more money, spend more time with family, look more beautiful, have more energy, more fun in life, etc. This is what your customer REALLY wants. Now, the best way to do this in your ad is to mention a feature and point out how the feature will give the customer their desires!
This does not mean you should not list the features in your ad. Rather, it means minimize the features by sprinkling them through your advertisement. There is nothing wrong with listing your products features. No, its only bad when you make them the main points of your advertisement. So, when it seems to flow with your paragraphs, put in feature data. But, again, remember, the main point of your paragraphs is to support the benefits shown in each section.
Believe it or not, colors mean a lot. So, your message is effected by not only what you write, but also the graphics and colors you utilize in the advertisement. In this paragraph, I will give you meanings of many color combinations, so you can find which ones you think are relevant to your advertising.
- FRESH: Light Green, Light Blue or White contrasted with a Resolute Blue or Green.
- COOL: Light Gray, Light Violet or Light Purple contrasted with Purple, Dark Green or Blueish Purple.
- RESOLUTE: Light Gray, Light Brown or Light Greenish Gray contasted with Dark Redish Brown, Dark Brown or Black.
- ALURING: Pink, Light Gray, Light Blue contrasted with Royal Red, Cherry Red or Purple.
- HIGH-TECH: White, Light Gray, Bright Blue contrasted with Black, Blue or Teal.
- LUXURIOUS: Deep Red, Dark Violet, Dark Blue contrasted with Deep Yellow, Violet Red, Black or Purple.
- DYNAMIC: Greenish Teal, Yellow, Black contrasted with Blue, Red, Bright Yellow or Deep Orange.
One of the most commonly employed color systems when it comes to advertising is the "DYNAMIC" color patterns. Just think of what you see for normal ad copy on any product box. Generally, you see red/white, blue/white and red/white/black. The reason this is the most common and why it is necessary for you to employ it in your advertising, is because it is full of energy and captures people's attention. I will give you an example of one company that uses the Dynamic Color Psychology better than any other company in the world! COKE. Yes, Coca-Cola is the most valuable brand icon in the world and their colors are generally red and white with a smigit of black. This is classic Dynamic colors. The second most valuable brand in the world is Microsoft, but they use a mix of Dynamic and High-Tech Color Psychology for obvious reasons.
Product Vs Advertisment
Some entrepenuers assume that if they have the perfect product, they will succeed. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Do not get me wrong, product quality is definitely important, but it does not guarantee success. This little logic twist will make it clear: It is much more likely that a marketing guru will make big money selling a crappy product, rather than average joe making big money with his killer product idea.
It has been said that advertising is 70% of the sale, while the product is only 30%. So, for direct sales, you can actually get away with having crappy products. The only problem is that you will loose out on return customers, which can pay off richly, if you know how to harness it. So, I suggest having quality products, but spending more effort in your advertising. So, if you are not making the sale, it probably is not your product. Rather, its probably your advertising. Even if you have a nominal product, you can make it into a success!