How To Make Your Advertising Make Money
There are two types of advertising.
One is called ‘awareness’ or ‘brand advertising’ and the other is ‘direct response’.
Awareness advertising is the stuff you see on TV. The goal is to generate ‘awareness’ of the product or service in the hope that when the time comes to make a purchase, consumers will remember the advertised brand and buy it.
Think Coca Cola, they just want to remind you from time to time, “Hey, have a Coke, it’s nice.” and hope you’ll grab one next time you’re at the corner store or grocery.
Direct response worries less about ‘brand recognition’ and asks for action then and there.
Now here’s the thing.
People love brand advertising – first, it’s the most recognizable. Second, it’s creative, fun and exciting to put together.
But I’d suggest for most small or medium sized businesses it’s not the way to go. I’ll go even further and say it’s a dangerous waste of money.
A) Most people do it wrong.
B) Building brand awareness requires two things most businesses don’t have a lot of – time and money.
It takes a lot of time to build brand awareness in the market because you have to keep advertising over and over before it sticks in consumers’ minds. And advertising something over and over costs a lot of dough.
Here’s where the dangerous waste of money comes in – when all is said and done you can’t even be sure your advertising will pay because brand advertising is rarely measured.
If you read my blog, you’ll see reviews of brand advertising that I can practically guarantee were utter failures. I explain in more detail exactly why in this post and this one and this one too.
I do want to say that there are ways to create ‘awareness advertising’ that can work very, very well. But the fact is, most of it is garbage – but here is a good one for you, I have cleverly titled the blog post ‘A Very Good Advertisement’.
Now, if you are interested in things like ‘getting people talking’ or ‘buzz’ you might disagree with what I’m about to say.
Advertising should be about making money. Full stop.
That’s what it’s all about.
If you are a business owner or work for a company that doesn’t have a fortune to spend on advertising you need a return on investment. If you don’t get one, you will go out of business or your boss will eventually notice and fire you.
Direct response is a hell of a lot scarier than brand advertising for a simple reason and here it is:
You know within days if you’ve got a winner or a loser.
Because your advertising asks for something specific and if people don’t do it, you’ll know right away. There’s no hedging, either it works or it doesn’t.
Direct response is also the most cost-effective method of advertising for a couple of reasons.
First, it’s testable and trackable.
You will be able to judge results immediately. Because you can ‘dip your toe in the water’ through a limited test, you’ll know whether you’ve got a money-maker or money-waster on your hands before you spend a bundle on rolling out through all your chosen mediums.
If you put together an ad that brings a guaranteed response every time you run it, that’s money in the bank.
Here’s an example – I recently wrote a sales letter that generated a 6% response rate and $240 in revenue for every $1 spent mailing. Not bad right? Assuming your list is big enough, a little bopper like that will bring in a lot of money.
Here’s the flip side: I ‘improved’ the letter and it flopped. Thank goodness we were tracking and measuring so we knew the first one worked and the second didn’t. (I thought the second letter would bring home the bacon – another reason to test instead of going with your gut!)
Second, direct response is designed to build your business immediately. You demand action from your customers right away rather than crossing your fingers and hoping they will remember you when the time to buy comes.
If you are familiar with image advertising but not direct response, I suggest you consider learning about it in detail.
That is, if you are interested in more than ‘buzz’ or ‘awareness’ (two particularly vague phrases don’t you agree?) and don’t have an unlimited advertising budget.