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Human behavior, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow, is always the result of one or more of five basic needs or motivating forces. Maslow classified these in a sequence he refers to as "the hierarchy of human needs."
His theory is that until a lower-ranking need is satisfied there is no desire to pursue a higher ranking need. Below are the five human motivators, beginning with the basic or lowest-ranked need and continuing to the highest.
1. Physiological needs - Include hunger, thirst, reproduction, shelter, clothing, air and rest.
2. Safety-security - The need for security, stability, dependence, protection, structure, order, law, tenure, pension and insurance.
3. Love-belonging - The need for belonging, acceptance, love, affection, family and group acceptance and friendship.
4. Self-esteem - The need for recognition, respect, achievement, responsibility, prestige, independence, attention, importance and appreciation.
5. Self-actualization - The need for satisfaction, the desire to achieve fulfillment through reaching self-set individual goals or aspirations.
In the context of Small Business Effective Advertising Sales, the advertising practitioner will do well to become familiar with the Maslow theory of human motivation because it stresses once again that motivation is always an individual act. The most your advertising message can hope to do is to present an appeal strong enough to stimulate action toward satisfying one of the basic human needs.
If there is one rule that will be most helpful in preparing effective advertising, it is this: The message must put the desire of the potential customer before the advertiser's desire. Please read that one more time! The rule may sound like a simple one to follow, but frequently advertising messages take the form of a plea to customers to respond and solve the advertiser's problem.
Visualize the felt tip pen you probably use every day. When it was manufactured the raw materials were converted into these product features: a plastic barrel, a plastic cap, a supply of ink, a felt tip and a metal pocket clip. These are the total product points in the felt tip pen. What's amazing is that none of those things have anything to do with why you will buy the pen! You buy any item only for how it will benefit you. The key, of course, is benefit. Effective advertising must promise the consumer some benefit he or she will receive after buying the goods or services advertised. Product features should be cited only to make the promised benefits believable. Here is an example of how you can advertise the felt tip pen by promising benefits and then using the product features to make promised benefits believable. Cost Effective Advertising Campaign.
You can drop this pen on concrete from 20 feet in the air and it will not break because it is made of a strong plastic.
You can draw a jet black line for more than 100,000 yards, thanks to the large supply of quality ink.
This pen will not leave an ink stain on your shirt or in your purse, thanks to the snug-fitting plastic cap.
When you bend over this pen will not fall from your pocket because it features a strong spring steel clip.
Although this technique appears logical, many advertisements ramble on and on with all the product features while the potential customer asks, "What will it do for me?"
Using the benefit approach can be simplified by preparing a worksheet on which each product you plan to advertise is dissected into (1) the benefits the buyer will enjoy by owning this product and (2) which product features will help convince the potential buyer that the promised benefits are likely to be true. Using the benefit approach is the best advertising technique for each advertising medium. It is also the selling technique used by all top salespeople. Practice it-it works!
Techniques in Presenting Effective Advertising Message (Effective Advertising Sales)
The buying decision is seldom a purely rational one - emotions influence your behavior. As you explore various techniques for presenting your advertising message, do not ignore psychological and emotional appeals. For example, red, a strong color suggesting excitement, increases reader interest when used in sales ads. While the principles discussed here relate most specifically to print ads, they can apply to all media.
Determining Layout Shape and Design
Behavioral scientists have determined that of all the rectangular shapes, the vertical rectangle of approximately three units wide by five units deep is the one the public is exposed to most and, therefore, the one people find most comfortable. The advertising world refers to this shape as the golden rectangle of layout. It is believed that an advertising message receives higher readership when presented in this size.
Communicating Desired Layout to Printer
In submitting any printed advertising message to the media, the only way to ensure that your ad looks the way you intended is to provide adequate instructions. Layout means blueprint to the typesetter or printer. Your layout should be a full-size replica of what you want the finished advertisement or brochure to look like. Here are some guidelines to use in preparing layouts:
1. A layout should accurately indicate where all parts of the completed message are to be located with respect to the borders. This must include the location and approximate, if not actual, dimensions of all artwork.
2. There are five parts to a comprehensive layout:
Headline - Print all headlines right on the layout sheet, making the headline fill the width you want. Give the printer a close approximation of the desired type size by the size of your lettering. On each line, put the exact words you want to appear and use capital letters or upper and lower case letters the way you want the type set.
Illustrations - Use a copy machine, if possible, and paste a copy of any artwork or photograph on the layout sheet where you want it to appear. If you plan to reduce or enlarge the artwork, show the finished height, width and the location on the layout sheet.
Copy - Copy refers to the text in your advertisement. Do not letter in the copy on your layout sheet. Use two parallel lines to represent each line of copy and draw these lines in the exact position on the layout sheet. These parallel lines should show whether you want the copy set flush on both right and left margins or if you prefer a ragged edge on the right margin. Each block of copy should be positioned properly on the layout sheet and then should be keyed, i.e., assigned a circled letter of the alphabet that matches a separate block of copy supplied on copy sheets. Copy sheets should be typewritten, double-spaced and should include all words and prices to be typeset, including any headlines you have lettered on the layout. Leave a two inch left margin on the copy sheet to give the mark-up person space to code for type style and size.
Price - It is generally a good idea to letter your prices right on the layout if they appear anywhere other than within regular copy lines. Show the price as it should appear.
Logo - The logo is your firm's name, whether you have a standard, exclusive design or you merely want your name set in type. Let the layout show the desired location and size. It also is helpful to letter in your address and phone number. If you have a logo design, do not paste the original art work on the layout. Make a copy and paste the copy in the desired position. Ask the printer to make a photo reproduction of your logo and keep the original artwork for future use.
In addition to these key elements, your layout also should contain instructions, written outside the ad borders and circled. A line from an instruction circle may lead to the specific area within the ad if it helps clarify instructions.
Instructions should include the dimensions of the ad stated in inches (width depth). For a newspaper ad, the width should be stated in columns and the depth in inches or lines, depending on the paper's policies. Other instructions can include the insertion date, reference to the enlargement or reduction of artwork, the names of typefaces desired and special typesetting requests. Remember, your layout will serve as the blueprint for your ad. The finished product can be only as effective as the original layout. The copysheet that accompanies your layout also should contain the size of the ad and the insertion date. Use a paper clip rather than stapling the copy sheet to the layout. This will prevent tearing when the two sheets are separated for production.
Strengthening the Elements of Your Advertising Campaign Headlines
Since the headline is the first contact your readers have with your message, it must reach out to them. Promise them a benefit. Tell them how they will be better off if they read the rest of the ad. Use action verbs. Save ten dollars is a stronger heading than Savings of ten dollars because of the verb.
Headlines can be classified into the following five basic types; effective headlines frequently combine two or more of these kinds.
News Headlines: This form tells the reader something he or she did not know before. Using the word news does not make it a news headline. "Now - a copy machine that copies in color" is an example of this type headline.
Advice and Promise Headline: Here you are promising something if the reader follows the advice in your ad. "Switch to Amoco premium, no-lead gasoline, and your car will stop ringing."
Selective Headline: This headline limits the audience to a specific group. For example: "To all gray-haired men over forty." Caution! Be absolutely sure you do not eliminate potential customers with this type of headline.
Curiosity Headline: The intent here is to arouse the reader's interest enough to make him or her read the ad. The danger is that this headline often appears "cute" or "clever" and fails in its mission. An example: "Do you have trouble going to sleep at night?"
Command or Demand Headline: Watch out for this one as most people resist pushiness, especially in advertising. "Do it now!" or "Buy this today!" This headline generally can be improved by changing to less obtrusive wording such as: "Call for your key to success!"
One common misconception about headlines is that they must be short and easy to understand. This is not always true. Here is a headline that was used extensively in print ads by Ogilvy and Mather for one of their clients: "At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."
There are three primary reasons for using illustrations in an advertisement.
To attract attention to the ad.
To illustrate the item being featured.
To create a mood in the mind of the reader.
Everyone has heard, A picture is worth a thousand words; in advertising, the illustration frequently helps the reader visualize the benefits promised. You can almost feel the warmth of the tropical sun when you see the photos in January travel ads. Cost and practicality may dictate whether your ad uses photographs, artists' drawings or merely canned artwork. Any of these can make the ad more appealing to the reader's eye.
If you follow the three principles of good copy, your ads will be effective:
Good copy should be clear.
Good copy should be crisp.
Good copy should be concise.
Clear, crisp and concise . . . the three Cs of copywriting suggest that the words in your advertising message merely do a good job of communicating. Do not use big words when small words can make your meaning clear. Use colorful, descriptive terms. Use the number of words necessary to make your meaning clear and no more-but also no less! Selecting the right words is critical to the success of the ads. Recent research conducted at Yale University found that the following 12 words are the most personal and persuasive words in our language.
You Discovery Free
Money Proven Results
Love Guarantee Save
New Easy Health
REMEMBER THAT WHEN YOUR MESSAGE IS PRINTED IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS INSTEAD OF UPPER AND LOWERCASE LETTERS, IT IS FAR MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE READER TO FOLLOW AND REMAIN INTERESTED. EVEN IN HEADLINES ALL CAPITAL LETTERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED.
Should you or shouldn't you put prices in your ad? Yes! Yes! Yes! Since price is the one factor that allows the consumer to determine whether an item represents an adequate value, an ad without price makes the buying decision difficult if not impossible for the reader. Can you imagine how uninteresting your daily newspaper would be if there were no prices on the food store ads or the department store offerings? Yes, price belongs, and it belongs whether you are advertising a home for $175,000 or a ballpoint pen for 49 cents.
Can you visualize the corporate logos for such firms as Chevrolet, Ford, Playboy, Coca-Cola or Levi Strauss? There is an identification advantage in developing a logo design exclusive to your firm. Using a logo also helps give your advertising continuity. Use the logo consistently on all printed pieces, including stationery. Use it in Yellow Page advertising, on the side of your truck or company car, on bags or boxes and anything else your customers or prospects may see.
The typeface you use in advertising plays an important role in how the message comes across. Printers are very knowledgeable about typefaces and happy to help you make choices.
One of the greats in the advertising business, David Oglivy, preached this philosophy to would-be advertisers: Never run an ad unless you have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It's still a sound philosophy. If you can substitute your competitor's logo in your ad and it still makes sense, you are not going to get your money's worth out of the ad. Having a USP, as it has come to be known, is difficult with today's brand name merchandise and competitive pressures, but it is important.
Every item you advertise and every word and illustration you use becomes a part of your firm's image. Your ability to develop a USP depends on your knowing what you want your image to be and then doing those things and only those things that reinforce that image.
A men's clothing store can become the store with fashions for the man who thinks young. A nursery can create the image of the home of the talkedto plants that will respond to you. A car dealer can develop a following and a reputation for his automatic three-year trade-in plan. Once you have arrived at a USP that you think will appeal to your customers, translate the idea into a selling slogan of three to ten words that can be used as the theme of your advertising campaign. Use it consistently until your customers learn to associate your business with the selling slogan.
But be careful. A few years ago Excedrin decided to position itself as the headache remedy for many different kinds of headaches, like headache No. 43 or No. 27. Their TV commercial showed the agony of each headache by the number. What happened? People went to their drugstores and said I think I've got headache No. 43. Give me a package of Anacin. They sold the concept of the headaches beautifully but not the exclusivity of Excedrin as the best relief.
If you want to position your business in the marketplace, select your target market. How old are they? What do they have in common? What are their goals and ambitions? When you have learned all you can about them, go back and learn more! Then start talking to them, and only to them, in your advertising. Talk to them about themselves and their desires. Then tell them how the goods or services you sell are perfectly suited to helping them achieve those desires.
Timing Each Ad for Impact
While your budget will tell you how much you have to spend each month, you must refine your plan to know how many ads will run each week and on which days. In planning your ad insert schedule, be aware that the best results are obtained by strengthening already strong sales days, not by trying to make bad days better. If large employers in your area have paydays on the first and fifteenth of the month, time your advertising to coincide. If you use more than one medium, attempt to coordinate your efforts by scheduling a radio blitz to coincide with a big print campaign or special store event.
Adding color to a black-and-white advertisement not only increases readership, but can substantially increase the sales response. Retailers, however, frequently use too much color in their ads. Remember, color works because of its contrast with noncolor areas; use it in one or two strong clustered areas rather than scattering it throughout your ad. Keep in mind that colors also communicate psychologically. Here are a few popular colors and their common associations:
Red - Suggests excitement, heat, strength and is a good color to use in a sale ad.
Yellow - Conveys brightness, airiness, refreshment. Warning: yellow gets lost on white paper, so always surround areas of yellow with a border of black or another dark tone.
Blue - As a cold color, can convey formality and haughtiness in its darker shades and fragility, daintiness and youthfulness in the lighter tones.
Orange - A color of warmth, action, power.
Green - Another cool color, suggests cheapness and coldness in its darker tones while conveying freshness and crispness in its lighter shades.
Purple - A color of royalty and stateliness.
Maroon - Suggests luxury, solidity, quietness.
Brown - Implies age, wholesomeness, utility.
White - Means purity, cleanliness, chastity.
Black - Conveys mystery, strength, heaviness.
Research on the productivity of color in newspaper advertising invariably shows increased readership as well as increased sales from ads that use color. Adding color raises the cost of the ad, but the increased results are substantially greater than the increased costs.
Critiquing Your Ads
We can learn great lessons from the past. If your firm has been running ads, dig out a few from a year or so ago and see how many of these common no-no's you can find.
Does your ad contain words like "our," "I" or other personal pronouns? They are poor communicators, try using "you" and "yours."
Is the ad uninteresting to look at overall? It may be balanced too formally. Try using an odd rather than even number of illustrations to help achieve informal balance.
Does your firm have a logo? Develop one so the name of the firm is not just set in the same type as the rest of the ad.
Has your layout allowed the reader's eye to stray from the preferred gaze-motion path? If your invitation to the eye causes readers to leave your ad, you will not get them back.
Is your logo in the upper left corner or the lower right corner of the ad? Those are the two best spots for it.
Does your headline promise the reader a benefit?
Is your copy clear, crisp and concise? Be sure to use the product points that make the benefits you promised believable.
Have you used a headline in capital letters? Don't!
Have you told the reader what each item costs? It is very difficult to reach a buying decision until the question "How much is it?" is answered.
Does your ad contain any misleading statements? Any attempt to misinform or mislead the reader may lead to a sale, but in all certainty it will lead to lost customers and could lead to court. Honesty is still the best policy.
As you continue to expand your business in the months and years ahead, use the tips presented here. Prepare a budget and review it frequently. Select your items for advertising to help solve consumer problems and then present your advertising message as a form of planned communication. Developing Cost Effective Advertising Campaign.
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