One of the hardest things for you to do as an advertiser to do is to step into your prospect’s shoes and really understand what makes him buy, and to find out how the prospect reacts to your marketing and advertising efforts. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that just because you spent $14,000 — or $140,000 — on your latest batch of ads that every person on Earth saw the ads and paid really close attention to them. Well, generally speaking, they didn’t. For the most part, people won’t even notice your advertisements until they’re in market for what you’re selling. So its important that you make sure that you always structure your advertisements so that a person hearing or seeing them for the first time has enough information to take action… based on that one single ad. Don’t make ads that run in a series that build on one another until they reach a crescendo. Don’t assume that the prospect already knows anything about what you’re selling.
I’ll give you another example from a seminar business to illustrate the point. They offered people a free seminar preview audio cassette to lower the risk, and they would either fax in a request or leave a message on a voice mail. At first, they would send the tape out in a normal envelope along with some information on the seminar. Results were marginal. The mistake was, that by the time they got the tape two to four days later, about 35% of the people had forgotten that they even requested the tape… and the plain envelope we sent it in made no impression to spark their memory. By the time they followed up with a phone call 7 to 10 days after their initial request, a full 50% or more had either not realized that they had the tape, or worse, they didn’t even remember asking for it. A full 5% didn’t remember asking for it even after it was explained to them exactly where they would have seen the ad that they were the ones who made the initial contact. It was assumed that the prospect’s ears were conditioned to expect the message…. when in reality, they didn’t care.
The process was then changed to when a prospect calls, instead of going to voice mail, they speak to a live person who takes them through a short script that explains what the seminar is all about. Then they are told that they will receive a preview package in big, long box, and to be looking for it in a couple of days. The package is sent via priority from the post office 2-day mail service, in a 38″ long triangular red, white, and blue mailing tube that commands attention when it sits on someone’s desk. Inside there’s a big envelope that contains the tapes; printed on the envelope is a big “SPLAT” with the words “Beat Your Competition Into A Demoralized Quivering Pulp” and reminds them “The Seminar Preview Audio Tape You Requested” is inside.. Because they are told to be looking for it on the phone, and because the package is so unusual — not to mention the fact they perceive the package to cost a lot of money, they remember us. The follow-up call is much more effective because, just about 100% of the people instantly remember who we are. And they’re all favorably impressed. I It works great.
Take this message to heart for advertising, too. Don’t–I repeat–Do not assume that your prospects know anything about you, or your industry for that matter. You need to build a case for your product or service, just like an attorney build’s a case. What kind of people do they put on the jury? People who don’t know a thing about the case. If they find out that one of the jurors does know something about the case, they kick them off the jury. They want fresh eyes. And you’ve got to sell to fresh eyes too.
Here’s another example of a company in the pool table industry. They were selling coin-operated pool tables to companies that would place them in restaurants and bars and bowling alleys and so forth. These kinds of companies were called “operators,” and there are only about 5,000 of them in the whole country. Since there were so few operators, relatively speaking, they assumed that all of these operators already knew everything about their tables. However, most of these operators were family owned businesses that had been around forever, and since this company was one of the two major players in the industry, that seemed like a fair enough assumption. The only problem with that assumption was that it was FALSE.
They then decided to promote certain qualities of the pool tables…and focused on several of the features that related to the operators ability to MAKE MORE MONEY with this particular brand of tables. They had several advertisements put together that were pretty good, but were received very coldly by this company. “These people already know everything that we’re saying in these ads. They aren’t going to fall for all that ‘our tables make them more money’ stuff. They’ll see right through it.” Well, actually, they were giving them too much credit for knowing “everything” about the industry in general and the tables specifically. Long story short, they ran the ads and got the most overwhelming response they had ever received. By integrating some risk lowering strategies their ads generated hundreds of responses and requests for more information. That company went from a money-losing enterprise to a $7 million dollar profit in only 10 months.