Business Suicide Strategy #6 – Using ‘Institutional’ Advertising

I would say 99% of people still use ‘Institutional Advertising’ which is advertising that doesn’t ask for a direct and instant response. It is characterized by ads that have the following characteristics:

1) The company name as the headline at the top of the ad…
2) Very little copy on the ad…
3) A list of products or services provided by the company…
4) Lots of white space…
5) Lovely pictures or images with no direct relationship to the product or service sold…and
6) No incentive to call now…

Pick up your Yellow Pages Directory and go to any page. You’ll see the this type of ad all over the place in almost any category. I urge you strongly to stop advertising like this right away.

C But let me tell you – the image itself does not generate sales! And when you consider the fact that people really don’t care about a business, or what the business sells -image or institutional advertising is a complete waste of money. Always remember this…

People don’t buy products or services – they buy the result. They buy ‘what’s in it for me?’ They buy a solution to their problem(s). It’s true that institutional or image advertising can help build ‘brand awareness’. And that’s okay for large corporations such as Cola-Cola. They have multimillion dollar advertising budgets (having said that, these companies would prosper even more if they used direct response advertising.)

When you compare ads particularly in the special advertising sections, the ads are very similar in cost and tend to feature a list of services offered by the business with no action items referred to as a ‘call to action’. A well written ad should make you money. It is an ad that gives enough information to elicit an immediate response, either to send in the coupon, pick up the phone and call for the information or any step that moves the buyer closer to purchasing from the advertiser.

You must spend at least 60-75% of your time writing a catchy headline which will immediately grab the customer’s eye and peek their curiosity to continue to read. You have seconds to grab their attention. For example an ad beginning with…. “They Laughed When I Put The Tri-Creaser On My Folding Machine, But When They Saw The Results…” The reader is immediately intrigued to read the rest of the story.

Most businesses or entrepreneurs fall into two advertising categories…brand building or direct response ads. Brand building advertising doesn’t work well for small businesses because either the business chooses the wrong publication(s) (i.e. the target market was wrong) or typically the business can’t keep advertising long term because of cost. Advertising should generate sales almost immediately (direct response) not in the hope that sometime in the future someone who wants the product or service you offer remembers the ad and decides to buy from you?

Powerful direct response ads can transform your business literally overnight even in this economy. The response rate is so significant that it can occur often instantaneous with tested ‘calls to action’ and good copy. Each ad must be accountable, measurable and tracked to ensure that the ad is running at a profit! I guarantee you as soon as you start writing direct response ads you’ll increase your responses and sales many times over. And your profits will skyrocket! You’ll not only save money but make much more by following this advice!