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Effective Advertising – Part 3: Attention and Appeal

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This series is about five of the key factors in effective advertising. In Part 2, we talked about visibility, or getting your ads in front of your target markets. Now we’re going to discuss getting attention and appealing to your target audience with your ads.

Attention and appeal are different but the viewer moves from one to the other almost instantaneously. Attention equals eye-catching, while appeal means relevant, interesting, or enjoyable to look at.

Seek the attention of your target audience with one focal point; either an image or a headline, as you don’t want these two elements competing.


In these examples, Harley Davidson chose an image that will appeal to those who dream of the open road. UNICEF chose a bold headline with a very recognizable word. Both included clever text that makes the ads memorable because they’re relatable. Harley Davidson’s says “Somewhere on an airplane a man is trying to rip open a small bag of peanuts.” UNICEF’s message is particularly good because there is unexpected twist – likes equal zero vaccinations.

You can use your buyer persona to choose colours, shapes, fonts, and images. In general, bold colours and large fonts are attracting, and emotion evoking images and clever text are attracting.

Things that are odd, opposites juxtaposed, and humour can be both attracting and appealing. Altered images have become popular, but be aware that things like altering faces can also be off-putting.

Another caution. We are currently living in a very sensitive environment, so although the goal is to get attention, you need to be extremely careful to do that in a positive way that is not going to offend anyone. That is a challenge, but protecting your brand is important.

Next time, presenting your solution.

Effective Advertising – Part 2: Visibility

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We’re exploring the five key factors in effective advertising. First up is visibility. What we’re talking about here is getting the ads in front of your target audience. So, the first thing to think about is who are you targeting and where do you find them? Remember to consider market segments, and this is where your personas will come in handy. Let’s look at two as examples for a cleaning business.

Let’s say that Persona #1 is Alice. Alice is retired and still lives in her own house with her husband. They have a good pension income and spend their time golfing and hosting their grandchildren for weekend sleep overs. As an older couple, they are pretty traditional in their thinking. They give money to their church for mission work, but don’t really subscribe to any causes. Alice represents your prospects for housekeeping services.

Persona #2 is Kyle. Kyle is the 35-year-old building manager for three strata complexes. He has a fixed budget for the cleaning services he needs, but is likely to sign a contract for at least a year. Kyle is no nonsense, so he’d prefer one company to all three buildings, and wants the job done right, so he’s not getting calls from the strata council after hours. Kyle lives with his wife and three children, and usually socializes with other families. Kyle represents your prospects for commercial cleaning contracts.

Alice and Kyle are not very likely to cross paths, so they’ll need different ad platforms and different pitches.

Google search ads though, apply to both. It’s by far the most visible platform of all. Ads for Alice should focus on bonded employees, high quality and reliable service. Ads for Kyle would feature the word “commercial” and contract discounts, in addition to insurance, quality and reliability.

At her age, Alice is among the 60% of Boomers and older, that read the newspaper. If she lives in a community of less than 100 thousand that has a community newspaper, the percentage goes up. Newspaper advertising can only be target to this type of extent, so is a relatively shot-gun approach. However, a few newspaper ads combined with other forms of advertising, might work quite well.

Admail is another option of Alice’s demographic – older adult living in their own home. They tend to check their mail regularly, so even if your postcard type ad puts the idea of using a cleaning service, it might be worth it.

Pinterest’s largest age group of users is those aged 50 to 64 and skews female (78%), and since Alice has grandchildren, she may visit the site for craft ideas.

Facebook would be another social media site worth considering. Although Alice is older than the highest user group demographic, Facebook allows fairly in-depth targeting, so your ad spend won’t be wasted.

In a client acquisition blitz scenario, you could also consider radio, as well as discount coupons in a cooperative advertising promotion with local golf courses.

Now, Kyle is going to be a little harder to reach, since it’s his job role that you want to target. Your best bet with Kyle is probably YouTube. He’s among the largest age and gender group of users (15-35, 54% male), and there’s a good chance that he looks up how to do some repairs in his buildings. While ads would be one way to attract Kyle, a few of your own videos about how to keep cleaning costs down, or a spray for hallway carpets that prevents stains, might also get his attention.

Direct mail addressed to the Building Manager is a way to get more information to Kyle, and perhaps an offer for a free quote after a walk-though. Meeting Kyle in person is a really great way to move him up your prospect list.

Of course, there are so many other advertising options: billboards, buses, television, radio, direct email, and many more social media sites, including LinkedIn for business people, and Snapchat for a younger demographic.

They key is to find the places that your target markets are likely to visit, in person or online, and that’s where you want your ads to be.

Effective Advertising – Part 1: Introduction

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A return on investment is the goal for all advertising campaigns. The higher the return, the more effective the advertising is; but let’s not forget about the investment part. Advertising costs you money, so you don’t want to take a hit or miss approach and wait for the results to come in. Like all investments, you need to do your homework; you need to be thoughtful; and, you need to be strategic.

Our last series talked about buyer behavior, and our last article talked about buyer personas. In this series we’ll
reference both of those discussions, as we unpack five of the key factors in effective advertising.

As always, the buyer is at the center of your decision making. Most markets need to be segmented to make the groupings as homogeneous as possible. Each segment is the basis for the buyer persona your ads will target, and will figure prominently as well look at:

Visibility: Where will your buyer see your ad?

Attention/Appeal: These are two different things, but they quickly act in concert. Your ads need to get attention, and then appeal to your targeted customers.

Problem/Solution: Features and benefits are a bit old school. Ads need to address problems or pain points, with a solution.

Call to Action: Except in specific and strategically sound circumstances, every ad needs a call to action that can be remembered and easily followed.

Follow Up: The best ads in the world don’t actually sell anything, your company does. How you follow up will, or won’t, get the sale.

Whether you do your own advertising or rely on us, it’s helpful to understand the thinking process. So, stay tuned as we look at each of these factors in more depth.