Monday, September 20, 2010

Fred's Advertising Clinic - Part 5: Action!

So far in the Advertising Clinic, we've covered the first three parts of the formula for writing ad copy: Attention, interest and desire. Now we move on to the fourth and final part of the formula: Getting the customer to act.

If you've done the other three steps of the formula correctly, you've got the audience's attention. They're listening to what you have to say because you've built interest in your product. They want your product because you've built desire. But all this is for naught if you can't convince them to act.

The call to action means, quite simply, that you're telling your customer what to do. So what do you want them to do?

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Remember, though, that your call to action has to mesh with the rest of your script. If it's a hard sell, you can get right to it and tell them what to do. But if you've taken a softer approach, you'd seem overbearing and maybe even obnoxious, so a gentler call to action is needed. The same if you've taken a comedic approach. Don't blow the punch line with an obnoxious urge to BUY NOW BUY NOW! Stay in the spirit of your piece.

Let's look at the example we've been using all along: Dry Erase Markers.

One of our approaches has the markers saving the customer's job, and maybe even winning him or her a promotion. So our call to action appropriately would be something like, "Get that promotion you've been after -- use Dry Erase Markers."

We also explored an quasi-public service approach, in which Dry Erase Markers helps keep the family together and organized. So we close with, "Bring your family together... with Dry Erase Markers."

If our copy touts the correct-ability of Dry Erase Markers in a pretty straightforward manner, then our action step can be straightforward too: "Fix those mistakes. With Dry Erase."

If you can do it simply, you can even repeat one of the benefits in your action line for an extra boost: "Be Mistake-proof, use Dry Erase Markers."

One other thing: If you're plugging a specialty product, or one that's not available everywhere, don't leave the audience guessing. Be sure to tell them where to find you or your product: "Find Dry Erase Markers at your favorite stationery store." That's a call to action too.

Remember: To make the sale, you have to tell your customer to buy the product.

Next time in the Advertising Clinic, we pull it all together.

Fred's Advertising Clinic is written by producer and voiceover artist Fred Pagano,
owner of Brown Cow Studios of Boston.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fred's Advertising Clinic Part 4: Build Desire

"Wow! I want one of those!"

"That thing sounds great!"

"Yeah? So what?"

Have you ever seen or heard a commercial on TV or radio and had one of those reactions? I have. A notable one happened just a couple of months ago.

I was watching TV, and a spot for a new sandwich from KFC came on. Well, it wasn't really a sandwich, because it had no bread. Just two slices of chicken with other good stuff in between. Precisely the kind of thing this manly man wants more of!

And when I saw that spot, my mouth watered.

I even remarked out loud, "Oh yeah! That's the stuff!...that sounds wonderful" I hope I wasn't drooling, but there's a chance I was. Ask my wife.

Was it a good sandwich? I can't tell you because there's no KFC near me at which to get one. But it sure sounded good when I saw that spot. I wanted one. A lot! And the next time I'm in the mood for chicken for lunch (which admittedly isn't often) I'll definitely get one. Because....

"That thing sounds great!"

Now what about the last reaction? "Yeah, so what?" I had one of those reactions recently too. I've long since forgotten what the product was, so don't ask. What do you expect, anyway? I should remember the name of a product I have no interest in? Life's too short.

A successful spot doesn't just grab your interest. It makes you want the product. It makes you want to install new flooring, have a beer, buy a new car, eat chicken or serve your kids yogurt. It gets your saliva dripping. In other words, it follows the fourth part of our five-part advertising formula: It builds desire.

How do you build desire for your product or business? Well, first think about your product. Who is it targeted to, who is your customer? What need does your product fulfill? Then ask yourself why your customer would want yours in particular. What sets it apart from the others? When you know the answers to these questions, you're on your way to building desire for your product.

Let's take a look at the example we've been using in this series, dry erase markers. A pretty boring product, so what can you possibly do to build desire for them? Think about it. Who uses them? Students and teachers in school, business executives giving presentations, and many homes have dry-erase boards in their kitchens so family members can leave messages. That's pretty much the market for dry-erase markers.

Let's zero in on business use. What would make me desire a particular brand of marker? Suppose it could help me win a promotion, or impress my boss. Or streamline work flow or make the job easier. Any product that fills one of those needs is desirable.

A marker that can get me more money and a promotion? I'll have to look into that!

On the household front, dry-erase markers help people keep in touch. They remind Dad to pick up Junior after the soccer game, or to grab milk on the way home from work. I want my household to run smoothly, and if dry-erase markers help do that, then I want dry-erase markers. Lots of 'em!

When it's time to write the copy, key in on those desirable traits in your product or business. Tell the exec how markers can help to win a promotion, or tell parents how they can run the house better. Be creative. Have fun.

Need to build desire for your product?
You can do it yourself. Or you can have Fred do it.


BullShots! is written by Fred Pagano, and is published by Brown Cow Studios of Boston.

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