Major Mistakes In Advertising That Are Costing You Money

I've seen a few mistakes that are costing retail advertisers money. Here's a major one; Thinking the customer is an expert in the product you are selling. Many times ads can only be understood if you have "inside information". After you have been in a business for several years, it's normal to think that everyone knows about the brand you sell, every competitive brand, and all the features both offer.

This isn't so. "Don't the readers get it?" is what I hear from these advertisers. But customers don't know anything about your product....until you tell them. Another major mistake is.....Talking about yourself and not the customer. "We are Number One!" "We are the biggest, brightest, fastest...Whatever!" isn't selling. You may as well put a big "So THERE!" after these statements. The only thing that a person thinks about (while they are looking at your ad, or listening to you) is themselves....and by extension, what you can do for them. Customers are not thinking about you and your product and your company brand.

You do not want to compete with a buyer over who is more will lose. Every statement in an ad should be questioned with "Why does the customer care?" And answer that question from the customer''s point-of view. Nobody said this was easy. I hear this all the time; "When you think about it, advertising is just using your common sense". No, it isn't. Advertising is counter-intuitive. Most ideas that come from smart people, not into marketing, are wrong. Here's why; You have to put yourself in the customer's shoes.

Their point-of-view is the one you must take for your marketing to work. You have to know what objections will occur to your customers...and answer them in your ads. That ain't easy. Your ads have to be laid out in the order that the prospect thinks. And people read left to to bottom. The thought process is roughly...Is this about me?....Why should I read the rest of the ad?....why should I buy the product?...and why should I buy it from you? You have to constantly be thinking...."What do my buyers want?"... NOT "What should they want?"... NOT..."What do they need?".... Put yourself in your prospects shoes. And walk around in them until they FIT. Now you know how to write an ad that sells.

Claude Whitacre is the author of the book The Unfair Advantage Small Business Advertising Manual. Claude speaks on small business advertising and retail marketing.

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