- THE MAGAZINE
Your advertising says a lot about your cleaning company. It creates an image, and tells your story to prospective customers every time they see it. However, an ad has only one overriding objective: to make your phone ring. To do this effectively, it must attract your prospect’s attention; hold their interest; build desire to do business with you; and most importantly, motivate them to call you.
As you kick off a brand new year, it’s a good time to analyze your advertising to see if it’s designed to effectively communicate your message. Here, in four steps, is a crash course in creating an effective ad.
Establish an IdentityRegardless of whether your ad is for a newspaper, magazine or a flyer, distinctive design and layout, an inviting and believable copy and an eye-catching headline, and will set your ad apart from the others. Whatever you do, always visually and verbally differentiate yourself from other companies that offer the same types of services.
Consistency is critical in creating an identity. An identity, or recognition factor, will be created faster and more effectively when your ads use the same basic design elements, type font and logo each time. Also, the way you end your ad should be consistent. A call-to-action that encourages the reader to pick up the phone can often be effectively utilized as a consistent ending. No matter how the content of each ad changes, they will all have the same look, or familiarity, that creates your identity with your prospects.
Keep It SimpleA simple layout encourages readership. Tell what services you perform and their benefits; show a photo; and show a genuine price if you’re targeting price-sensitive prospects. Otherwise, leave the price off and offer a no obligation professional on-site quote, which I highly recommend with upper income residential and high-end commercial customers. Include a logo or a memorable tag line to help the prospect remember you. Finally, include a “call-to-action” to encourage the prospective customer to call right away. For example, a free traffic lane cleaning within six months (gets you back in their home for additional revenue), or a free bottle of spotter, with your name and phone number on it of course. Don’t forget your contact information.
Cut the ClutterDon’t saturate your ad with too many messages and images. It may attract attention, but doesn’t encourage readership. Too many messages in one ad also make it difficult for the reader to focus on the most important aspects of your message. It may also confuse the reader as to exactly what you’re trying to communicate. A reasonable amount of open space in your layout will make the ad much more inviting to the reader than cramming every bit of available space with copy and photos.
Keep in mind that we are all subjected to hundreds of visual advertising messages everyday. The most effective ads are the ones that cut through the clutter. There is no guarantee of response rate, but I can guarantee that if your ad doesn’t break through the clutter you’ll get very little, if any, response.
Write Captivating CopyGood copy writing is a developed skill. However, you can write good copy if you follow a few basic guidelines.
A grabbing headline is essential to capturing a prospective customer’s attention. A good headline has a message that grabs the reader’s interest and makes them want to read on. Buying is largely an emotional response to a need, so target specific emotions. For example, to stimulate post-holiday carpet cleaning revenue, you may run a headline such as, “Do you want your guests to see Rover’s accidents on your carpet?” If that’s a bit long for your headline, use it as the opening sentence of the body copy.
The body of the ad should be convincing and engaging to keep interest. Make sure it doesn’t drift from its primary focus, which is what you do or offer, and why it would benefit the reader to do business with you. A testimonial is a great way to build credibility. Be careful not to build expectations that you can’t meet.
Continually keep your audience in mind when writing your copy. The best ads make a one-on-one connection to the people you are targeting as potential customers.
SummaryAlways remember that your ad is your prospective customer’s first impression of you and your cleaning business and should, therefore, reflect its true character. We’ve all heard the old saying that a first impression is a lasting impression. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. What impression does your ad leave with your prospect?
An Effective Ad...
- Is designed to appeal to your targeted audience.
- Visually attracts the reader to it.
- Has a catchy headline to draw the reader in.
- Is easy to read, without clutter and congestion.
- Talks one-on-one with the reader to build desire for your services.
- Has an enticement (call-to-action) to motivate the reader to call.
- Shows your company name, logo and contact information clearly.
- Makes your telephone ring.