The amazing thing about what I do, is that after 20 years of doing it, people still make the same mistakes with their advertising and sales messages as they did when I first started out. I suppose its lucky really, as its pretty much kept me in a job for last couple of decades!
When applying your good common sense to advertising messages especially, one can end up with all sorts of superfluous information. Stuff that seems to make sense when you are thinking about it, and translates nicely into the press ad, radio commercial or website banner.
The thing is, experience teaches us that one needs to be rather more circumspect when it comes to this stuff. An awful lot that appears to make sense when you think about it, doesn’t translate to actual effective ad copy or even a decent sales approach.
There is a man who can help you with this, especially when it comes to radio. His name is Mike Bersin, and he is a radio copy writing genius. Like a lot of genius you could think about, Mikes style isn’t for everyone! (But in a really good way) And please don’t make the mistake that Mike is a radio specialist – well he is, but he can help in all sort of media, on the basis his brilliant ideas translate seamlessly between one media and another.
However, in order for you to gradually manage the assault on your pre conceptions his ideas invariably produce, he has written a book. This allows you to gradually immerse yourself into his style and get to grips with his ability before meeting the man himself! And I suggest you do meet him, he will make you and your business a lot of money given half a chance. Mike has written the book from the point of view of a business person, rather than a radio copy writer, so it’s very accessible.
Stuff covered in this book includes why your audience isn’t interested in the fact you are a family run business and that you have ample free parking. It explains why one big offer is better than lots of small ones. He’ll even talk you through different style of advertising so that you can find the one that fits your business.
You know your uniquely high levels of service? Well these days, that the starting point, it’s a given – People expect at least that. That is itself is not something that will win you business any more, if it ever was.
Mike has taught me a lot over the years, including and not limited to the three questions I ask every client or prospect before I start to offer any kind of solution.
1. Who are we taking to : Lets get specific here – ‘Adults’ isnt enough. And I’ve never met an ‘ABC1’ in my life. I want to know exactly who we are talking to, what they think, how they feel, what problems they face, and consequently how we’ll be pitching our solution
2. What do we want them to do : Again, we need to be specific here. General ambitions such as learn more about the company, or understand something about the advertiser are to be discouraged! Look for clarity like clicking through to a website or telephoning an enquiry or even the old-fashioned buying a product, are what we need to work on.
3. Consequently, if we require people to do something, lets give them an excellent reason to do it. One big reason that they will be able to understand quickly and easily, and hopefully remember easily. Not lots of small different ones that will just combine with everyone else’s little reasons. Note: Your ‘one big reason’ must make sense to your target market as illustrated in point 1. All the more reason to be as specific as you can when identifying exactly who 1. is.
There’s lots like this and more in Mike’s Book, and I thoroughly recommend buying it. His ideas will benefit most businesses working in most advertising media. You can read it in an hour or so, and I’d even go so far as to say you’ll find Mike funny and irreverent – It’s a very entertaining read.
You can find it on the Waterstone’s website, or buy it directly from Mike and save on postage at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him I sent you!
(Disclosure: I am not profiting from this article, while Mike is my very good friend, I nor this blog have a financial arrangement with Mike Bersin at all – Thanks)