Church of the Invisible Hand

5 Simple Tweaks to Crank up the Quality of Your Advertising

A lot of entrepreneurs fancy themselves as effective copywriters.

For some, that may be true. But for many, it's just not the case. So, a lot of them come to me for critiques on their copy. Especially if it's not getting the response they expected. Often, a tiny tweak or two can double, even triple the effectiveness of a promotion.

I've been offering this as a service for a few years now, and I see the same issues pop up over and over.

In this post, I'm gonna cover the 5 most common mistakes I see my clients make in their advertising. I'll tell you what they are, and how to fix them so you can avoid wasting your money on faulty advertising.

Narcissistic Marketing Disorder

You're reading this because you want to improve your ad responses.

You're not reading it because you want to hear about how smart I am or how successful my business is. You're here because of what's important to you; your problem, your desire. So it would be foolish of me to spend all time talking about myself.

Yet, that's exactly what most business owners do in their advertising.

"Our service or product was rated best in class by Industry Magazine."

"My great grandpappy built this business back in 1928."

"We offer nothing but the highest quality widgets found this side of the Mississippi River."

Blah, blah, blah... Nobody cares.

Your customer is reading your ad to hear about themselves. How will their problem be solved? How will their situation be improved? How will their lives be transformed? That's what they really care about. That's why they're reading. You better give them some answers.

Instead of talking about your awesome features, explain how those features will benefit them. Prove to them that you understand their needs. Prove to them that you can meet those needs. That's what your ad needs to do.

Most people are self-centered and don't care one bit about you. Your ads need to understand that, play to it, and not make the same mistake.

Make your advertising about the buyer, not the seller.

Not Tracking Your Acronyms

There's only one thing worse than throwing noodles at the wall and hoping something sticks. It's having something stick, and not tracking what it was.

Again, this is an all-too-common flaw in most people's advertising. If this is how you advertise, you might as well be throwing your money away. You never want to throw good money after bad money. But if you're not tracking some key factors, you'll never know what's working and what's not.

Here are a few acronyms you need to be tracking.

CPL - Cost Per Lead

How much do you pay to get someone to raise their hand and show interest in what you're selling?

If you spend $10 on windshield fliers and get 5 people to call back, your cost per lead was $2. If you spend that same $10 on facebook ads and get 20 people to respond, your cost per lead was $0.50.

If you're not tracking your cost per lead, you'll never know whether Facebook ads will work better for you than windshield fliers.

CPA - Cost Per Acquisition

How much do you have to spend to turn someone into a customer?

Does your ad in Business Week cost the same as your ad in Entrepreneur Magazine? And if so, which one is pulling in more customers?

If you spend $7,000 on the ad and it brings in 7 sales, that means you're spending $1,000 dollars to acquire one customer. Is that something you can do and still remain profitable?

CLV - Customer Lifetime Value

How much will the average customer spend with you over their lifetime?

Will they only make the one purchase, or will they come back and buy from you often? Do you have an up-sell in place or a continuity program you can offer? How much profit is each customer worth to you?

Without knowing this you won't be able to answer the question posed above. What is an acceptable Customer Acquisition Cost?

If your cost to acquire a new customer is $1,000, but they'll spend $14,000 with you, then you'll be in business for a long time. But, if the average customer only spends $999 with, then a $1,000 CPA will send you to the poor house.

If you're not tracking these metrics in your advertising, you're throwing away money.

Hard to Read

Your prospect is just begging for an excuse to stop reading your ad.

Don't give them one.

Your job is to make sure that your ad reads like a greased slide, with no rough spots along the way. That means avoid using ten dollar words. Anytime they have to stop and think about the meaning of a word, you've lost them. If your writing seems too pompous or like you're talking down to them, you've lost them. They'll stop reading.

Another common culprit is complex sentences. Keep your sentences short and limited to one idea. If they can't remember the beginning of the sentence by the time they've reached the end, you've lost them.

The final thing to look out for is giant blocks of text. If they're greeted with a wall of text upon opening your ad, they'll feel intimidated and give up before they start. Break your message into bite sized chunks, easy for consumption.

Not Split Testing

Sometimes you have a brilliant idea for an ad... and it flops.

Don't feel too bad about it. It happens to the best of us. That's why we split test.

Split testing is when you run two ads to two segments of your list, each with just a minor difference from the other. It might be the same ad, but with a variant in the headline. It might be the same ad, but with a different price point. You run both versions of the ad, to the same amount of targeted people, and you see which one converts the best.

There are a lot of ways to gauge the results. The two ads could have a different 1-800 number to call, and the number with more calls is the winning ad. You could track open rates if you're testing a subject line on an email ad. You can even set up two sales pages and track the better one by its URL.

When you find the winner, it becomes your control. Any tweaks you make in the future will be ran against it. When you find one that performs better, it becomes your new control. Over time, your advertising costs less and less, while pulling more and more sales.

But only if you're split testing.

No Call To Action

I saved the best for last, and this is the biggest offender; ending your promotion with no Call To Action.

I see this all the time. An otherwise perfect ad, with no explanation of what to do next. I get to the end of the sales piece, and... nothing.

You told me all about the great deal you're running. You sold me on buying the new product. You even told me that the deal ends on Monday. But you didn't tell me what I need to do next, in order to take advantage of your offer.

You might be telling yourself, "but people are smart enough to figure it themselves." You'd be wrong.

You have to spell it out for people.

Click here for more information. Come on down to (Store's Location). Pick up your phone and call now.

You have to make it explicit.

If you don't, they'll tell themselves "that seems nice," and they'll go about their day. At the end of every promotion, make sure you tell them what to do next.

To Recap

1. Make sure your ad is focused on the needs and wants of the reader, not on bragging about how great you are.

2. Track what you're spending and what you're getting back in return.

3. Make sure your message is easy to read.

4. Split test, and split test some more.

5. Make sure you end every promotion with a Call To Action.

Alright, there you have it. Make sure you're not making any of these mistakes in your advertising. If you are, correct them right now. You can thank me later.

Did you find this valuable? Would you like me to go over any of your current promotions to see where you could improve them? Schedule some time with me so we can get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Nathan Fraser

Written by Nathan Fraser
Direct Response Copywriter
Marketing Consultant
High Priest of Propaganda

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5 Steps to a Killer Business Card

Did you ever see the movie American Psycho?

There's one scene in there that really stuck with me. It wasn't one of the kill scenes. It was the one where the main character and his friends were all standing around, comparing business cards. I never understood that scene.

In fact, it always kinda creeped me out.

They all seemed to make such a big deal out of their business cards. The eggshell laminate. The .5 millimeter embossed font. The slight off-white of the card stock. The slight off-black of the ink. These tiny little details seemed to make a world of difference to them. But their cards all looked the same to me.

That scene still haunts me to this day.

Look, the truth is, none of those things matter to the person your handing the card off to. Yes, when you hand me your card, I want to get the feeling that you're a professional. But all those tiny details they were obsessing over don't add up to much when a potential contact receives your business card.

I mean, I get it. You want your card to stand out. You want it to make an impression. But things like that don't matter.

So what does matter?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Because I'm about to lay out the 5 things you must get right on your business card to avoid having it tossed into the recycling bin.

• 1. Don't print out cards from your computer.

The flimsy card stock. The perpetrated edges. The ink fading away. These things all scream out "unprofessional." If you want to avoid positioning yourself as the guy who amateurish results, avoid handing out an amateurish business card.

• 2. Don't get the "free" option from your card supplier.

Most printers offer a free option, with an ad for their service printed on the back of your card. While this is a step up from home printed business cards, it still proves that you don't take yourself serious. If you can't invest $20 in some professional business cards, why should I trust investing my business in you?

• 3. Use heavier card stock.

People tend to associate heavy with weight. Heavy means sturdy and weight means influential or important. A heavier card stock gives the subtle impression that the giver of the carries more weight.

• 4. Don't focus on who you are who you are, focus on what you deliver.

This goes back to effective copywriting practices. People don't care about you. They care about what you can do for them. Instead of Title, Name, and Contact info, make the focus of the card about the results you can deliver. Grab attention with that, and recipient will actually care about the other information on your card.

• 5. Call them to action.

If you don't give someone a next action to take, chances are, they won't take any action at all. Your card will get stuffed in their pocket, or worse, tossed in the trash can. So, give them an action to take.

Send them to a landing page on your website, where they can sign up for a free gift via an email opt-in form. This gives them a reason to hold on to your card. It also changes the dynamic of the relationship, putting the ball of follow-up back into your court.

People say that the business card is dead.

I disagree. The fact is, most business cards are just lifeless. But, by following these 5 rules, yours can breathe new life into your networking.

Now, go get 'em, killer.

5 Step Formula for a Great about Me Page

Maybe it was beginners luck. But maybe it wasn’t.

A bunch of my facebook friends kept telling me to post on Steemit, but I resisted. Truth be told, I'm still a little skeptical. But I finally bit the bullet and started an account.

I kept seeing these posts called "introduceyourself", and figured that was the best place to start. One friend made close to $12,000 on his introductory post, but that seemed to be the exception to the rule. Almost everybody else was coming up empty on their introduction pieces.

Not expecting much, I wrote my introduction. I posted it, watched it do nothing, and went to bed. A lackluster end to an otherwise awesome day.

The next morning, I went to check my post. I was hoping for at least a little bit of action. After all, I get paid to write, so I was hoping to see at least ten or fifteen bucks in my account. Otherwise, my ego might’ve been a little hurt.

What happened next was surprising.

I clicked on my post, scrolled down to the bottom, and saw a number that shocked me. $279. Not bad for my first post, and way more than I was expecting. The warm welcome was amazing. And the payout wasn't too bad, either.

But I did have an unfair advantage.

As you know, I'm a copywriter. People hire me to write sales pages, blog posts, and About Me pages. And I get hired, not because I'm a master in the usage of proper English, but rather, because I have a unique skill for turning words into money.

There are a few secret rules to writing an effective About Me page. And those rules seemed to work well with my introduceyourself post. And because I want to see you succeed, I'm gonna share these secret rules with you. Yes, you need to have a nice photo of yourself, and a brief description of who you are. But that is just the beginning.

I now present to you, my 5 Secret Rules for Writing a Kick Ass Introduction.

• Rule # 1 - Be yourself.

People want to meet the real you, not some corporate public relations version of you. So type like you talk, and speak in the first person. Use contractions when possible, and avoid the $10 words.

After you've typed it out, go back and read it out loud. If it doesn't sound natural to you, it won't sound natural to your reader. And with a first impression, you want to be authentic.

• Rule # 2 - Put their needs first.

Sure, say hi, and thank them for their time. Let them know your name, and maybe one interesting thing about you. But don't make the first date all about you. Let them know that you care about them before you ask them to care about you.

This is simple to do. Before you start telling them your life story, let them know what they will get out of sticking around. Let them know what's in it for them.

Don't just talk about what you do, talk about why they should care. In marketing, we call this “listing benefits instead of features”. Don't tell them about the four walls and a roof, tell them about the home they will build for their family.

Start out by letting them know what needs of theirs you will meet, and how you plan on meeting them. This will keep them reading long enough to care about who you are and what you do.

• Rule # 3 - Tell some stories.

Now that you've earned their attention, here is where you tell them a little bit more about yourself. But don't just start listing off all your many accomplishments. That's boring.

Remember, the reader is just looking for a reason to close your tab. They don't want to waste their time, and if they're bored, they're wasting their time. Your goal is to get them to the end of the article, and stories will help you do that.

People love stories. It's the oldest way we know how to learn, and it's the easiest way to pull somebody into your post. So instead of explaining who you are, tell some interesting stories about how you became the person that you are today.

Just make sure they are true stories, and not works of fiction.

• Rule # 4 - Invite them to learn more.

Meeting somebody at the bar and having a great conversation is great, but not if it that’s where it stops. You've just made a connection. Don't leave without asking for a phone number. Or at the very least, ask to give them yours.

Same thing goes for your introductory post. If they like what they've read, you don't want to leave them hanging. You want to give them access to more.

This can be a link to your website, or links to your most used social media profiles. If you can get them to join your mailing list, even better. The point is, give them a way to get to know you on a more personal level. If you've followed the rules up until this point, they're going to want it.

• Rule # 5 - Call them to action.

Up until now, you've been a giver. It's ok to ask for something in return. And this is the place to do it.

When you finish up any piece of content, you should include a final call to action. Most people won't act unless you ask them to. So, even if you think the next step is obvious, spell it out for them.

Ask them to follow you. Ask them to leave their thoughts below. Ask them to up vote the post. I don't care what it is. Just ask them to do something.

If you get me excited, I want a payoff. A call to action is that payoff. It lets me feel like I repaid you for what you just gave me, and it gives me a sense of closer.

Don't rob me of that. Let me know what to do next. Give me your call to action.

And there you have it.

These are the rules I use for every single About Me page that I write. They're simple. They're effective. And it seems as if they translated well over to Steemit.

So, before you hit "publish" on your About Me page, or introductory post, run it through these rules. You can thank me later.

I'm not saying that if you use these rules, you'll get a big payout, like I did. But I am saying that you'll get a lot more time on page than you would if you ignore them. And in case you have doubts to my claim of pulling in $279 on one post, I'll post the link below.

Click here to see my first post on Steemit.

If you found this post helpful, share it with someone you know who needs it.

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