Best ads focus on customer benefits

score Question:
I don't seem to be getting any increase in sales whether I advertise or don't. What's the secret?

How much do you spend on advertising each year? If you're like most businesses, you probably spend at least 3 percent to 4 percent of your gross revenues on advertising and other marketing.

Take a look at any newspaper or magazine advertising. How many of them address needs of the prospective customer?

It's easy to get caught up in your own stuff and neglect the customer. Remember, prospective customers are interested in one thing: what's in it for them.

The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to determine how to reach them, the price they're willing to pay and much more.

  • Ask yourself, "Why would someone use my products or services?"

    Put yourself in the customer's place. It will give you some valuable answers as to what to say in your ads.

  • Know what benefits your product or service provides.

    By benefits, I mean the real value advantages as perceived by prospective buyers. I don't mean the descriptive words to explain the features.

    There's a big difference between features and benefits.

    The customer first and foremost is interested in benefits, the things that will make his or her life easier.

    Another way of looking at it: Features are always about the product; benefits are about the prospective customer.

  • Make sure the people you are trying to reach in your advertising campaigns have a need for the product or services you are selling and the money to buy it.

    Make sure you're not wasting your money on advertisements to the wrong target group. You can save a lot of money and frustration by making sure that you are talking to the right prospects.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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