Posted by Chris (TX) on September 09, 2003 at 18:59:25:
Posted by Chris (TX) on September 09, 2003 at 18:59:25:
No ad and NOW i get calls? - Posted by Philip
Posted by Philip on September 05, 2003 at 23:04:44:
My new ad didn’t get placed in the paper. The paper made a mistake and is going to give me ad time free.
But today I got 4 calls and 2 sound like possibilities.
So next time I am going to run an ad, then stop…and wait for the calls to come poring in…?
People had the ad from a week before.
I hope this makes someone into a killer. (long) - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV
Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on September 06, 2003 at 15:40:02:
Wierd seems to be the name of the game in advertising. It just isn’t an exact science like psychiatry or palm reading.
Advertising, salesmanship, negotiation: How do you separate them?
When you stop to think about it for a minute you may realize that nothing happens in business until a sale is made. A lot of sales result directly from advertising. Advertising is BIG business. It also can be VERY costly. Almost everyone can generate new business through advertising, be it when buying or selling. Much of your income and profit may depend on advertizing. Unless you have hoofs, it would behoove you to learn all you can about EFFECTIVE advertizing. Since it isn’t an exact science and since nearly NOONE in the advertizing business has any idea what they are doing, they have ALL learned the importance of keeping statistical records to determine what works and what doesn’t. This is a shocking statement but it is absolutely true. The science of advertizing is so illegitimate that even the largest advertising agencies in the world still have to resort to the TRIAL AND ERROR method to develop new ads that pull well. This is the premise of this post: That only trial and error combined with accurate records which can be distilled statistically, results in consistent advertizing success. This post tries to demonstrate how this is done and how you can DRAMATICALLY improve your ad results and decrease your advertizing costs. You can do it just as effectively as any professional advertizing agency can even though they will vehemently deny that this is posssible.
It is important to understand that not all advertizing yields positive results, regardless of how much it costs. Some ads get positive results, some get no results, and some get NEGATIVE results. Yes, thats right, some ads cause people to stop buying products that they were formerly buying. Yikes! Negative ads? Yep. They are everywhere where advertizing agencies aren’t. If there is one thing that advertising agencies do well is to test new ads by trial and error. They test new ad samples and keep great statistical records to determine which ads are good and which ads are bad and to what degree. But they still develop new ads by trial and error. Ad copy writers are artists not scientists. They can make ads that are attention getting and cure but they still can’t know if they will pull good results until they are tested in the marketplace. They often make up several similar alternate ads, then key them and test them methodically, one by one, in small test markets to reach their end goal of learning whicht ads pull well and are profitable (cost-effective). BILLIONS of dollars are at stake, and you can bet your sweet bippy that there is a lot of valuable statistical knowlege extant on the subject of ad testing. What follows are advertizing tips that I have learned over approximately 40 years, from my own experience, mainly in the carpet cleaning and car sales businesses. They can be readily adapted to any other business as you will see. All of my experience is in the print media, such as newspapers and direct mail distribution pieces. A funny thing happens when you work for yourself and risk your own money. You learn real quick what works and what doesn’t. You should distrust all profesionals in the advertizing business. They are primarily just trying to sell you something. They will sell you anything that makes them a buck so don’t believe a word you are told when you go down to run your next ad in the paper. Ad sales men often work on a commission. The more they sell you the more they they earn. The ads they sell you don’t have to work for you as long as they work for the salesmen. Never trust ANY ad salesman. They don’t know diddly squat about advertising. They only know how to SELL advertizing. Its up to you to learn how to BUY advertizing. Ad sales people have a different agenda than you do, although common sense would make it seem improbable. They don’t make money when your phone rings, they make money when they sell you ad space. A lot of advertising dollars are wasted on ads that don’t work or that work in an unexpectedly negative way. I can’t count how many times, ove the yeqrs, that business sudenly got slow, only to realise (much) later that it was due to neutral or negative ads that I was running. First I blamed the time of the year, competition, the economy etc. ad infinitum, only to later discover that it was due to a problem iwith my advertising.
First and foremost is how to keep useful statistical records and how to determine your exact cost per call and how to connect that to the number of sales you actually make. Then to the value of each sale to you, using a simple and nearly infallible fromula.
Before we delve into the statistics part let me preface my comments by describing an unexpected and valuable tip that I learned totally by accident. Without it, your statistics will be completely worthless.
I had I had just paid for a week’s newspaper ads for a car for sale. On the day the ad appeared I was feeling very sick and did not want to have to answer my phone and talk to anyone. I had an answering machine connected to my phone so I could hear the incoming calls and had caller I.D. so I would have a record of all callers who didn’t have unlisted numbers(about 1/2). I forget exactly how many calls I received over the next week or so, maybe 30. I was absolutely shocked to learn how many people would hang up immediately up learning that they were connected to an answering machine. I was flabbergasted to compute that I lost about 85% of my callers by using an answering machine. Only 15% called back. Advertising is VERY expensive. Who among us can afford to lose 85% of our advertising dollars or 85% of our customers? Conclusion: It is absolutely vital to have a warm body to answer your phone. If you don’t have someone to answer your phone for you, you WILL lose a large portion of your ad budget but even more important you will lose deals that could have resulted in some multi-thousand dollar profits. Lost profits can be hundreds of times more expensive than lost advertising dollars. Think about that a couple of times. It is so important. If you can afford those kinds of loses why are you still working? Avoid answering machines like the plague. They will rob you like a thief in the night. In this day and age of cheap cell phones, there is only one reason to not answer your calls live. And that is because you are dead. Or on a job where you aren’t allowed to take personal calls. In that case specify certain evening hours to call (only), in your ads.
Now to the most fun of all subjects, mathematics and statistics. What you MUST do is to log EVERY call, even hangups (they can teach you something too). You must also KEY each ad if you run several ads or run ads in different media or when you run ads in different location of in a given publication etc. In short you must write down in a journal, every call you get, where that call came from and what results were obtained. Later you will use this information to determine your ad costs and most important of all, how to boost your bottom line, by tweeking your ads. If you don’t do it this way you may end up doing a lot of another kind of tweeking.
Good advertizing doesn’t cost, it PAYS. Bad advertising doesn’t pay it COSTS. The question of course is what is good advertising, and how much does it pay? You need to know when it is a good decision to increase your advertising and when it is a better decision to cut back or eliminate some advertising. If your busines is dependent in any substantial way on advertising, you can go broke by not managing it well. You could make millions too, if you do it well. If you want to know my personal qualifications to write this post, just ask yourself if you think I do it well? Do you read my posts? Did that title make you open this post to find out if I’d gone bananas again or to learn why I’d hope you would become a killer? Good titles need to be intriguing. They need to FORCE you to read on for some kind of explanation. I’ve spent the better part of a lifetime learning this, the hard way. You can learn it in five minutes, the easy way.
This is how to key your ads and why it is so necessary. Even if you have only one ad and even if you have only one phone number and have no aliases, as I do, you will still benefit from keying EVERY ad that you run for the rest of your life. I still do. The simplest reason is that you still may not know which position in the paper is best. It may change from season to season and from place to place from paper to paper, from ad to ad etc. You still won’t know which size ad to use or which day of the week is best. You still won’t know which week of the month or month of the year is best. You should experiment randomly but artistically with your ad copy to get the best possible performance from it. You can key ads by using different phone numbers or different names (say for instance ask for Joe or Mary) or different prices or different ad copy. I have hundreds of names. When my phone rings and the caller asks for Millicent or Pisquale I know right away if it is a buyer or seller and I know which item they are calling about and I know the price quoted as well as what paper the ad was in and what day of the week and which week the ad ran. Then I immediatley log this information on a a printed form that I lkeep on a clipboard near the pphone. In print ads that ask for mail in response for instance, direct marketers usually put the key in their addreses. If they run an ad in Popular Mechanics magagine and 10 other magazines, they will usually put in a key like, drawer number, box number (when they give a street adress), or department 666, or attention Mr. Fat Slob etc., to let them know where you saw their ad, as well as the price in the ad. Most direct market people run keyed ads with several different prices for their products in different places, to try to learn what price results in maximum profits (not the same as maximum sales). Then when each letter comes in the person opening the envelope records EXACTLY how many orders were gererated by the July ad in Popular Mechanics, say as opposed to how many came in from the ads in the National Enquirer or Mad magazine etc. They also learn from, keys, which parts of the country generate the most responses. You should record the same info for each phone call you get. In a months time you will realize that one or two of your ads, if you use several, got disportoniately larger responses and others got disportionately fewer responses. Next time you’ll know which publications to advertise in and which one to skip. The same goes for newspaper ads as for magazine ads. You won’t be surprised to learn that some newspapers or magazines bring you a lot more call than others. You know that the larger the circulation, the more calls you will get BUT nevertheless, you STILL don’t know which ads were most cost effective or the most profitable (there is a very real diference). You CAN’T know unless you key your ads so you can count your calls and divide the dollar cost of your ads by the number of calls it generated. Then you’ll know how many dollars each call costs you. If it costs you $8 per call generated and you lose 85% of your calls through an answering machine you will know immediately what changes you must make, won’t you? Running ads without keyed and measured results is like running a complex business without any bookkeeping. Betcha didn’t know that that is the only word in the English language with 3 sets of consecutive double letters (doc’s slop of the day). Then and ONLY then will you know where the leaks in your advertizing budget are. At times you will get totally blindsided. Ads that you expected to pull well and be cost effective may bring just the oposite results. Its trial and error all the way plus good record keeping that makes or breaks advertising budgets.
If you are running a race car and trying to set a new speed record you must have some way to measure the cars speed, right? It seems obivious to me. But why then do so many people run ad competitions without any way to measure the results? The barnstorming days are over. You don’t fly by the seat of your pants anymore (Chuck excepted). You need to keeps records of all calls as well as all ACTUAL SALES and compute the cost of each call plus the estimated pro rata profit of each call in dollars. Your ads may cost you $8 per call but you may have a dollar profit of $221 per call (or the same size loss). Without records you have nothing. As any surviving bussiness person can tell you sales don’t always mean profits. In many cases sales result in losses. I want to know which is which, don’t you?
Now that I’ve told you not to use them, here are a few ‘seat-of-the-pants’ observations that may be helpful. I have learned through trial and error and statistical record keeping that the following results generally obtain: Larger ads pull better than smaller ones. Ads with photos pull much better than ads without photos. Ads with CLEAR, UNCLUTTERED, COLOR photos pull best. The good ads have intriging titles that jump right off the page and grab your eyeballs and draw then back into the body of the ad. Aren’t you STILL wondering how I will connect up the title of this post about my “hoping this makes someone into a killer”?. Also ads with less copy and no small print work better. The purposae of your ads should NOT be to sell your product as most peoplesuppose. Media advertising is too expensive for that. The purpose of your ads should b to get the phone to ring. YOU will do the selling personally over the phone. Something in you ad MUST be intriguing enough to get people to pick up the phone and call you. Ads on right hand pages of newspapers work better. Front page ads work best if allowed. The upper half of pages pull better than the bottom half. The closer to the front of the paper you get the better results you will get. Sundays ads pull better than weekdays, particularily in the winter months but the opposite may be true in the summer time for your geographical area. Sometimes daily papers are better than weeklies, but not always. You need to rig a test to find out. Sometimes free papers are better than paid ones but often the reverse is true. Test, test and test… until you get testy.
When the average person reads a newspaper or magazine they typically scan the ads giving each ad only about 1/2 second or less of their time to decide if they are interested enough in it to stop and read it in its entirety. Don’t clutter your titles. Use BIG print in your titles, regardless of what the ad salesman says. Use dark bold print on your titles. NEVER use old English, script, cursive, or other fancy or hard to read type anywhere in your ad, especially not in the title. If you want to be artitistic, learn to paint and practice turing your orange cat into a baby tiger. As fast as the average reader scans, you won’t stand a snowballs-chance-in-heck of such ads getting read, unless you become master of the 1/2 second intrigue. Try to make up an ad title that makes it hard to NOT read on to see what it is all about. How many people stop for a second and would read an ad with this title? “LIST OF 100 LOCAL COLLEGE GIRLS WHO OWN NUDIST COLONY MEMBERSHIPS, name and phone number list, only $10”. Some ad titles make it nearly impossible to pass them up without at least reading them. How about an ad title that said…“How To Make a Million Dollars By 4’oclock Today.” Even if you know its pure bull, you probably would still read it because it IS intriguing, if only in its absurdity. Other ad titles are so bad that they make it nearly implausable that anyone would be compelled to read any further. Think long and hard about your ad titles and keep them as short as possible and make them as easy to read in 1/2 second as possible.
I hope this helps make someone into a killer.
Its great to be able to write killer ads that generate to-die-for profits.
See, you thought I’d never connect this up to my title didn’t you?
When you learn to write 1/2 second intriging titles the battle is half won before your best shot is even fired.
Good advertising is FREE, because it generates more money in profits than it costs. At least its free in the sense that your customer is the one who pays for it in the long run.
Learn to advertise EFFECTIVELY and prosper.
Re: No ad and NOW i get calls? - Posted by DALEKY
Posted by DALEKY on September 06, 2003 at 08:53:07:
I’ve noticed the same thing when renting apartments. I place an ad for a vacancy and maybe get one or two calls the day it comes out. In about three days I start to get three or four calls a day and this continues for a week.
Re: No ad and NOW i get calls? - Posted by Dave Fl.
Posted by Dave Fl. on September 06, 2003 at 05:44:55:
Not so wierd really. Has happened to me several times and I have called on ads that have run out weeks earlier. Reason is simple, if the item is still available, the seller is far more likely to reduce the price.
Re: No ad and NOW i get calls? - Posted by Dave
Posted by Dave on September 06, 2003 at 24:39:38:
just curious what your ad says. Dave
Doc, you don’t know - Posted by Chris (TX)
Posted by Chris (TX) on September 09, 2003 at 08:36:42:
… John Caples… do you?
Hey, question for you. Who answers the phone for your ads (and I mean ALL of your ads)?
killer - Posted by Philip
Posted by Philip on September 06, 2003 at 22:04:52:
I didnt know about keying ads. I don’t run that many yet. I suspected what you said about answering machines, but dont have a cell phone yet. I plan on getting one soon. I HAD noticed that once I got on the phone I had a much better chance of selling my mobiles.
Thank you so much for so much experience for free,
Re: I hope this makes someone into a killer. - Posted by Rod - Mo
Posted by Rod - Mo on September 06, 2003 at 21:14:08:
Excellent post. I would like to add that it is also important to segment and record the target market. Adds that pull in the 55+ crowd could very well be different than those that pull in the newlyweds. Your ad may bring in 100 calls from folks that can make a $500 down payment, but that won’t do much good if you’re selling a unit that needs $5,000 down.
Also, if you have multiple units for sale of have of list of units you can flip, run more than one ad, trying to target the different segments. And of course, key and record.
Re: No ad and NOW i get calls? - Posted by Alfred
Posted by Alfred on September 06, 2003 at 11:19:56:
Maybe it is because I rent to low income tenets, but it seems that I get more calls from the paper and find more tenets from the sign in the front yard. I could probably attribute this to people knowing exactly what is offered for rent when they see the sign. My point, dont forget about the $1.50 sign from walmart, it does work on occasion.
Re: No ad and NOW i get calls? - Posted by Philip
Posted by Philip on September 06, 2003 at 06:05:22:
It said about like this:
Will finance. 14X40 mobile in quiet park near Gotham. 2/1. Flexible terms. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx. leave message or keep trying.
I don’t have a second phone line and I am sure that makes us miss some calls.
Excellent title, Chris… - Posted by Dr, Craig Whisler CA NV
Posted by Dr, Craig Whisler CA NV on September 09, 2003 at 10:13:13:
…it looked a little negative and immediately raised my blood pressure and antanae. I couldn’t have FAILED to open and read your post for a milion Big Macs. Have you ever written advertising copy professionally?
My answer is that I answer every phone call myself, because there might be money at the other end. Jack Miller taught me that.
Good points Rod. Thanks (NT) - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV
Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on September 06, 2003 at 22:01:19:
So true, I put one up and got a few calls quick nt - Posted by Philip
Posted by Philip on September 06, 2003 at 21:58:02:
Doc, I hate to be even more negative, but… - Posted by Chris (TX)
Posted by Chris (TX) on September 09, 2003 at 17:34:11:
I’m sure you know that often Negatives can be “Positives”.
For those who may be unaware, headlines are one of the best places I know of that “positive results” (i.e.: $Dollars$ in your pocket) may be gained from “a negative”. They must be carefully thought out and constructed. If so, they can produce powerful results. (Like tearing Doc away from his Big Mac long enough to read my above post )
That’s the point I’d like to make here to everyone.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money”. - David Ogilvy
It is important no matter if you are writing a simple classified ad, or putting together a direct marketing package to ALWAYS make sure you use powerful and intriguing headlines.
Now, Doc, to answer your question, yes, I write advertising/promotional copy professionally
As for the phone thing, I have to say I am not surprised at all. I’ve discovered that many of the most successful people in this kind of business have a hard and fast rule of answering their own phone calls. Jack is, of course, right about that!
All the best to you Doc.
A double chin on a smile face? Hey! - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV
Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on September 09, 2003 at 18:02:23:
Thats a new one on me. Very appropriate though.
Is David O. the same one who used to be associated with the famous Olgvie and Mather agency? I suspect that that was his belief 40-50 years ago. I have to disagree with him very strenuously though, on his numbers. I believe that for evey one who reads the body copy of most small ads, there are about 500 + not 5, who just scan the headlines only.