Diary of an Ad Man

February 23, 2008

Do You Make These Mistakes In Advertising?

Filed under: Marketing Secrets — linwoodaustin @ 2:43 am

Do You Make These
Mistakes In Advertising?
Top Marketing Expert Reveals…
7 Things You Should Never Do and a Few Things You Should.

Dear Marketer,

My name is Linwood Austin. I’m known as one of America’s top advertising copywriters. Having spent many years in the toughest marketing arena around, (direct marketing) allow me to give you seven things you should never do with your advertising and direct mail. Tested. Proven. Measured. Accountable.

1. Never run an ad or send out mail that neglects to SERVE the reader. Quite often the ads that fail to get results are ads that are SELF-SERVING. The difference is in the world “you” and “your” vs. “we” and “us.” The self-serving advertiser runs ads like this: “We’re the best.” or “Often imitated but never duplicated” and “Why go anywhere else?” Think about it- do these phrases make buyers throw money at your feet? Do they turn heads? Hardly. If you want your advertising to pay off… you’ve got to run ads and direct mail that SERVES the reader with information that is interesting and helpful. You cannot BORE your prospect into buying from you. You must tell him all he’s going to get for his money. You must tell him how he will benefit from your offer. You must help him envision the pleasures of ownership. Your advertising must SERVE the buyer with the right kind of information and enough of it. Some of the most successful advertising my firm has created were ads that contained over 1,000 words or mailing packages which contained over 5,000 words. Did people read it? NO! NO! NO! But “prospects” did. Prospect are HUNGRY for information. Why? Because we were addressing their specific needs. We were hitting specific hot buttons which caused prospects to become satisfied BUYERS. We SERVED them with information they wanted to know.

2. Never trust the opinion of your barber or your uncle regarding your advertising. For that matter, there are very few advertising people who you should trust either. Advertising people are more apt to be personable and gregarious than studious. More apt to be extroverts than introverts. More apt to rely on hunch and intuition than on an academic approach. This is one reason why advertising waste enormous… This is why many ads waste a good “selling” opportunity. It is also why a great many decent business owners honestly believe ad creators are largely phonies – members of a “cult” of parasites who waste more money than they use intelligently. Contrary to popular opinion, advertising is a science. There are proven ways to increase response. If you ignore what has be tested and proven to work, you are only wasting good money. It’s surprising how few ad agencies know of this body of tested research. Ask your ad agency who wrote the book scientific advertising. If they don’t know… FIRE THEM. The famous David Ogilvy once said that no one should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book (Scientific Advertising) seven times. Having read it more than eleven times, I’d have to agree.

3.Never try to be clever. You can’t afford it. People don’t buy from clowns. Spending money is serious business. You can’t afford to gamble on whether or not they will get your pun. People are busy. If your ad doesn’t communicate clearly and immediately to your target audience you’re wasting your money and their time. It’s clever and memorable to put a gorilla in a pair of panty’s but will it really sell your product or service? Clever ads may win advertising awards. But historically it’s rare for an award-winning ad to also be a highly profitable ad.

4. Don’t surround you ad with large amounts of white space.
White space sells nothing. It’s only what you say within that space that sells your product. Only the right words used with the right illustration at the right price and the right time will get them on their feet and bring them to your door. Mind you, all of the tips I’m giving you here are the results of split-run, head-to-head advertising tests for the best results.

5. Don’t be dishonest! If you’re selling half-rotten apples… say so. No one will fault you. There’s always someone out there who wants to make a big batch of vinegar. If you’re selling your what-cha-ma-call-it as “state of the art” and it’s not… word will get around. People will buy a defective product only one time. They won’t buy from you a second time. The market will clean itself. Don’t be dishonest. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put your best foot forward. You should. Your advertising should sing the praises of your product or service. A good adman can make your product sound so desirable you’d be tempted to buy it yourself. A good adman can turn your faults into desirable selling features.

6. Don’t forget to promise big benefits. People don’t buy just for the heck of it. They buy to enjoy the benefits-longer life, easier listening, envy of friends, more money, greater sex, greater comfort, bigger cash flow, safety, economy, etc. If you don’t tell what BENEFITS your product will deliver, chances are, they won’t sit around trying to figure out what the benefits might be. Sure, your gizmo has blinking red lights and a 30-foot long thing-a-ma-gig… but what does this mean to your prospective buyer? How will they benefit from it? We often see ads that promise no benefits at all. At best, they may list many “features” but they do not translate those features into any real REASON WHY the buyer should part with his money. We’ve found that the right application of this concept could mean the difference in 19 times the response over and above an ad which did not clearly promise BENEFITS. Could this concept, rightly applied, boost your business profits? You bet it can.

7. And, for the love of Pete, never leave them hanging. If you’re going to all the trouble to catch their attention, present them with helpful service-rendering copy, and show them that they will benefit from your product or service-then what? Help them respond before they forget. Offer them something special if they respond RIGHT NOW. A booklet! A discount! A sample! An ethical bribe for promptness! If you leave them hanging, your competitor may come along and pick up where you left off. All your hard work will benefit your competitor. That’s a shame.
With all that said and done, let’s assume you’ve read this far because you’re looking for help with your advertising and marketing. Maybe we can help… maybe not.
Over the years my partner and I have grown picky about the clients we serve. So, here’s a list of the minimum qualifications you must meet if you wish our assistance with your marketing. If you make it past this list, we’ll have more questions for you to make sure our “marriage” will be profitable for both your company and ours.

1. Don’t call us if you’re running any kind of scam.
If you don’t have an honest product or service, which you sell profitably at a fair price, call someone else.

2. Don’t call us if you’re not interested in increasing sales.
I know there are lots of “image” advertisers out there who run ads without trying to increase sales. They advertise for a different reason. I’m not sure we know how to make “image advertising.” Our training and total experience has been in creating marketing that boosts sales records and improves profitability. If you don’t want an increase in business, don’t call us.

3. Don’t call us if you don’t own or control the business.
Advertising is a KEY RESULTS AREA (KRA). And if your CEO has delegated it to “operational housekeeping” status, don’t bother calling. The type of marketing we recommend and implement demands that top management understand and enforce the principles of scientific advertising- scientific selling.

4. Don’t call us if you think great advertising is created by a committee.
When we begin working for you, of course, we’ll take lots of input. And we’ll have lots of questions. In fact our initial confidential client questionnaire is almost grueling. But once we begin there can only be “one chief in the kitchen.” If your wife or accountant wants to get in on the act… tell them to start their own “ad agency.”

5. Don’t call us if you have no money.
My partner and I have long gotten over the thrill of helping clients get rich while losing our shirts. Almost on a weekly basis some dear business owner wants us to take on his marketing for no money up front, promising to pay dearly when the results come in. In our early years we tried a dozen or so cases like this. Generally what killed it for us was the wife or accountant… who did not understand our work… had a “better” idea after we had invested lots of time, money and research into their situation. So, we found that if you have no investment in our marketing, chances are you’ll never implement it. My partner, Frederick Peace, constantly reminds me that we should limited our pursuit of adverting agency clients to those who do not bat an eye at spending a minimum of $350,000 a year in advertising. And he reminds me to tell you that generally our services will cost you about 25% of that amount- creative, strategy, tactical, research, media buying, etc. It’s not that we cannot help out smaller companies who are up and coming… it’s just that we can’t invest the time, effort and money required to court clients who haven’t grown enough yet to pay our fee. There are some businesses that no amount of marketing genius can help… you can’t multiply zeros and expect anything other than zero. If you’re not currently spending a good deal in advertising, you must be willing to begin.

6. Don’t call us if you have no sense of humor.
Life is too short to hang around people who can’t have fun. Business is fun. Thank God for Mondays. In fact, on of the marketing principles we insist upon is that you must do everything possible to make do business with you fun and enjoyable for your customers. Of course we take our work seriously, but the fate of the world does not hinge on us… or you. Relax. Call us.

7. Don’t call us if you just want a “dog and pony show.”
We don’t do “speculative work.” And neither do we compete in an “agency review” to show off our “best work.” We’re not your normal, run-of-the-mill ad agency. We’re highly skilled at increasing sales and reducing selling costs using ACCOUNTABLE ADVERTISING TECHNIQUES. Most ad agencies know nothing of accountable advertising. Plus, we’re not inclined to show work we’ve done for past clients. Many of our clients are very guarded about “confidentiality.” Our techniques are so powerful, they don’t want competitors catching on. So, don’t ask to see samples of ads we’ve done. If you can’t tell from this ad that we know our business, don’t call.

Still reading? Good, because I have one more thing to say. It’s very important. If, after all this, you’re convinced we should talk… pick up the phone and call Frederick Peace or myself right now. We’ll ask you a few round of questions and perhaps ask to see some of your marketing material and then get back to you. If we think we can work together… if we think we can improve your marketing results in a big way… we’ll take the next step. Call now while it’s hot on your mind. Obviously, because of time constraints, we can only take on a few clients a year. If you want us to consider your business, call now. If we really do know our stuff, you wouldn’t want your competitor to call us and gain the “almost unfair advantage” we’ll surely give him with our unique skill.

Sincerely Yours,

Linwood Austin
2274 South 1300 East #G15
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
PHONE: (801) 201-9026

P.P.S. HERE IS WHAT SOME CLIENTS HAVE HAD TO SAY ABOUT ME:

“Linwood Austin is perhaps the greatest letter writer on the planet. Why? Because he wrote a letter that made me buy a 35-year old book for $339. He’s good. Darn good.”
Joe Cossman Author,
HOW I MADE A MILLION DOLLARS IN MAIL ORDER

“Linwood Austin brought our marketing costs down from about $659 per sale to about $322 per sale. And we sell a $13,000.00 a year membership product. We now have nearly 1200 clients paying us that money. He is an asset to our organization.”
Terry Nicholson, President
Venvest Corporation

“We contacted Ogilvy & Mather plus A. Eicoff before contacting Linwood Austin. The solutions to our problems were immediately clear to him. The marketing program he created for us was the most impressive, profit-oriented plan I’ve ever seen. It was designed to tap into every major buying emotion our customers have. My only reluctance in recommending him is that he might be too busy to help us on our next project.”
Kelly Ruff,
TUTTI MUSIC

“Every Package Linwood does for us becomes the control. I don’t know how he comes up with such good ideas for copy, concepts, price points and premiums. But they work. This guy is raw marketing talent.”
John King, Publisher
FUTURE ECONOMIC TRENDS

“Linwood has an uncanny ability to show almost any business owner dozens of ways to boost profits using simple, high-impact response techniques. One mailing he created for us looks like it’s going to increase this year’s gross sales by 1/3.” Susan Vinson, Publisher
THE BUSINESS DIGEST
“Linwood Austin is the Godfather of our entire marketing program. His methods grew our company from 2 people to 120 person in just 4 short years. Then, I sold the company for $10 million dollars. (Thanks Linwood.) I’d recommend to anyone: TAKE HIS ADVICE. He knows his stuff.”
Terry Allen, President
THE LEAD SHEET.

“We watched him take a failing business and turn it
around in an amazingly short period of time. He accomplished this by being inventive and trying new
marketing techniques… We all l know the statistics on the failure rates of businesses. Linwood has beaten those odds by hard work and a good feel for his markets.”
Skip Matthews
BEAVER-FREE CORP.

“As you know, before you created our ad we were getting no response to our own. This seemed like a total waste of advertising dollars. However, may I say that each time we have run the ad you created for us, responses ranged from 35-50 each time. Now that’s more like it!” G. L. Hutchison
HUTCHISON GRAPHICS & ADVERTISING DESIGN

“We were amazed to see how Linwood’s ads can turn normal lukewarm prospects into hot ones when the right words persuaded them. I wholeheartedly recommend Linwood Austin to any company that wants to create more powerful advertising.” Conrad Deihl
MONEY MAILER

“Linwood Austin is one of the most promising advertising practitioners I’ve encountered in many years… He is no stranger to the great masters of selling. He has a greater understanding of their methods than all but a handful of present day professionals. He is also an original thinker, and posses a rare ability to focus his creative talent in precisely the right way to achieve maximum results for the advertiser. His instincts are on target. He has abundant talent and his depth of knowledge already greatly exceeds that of most with far greater experience.”
C. Barrie Bedell, Pres.
BASIC ADVERTISING SELLING IMPROVEMENT CORP.

“I’m happy to say Linwood Austin has written quite a few packages for my company. I’ve never seen anyone more clever and original with headlines that work and opening paragraphs that grab you. He’s easy to work with and he’s a good friend.
Brian Keith Voiles, Brian Keith Publishing

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