When it comes to any form of advertising - There are quite a few pitfalls that one can fall into. Very expensive pitfalls that is... Many of which could easily be avoided if someone who knew a few key things about consumer reactions were behind the creation of your ad. For this example lets take a look at two major mistakes from a radio commercial I just heard.
Mistake #1 - Too Cute. Being someone who makes radio commercials for a living, I naturally pay attention to all mistakes the average consumer would not notice when it comes to a radio commercial. The consumer would simply tune-out mentally and/or physically because of these costly mistakes. Problem number one with the commercial - It took 45 seconds to identify exactly what the radio commercial was for! What was even more shocking, this was a commercial for a national care repair chain. It wasn't "Chuck's Burger Stand". One would naturally expect that if a company as large as this would have top of the line radio commercials on the air - at the least - ones written by people who know what it takes to be effective! The front :45 seconds was a failed attempt at humor about a hair salon. Then it somehow made the "natural" shift to talking about car parts in the last :15 seconds.
There is nothing wrong with having a humor angle in the first 5-15 seconds of a commercial, but keep it at that: 5 to 15 seconds. I can guarantee about 98% of potential customers for this business mentally tuned out after the first 15 seconds. It went on, and on... and on... with no real point. By the time the radio commercial finally go to the auto parts message, you were trying to figure out what it was you just heard and completely missed the point of the radio commercial: Giving the consumer a reason to visit the store. There was absolutely no "reason" or "call to action" in this radio commercial. Which brings me to my second point.
Mistake #2 - No Call to Action. If you want to consumer to take action - and actually call your number, visit your store or log on to your website... You need to give them a reason! The little factoid that you simply "exist" is not a good enough reason. Make an offer that your competition is not - "Free consultation - a $100 value", "Free this or that just for calling or stopping in", "you will be entered to win a XXXX just for calling", "if you’re not happy, we will give you back your money plus some", "offer is for today only", "call in the next 10 mins and we'll give you XXXX free".... The options are endless! Just be sure the call to action is good! Simply saying take 10% off is NOT a strong call to action. It has to be a clear cut - "here is what I'm getting out of the deal" kind of offer.
Often times the consumer has no clue as to what your products or services cost. So the offer needs to be physical. If you sell products that cost $100 each - you are better off saying “take up to $50 off your total order today, limit 5". It’s the same as taking 10% off each item - up to 5. It sounds much more intriguing - while communicating the same message. When you only have :30 seconds or 3 lines to convey a message - you need to make every word count. So remember... Make the call to action count!
The take away from this article should simply be this - Be Real with your customers. Don't try to be too "cute" and don’t make a crappy offer or an offer they won’t really understand. Speak in their terms - not yours to make every second of your radio commercial count!
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