Yelling Is Not Selling

By November 30, 2012Marketing, Sales

“The sole purpose of an advertisement is to sell a product”


Claude Hopkins (1866-1932)
Author of “Scientific Advertising”. Considered the Father of Modern Advertising.



We are all looking for that “silver bullet” that’s going to bring hoards of people into our business or overload our phone line wanting what we offer. While there is no single trick, there are some aspects to advertising that many businesses miss:


  1. Define the purpose and goal of the ad. Is there a specific volume of sales or responses you hope to get from the ad? Just putting your logo, name and phone number in the ad is not going to get a response. Usually only about 3% of your target market is actively looking for your offer – what are the chances they will act only on your “name, rank and serial number”?
  2. Forget branding. I do suggest you have a strong logo and recognizable name. However, branding is a difficult to quantify benefit. Generally your brand strength depends on the recognition and reputation of your business or product. Your brand will be built over time through great service and better product – not usually through advertising. Most small businesses don’t have time or money to spend on branding because you need sales now. Leave branding to Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
  3. Give a compelling reason to act. Do you have information they need to make a decision? Will you help them escape some great catastrophe?
  4. Have only ONE step for your market to do. In sales, often the sole purpose in the first phone call is to get an appointment. They know they will not sell in the first couple of minutes over the phone. Your ad should be similar –one purpose and one action.
  5. Develop a strong headline and copy. Get their attention without yelling at them. Define the problem and solution. Help them see the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Make them aware of an impending disaster they need to be prepared for. Please stop yelling at us.
  6. Test it. Test it. Test it. Give an ad a short run. If it doesn’t get you the response you expect, edit and try it again. Spend a little money to see if it works. When you find what does perform well –blow it out of the water.
  7. Have a plan. The ad should be part of your overall strategy. Now is the time to put one together if you have not already.

Don’t let all your advertising become only about steep discounts, starbursts and “Act Now” calls to action. You don’t have to yell at your market to communicate your value.


Remember the lifetime value of a customer. Don’t get so focused on today’s sale, that you make it difficult for them to buy from you again. Keep your promise and create consistency between the look and feel of the ad and the actual customer experience.


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