What are the pictures and phrases that can wreck your advert in one second – no matter how good your product?
If you have read my commentaries before you’ll know how often I stress the need for every advert to grab attention from the off.
And you’ll probably know that in my view an awfully large number of adverts simply don’t do that.
Sometimes advertisers do think they are achieving this goal – as with the advertiser who recently told me that his “10% discount!” headline was most certainly an attention grabber because he’d never offered a discount before. Personally I disagreed. For me such discounts are commonplace and instantly ignored.
In other words I think “10% discount!” is simply a failure of a headline. But there are some headlines that are much worse than this. Headlines which actively turn the teacher against you, ensuring that he/she not only doesn’t buy now, but is unlikely to buy next time around either.
One such is any sort of headline that incorporates the phrase “back to school”. It is a commonplace phrase among advertisers, but not one that teachers use. Because they are not going back to school – they are returning to work after a break during which they almost certainly have been working.
Indeed, a recent analysis of the readership of our UK Education News site and our Schools Blog shows that the number of visits we have been getting in August is higher than the number we get during term time, suggesting teachers have more time in the holidays.
I’d also steer very clear of anything that suggests that you hope teachers have had a nice long relaxing holiday. Anything that suggests that teachers get longer breaks than the rest of the population is not a good line to push to teachers.
Likewise I would avoid any of those very old fashioned clip art pics that show someone wearing a mortar board and gown. This is one of the biggest put downs you can have in an advert – treating your customer like a cartoon character.
My advice is that if you have not taught in a school in the last ten years, lay off anything that suggests a familiarity with the everyday life of a teacher, because you’ll almost certainly get it wrong.
Better to focus on your product and the benefits it brings to the teacher. Not the features – they can go on your website – but the benefits, such as the reduction in the amount of time that it takes to do a certain job or the way this product will help raise grades.
But whatever else you do, don’t say anything that could sound patronising. Don’t ever say, “I know how hard it is in the classroom” or anything like that, even if you genuinely do know. Trying to be “one of the gang” with the teacher who is reading, simply doesn’t work.
Remember, if you have got a product that teachers will want at the price you are asking them to pay, then all you have to do is grab attention and answer the two questions that they will ask:
a) Why should I buy this?
b) Why should I buy this from you?
You don’t have to be chummy, you don’t have to pretend that you know how they feel, you don’t have to introduce your company, you don’t have to offer a load of background. Just grab attention and go for the benefits.
If you would like to run your next advert by me, I’m always happy to take a look. Just email me a copy of the advert and I’ll call you back with my thoughts. No charge, no obligation, no horseman will call.
01536 399 000 usually works as does Tony@hamilton-house.com
And if you are interested in further thoughts on how to raise your response rates in email and postal marketing, and indeed how to get more hits on your website, do take a peek at www.blog.hamilton-house.com It’s awfully good, although I would say that since I wrote it.